Pretty much this IMO/IME. I have $75 pickups I love and I've had $275 pickups I hated. In the end it's just easier to stick with what you know--esp after a few decades of fiddling around with different flavors of the month.Pickup materials are not particularly exotic. Supposedly cheaper stuff like ceramic magnets can be spectacular in a properly constructed pup. The ones that command the big bucks certainly earned that right - they sound consistently great, as long as they fit the style you're shooting for. But there's no real magic to them. There are $22 pups that sound amazing where the maker struck upon the right combination of design and materials. I have a set like that - even bought another for a future build because they sounded so good.
BUT...and it's a big but: Do you really want to go through 8 sets before you find a no name brand that really does it right? Or just spend the $160-$400 to get something you KNOW will work and be good.
I did plenty of party favors back in the day including all of the goodies and candy (I think I played better back then as well , reason being there are tunes and such that I can't remember or remember how I played them back then -true story ! ) Going to work the next day after the last Jerry / Dead show in 1995 and I was still feeling the effects the following day up until 11am . My smart ass on the way to the arena said 'this sh^& is weak give me more , which was a mistake . First set we smoked everything , then second set we were like well behaved kids in church . Clown next to me that was not with us was smoking a cig (imagine that ) and security kept flashing a flashlight at him to stop smoking . So my smart arse makes a scene waving my hands around as the flashlight was harshing me and my buddy says to me it's not for you . I still kept up and then security comes over to me and tells me it's not for us , to which I replied "we smoked them all and don't have anymore " and he replies that he knew . Good times for sure .plenty live up to their hype.