I get equally good shaves from TOBS (£10) and Palmolive (49p) and from Proraso (£6)... Effortless BBS and no drying of the face. I doubt that the 'top tier' stuff really makes a difference. Anything that provides a good, slick lather is top tier for me
It's the same as everything else, there are more expensive razors, brushes and soaps and there are always those who prefer them and those who've never tried them and insist that they can't be any better than the cheaper stuff.
YMMV, but I definitely find that some soaps are much better than others, P&B, B&M, FA and DRH to name a few favourites. Palmolive is also excellent so it's not necessarily price-related.
I have never used SV or Martin de Candre as well, but I trust others who have and who say even they have been left behind in the recent surge of specialized artisan makers of which I own several and can state unequivocally are IMO fantastic as regards latherability, glide, cushion, scent and after shave "face feel". However, I respect that for many these qualities may not be as desirable as they are for me just as I am not drawn to expensive stainless steel razors or ultra expensive natural hair brushes. One man's trash is another's treasure.