I do not equate "plain" with "low end". I prefer simple steels, because they are easy for a hobby smith to do a quality heat-treatment with. I prefer 1095 because if I want, I can use clay to get a really nice hamon. 1075 is also a good choice if you want to be on the other side of the eutectic line... but I also want the additional carbon for maximum hardness. There are a lot of high-quality production knives being made with 1095, and while it's not in the same class as some of the modern super-steels, it's much more forgiving and approachable with minimal equipment.
Chris, Proprietor of The Tidewater Forge
Hot iron is my passion. Fire is my mistress. Let's dance.