Manufacturers, engineers, and scientists have worked for decades to broaden the capabilities of audio equipment. Audio consumers have yearned for the highest quality playback. The factors that determine audio fidelity have been stretched and optimized to bring consumer audio into realms of realism and fidelity never experienced before. The ability to record, manipulate, and deliver nearly perfect audio to end listeners has been achieved. Yet in these times of audio perfection deliberate damaging processes degrade the consumer audio experience. This paper demonstrates that the pursuit of loudness and the reduction of file sizes undermine the quality of consumer audio.
Audio systems and distribution methods in use today are capable of creating and delivering the highest fidelity ever available, yet little of what is conveyed to end listeners approaches the ideals of high fidelity.