Nice to see how you detail all the steps and their attendant pitfalls.
The key phrase, though, is whether you're listening attentively. If you are, and you know the track well, then you'll notice all kinds of things. If you're not, you're unlikely to notice anything. The reason for this is that the brain uses lots of lossy compression techniques for processing audio and visual data. This is why we're so susceptible to optical and aural illusions – there was a good Horizon program on it a while back. But you will almost certainly notice the difference in the EQ settings. I have music on quietly all day as it helps me concentrate. I can nearly always tell when I forgot to switch the EQ back to standard for music from
Speakers should be able to move enough air and well enough damped not to sound harsh or tinny. But if the acoustics of your room are poor like a car or a bathroom you're unlikely to notice even that.
Want to really know what your various sources sounds like? Get some monitoring headphones on and listen to the quiet bits. Other than that go with what works best for you.