Re: On air compression
Fully agree. To show the level of the issue, here's two zoomed-in snips taken from CD rips (both show about 10 seconds of the song).
This is Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit from 1991 (chosen as it's a heavyish, grunge song):
Decent dynamics, loud and quiet clearly visible, as are the peaks from the drums. Result, song sounds good - especially through decent speakers.
And in comparison, here's Muse - Map of the Problematique from 2005 (again, a fairly guitar-heavy song):
You don't have to be an audiophile to see that it's just a solid wall of distorted noise with zero dynamic range and everything brickwalled up to peak level. Result, it sounds like crap, no matter what equipment you play it on.
For most music, radio has nothing to do with it, even the original CDs are produced in a simply dreadful way with no regard whatsoever for the quality of the sound.