From what I've read, it's definitely worse now but it's not a new thing. A lot of 45s and LPs were mixed to sound good over FM radio. I think compression may not be a bad thing in a car stereo but not for home use. I wish they would just build the compression circuitry into car stereos and boom boxes and mix the CDs normally.
While dynamic range is great on a home stereo, it's not appropriate everywhere. If I leave my volume set to some normal value on the Monsoon in my car, I miss the first two minutes or so of Bolero because I can't hear it. And I'm not talking about highway driving where the tires are generating more noise.
I've heard that part of the problem is A&R guys don't know how to work their volume controls and reject anything too loud or too quiet for whatever setting they use. That's just one more reason why record labels need to die a quick but hopefully painful death.
I did not look at any tube preamps for the same reason that Car and Driver is not reporting on buggy whips. - David A. Rich, PhD
The audiophile reviewer will pick the most warped sound as his reference for sonic purity. - GranteedEV
Receiver: Marantz SR8002 Speakers: Paradigm Studio 20, Studio CC-490, Studio 10 Subwoofer: HSU VTF-3 Mk3 Sources: Oppo BDP-93, Xbox360 TV: Panasonic TC-P50V10