The last decade has brought an explosion in dazzling technological advances — including enhancements in surround sound, high definition television and 3-D — that have transformed the fan’s experience. There are improvements in the quality of media everywhere — except in music.
In many ways, the quality of what people hear — how well the playback reflects the original sound— has taken a step back. To many expert ears, compressed music files produce a crackly, tinnier and thinner sound than music on CDs and certainly on vinyl. And to compete with other songs, tracks are engineered to be much louder as well.
The above quote is from a New York Times article, written by Joseph Plambeck. In it, he discuses how although technology has advanced quite a bit in the last fifty years, the quality of recorded music has actually deteriorated. This is mostly due to the need for audio compression, i.e. so we can fit more songs on our iPods. The article is extremely thorough, without getting too techie.