Well, there's two separate issues here. One is the SAD state of recorded music these days (it IS way over-compressed and I mean by that dynamic range). The other is lossy compression (e.g. 256/320kbps) and the latter I'd have to disagree. I think I've got pretty good ears and a $5000+ system based on Carver ribbons and the difference between lossless (e.g. Apple Lossless) and an AAC encode at 256kbps is negligible if at all audible. The real reason most albums on the "iTunes Store" sound ridiculous is that they're even more compressed than the freaking CDs and those are already compressed to hell in dynamic range! I don't know what you mean by "physical" music, though. I have an LP system and I have a CD system and I have a digital media player and I have them in a home theater 6.1 system and a high-end 2-channel system that lately has had an outboard surround addition (for surround music and occasional TV/Movies in that room). I also have whole house capability with Klipsch speakers in bedrooms, guest rooms, workout rooms and other rooms. I can sync it all or play individually or someone can listen to the digital library (which has a lossless version and an AAC version available) through their own headphones here. But the idea I shouldn't listen to music in my car because it's not as good as my home system would be ludicrous. Music <> recording quality. Music is mathematics. Some people can hear a song in their head just reading musical notation (a certain famous composer was well known for this). I've been to some pretty awful live concerts before too. Just because it's "real" doesn't mean it's pleasant (ask any parent who has a kid learning to play an instrument). And you don't understand how much they're actually worth. Yeah, that's it. I went on a 5 week vacation to Europe last year (including Hamburg, Paris, London and Bruges among several other stops) because I can't afford $159 headphones (I didn't fly coach on the way back either and I took a Cruise ship across the ocean on the way there with a suite.) I took noise canceling headphones (nice on the balcony) and a Bluetooth speaker to use with the Macbook Pro in the room (for in room media playback not dependent on their cheap TV speakers) with me. Yes, I'm practically downright destitute. What really hurts is trying to keep earpods in my ears (they tend to fall out a lot, but then I can wiggle my ears so I may inadvertently be moving them in ways never intended) and find that they sound awful either way (and the looser the fit, the worse the bass response sounds).