options for highly compressed CDs?


It seems like most modern mainstream recordings today are victims of the "loudness wars" and are massively compressed and distorted, and I don't think record companies are going to change their evil ways any time soon.

People used to say that they wanted to listen to the recording as it was created by the recording engineer. Now, I think I'd rather listen to it the way I imagine the band sounded like "live" in the studio, rather than listen to the crap the recording engineer created.

Is there any way to make a CD like this more listenable? Tubes? tube traps? anything at all?
timoteo
Nothing can undo the effects of compression/limiting.
Tubes (EL34) + room treatment (if too lively or have any slap echo, and at least treat first reflection points) + Cardas Cross/ Golden Cross cables + baffle edge anti-diffraction device (as sold by Jim Goulding) + CD treatment (such as Le Art du Son) + speaker toe-in adjustment (so not pointing so directly at you) + subwoofers (at least two, unless your mains already go to 20-25Hz on their own) + dangle a paper towel over your tweeters.

I've tried all of these things. They all had some kind of positive effects for playing those crappy CDs, but some of them detracted from the quality sound of good CDs, so I now only listen to those crappy CDs from another room or in my truck.
Now, I think I'd rather listen to it the way I imagine the band sounded like "live" in the studio
You would have to have a huge imagination to hear what the band sounded like "live" in the studio.Most recordings are done in bits and pieces with one musician at a time then mixed to thr final product.Notice I said "most" not "all".
Compression can be undone by an expander. If the compression and expanding is done in a coordinated way, as with the DBX LP recording system, the results are very good.

Peak limiting should only be executed to avoid cliping. The momentary gain reduction is certainly preferable to clipping.
SeeDeeClip software will help repair CD's. I have used it and verified it to good effect. It won't turn a sow's ear into a silk purse but it helps. Of course these forums are just for chat. Nobody should try it.
Tpreaves said: "Most recordings are done in bits and pieces with one musician at a time..."

I know, but you're interfering with my imagination :)