"Is there really something to this idea of "remastering"?"
IMO, yes there really is something to this idea. For instance, as an old Yes fan from the 70's I really appreciate the vast improvement in the remastered version of the live recording "Yessongs," which I stand in awe of to this day. The original LP was a really poor recording. But I've listened to it, bad recordings and all 100's of times. The remaster of this album is a vast improvement sonically and I've read here that the Japanese remasters of some of the Yes recordings are superior. I'm heavily into classic jazz these days and I've found that the best remasters I've experienced have consistently been those done with the JVC process 20 bitK2 supercoding aka JVC XRCD2. These discs consistenly have more resolution,impact, bass, midrange palpability, a fuller sound. It's no coincidence that JVC is a Japanese company. Japan has long had a reputation for being a technology leader. I've read that Telarc and GCC gold also offer excellent remasters. The only problem with all these remastering processes is the variety and selectionof titles available (there just aren't enough XRCD remastered titles out there in Jazz or other genres.) Now I make some of my purchases in classic jazz based first on the artist but second on whether the title is in XRCD or not. An Agoner once posted that the first key to great performance in cd playback is the medium and I've found that is very true. XRCD remasters make the cd medium great.