"So the burning question now for a true audiophile is obviously how accurately can your rig reproduce these modern recordings in question? At live-like volumes?"
I believe this is the real point to be made and asked. I don't care much about the volume as much as I do the size of the soundstage.
Something HEA has not covered with accuracy is (as well as some studio engineers "pre mastering") compressing the signal as a loudness compensation is not the same as compressing the soundstage size. A lot of guys who can't make a recording sound good is because they have squeezed soundstages to start with and have not learned how to replay a stage at it's real size/real space.