In the January 2012 edition of TAS Robert Harley wrote a great article entitled the Price of Progress wherein he details the steady decline of recording quality after the late 1970's.
This really brings to light one of the conundrums Audiophiles face: play it like it is - warts and all - or make it euphonic so everything sounds great.
Robert Harley's system is setup to play warts and all - meaning a great recording sounds great and a bad recording sounds dreadful. This is the way most of us have our systems tweaked to.
I have heard many a system (even owned a few) that had the opposite effect - everything sounded great, some better than others - but none sounded bad.
This dilemma is sometimes known as the double edged sword and can be both a good and bad thing - sending some long-time Audiophiles away from the high-end altogether so they can just enjoy all their music.
I don't know that we need be forced into an either or situation as many seem to think.
Robert Harley and I make our livings relying on systems that flesh out the tiniest of details in equipment. Our systems are setup like microscopes first and enjoyment second.
Your system can be both if you're ok accepting slightly less resolution and 'nth degree of detail.
You don't have to take too many steps backwards to have your cake and eat it too.