tintin220, your last paragraph hit home hard over here. My listening experience is not limited/restricted to the aural world. Only when I'm analyzing components & accessories (or trying to).
As much as I love gears, I also love music and the wonderful sensation it brings. I use to go out and hear a lot of live music - all different kinds in different venues, in and around Los Angeles and SoCal/LoCal (the latter is for you, San Diego/Coronado ). Sometimes, in acoustically challenged (ok, BAD) environments. Also, some groups/bands/singers are less than perfect yet, something about the presentation is still wonderfully magic and can sound satisfying.
What's more, I find listening to live music can enhance one's experience with recorded music. Actually, each has its place in my life and it really isn't about which I like better. When I spend a fair amount of time listening to one, I start yearning for the opportunity to engage the other.
Anyway, all is not lost when dealing with a pedestrian recorded/mastered CD or vinyl record. A good/great live show from the artist can save you! You'll be able to listen and be a bit more forgiving of the recording. This points to the Mind, Music and Memory and their interactions. To be clear, I'd rather buy worthy recordings to begin with. Played back on capable gears, as well. I'm just expressing that sometimes, all is not lost with poorly presented music.
If this post lacks clarity, it was typed pre-dinner!