Not to interrupt your very interesting conversation (seriously), but I would think that it has just as much potential to go wrong at this point as it does at the end of the chain.
This kind of seems like a complication of the old argument on what is art exactly after it is in the public eye. Who controls how it is and should be interpreted and internalized.
Exactly, that's why I love these conversations. The acoustics of the venue/recording studio are only one example, the individual characteristics of the microphones used will have a far bigger effect on the coloration of the recording. Not to mention the individual characteristics of the listener's hearing abilities.
But we have to consider that these added colorations on either end of the recording/listening chain have the potential to make thing go "right" as much as "wrong"; a completely neutral/flat recording is not only impossible to achieve, but much more often than not would not be very engaging to listen to.
Edited by grokit - 6/28/13 at 2:20pm