So, you propose that audio engineering is a parasitic non-profession that should be eliminated by making all recording consumers into the audio engineers.
For audiophiles and enthusiasts, I see nothing wrong with proposing that recording could be made so that an enthusiast could do their own personal mix and even master. There are EXCELLENT freeware tools out there to do so (Notably the venerable Cakewalk DAW has been resurrected, massively bug fixed, and now is released as freeware by BandLab https://bandlab.com - If you're into this stuff, and haven't checked it out, it's worth the download for sure).There's aspects of your proposal of an exchange of raw tracks that could be pretty cool, or really cool for an artist or label. I upvoted you because there are aspects of that proposal that I really do like.
I do get to wonder about end user playback, though...Will the end user based mix and master same happen with each individual radio station, will your car now get to have a DSP console built in? Clock radio? Boombox?
Not an insurmountable problem, but an interesting one. Like I said, there's aspects of this that I really like...but then again, I am an Audio engineer and am not above hearing someone else recording (or my own, even) and thinking that the mix engineer must have stepped out for a bathroom break to clean their ears in a particular section.
The standards for audio recordings= standards, such as the threshold defined as zero dB, all go back to the RIAA (boo, hiss) creating a standard that allowed vintyl records to be mass produced and played on the radio, given the limitations of the equipment of the day. The Producers and Engineers guild of NARAS has a bit more to say on the issue, but the net result is to make the final product as reproducible and accessible as possible
I know I am being trolled, but hell, I'll feed the energy creature a bit...Audio engineering covers everything from original signal chain through mastering. Should each listener get to pick their own placement for the overheads and kick drum mic? By your argument, Software engineers could also be considered non-essential - all a company should need to do is provide a SDK and everyone could just roll their own from there.
The original (Admittedly off topic) conversation came from someone who had some sort of pathological aversion to compressors and limiters. My response was and still is, that these are signal chain tools that are used in EVERY commercial recording -correctly, the end result just sounds natural and correct. Think of your favorite commercial recording - that one that is just a beautiful, evocative balance of tones and harmonies. I PROMISE you that both compression and limiting was performed on that recording, unless your favorite recording was created before the advent of the LA-2 and it's successors.
I'll concede that some stuff is poorly engineered or over engineered (I have an aversion to pitch correction for vocals that borders on an allergy). I'd like to think that my approach yields as "natural" a recording as I can achieve - but so long as music is mass produced in the form of CDs and digital recording for streaming and distribution services, there will be a need for those that understand how sound and frequencies work and how to properly wield the tools to shape them.