Hello Pete @PAR,
changing settings (sample rate, filter, mapper) per record might not be a wise general recommendation. For the reasons you mention. Beyond that, what you describe is not my own approach to audio. You could for example take what you read from me in the Music section. My posts deal with the music itself, not with sound. Those short writings are a welcome exercise for me to delve deeper into an understanding of music.
As an experienced meditator I am trained in working with my mind. Maybe half of the time when I want to hear an album in its entirety, I purposely leave all everyday issues behind. Then let all accumulated emotions go. And finally dissolve any disturbing thoughts. Thereafter I settle into awareness itself. Until the mind wanders and then I bring it back to gentle, open or focussed awareness.
Resting in awareness can be open or it can have focus. The first useful focus is the body consciousness (body sensations) as it brings the mind into the here and now. Furthermore it serves as a sturdy anchor. The second focus while listening to music in this way is the ear consciousness. It is very interesting for example to stop with the perceived sound (not hifi sound) and intently not go on to let words rise in the mind consciousness. That’s a little bit like stopping with the taste of a strawberry on the tongue without naming the experience ‘sweet’, ‘delicious’ and so on. When doing that, the experience becomes undescribable. The third focus is the mind consiousness. This is the hardest one to keep awareness of. Our tendency to get enthralled with all the many thoughts crossing the mind is heavily ingrained. Awareness of the mind consciousness is somewhat like looking at the sky. In this analogy the sky is the mind and thoughts are the clouds. When we rest in awareness it is like gazing at the sky. There is clarity and knowing.