The majority of audio restoration done today is done for music sound recordings and soundtracks for motion picture and television programs. The demand for restored audio has been fuelled by new media consumer technologies such as CD and DVD. Modern audio reproduction systems require that sound sources be in the best condition possible to enhance the listening experience. Media content owners have come to recognize the importance of having clean sound on their products to enhance the commercial value of their media assets.

The by-product of these restoration efforts is that many audio sources are brought into the digital world and preserved for future use. An unfortunate fact is that most of the sound recordings and motion picture soundtracks created over the past century have been lost due to improper storage and neglect.

Enhancements are often done to motion picture soundtracks. For example taking a mono or stereo soundtrack and re-mixing it to a modern 5.1 surround soundtrack. When sources from original discrete audio "stems" containing dialog, music and sound effects are used and properly restored, the enhancements can be significant and highly effective.

Audio restoration is a subjective process, and there are many strategies or perspectives that the audio engineer or sound editor can employ. The archival perspective says that audio restoration should restore the recording to its original condition, while the commercial perspective says that the recording should be both restored and enhanced to appeal most immediately with modern audiences.