Originally Posted by Gustav
Yes, it is a pipe dream, as MP3 has not ruined the hearing of a generation. And I find it amusing that you placed Apple Lossless with MP3. Apple Lossless is lossless, just like FLAC or WAV. Apple Lossless sounds exactly the same as FLAC or WAV.
MP3 didn't ruin our hearing, it ruined what was there to be heard. But it was only the 2nd or third wave.
The history of audio recording was going for better and better for decades, culminating in fragile LP's and reel-to-reel tape played thru analog tubes on huge heat throwing amps.
Then we got the downscaling of audio quality to serve lower-maintenance more mass markets. 8-Tracks and cassettes were NOT designed to advance the cause of "all the music" at your fingertips - but even cassettes kept improving, added Dolby, etc.
The Rubicon was truly crossed, tho', with the audio CD, deliberately crippled from any frequency below 20 HZ and harmonics/sonics above 20 K - we don't directly "hear" those ranges, but they add a lot to the timbre, warmth, depth and ambiance. And the sampling and bit rates of CD's are nothing for a true audiophile to write home about either. But America (and the world) just wasn't ready to run out and buy a few billion new SACD or DVD-Audio players. So they died on the vine.
So the more ultimate digital mp3/aac formats just degraded an already degraded format - and the public - including me, alas - has embraced the many conveniences gained in the trade-off. And now, even while computing speed and memory and the net have made great strides, we're stuck with a device infrastructure based on these.
Originally Posted by Ryszard
1. iTunes serves it's music in AAC format, not MP3, which is much better quality for a given file size.
According to what I've read, the superiority of AAC is only clear at lower rates - especially 128K and below. I rip my albums in 320K mp3 format because it's more universal, and occasionally in lossless.
Originally Posted by i386
It definitely would be nice if Apple gave the end-user the choice to download loseless versions in 16bit 44.1khz (or 24bit at higher sampling rate if we are dreaming! :-) )
It would. And you're dreaming.
Meanwhile, apropos of whatever, since I don't replace working equipment that often, really glad I waited for 1080p before jumping to HDTV, and still haven't picked my "box" solution, e.g., AppleTV, the Boxee Box, etc.