Originally Posted by polymnia
He could do a great comparison with exactly the equipment he has. RIP a CD into iTunes with no Compression (Apple Lossless or AIFF), then convert a copy into any other formats you are interested in comparing it to. Burn these files to a CD formatted CDR and pop them in the CD player. All the compression artifacts will have been faithfully reproduced in the LOSSLESS
CD. He could sit around all day pondering the subtleties of his equipment and how it exposes the nastiness of compression.
Personally, I don't have time for that kind of bullshit. Its springtime and I'd rather take a bikeride or just listen to some music and rock out!
I can do it even easier than that. I send my iTunes music to an Airport Express and use the optical output feed (on the Express) to a stand alone DAC. I don't need to burn anything on to CD's. Just have the various format files in iTunes and click away at it. And here's what I hear when comparing AAC (MP3) to CDs.
Nearly every home stereo system will most likely discern the difference between 128 AAC and AIFF. It's obvious across nearly all type of music. You can even hear the difference with descent headphones on an iPod.
You need a descent, not necessarily audiophile, home stereo system to hear the difference between 256 AAC and AIFF. And this only on certain type of music. But an audiophile system will discern the difference across most music. Specially if it's well recorded.
At 320 AAC, it will sound the same as AIFF with any stereo system that's not considered "high end". And even with a "high end" system, the difference can only be heard with certain types of music. Mainly vocals with acoustic instrument, Jazz and Classical that are well recorded to begin with.
The optical output of my CD player also goes through my stand alone DAC. And I can not hear any difference between the CD in my CD player and an AIFF file of that CD on iTunes. Thus my old Pismo laptop is now my CD jukebox for my stereo system. All the music I want of hear (on my stereo system) is in it's iTunes library in AIFF format and digitally streamed to an Airport Express plugged into a DAC. I no longer have to switch out indivdual CD's in my CD player.
But I'm not complaining about having to switch out vinyl on my turntable.
I've never compared MP3 with AAC of the same bit rate. I only listen to those formats on my iPods anyways. I doubt if I can hear a difference there. Maybe when I have time, I'll purchase a song from iTunes and the same song from Amazon. (I wouldn't want to use the encoder in iTunes as it may be biased.) And see if I can hear any difference using my stereo system.
Counterpoint 3000 pre
Counterpoint SA20 (w/Elliot Mod) amp
Quicksilver M60 tube amp
Martin Logan CLS2z w/ Entec subs & Vendetta Xover
Micro Seiki RX1500VG TT w/ Well Tempered arm
Vendetta phono section
Yamaha CD player
Some cheap ass, $150, made in China DAC from eBay