Can YOU Tell The Difference?
I was looking around on iTunes this morning to see if there was anything I'd be interesting in downloading (since I have two gift cards worth $75 that haven't been used now, in the case of one card in almost a year, and in the case of the other almost two). I'm always a little wary of sound quality when downloading from Amazon or Apple or wherever. (Remember, you can download LOSSLESS flac files of BOK material from CDBaby!), and I typed in a question on Yahoo concerning whether or not I could purchase lossless files from iTunes. Turns out I can't.
But my search turned up an interesting, well-conceived study conducted in June of 2014. You can find the results of this study here. The guy who did this wanted to see if various people (mostly tech-savvy audiophiles) could identify which sample of music came from the original 24-bit (very high resolution) source recording versus the 16 bit (compact disc quality) rendering. The study concluded that essentially no one could tell the difference. Interesting results since so many folks over the last 30 years (Neil Young, as the most obvious example) have been resolutely adamant about their belief that they can tell distinquish between high and not-so high resolutions.
Of course, there've also been a lot of surveys conducted to see if people can differentiate between "high quality" mp3 files (256-320 kps) and .wav files and the results have essentially been the same. Most folks can't even hear the difference between a 128 kps mp3 and a 320 kps mp3. If you'd like to test yourself, there are web pages all over the internet that allow you to do just that. Here's one.
"It's a crazy, fucked up world and we're all just floating around waiting for someone who can walk on water, man." -- Heroin Bob (SLC Punk)