Can I hear the difference between MP3 and FLAC?

“Of course, the question is not about the difference between MP3 and FLAC, it’s wider than that: than lossy compression formats (MP3, AAC, WMA, Ogg Vorbis and others; that is, lossy) are different from “lossless” formats (FLAC, ALAC, APE, WavPack and others; that is, lossless). In fact, with this formulation, it becomes clear that in the first group of formats the original data is not completely saved, and the second can be restored to the original format (for example, Wav or Aiff, extracted from CD) without lossy. What is lost and in what proportions depends on the specific type of lossy files and their bitrate, i.e. the degree of compression. But to say that all MP3s sound lousy, and “flasks” are ideal – this is the top of arrogance and incompetence. Audio formats with loss of quality have been developing for over twenty years, serious research laboratories (Fraunhofer Institute, for example, in addition to working on MP3 is also famous for the invention of the most effective solar panel) and a group of enthusiasts. Coding mathematics is constantly being improved, and nowadays it is not so easy to distinguish files produced by different codecs by hearing.

I would immediately say that it is not only the files themselves that are important, but also the equipment on which they are going to be tested, the environment during an audition and the listening experience of the examiner. In MP3 of any low bitrate Ariel Pink will sing with Ariel Pink’s voice, there is no doubt about it. It’s quite possible that a person who listens to music like a melody through white headphones in a subway car will have enough for his eyes, and the difference in codecs will be reduced to a comparison of file sizes. A disc jockey who feels embarrassed to buy or search for lossless will also feel that his MP3 is fine as long as he prepares a set in “Tractor” on his laptop’s built-in speakers. However, during a party on the club’s big, loud and pure-sounding audio system (such things sometimes happen, believe me) it suddenly turns out that the guy who plays right after, for some reason, the music became big, clear and fun. Lossy formats are designed for easy file transfer over the Internet, for storage on portable audio players, for personal playback, finally. Agree, it’s silly to watch a movie with one gigabyte of AVI on a big screen. Even in a home theater it’s not quite decent. It’s the same with an MP3. On your iPod, you can listen to it (although the AAC from iTunes sounds better), but you can get lossless on your disco even if you start a Scrillex. And when you listen to your bride’s parents and Christmas jazz on their big lacquered speakers, please buy FLAC or ALAC too. With an MP3, you risk getting into an awkward situation. Ideally, after a bitrate of 256 kbps, your future audiophile father-in-law will have a hard time telling if he’s losingy playing or lossless. However, there are a few moments that can ruin your cloudless future.