^ I'll chip in. I recently spent days re ripping CDs that had been at 256/320 AAC or mp3 to lossless as tests on a limited amount of favourites proved ( to my ears) that I could tell a difference. This is through both my Spendor speakers and other mid fi kit and also through my Grados with decent headphone amp. My DAC won't do 24 bit so can't comment on tht vs 16 bit. To me, it s not so much the sound of instruments etc, it is more the feeling of space and the way instruments appear more "real" or at least better locked in place. Almost like the difference between a 2d map and one with slight relief for terrain etc. Both give the same info, but the extra detail helps your brain make it more real.
Ultimately it is all in our minds, regardless of what is physically happening after all.
BTW, assuming you can actually get at the FLAC files on your PC from the Beatles stick, software like DB power amp will easily convert to pretty much any format you care for. Don't know if any Windows players can handle 24 bit tho as never had to try.
To answer your specific question, best way to check any data on any tracks in your library is to right click and select properties of any individual file. Through iTunes you can right click and find in windows explorer. Most data can be accessed by selecting all the additional column files in the min list view.
I believe any iTunes purchase are now AAC 256kbps 16 bit /44.1. Things ripped in apple lossless (ALAC) I believe are16/44.1 but with bit rates varying between 600kbps up to over 1000 depending on musical complexity. iTunes has a setting to playback in other than 44.1 somewhere in preferences but as nearly everyone without 24bit music will have it all as 16/44.1 anyway, little point in tweaking that one.
thanks for the reply,
confirmed after getting audio info...
itunes download... first track on tron legacy (overture) - 256 kbps
recent CD rip ALAC... first track on abbey road (come together) - 819 kbps
DB power amp was one of first mentioned and came up a lot after a cursory look at options, it sounded like it stripped all of meta-data, but that still may be more direct route, even if that needs to be manually edited back in (replicates the stereo box set, about 225 songs on USB... all british albums, plus US MMT and two past masters volumes for the singles/non-album tracks) than some of the more byzantine, labrynithian ways.
Edited by woophoria - 6/16/13 at 7:38pm