Originally Posted by Haden2866
How do people feel overall about MP3 vs. Ogg, at whatever bitrate? I'm fairly new to Ogg but relatively happy with Spotify (Premium). I quite often use it for mobile DJ work, when nothing more than simple crossfading is required. I pipeline it out through Breakaway Live for real-time multiband compression and auto gain control and am generally pleased with the results vs. using outboard EQ, & compression.
For me, I was completely FLAC/lossless for years, meticulously scanning in each of my CDs, etc. During that time, I tried iTunes higher bitrate stuff, as well as Rhapsody, and to a much lesser extent Pandora, but I will speak only of the iTunes music for now, which I know doesn't answer your question, but I hope my experience yields a useful viewpoint.
To make a long story short, sometimes I would buy music on iTunes before I got the physical media (or had the time to scan in), so I would listen to the iTunes version, then switch to my FLAC when I got it in the system.
I noticed an immediate difference that yielded the FLAC being more enjoyable, and I'm sure this comes as no surprise to anyone, but...
My previous experiences were somewhat reminded to me when I received my Fostex HP-P1 as I was switching between Spotify Premium and AAC files that I had transcoded to 256k directly from my FLAC masters; what I found was, music that was on my iPod 6G was grainy, especially in the midrange and pretty unenjoyable.
When I switched back to Spotify Premium, even for the same song, none of this harshness or graininess were exhibited.
None of what I say yields anything empirical and is purely anecdotal, but in two separate instances, using two separate pieces of source material, across two very good DACs (Empirical Audio modded Benchmark DAC-1, and the Fostex HP-P1), I've found AAC to be noticeably degraded.
Whether it's the options (typically, or the high quality ones I thought I) used to encode to lossy or the algorithm itself, I don't know, but I'm perfectly happy with the (Ogg?) 320 Spotify Premium sound. Is it better than 16/44.1 FLAC? Probably not, but I don't find myself dwelling on it, saying "I wish I had this song in FLAC format right now."
Having said that, I do not begrudge higher bitrates or lossless, as I hope technology, primarily delivery and storage systems increase, we can move to lossless and remove the issue of high(er) quality source media from the equation.