Is the OP still around?
Anyways, the differance in Flac vs mp3 is mostly in the Highs, it's something you can see with objective measurements and hear. But it's nothing so HUGE that only listening to mp3s is a crime. But it's... not a contreversy, Flac is better than 320k mp3. Is that improvement worth NEVER enjoying a song that isn't flac, I don't think so. I have a TON of DubStep that's 320k mp3 and I enjoy it
the real contreversy, is 16bit flac vs 24 bit. and we won't get into that here
Non the less, if you need to save space, go with 320k mp3 if you can handle bigger files, go with Flac. At the end of the day both are more than good enough to use with super detailed headphones, just remember though that Flac is better, it's ALWAYS better . If you can't hear it then don't worry about
but with regards to the mastering comment, the differeance between flac and lossy is Compression.
To start with all Digitial music is only a percentage of the orignal Analog wave, it is at best 99.9999999% never 100, what mp3 and compresion does is further remove a percentage of the audio data from the recording. So if your orignal analog wave... is garbage, 99.9999% of garbage is still garbage, and 98.8888% of garbage is still... you guess it GARBAGE! So again, if you have hard drive space to spare [I've got a second 1TB external drive now my self, took me 6 months to fill my last one [and it's mostly videos] ] then go for flac. And truthfully, I've only got like 700 or so gbs of music. Maybe more... Not sure honesty but in the 2 years I've at head fi I've not even cracked a TeraByte of music yet [and 95% of EVERYTHING I own is Flac] so spend $100 get your self a nice TB Drive and enjoy the music. OR don't stick with mp3 320 and still enjoy the music :D
I love FLAC due to the fact that I can convert it back to .WAV without losing audio quality. You simply can't do that with 320kbps mp3. Mp3 is always going be a lossy format using the "LAME" encoder. Which I thought was a horrible name for the mp3 encoder just proves how obsolete it is. Mp3 was a useful commodity back when people only had 256MB, yes MB hard drives in the early 2000s. Now with my 2TB hard drive I can hold as much as I want
I just heard Rush 2112 in FLAC 24-bit 96khz. Sounds absolutely amazing, I can easily tell the difference between a FLAC and mp3 but like MShenay said, the audible differences between 16-bit and 24-bit are not perceivable based on science of the human ears. People will forever debate 16-bit vs 24-bit and sometimes I think 24-bit sounds better but it would take more than just an ABX test but measurements.
Edited by wahsmoh - 2/22/14 at 10:03am