How about you try the same test with the same person using a flac or AAC lossless file, or even an uncompressed wav file for that matter. In other words don't let the player make any decisions about the audio if possible. It would be interesting to see if the musician who obviously has good ears can distinguish the players then. It would be instructive to me too since I would finally know if the difference I was hearing was the codec as opposed to the 'bit perfectness'. I am hoping at least they cannot distinguish as it would make the whole thing easier for me to come to terms with mentally. I mean if they do sound different then you really do start wondering what 'bit perfect' even means.
Could be that advertising bit-perfect isn't the real discriminator between a good player and a lesser one.
I have run some tests with the guitarist. The first test was with the same player, J River. The compressed audio files sounded cold, sterile, and "digital" to her. The ALACs (FLACs) sounded much warmer but still had the same detail. I think when uncompressing lossy audio files, there are allot of "blanks" to be filled in by the software to provide a complete sonic picture. I tried to pick similar tracks from different albums.
The second test was between two players, Audirvana+ and J River. This was done with compressed AAC files. J River appears to be more accurate to her, particularly with the high frequencies. She called the J River player "awesome". It looks like some software fills in the "blanks" better than other software.
Interesting test results, don't you think?
I thought the only difference there can be is where one is more bit-perfect than the other. But you have pointed out this is not the case with compressed files.
Edited by r010159 - 3/3/14 at 12:21pm