Originally Posted by tomb
Of course, what you say is true about mastering quality ... but you never really know
unless the source file is the best quality available in the format. If you don't know this, you will forever be questioning, "Which is it - my equipment or the music?" There is a thread in this section's first page right now that asks that very same thing. There are many more that always pop up that are similar.
At the same time, if you're making a recommendation about bit-rate, that sort of concedes the argument, doesn't it?
Sort of, yes, but not entirely. I recommend higher bit rates just to be on the safe side. There's no reason not to buy all new music in FLAC from now on. But I still recommend nicer headphones even with OP's music library as it is now. Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. You can hear improvement in a headphone upgrade even without ideal source files. As you point out, you might occasionally wonder whether the sound could get even better with the right source files, but that's not enough to ruin the enjoyment of nice headphones IMO.
And when you do go lossless, it never really ends. I sometimes find myself comparing various reissues, remasters, and high Rez versions of the same track....Edited by manbear - 2/10/14 at 7:46am