I think this is probably considered a stupid question here, but I've been trying to figure it out. I obviously want the best audio i can get but I'm not sure I'm able to tell the difference. Ive done hundreds of blind tests between flac and 256VBR AAC that I encoded myself, and I have been roughly 50% right on the tests. The probability of guessing seems to me, to be almost 100%
In trying to figure this out I decided to run spek against my samples as I was having so much difficulty in distinguishing a difference. Let us just say that I am really confused now and was hoping someone can decipher this.
Despite being a complete newbie, with, I'm sure, terrible hearing, I can tell a difference between 128, 192 and even the 320 MP3's. They are just not good enough.
I was expecting something similar to the following spectrogram from my 256VBR AAC with the usual cutoff at 16kHz. The below spek being 320CBR MP3
But instead I got this for the 256VBR AAC
And here is the flac
Despite being unable to discern a sonic difference I can't find a visual difference either!
Does this mean that AAC can pack into its MP4 container, 256 bits of faithful reproduction of the lossless copy?
Anyway, I decided to download and pay for the iTunes copy and listen to that. I could tell a difference but it seemed minimal to me. So I ran it through spek also... Again I was expecting something like the MP3
iTunes AAC 256CBR
Shock!! As we can all see there is some differences on the iTunes version so the visual representation is worse than the flac but it seems minimal to me and nothing like the MP3's!!
I've been reading how the 320MP3's are amazing and purists are 'full of it' and wasting space with flac, and then there is the universal condemnation of iTunes. But I'm finding the opposite to be true.
I began running all my purchased iTunes music and I'm finding them all to be representing well, visually speaking that is. Sonically I can't say the difference is that big, it really seems minimal to me. I'm sorry i must be cloth eared!
Now I'm not saying we should all start buying from iTunes as the obsessive compulsive in me wants the best and the iTunes, however minimal, is worse. But, I am thinking of mass conversions of my flac's to 256VBR AAC.
What am I missing??? apart from good hearing! LOL!