- Feb 14, 2008
 I've done 320kbps and FLAC 16/44.1 testing with my own headphones and gear, and i can absolutely say with confidence that i can hear a difference.
 ... the only time i have difficulty between song quality detail is when im testing between 16bit and 24bit. im usually 70% accurate with thoes two detail points in respect.
You'll have to forgive our scepticism. Every so often someone posts here that they can absolutely hear this difference but WITHOUT exception, it turns out they can't. Either they do hear some difference due to some serious flaw in the test (for example, they inadvertently compare different masters) or they are perceiving a difference due to some cognitive bias, in which case there is also a serious flaw in their testing. You should be aware that over the course of many years, many tens of thousands of tests have been conducted by many thousands of subjects (ranging from average members of the public to highly trained and experienced professional sound engineers), using pretty much everything from cheap consumer equipment to the very best pro studio equipment. In fact, for nearly a decade, the designers of codecs no longer test at 320kbps because no one can ever hear any difference, instead they test at much lower kbps rates (typically 128kbps and lower).
1. No, you can't "absolutely say with confidence that you can hear a difference", although you can maybe say with confidence that you "perceive" a difference (almost certainly due to a flaw in your testing). In effect, your statement tells us more about what you are publicly prepared to "absolutely say" and your "confidence" than it does about any potentially audible difference between 320kbps and lossless!
2. How can you be 70% accurate with discerning differences in "song quality detail" between 16 and 24bit, when there are no differences in "detail"? As bigshot stated, as digital theory stipulates and as objective measurements confirm, detail is the same at 16 or 24bit, the only difference is the level of the noise floor, which in both cases is well below the threshold of audibility. Your statement therefore further confirms that what you're noticing is actually a flawed test/cognitive bias!
I'm not saying with 100%, absolute confidence that you cannot actually hear a difference. It's possible, though incredibly unlikely, that for some genetic/physiological reason you have significantly different/better hearing abilities than everyone else but with so much reliable evidence that no one can hear the difference, you need some fairly extraordinary and compelling evidence that it's not just a testing error on your part, BEFORE you can say with ANY confidence that you can hear a difference. You would need to do a proper ABX test (which is easy with foobar) and provide the different files you are comparing, which is also very easy. Every single time anyone here (or elsewhere) has adamantly claimed they can hear a difference, when asked for reliable evidence they either: A. Simply run away, thereby admitting that what they "can absolutely say with confidence" was in effect a lie, B. Actually "man up", do an ABX/Double blind test and discover they can't actually hear a difference once cognitive bias is eliminated and/or C. Discover a relatively obvious fault between their original test files (different masters for instance).