If you're streaming AAC 256 VBR from Google Play, the sound quality is identical to when you play the same songs in lossless at home. If there is a difference, it's because your portable equipment isn't as good as your home equipment, not because of the file itself. I'm not familiar with AptX HD, but I would imagine that would sound the same too. By the way, AAC 256 VBR has the same dynamic range as a CD. High bitrate AAC has the same frequency response too. I don't know if you're aware of it, but VBR allows you to redistribute bandwidth and if needed actually *exceed* the data rate you have it set for. if you encode AAC 320 VBR, the data rate can go as high as 460, if the music requires it. (I don't know what kind of music would though. I find that 256 VBR is plenty for any kind of music.) That might make you feel good if you want to judge sound quality by the numbers.