Is a higher audio format like FLAC better for listening?

I started getting into this whole audiophile thingy. I first got a AKG 6XX and a shiit fulla 2 then i got a fidelio x2 ( their both good but different). Hard to explain the sound but it feels much more cleaner and just better for me when i stopped using awful generic headphone. I will soon also be getting a IEM (most likely a Fiio F9 pro for portable use. But after doing some more research I found out that another way to improve my listening experience would also to be getting a higher audio format. Thing is I only use spotify and just a few songs that I like are not available on spotify and I download few songs from soundcloud and others. But my question is right now does FLAC really help? I can't tell if I got the ears to tell the difference. Also where do people get their FLAC audio from and is FLAC audio available for all most artists since I know it won't be available for like smaller and unknown artists? Does all the audiophile 'pros' have their songs on FLAC?

Dec 10, 2018
I date back to a time when it was AM vs FM radio. So many changes over the years. I make flac files from cd rips from my collection. I grew up listening to music from the 60s/70s/80s... Lately, I've been listening to a lot of 30th/40th/50th anniversary remasters. The remasters usually sound way better than the original vinyl or the CD re-releases. That being said, it do cost some change to buy your favorite music over and over and over again. I have to budget carefully for the stuff I really like. Otherwise, I just listen to whatever format is streamed on google now, spotify or youtube, LOLs
Aug 1, 2018
Check out this NPR audio test. If you can easily identify all of the hi-res songs then it might be worth it.
If not, don't waste your time. I'll just note that, for me, I could tell the difference slightly better than chance when I tried really hard, but it didn't impact my enjoyment so I didn't spend my time or money down that route.
Aug 1, 2018
Definitely, both from the perspective of high quality vs. freebies that come with a phone, as well as the differences between high quality headphones. (e.g., my HD6XX sounds quite different from my DT880).
Personally, I can pretty consistently tell the difference between, say a 128k mp3 and a 320k mp3 that I've ripped.
Where it gets hard for me is around 196 vbr mp3 and above. If I listen hard, I can do a little better than chance, but I mostly want to enjoy my music not focus on finding missing data bits.
Put another way, if I had the choice of spending $200 towards upgrading from 320k mp3 to lossless, or towards more/better headphones, it would be the headphones 100% of the time.
Aug 2, 2018
Second that