Aug 1, 2018132 views

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?

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
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.
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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.
Second that