Two Years Ago: Listening Test

Our monsoon continues and we had another fine rain storm this afternoon.

In the morning Jon and I compared AIFF, FLAC and 320kbps mp3 files in my studio, using Stax Earspeakers and a Stax tube amp. The FLAC files had been encoded and decoded using xAct, which is a fine FLAC app for Macintosh. The 320 mp3 was made with Peak Pro, which uses a LAME encoder – the same encoder we use for the ListeningLounge.

The result was what one would expect: AIFF, followed by FLAC and mp3. What we did not expect was how very close the quality between these formats was. Unless you have a great set of headphones or speakers – and the ears and experience to process what comes through them – you will not hear a difference. Another interesting point was that the treble side of the music was indistinguishable, it was the bass where one could detect shades of difference.

Pandora’s Box

Careful, this could open another one of Pandora’s Boxes for you… A 24 bit 96kHz AIFF file of “This Spring Release 10,000 Butterflies”! Right-click / control-click on this link to download the song (”save as…”) – on a Mac you might just click on the link and it will ask you whether you want to save or download and open with iTunes . The file is rather large, almost 200MB. iTunes has no trouble opening and playing back the file.