Look, this is probably going to be the last time I bother saying this, particularily to one of Cwlondon's posts. It really is no skin off of my back, I just figured I would try to help in this forum situation...has anyone complaining of mp3 sound (in some driving environment nonetheless) actually ever listened to an mp3 which was CORRECTLY ripped using EAC, LAME and either a APS, APX or API setting? Cwlondon, I know you've reported hearing an obvious audible difference in your Porsche with aftermarket work. There's either no way those met the above criteria, or if they did, there's a problem with the way your ipod hooks into your Nakamichi receiver, how it drives it etc.
I generally prefer not to listen to mp3 (and from now on, when I refer to mp3, it is only those mp3s which meet the above criteria. You will get no arguments from me that 128kbps is garbage) on my main stereo as I can occasionally tell a difference between that and the original disc (usually a lack of dynamics with the mp3). In Cwlondon's other thread, I maintained that I have never been able to tell the difference beteen mp3 and .wav with the ipod as a source into a variety of highend headphones and earphones with and without amps. By the way, I have never talked to anyone else who has actually done an HONEST ABX test with the above equipment and heard a difference either.
I frankly don't care if people would like to maintain their preconceived notions of the mp3 based on the era of billions of crappy Napster 128kbps or worse files flying around the internet. However the fact remains that you can enjoy excellent music quality right now with the current formats and equipment available. That the mp3 is a "flawed" format (in that it is a compressed format) I won't argue. But I would maintain that it can be tweaked until it is indistinguishable from the original on headphones and car audio (of course I've never heard a $30,000 car audio system so take that comment with a grain of salt). I am not advocating replacing your Audio Aero with an ipod.
I realize with the rampant Audiophilia Nervosa on these forums this will likely fall on deaf golden ears.
Rlwainwright, you should give VBR a try, save yourself some file space--you don't need all the bytes in a 320kbps mp3 to have it sound identical.
Cwlondon, I'm sort of responding to your other thread here (since they're basically the same topic). Anyone that picks on a lossless format loses all credibility in my eyes. I'm not really sure how bit for bit accurate files can result in different sound (and what I mean is, I'm sure they can't be different because they are the exact same thing). When you .zip or .rar a photo or text, do you uncompress it only to find it altered? Here are some results I pulled off of hydrogenaudio. The first is the original .wav file, the second is the uncompressed FLAC file--it is exactly the same for Apple lossless or any lossless for that matter.
How do you propose to distinguish in any way between those two files? And you are proposing to do it audibly, without a double blind test? That the world is flat would be a less absurd statement. That at least I can't prove beyond a shadow of a doubt without getting up from my chair...