MP3 vs Hi Res

I know I am kicking a hornets nest here but so be it. I think MP3 isn't always as bad as it is portrayed to be and I have definetly purchased some Hi Res music that was underwhelming to say the least.If the source material is poorly recorded there is only so much that can be done. It is really tough to shine a sneaker. The playback system also has a huge impact If you play a music file through a portable device it is expecting a lot for it to sound really good. It can be enjoyable which is fine but a good stereo can bring out details that you would never hear on a handheld unit.I downloaded an MP3 version of Michael Jackson's Thriller the other day.It was $2.99 on Amazon. Playing it back on my stereo I was surprised how good it sounded especially Billie Jean. For something more recent listen to the Absence by Melody Gardot.Excellent recording & wonderful music.I guess what I am driving at is if you aren't trying MP3 through your stereo based on heresay ,give it a listen,you might be surprised. It could save you a little money also because the Hi Res files aren't cheap.
Recording quality will trump resolution every day of the week and twice on Sundays.

That said, a truly great recording will sound better with higher resolution played back on a high quality system.
Depends entirely on the kbps rate of the MP3. If it is 256k or above, it will sond virtually identical to a .wav file except on the most resolving systems on the planet. There are actually several ways to encode an MP3 also, incljuding variable rate.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
On average AAC compression gives better results than MP3. As Steve said 256k is very high quality, but I use 128k per channel (is it the same as 256k?) on my phone and it sounds perfect to me with external DAC/Amp and AKG headphones.
Kijanki - what headphones and headamp are you using?

I have a totally modded out Lyr with Siemens CCA grey-plate tubes and I can hear the difference in .wav and 160kbps MP3. I am using HE-400 headphones.

The separation I get is unlike any other headamp however. The MP3 sounds a bit congested.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
I just bought portable E07K from Fiio. IT is DAC and amp. Previously I made an amp for my brother using full discrete circuitry with whole bunch of output transistors and two double FET input pairs plus DC servo. I even simulated whole circuit in Pspice.

This time I had no energy to build it again. I used to have Sennheiser 580 but now I bough AKG k271 mkII. Sound is still a little on the bright/rough side but it requires time.

I tried MP3s before and concluded that AAC is way better. MP3 has also better and worse encoders. Lame MP3 used to be a very good one but it was many years ago.

I don't expect miracles but so far E07K sound is very good. I have JVC K2HD record Wei-Li "Red Ciff Capriccio" with Gusheng (Chinese harp) close-miked. Sound is as pure and rich as it gets and this tiny amp works very well. Speakers give a little more punch at lower midrange but it might be headphones fault (I read about it). My Samsung Galaxy will drive this DAC thru USB port. I don't expect much from portable, but would like to store most of my records. So far my 64GB microSD card is almost full.
mp3 to my ear garbage most 24bit sacd ive heard blow away other formats have u heard the new pink floyds at 32bit they are amazing
Kijanki - anyone that listens mosly to headphones owes it to themselves to use tube headamp. Nothing else like it. I am currently building the Bottlehead SEX amp and putting lots of great parts of my own in it. I expect it to crush the Lyr, although the modded Lyr is fantastic.

I've been to a few Head-Fi shows and listened to a lot of headphones. Only 2 challenged my ribbon speakers: HE-400 and and older Ultrasone.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
Steve, I don't really like headphones, using them only on vacation etc. Tube amp is not that portable and is not battery powered. My tiny E07k works 22 hours on single charge.

AKG k271 mkII is not perfect but has better midrange and lower bass extension than k240. One can find much better headphones but not for $125 brand new, with 2 year warranty.
Will the real Steve N. please stand up. In the CD vs FLAC thread you write:

"If you are planning on USB from a computer and you actually have a highly resolving system, FLAC will not sound as good as .wav. Even AIFF files dont sound as good as FLAC. The differences are mostly in the imaging soundstage and compression. FLAC loses a lot of the airiness and high frequency echo cues from the venue.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio"

In this thread you write:

"Depends entirely on the kbps rate of the MP3. If it is 256k or above, it will sond virtually identical to a .wav file except on the most resolving systems on the planet.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio"

So a 256K Mp3 sounds as good as a .wav file but a FLAC file does not? What am I missing?
Sound Liaison has made three I.M.O absolutely astonishing albums presented as 96/24 waw downloads.
On their website you can preview the music in Mp3 format,and that all ready sounds pretty good but once you hear it in full 24/96 glory there is no going back.
Carmen Gomes Inc;''Thousand Shades of Blue'' is a fantastic live in the studio album.4 instruments;voice,guitar,upright bass,and drums(cajon replacing the drums on the lovely title track).Everything is there great separation,stereo imaging,depth and balance.
The version of Bruce Springsteen's I'm on Fire is a musical and audiophile masterpiece,check out how the snare drum and the haunting guitar voicing complement but never cover up each other.
On the 2nd album,Poul Berner Band's lovely Elvis Presley tribute: Road to Memphis,
you've got tr.6 ''the Colonel''Michael Moore's sax enters oo.45 with just the sound of air,as if he is right there up close in front of you,so intimate.
Again only 4 instruments; guitar at 8 o'clock,sax at 11,bass at 1 o'clock and 2nd guitar at 4 o'clock.the sound stage is almost 3 dimensional.
On the 3rd album Torn,best described as a blues ballad album,you got everything an audiophile album should have (i.m.o.)placement, depth,separation,naturalness,the feeling of being there with the band visible in front you.And musically I find it a great album as well,a beautiful mix of covers and very well composed originals.