Which format to use - mp3 vs. windows lossless,

This has probably been covered before, but as a new fan of the Gon, I'll try to be concise. I have downloaded my music in mp3 format in the past. I decided to try Window's lossless format.
The same song in mp3 was recorded at 320 kbps and 12.56MB file size. In lossless it is 470 to 940 variable bits and 36.9MB.
I thought there would be a noticeable improvement, but it was only marginal. My question is going forward, which format should I use for the best fidelity. Thanks.
Wow, I'd like to know what clock radio you're using. I did the same thing and noticed a huge difference on my main system, but on the iPod, in the car it is hard to notice. I guess it depends on how revealing your system is. If you don't notice much improvement, use the smaller file size. For me I went out and bought a 1T Hard drive.
Sounds like you've answered the question yourself. If you can't hear much of a difference yourself, why take up more space. For me it's a no-brainer, I hear a difference, so I choose lossless. You may want to try comparing more than just one file that way before making a choice. Also, try the same test with headphones or earbuds (assuming that you may use one or both at some time). Otherwise, go with what your own ears tell you, not someone elses.

If ripping from original disc go Flac. If downloading MP3s from the net..you might as well leave them as they are.

In our house, the answer has turned out to be "both". I rip to FLAC on the Olive music server because I want highest quality (and I have the room). My son rips the same CDs in MP3 format for Itunes/Ipod. The iPod doesn't support FLAC, and in any case, he wouldn't be able to store enough songs. Since we have the CDs and the ripping process in both cases is very simple, I haven't worried about "converting" from one to the other, which sounds good in theory, but which at least for us would be too much trouble.

On the other hand, if these are one-time downloads, or if you plan to get rid of the source CD (or LP) after you rip it, then I would go with a lossless format and deal with conversion later if need be. You can always convert "down" but you can't convert "up".

- Eric
I always advise people to go with lossless or completely uncompressed formats as hard drive space is cheap, and getting cheaper daily so space isn't really an issue. I keep my main music collection all in AIFF (I'm an Apple guy) and then use a second account of MP3's for iPod use. Seems to me if you are ever going to rip them in, you should do it in at least a lossless format as you can always have your computer convert them into another account as MP3 if you want and could spare yourself the torture of ripping in hundreds or thousands of CD's... Sure it will take your computer some time to convert the data, but it will be faster than ripping them all in again...

I don't know if there's an equivalent plug-in for iTunes on the PC but there's a free downloadable Applescript for the Mac called "Lossless to AAC Workflow" on dougsscipts.com that will convert Apple Lossless files on the fly for download to the iPod. Makes things a little less complicated if you want to keep only one, lossless library, but the synchronization takes more time.
Sfar: Media Monkey gold on the PC will convert on the fly to an IPOD for the PC, plus you can pull your music off an ipod! Great software compared to Itunes.. it also pulls album covers from Amazon.
Windows Lossless, IMO. While they are 3X the size, the price of a 500Gb external USB drive is under $200 now. That's the better part of 2000 CDs ripped in a lossless format and fully backed up for less than $400, and getting cheaper all the time.
Lossless format: FLAC encoded with EAC, tagged with Tag&Renamed. I like it because the tagging is quite convenient, and I use a slim devices squeezebox and a transporter which are converting internally to FLAC anyway (if you don't use FLAC you cannot use the fast forward function on the squeezebox)

I use another copy in MP3 for Ipod nano... and another in Apple lossless for 80gb Ipod