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Hearing the difference now isn't the reason to encode to FLAC. FLAC uses lossless compression, while MP3 is 'lossy'. What this means is that for each year the MP3 sits on your hard drive, it will lose roughly 12kbps, assuming you have SATA - it's about 15kbps on IDE, but only 7kbps on SCSI, due to rotational velocidensity. You don't want to know how much worse it is on CD-ROM or other optical media.
I started collecting MP3s in about 2001, and if I try to play any of the tracks I downloaded back then, even the stuff I grabbed at 320kbps, they just sound like crap. The bass is terrible, the midrange...well don't get me started. Some of those albums have degraded down to 32 or even 16kbps. FLAC rips from the same period still sound great, even if they weren't stored correctly, in a cool, dry place. Seriously, stick to FLAC, you may not be able to hear the difference now, but in a year or two, you'll be glad you did.
>>135 actually, the man knows what he's talking about, albeit, petty or nonsense to most people. when i've gone back to some really old mp3's from way back 'in-the-day' (90's, Napster, 56k modem) most of my mp3 library sounds like crap, mostly due to the technologies available at the time. i notice an unusually large amount of "pops" in a lot of songs and a 128k rip sounds more flat than a new 128k rip (both sound terrible regardless). anybody who knows how data is written to a disc would know that bits do get lost over time.
i'm an arrogant, elitist, analog snob with 2 vintage hifi systems (1 solid state/1 tube based) that can expose every imperfection in an mp3 file. it absolutely cracks me up when people think their crappy OEM soundcard, crappy best buy cables, and crappy desktop speakers are suitable benchmarks for judging sound quality.
it's pathetic how nowadays people have allowed themselves to compromise quality over convenience and cost. i'm only 34 but just as bitter and scornful as someone twice my age. just wait until i get my FLAC vinyl rip blog up and running!
"for each year the MP3 sits on your hard drive, it will lose roughly 12kbps, assuming you have SATA - it's about 15kbps on IDE, but only 7kbps on SCSI"LOLWUT???The loss is not because the file loses quality, but because today's encoders ake better files than those you had in 1999. Use the same old crappy coder, and you get the same old crappy file.Yeah, and lots of pops are cause some newer drivers don't support MP3 playback the way they did in the pre-RIAA times.
"...due to rotational velocidensity"Is that a word???
No, if you downloaded MP3s back then, you were unlikely to spend 30 minutes on your then-new 33.6 for a 3-minute song. They offered low-BPS songs because of that. If you had DLed a 320kbps then, it would still be a 320kbps now.