Edward Ng wrote:
EDIT: PS: BTW (again, no offense intended), in order to get a noticeable difference between 100% VBR MP3 and lossless formats, you need, both, good, "ears," (as audiophiles call it), as well as sufficiently good equipment.
Actually, audiophile-ears aren't particularly helpful in distinguishing lossy audio encodes from the original. And neither is equipment, for a large percentage of artifacts you'll find in lossy encodes.
Most importantly is training your ears to hear the artifacts particular to lossy encoding. I can't distinguish high-end audio equipment for beans, but I'm good at picking out the various artifacts in lossy audio because I've taken many listening tests. Also, as long as the listening equipment isn't absolute junk, you can hear just about every artifact imagineable, except perhaps for high-frequency errors, if your equipment can't reproduce it.
Dibrom, the guy who tuned the Lame --alt-presets, did most of his work with some cheap headphones and the speaker out of his laptop! I've done listening tests with crappy headphones plugged into the crappy headphone-out on my friend's crappy speakers (so much hiss!), and I was just as capable of distinguishing lossy from lossless.
Edward Ng wrote:
There's also the following to consider:
1) Ease of encoding
2) Ease of tagging
3) Playback support (which softwares can play it back)
4) Speed of encoding
This is all very true. It's nitpicking to all but the most hardcore music collectors, though. I guess I belong in that group, too.
I picked FLAC, due to the mysterious fifth "thing to consider": speed of decoding. My other consideration was cross-platform support, and FLAC delivers in that respect, too.