Q&A: Can anyone really hear the difference between lossy and lossless audio files and if yes, what do you hear?

Prem Mahendarkar, B.Tech Computer Science & Operating Systems, Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad (2021)

There are 3 key factors thta represent an audio quality.

  1. Bit Depth : Acts as the resolution for audio.
  2. Sampling rate : No of samples per Bit-depth. (or) simply frame rate for audio.
  3. Bit Rate : Total allowance of digital quality of a particular media format (Ex. FLAC, AAC, MP3)

As humans, considering the consumer quality instead of studio quality & the hardware that we use as DAC (Digital To Analog Conversion), we can't hear the frequencies more than 20 khz. While recording, general practice is to record the audio with double the sampling rate .i.e, at 44.1 khz as a standard. Which is enough to provide 16 bit-depth. So going higher numbers than 44.1khz/16 bit (For Ex. 96/24) is a waste of processing power unless you're having a studio hardware.

Coming to the Lossless & Lossy audio files, lossless provides the audio signals with no compression while maintaining full quality spectrum.

But lossy audio tends to remove the unheard noises thereby maintaining visible noise quality. It's like a hack that provides max audio quality at lower file size.

Lossy formats like HE-AAC, Vorbis, Opus, etc. are the most intelligently coded compression formats.

Answer to your question : Nop. I don't hear a damn difference between them even though I know about these audio stuff. Just make sure you're listening the lossy audio with higher bitrates, you're not gonna notice damn thing to miss.

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