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Resolution is simple as far as I understand it. I apply the same principle to vinyl in the sense that mono recordings sound denser and richer to me with a mono cartridge than do stereo recordings with a stereo cartridge. The resolution possibilities available on CD or SACD make two channel listening enriching and pleasurable. I have a glorious sounding stereo and as it turns out, my digital source is better sounding than my vinyl source, so I am now focusing my attention towards 192 kHz frequency playback but so far have found little in this format to choose from.
I listen to the BBC Radio 3 via iTunes at 320 kbps and I notice a better sonic quality than I would from streaming audio at 192 kbps however it falls short of what I experience when compared to 1411 kbps.
Some engineers are very crafty when it comes to compression and so sometimes frequencies outside of the middle registers in an MP3 file may seem less compromised than with other MP3 files but it has been my experience that if one were to compare side by side the same recording, one in an MP3 file and the other in an AIFF or WAV file, that the noticeable differences would be significant.
Aside from this, I have found that there is a larger catalogue of real CD releases that I am interested in purchasing which are not offered as downloads. For example, the recent Sandrine Piau releases on Harmonia Mundi, one of which I currently have on order. It just seems to me that a lot of folk are looking for short cuts and I suppose that's just human nature. Stereo playback is a short cut form of the live performance experience. A recording of Beethoven's fifth still ain't Beethoven's fifth but I like being in my warm flat while listening to groups from Vienna, Paris, etc... And like so many others on this forum, I too appreciate the physical form of a CD, a DVD or a book.
My answer to the OP is no.
I haven't bought a CD (or a download) since subscribing to Spotify in July 2011.
At the moment, Spotify (premium) satisfies all my needs for music discovery and sound quality. I can't comment on how quickly new releases appear on Spotify because I don't generally look for them. (I only skim Gramophone once a month when I visit my parents' house for Sunday lunch.)
Spotify Premium uses 320kbps Vorbis, which I understand is one of the more advanced codecs. I'm pretty sure I'd find 160kbps acceptable also. (My "gear" is pretty revealing.) I used to fret slightly about these things but I'm largely cured of that now (although, given the choice, I would still prefer lossless.)
It does seem one can perhaps accommodate different sound quality.
Whilst I thought the MP3 CD not so good in comparison to 100% analogue
sound directly in A/B comparison, on its own the former is not
unacceptable. It was only when compared directly I realized the sound of the recording from the MP3 CD was not so good as it could be from
another source. To answer Dmitri's comment, I reached the same
conclusion when I played the Vox CD after the MP3 CD.
It probably dates from the early 1960s but I cannot accept Ted's
hypothesis that a 100% early stereo analogue recording will be limited
more by that technology than the constrictions of 320kbps digital sound.
I repeated the experiment on another occasion playing the MP3 CD of
the Impromtus Op90, and yes it sounded Ok, perhaps I was mistaken. I
then put on the LP but again the difference was very significant, the LP was far superior in bringing the music to life.
How on earth has MP3 become so popular with sound so grossly inferior to LP or CD? One can only assume its adherents have never heard
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