I wanted to share my experience with music quality as it relates to Bluetooth file formats vs traditional music playing via CD’s etc, especially when the term “Audiophile” is included.
The purpose of this post is to try and clarify discernible differences in the quality of music listening, especially as there are so many reviews and devices that claim to be Audiophile quality. This term for me really is relative to your own experiences, and can be hard to define. It can be a bit like love, you are not quite sure what it is, but you are very confident what it isn’t!!
This is my experience in buying a high end Bluetooth receiver that plays “lossless audio” files such as FLAC. My vague understanding of lossless is that in the compression of the recorded file there is no music quality lost at all, so the theory is you can download your CD or purchase this file type from the Web and it will be the same quality as the original recording. On the other hand an MP3 file is compressed to a certain size, so theoretically will always have compromises in the quality of the recording. Of course, the Bluetooth receiver, with a high end coaxial cable will transmit this through your stereo not losing any quality (theory).
I tried this with a middle range CD (Tripple J, Like a Version). I downloaded the CD onto a recommended FLAC program. I played the original CD vs the FLAC download side by side, many songs testing the quality difference to my ear.
This is where I really have the problem of the “Audiophile” claims. People who enjoy music buy equipment that gives true sound, full sound, musicality, precision etc. You can pay quite a bit to achieve this. The FLAC versions of all these songs were far less quality to my ear. They were flat, less musical, restricted, not as full and rich in sound and no where near the dynamism of the CD recording. In short it was like my $20K system was suddenly a $600 system.
I am not trying to discourage people who enjoy MP3 music from using any of these other formats for their music listening, and they may well see improvements if they do. I am also not singling out FLAC as a particular issue. I think you just need to understand that any of these formats will compromise quality to some degree. I have deliberately not named the Bluetooth receiver I purchased, and duly sent back, because I don’t think it would matter what receiver I used.
This is just an experience to keep in mind if you are reading reviews on Blutooth music, lossless audio, and the reference anywhere to “Audiophile”!!