Kudos to John Marks for his recent editorials -- one on the importance of data density and a second raising concerns about spectator sports.
I took John's advice and constructed my own demonstration disk using PCM 24/96 downloads from ITRAX and compressed mp3 downloads from ITRAX and from ITUNES. I selected tracks that I already own on an original, hard copy DVD-Audio disk.
So I was able to compare:
--- PCM 24/96 from a hard copy DVD-A disk
--- PCM 24/96 from an ITRAX download and transfer to CD-R
--- mp3 from an ITUNES download and transfer to CD-R
On point 1, John's right -- the difference between 24/96 and mp3 is obvious and remarkable. We all expected that to be the case, but it's nice to hear the difference demonstrated.
On point 2, however, I discovered something new. The ITUNES that I run on my Macbook has a Toolbar Command that converts compressed downloads to Apple's lossless format. Simple, free, takes about 3 seconds per track! What a pleasant surprise.
Which just goes to show, sometimes we may have the ability to help ourselves -- as long as we take the time to do a little research.
John's editorials remind me of the time I discovered Macbooks can send 5-channel Dolby Digital directly to a receiver using the mini-jack that appears -- at least to our casual spectators -- to be just an earphone jack.
Keep up the good work, John. Some things in life really are free if only we do the homework.