After following along with Jim's "MP3 vs. Redbook" thread in this section and this other thread Classical MP3s audiophiles over in the Classical music section, along with all the various links and sidebars, I've come to the conclusion that with the advent of computer audio and compressed music files we've taken a big step backwards into the world of snake oil salesmanship.
Let's all stand up and give JA a round of applause for his unwavering commitment to the simple idea of the truth. With that in mind let us get back to first principles and try and clear the air of all of this bovine feces being so freely tossed about.
When the CD was first introduced the audiophile world was up in arms because the the sampling rate (44.1KZ) and word length (16 bit) were felt to be inadequate and so the hi-rez formats of DVD-Audio and SACD were introduced to help resolve this problem.
Now at the same time in the world of computers, various compression schemes were developed to help deal the problem of the large file size (and storage requirements) of the resultant wave sounds files. Wave sound files being the computer version of CD audio. Again, as I've stated before, the primary goal of these compression schemes was the smallest possible file size with acceptable sound quality. After the dust had settled, the MP3 format emerged as the most widely used and accepted format.
So where does that leave us today?
In the world of high end audio we have two dying hi-rez formats, each capable of producing rather stunning sound and the CD audio format still going strong. And in the world of computers we have several different lossy and lossless compression formats, DRM and ever growing amount of claims about how less is more.
Since JA is a fine English gentleman and would never go so far as to insult anyone, either directly or indirectly, and I'm just some guy from New Jersey who happened to grow up in Brooklyn, I have no such qualms. So here goes. I don't care who backs the technology, what fancy name you give it, what kind of claims make, how many patents you can pull out from your butt or how many letters are after the guy's name who wrote the white paper: an MP3 file or any other compressed audio file can never, as in like forever, be as good as the original wave file.
If the MP3 file sounds better it's because of some type of sonic enhancement and that same enhancement can also be applied to the original wave file with the exact same results. If anyone tries to tell you anything else, duck before the feces hits you in the face.