What Are Lossless Audio Files and Do They Make an Audible Difference?

Lossless audio formats have the capacity of retaining the overall sound quality of original recordings, even as they offer a high amount of compression for data storage.  Many music lovers feel that excessive compression such as the type used by MP3 files can rob the listener of the true intent of the artist.

A master soundtrack such as the kind you find in a CD will definitely lose its clarity once you run it on a lossy AAC file or MP3 format. The higher the compression, the worse the sound quality. However, this holds true only for lossy audio files in general.

Lossless compression, on the other hand, ensures that the quality and clarity of the music is not lost during the compression process. For example, FLAC and AIFF can easily compress the music on your CD and convert it into a digital file, while retaining the originality of each and every track.  

Yes, Lossless Compression Does Make a Difference

For a real music purist, the difference is pretty evident, especially on a high-end sound system and at high volume settings. The core purpose of lossless audio compression is that it replicates the original uncompressed files as best as it can. This is why it is so different from its lossy audio compression counterpart. For example, formats such as MP3, AAC, and Ogg Vorbis usually delete high end sounds in order to make audio files smaller and easier to transfer over the internet.

This issue is more important in hi-res audio because these audio files are almost always recorded at a higher sampling rate and bit-depth. This means that your lossless files will retain their CD-quality specifications of 44.1kHz sampling rate and 16-bit depth—something that is not possible in lossy compression.

However, it is important to understand that the playback device and speaker system also have a large role in increasing the quality of the music. If you have a master soundtrack on a DVD-R but you are using low-quality speakers on a basic sound system, the sound quality will be compromised. At least, you might not be able to enjoy the track the way the music creators wanted you to hear it.

For example, if you are using earphones that don’t support heavy bass while listening to a track that does, it will decrease the quality of your listening expense. It does not matter if it’s a FLAC file or an MP3 one, it will still sound weak and tinny.


Good music depends on file compression to an extent, but it is only one side of the equation. You will need top-end speakers, headphones, and a sound system that will be able to do justice to your excellent music collection. But if you have the required playback device, you will definitely need lossless compression to ensure a great listening experience every time.

If you are interested in creating the best digital audio library that is as close to your CD collection as possible,  just give us a call and we will take care of the job for you!