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Format Shootout

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On 2L's website they let you download the same file in all types of formats for free. I could not do blind testing so just compared the same track played back in FLAC 44, FLAC 192, DSD stereo and DSD MCH. If i was splitting hairs the DSD sounded a little better but in a blind test I doubt I could tell. The FLAC 44 sunded the worst. Then I played back the FLAC 44 file through my Asus Xonar U7 soundcard and upsampled it to FLAC 192. Sounded like the native 192 and DSD to my ears. I was using JRiver for playback. Next I streamed a song through the Tidal app and played back the same song on a local FLAC 44 file through JRiver. This was a no contest, JRiver sounded better. Finally I opened qello.com and played back a concert video while upsampling it through my Xonar soundcard. The live concert recording (even though Qello plays back in a lossy lowrez format) wiped the floor with all the other formats.

Live music recordings still sound better to me, even in a lossy format. I used the DAC in my Marantz 7702 for this shootout.

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