OK, i`m just trying to bring a new perspective into a heavily discussed subject. Some people say there is a huge difference between a cd/flac and a mp3 rip. Others claim flac is a waste of hdd space because there is hardly any difference between them. Who`s right? The correct answer? Both parties are right. That`s my take on the subject. Let`s put this debate into a real life perspective. Although music reproduction and storage have never been more accessible than they are today, the average quality of the audio gear used for playback has been dropping. There`s no point in arguing this- the very existence of the mp3 lossy codec and playback done on mobile phones with 2 dollar headphones is the only example i need to prove my theory. Sure, there was crappy equipment 40 years ago- the difference being that today there is 10 more of it around. Which leads to the same conclusion, that the average quality of gear has been decreasing simply because there is more audio crap produced and sold today all over the world. How exactly is an average person supposed to hear the difference between a quality recording(in this case cd/flac) and 128kbs mp3 playing on a cheap sony digital walkman/ipod/average mobile phone with the provided headphones, which in 99% of cases are simply gruesome? The debate on lossy versus lossless codecs would be easy if everyone would have access to quality hardware, which sadly is not the case. I can tell you right now than if i listen to a cd or flac file on my laptop with a better than average pair of headphones i`d be lucky if i could tell the difference in sound from a mp3 file or youtube video. In some cases i have even come across strange phenomenon when playing flac files, like cracking noises, which obviously are lacking from mp3.(I still can`t explain that, by the way). Bottom line is, most of the gear people use today(including myself) simply isn`t made with quality in mind. I`m not even talking about quality audio reproduction, i`m simply saying that most of the electronics people buy from walmart or whatever are crap and belong in the dumpster. You can`t expect miracles from a 20 dollar pair of headphones connected to a 200 dollar phone that is supposed to do everything(photos, videos, email, web surfing, talking, texting, gps navigation etc etc). In most cases, people struggle to hear the difference because there barely is any difference at all. Ever since i started becoming concerned with the quality of the audio gear i`m using, the only conclusion i came up with is that i need to spend more money before expecting to truly enjoy HIFI audio. It all comes down to money in most cases. So yeah, if you can`t hear the difference between lossless and lossy codecs it`s most likely because you`re not using the sort of gear that would allow you to hear it, not because there isn`t any or your ears are not doing their job. When i`m listening to a song on my vintage philips cd player the sound i`m getting is much more enjoyable than listening to the same song in mp3 form on my laptop. Tiny laptop speakers, again, are not even in the same universe as a pair of decent quality loudspeakers. Once again, if you can`t hear the difference between lossy and lossless- maybe it`s because you Really Can`t Hear it. You know what they say: Blame the gear, not the ear. If at first you don`t succeed, spend more money and try, try again.