Lately I've been thinking about upgrading the quality of my music. I've been enjoying listening to FLAC on my PC, so I figured I may as well bring the goods to my portable music device, too. For the most part, I'm perfectly happy with my ancient first generation Zune, but it doesn't support lossless audio formats (except WMA9? I think?), and it would probably be a good idea to have more than 30GB if I'm going to be upgrading much of my music to lossless anyway. The iPod doesn't support FLAC either, but it does support ALAC, so I've been eyeballing the classic 120GB.
I hadn't really thought about other brands until just a little while ago, but are there other MP3 players out there that support lossless audio formats and are at least on par with the two bigger brands? Is it even worth the trouble to go lossless on a portable MP3 player? Is the hardware even good enough to show that much of a difference between lossless audio formats and a higher bitrate MP3?
While I'm at it, how lossless are these "lossless" formats, anyway? A typical CD is, what, 1411kbps? My FLAC files don't go that high, though. They seem to be anywhere between a little over 1000kbps to as low as barely over 400kbps. Even 400kbps is still better than a 320kbps MP3, but it seems like a far cry from lossless compared to 1411kbps. Is the only way to get true lossless audio to just import all my CDs directly to WAV? I think the iPod supports WAV, so it is an option, I guess.
flac is losseless. the lost size is due to file compression, as opposed to the loss in an mp3 which is sound compression.
Flacs are compressed like you compress a rar or a zip, and the flac decoder decompresses them using an on the fly compression algorithm. the sound coming out is full quality, just the direct bitrate of the file while still compressed, is not