Most people don't really bother bout the song formats, I guess >95% people wouldn't really know what's the difference between .MP3, .WMA or whatever format it is, as long as it plays music they don't give a damn bout it.
Many people cannot differentiate between high quality audio and low quality audio, say for example, comparing 2 MP3s, one ripped to 128kbps (most common out there) and another one slightly better at 384kbps.
If you ask me, it's hard to differentiate between these 2 with normal ears, but with proper gears, say a decent sound card, a good speaker/headphone/earphone, and if you're hardcore enough, an amplifier, you can hear the significance difference between both of the songs. Definitely 384kbps wins, hands down.
I was being introduced to the LOSSLESS AUDIO format, so called the best sound quality out there, second only to the original audio CD quality (being the best).
Normally lossless audio comes in various formats, like the Apple Lossless ALAC, WMA lossless and WAV lossless. Of all 3, WAV lossless is said to have the best sound quality among 3 as it retains pretty much the original bitrate from the audio CD at 1411kbps.
I've tried to compare the lossless format and an ordinary MP3 of the same song.
My sample is "Croatian Rhapsody" by Maksim. As you can see from the pic, the difference between the bitrate & the file size, by almost 10 times.
From this song I experimented, the difference is significance, you don't need a trained ear to hear the difference, the first 10 seconds of the song itself shows how big the gap is between the sound quality of both formats.
Some people wanted to enjoy the music at the highest level, and lossless audio format is the best choice to keep the superb quality from the audio CD, that's why it's popular among audiophiles.
The drawback is however, the large file size. As you can see from the screenshot above, 3.2MB VS 36.6MB. I've ripped a few tracks from various CDs into lossless WAV format, and look at the file size....
~90 songs occupied 2.75GB!!
That's the "price" you pay to enjoy high quality audio.
Some of them bought an external harddisk dedicated to store those lossless music, as it's really a heavy burden if you keep all in your limited HDD, and the risk of reformatting the computer without backup. The scenario everyone feared the most at this age.
If you wanna try rip your audio into lossless format, you can do so via Windows Media Player. I'm using WMP 11 so everything will be based on it, I think WMP 10 can do the same thing too.
To rip audio in lossless format, first you goto Options menu, under "Rip Music" tab.
By default it'll set the format to normal MP3 or WMA, but you can also change it to other formats, in this case, lossless WAV. Noticed the suggested capacity you need to rip an entire album? Freaking 600 MB/CD!
You can try it today see how great is the lossless format. Just try to compare it to ordinary mp3 format. You may not be able to hear the difference at first, but as long as you concentrate hard on the song, you'll noticed mp3 <<<< WAV. :D