That's a cool story....hope it's true.
Very much so. :) FYI, this occurred at Kenyon (small liberals arts school in Ohio); Neil was there visiting his daughter.
I do think he's being a bit daft with all this 'quality' nonsense though.
Neil's easily the most vocal proponent of replacing 16bit/44khz audio with 24bit/192khz and that's a contentious subject... but all the yammering and clamoring aside, if someone were to take a decent pair of speakers (nothing necessarily extreme, mind you; my preference would be an older pair of Klipsch Reference floorspeakers, $1000 on CL) and bi-amp 'em to a decent used receiver (Marantz, Denon and HK come to mind, $300 on CL), feed 'em with optical S/PDIF from a pc or SACD player... and then audition the uncompressed recording of your choice (presumably something you're used to and love) at 16bit and 24bit... there's an excellent chance you'd be able to tell the difference in a double-blind test. As for being able to tell the difference between high-bitrate compressed and 16bit lossless? It's a foregone conclusion and anyone saying otherwise is either tone-deaf or talking out their ass; that "high quality" MP3, WMA or proprietary stream (i.e. Spotify on its highest quality settings) is going to sound muffled by comparison; particularly the highs.