Are Audiophiles "Simply Guessing?"

Comments by Pro Musician, Rick Beato written by Robert Archer / CEPro:

"File size and equipment choice don’t matter"

"Training is the biggest factor when it comes to critically evaluating music"

Here is the video:

Came by this while searching for related material. Thoughts? Reaction?
No listing of headphones, amp, or associated cabling so we don’t know the likely resolution of the system.
Listening to three different formats of music in a short term test leads the participants to key on the differences between selections.
Long term listening in a relaxing situation would be better to make an absolute choice as to which file sounds the most realistic.
Great ears, perfect pitch, and a music degree doesn’t mean she knows what to listen for.
Hi Enders are generally looking for soundstage, imaging, instrumental separation, air, slam, among others that is likely not important to someone with a music education who is listening for a completely different set of values.
 I could be wrong but that is my initial reaction.  So be it.
As I said, this is something I came upon. I find his video discussion interesting, but flawed. 

The comment section below Beato's YouTube Video is interesting and has some valuable contributions.

It does (for me) raise the question as to where each of our personal limits are and whether our limits should be driving our equipment and system choices?
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I pretty much agree. 320 Kbps and higher is where it is starts to get tough to tell the difference on higher resolution. I think you can on some music tracks but on many pop/rock you can’t with an A or B test. Classical tracks with large dynamic range and acoustic instruments are easiest. Training also helps because you know exactly what to listen for.

This is very different from equipment.

I am continually surprised that the latest electronic equipment with SNR of -130db sounds better than -105 dB (the gold standard for years) because both are so damn good! I think it is because we rarely optimize the audio chain by listening close to maximum volume. So if you listen typically at -60 dB on the volume control the -130 dB gear is going to still sound near perfect while the -105 dB gear is going to have some noise that masks some details. (At -60dB, the -130 dB system has a dynamic range of 70dB left while the -105 dB system has a mere 45 dB above the noise floor).

This is what Alan Parsons says

Alan Parsons is a favorite of mine and I own all his albums on vinyl, but the statement ' I don’t listen to much music recreationally - it’s almost always for professional applications' poses a credibility issue for this thread.I do believe its to do with a heightened level of concentration that audiophiles achieve with their own systems, when you reach that magic point where you are absolutely linked to the sound, experience, and emotion of the music you are playing.
1. There is a lot more to music reproduction than just the high frequencies. Speed, decay, tone, pace, spatial cues, etc. Listening ability and experience may be more important than acuity and frequency range in determining “quality” of reproduction.  That said, it is possible or even likely that different age ears find different presentations more pleasing that others.
2.  Agree ability to distinguish differences in sound reproduction is equipment dependent.  Which is essentially the purpose of this site.
3.  I have found some 128kbps music files sound more pleasing to me than double that because of the remix for the lower resolution, but that is highly track dependent and I definitely could hear a difference in any case.
4. Generally I find I like the sound of higher res digital music files better than redbook or mp3s, and find they sound closer to good quality vinyl than lesser res digital files, and this is listening across several different systems.  YMMV.

Alan Parsons worked at multimillion $ facilities with original recordings that are far better than what most audiophiles ever listen to. So I guess his attitude was that for recreational listening there was no point to compete. 
I think its similar to many aspects of work recreation life. many people that do something for work don't do it for relaxation-recreation. I used to love working on cars then I owned an auto performance shop now I hate working on my car... sort of ruined my hobby for me having to do it every day all day. I'm betting Alan P has a similar type of situation.
Also that ’Mastery’ is more than simply deliberate practice (aka the 10K Hours Rule / Malcomb Gladwell).

If we were to follow Gladwell, many audiophiles would be experts given the amount of time spent listening. One problem with this is that technology is marching on and keeping up with it, even within our very specific hobby, isn’t as feasible or as practical as some believe it to be.
Surely that test should only be done streamed through a mega dollar set up, with loudspeakers, not cheap? headphones. As we all know the more you spend on your equipment the better the sound quality.
Perfect pitch? so what.  

The systems used are typically not up to discerning small differences, like that between AIFF and .wav or FLAC and .wav.  Give them a good system and make the listeners close their eyes and you would get the result you expect, even with untrained listeners. 

Training ears is always a good thing.  I believe it mostly allows the listeners to tune-out the visuals and focus more on the placement and focus.

Steve N.

Empirical Audio

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Nothing is immune from the compression meisters. Not CDs. Not LPs. Not SACDs. Not hi res downloads. Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water. 🦈
I listen to Spotify on my system and it sounds great to me. I listen to my music on my system and it sounds great to me. I listen to some hi rez downloads on my system and they sound great to me. I'm listening to the music, not the system. I have pretty decent rig with a hi end dac. A big music library, pre amp and amp, turntable and all that stuff. I've been able to tune out the system and just listen. Isn't that what this hobby is all about? The music.  

Lower the jitter enough and even MP3 at decent resolution is great.  I listen to Amazon Prime music at 10Psec jitter a lot using my Off-Ramp 6 USB converter and it sounds fantastic.  Locally played .wav files of the same tracks at 24/96 are slightly better, but you need to be in the sweet spot with your eyes closed to hear the difference.

Steve N.

Empirical Audio

Could Incremental Improvements in High-End Audio Sound Quality Ever Hit a Brick Wall?

"Would audiophile marketers even know how to approach a product that didn't promise sonic improvements? I doubt it. Continuous sonic improvements have driven the industry forward."

From Steven Stone / Audiophile Review: