So fir the sake of my ignorance, what's the equivalent bit rates for broadcasts on fm, dab, iPod playback etc versus CD or vinyl through my old Nad and English monitor speakers? I stick them all through it. Never really thought about it.http://computer.howstuffworks.com/mp32.htmhttp://www.frequencyfinder.org.uk/DAB_sound.html
Personally, I find 128 Kbps is just about OK for talk radio on low quality devices, MP3 players etc. For music, it's pretty poor and at best sounds flat and lifeless, at worst, sibilant and nasty. 256 Kbps is OK for music in the car, but still sounds crummy on a decent hi-fi or a good set of headphones, 320 is better still, but still not as good as a totally uncompressed, lossless file or CD. Beyond CD quality, With really Hi Res files at 24/96, or 24/192 I think the limiting factor is the quality of the recording itself, a lot of rock and pop isn't that well recorded in the first place, but some "audiophile" recordings can sound stunning.
The vinyl/analogue versus digital debate is a whole other kettle o' fish, but my take on it is that anything recorded after about 1990 isn't likely to be purely analogue in any case, so if you buy a recording on vinyl made after 1990 it's likely to have been recorded or manipulated digitally at some point. So when you play the LP, you're just listening to whatever DAC (Digital to Analogue Converter) or ADC (Analogue to Digital Converter) the studio was using. Also, I think vinyl fans forget that in order to fit a long recording on a 12" disc, the bass has to be compressed considerably then re-boosted by the phono amp via RIAA equalization, so they're not listening to an entirely unadulterated signal in any case: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RIAA_equalization