I can easily tell the difference between an mp3 rip and a lossless one on both my home stereo and on my car stereo. Pc speakers, while very good - it's much harder to tell the difference due to built in surround sound emulation. mp3's sound tinny and have lifeless bass. You'd have to be deaf not to notice the difference. :p
Thanks for the response on EAC and FLAC. I never even knew what those codecs were until now. I'll look for an app to do that when I have time. For now, saving them in .wav lossless.
As for the 'last' question - I was asking how to convert files from one format to another once they are ON my pc. According to the windows media player site at windows.com - there is no way. It's not a built in function. They want you to rip in wma and use only windows products. I get so sick of propriety. Aren't we all pissed off enough at MS's various bullshit antics without them tossing more dry logs on the already raging inferno of backlash?
I found a program at cnet.com to convert them once they are on there. I wanted this ability so that once I had my library archived I could, at some future point, convert to a higher quality mp3 and burn some compilation disks for the road. Secondary to that, I wanted the ability to convet to my mp3 player and while I'm pretty sure the embedded software does this, I wanted to make sure I had the ability.
btw - The reason I'm being so picky as to sound quality -- this will be CD backup for all my cd's but also this will be the first phase of my HTPC and probable eventual media server. It's already connected to my home theater flatscreen and 5.1 surround receiver.
I can tell you there's an enormous difference in sound quality from mp3's and videos downloaded off the web and this lossless format in my current configuraation.
Thanks for the help.