Okay, so I looked a little closer at the Amazon MP3 downloads. Turns out they are NOT 256Kb bitrate files. They’re around 256Kb — they’re Variable Bit Rate (VBR) files.
That’s definitely not what I want. If you tell me it’s 256Kb, then I want my freaking two hundred fifty-six kilobits — every last one of them. And I want them for every piece of the song: the silent parts, the loud parts, the complex and simple parts and everything in between.
Can I hear the difference under normal listening conditions? Nope. It’s the principle of the thing for me, a purist of process and product. I’ve spent literally hundreds of hours ripping and re-ripping my 1,200+ CD collection to get to my exact 256Kb AAC files. To know they cheaped out on me this way really sticks in my craw.
I know, I know… that’s weird. But that’s the way it be. Amazon won’t get any more sales from me except in “emergency” situations or when I just don’t care about the archivability of the audio.