Neil Young is right!
While recording, mixing and mastering my new song, Meet Her From 2 Metres -or- Love in the Time of COVID, written and performed with my brother Martin, I spent a lot of time listening to the lossy (squashed) MP3 version as well as the lossless WAV, and the difference in sound quality is like the difference between McDonald’s and food.
MP3s have the surface layer sure, you can hear the words and the melody, but beyond that it’s pretty shallow. There’s a depth and a feeling to the full-data WAV version that’s a huge part of the enjoyment for me.
I do wonder how or even if these differences are audible on earbuds and other similar lo-fi playback systems. Have you ever made the comparison? Please let me know what you’ve found, I’m interested.
I don’t have some super-duper sound system, just my computer and a pair of decent yet unremarkable studio monitor speakers and the differences as I said are quite remarkable.
The moral of the story? Always ask: what would Neil do?