From the point of view of Audio SCIENCE Review, Lossy is lossy and lossless is lossless, this is not an apples to apples comparison and how things sound is subjective and not scientific, or measurable in a meaningful way.
If you are removing data, it is not the same as lossless and compressed.
Not all MQA-encoded music is remastered and I don't think this is a requirement, but some albums are for some reason, maybe because the song needs a remaster or they just want to provide more value with your acquisition. An example of this is the album "Black Widow" by In this Moment. When I was a Tidal user, the MQA version had the cymbals better defined, and this is something I didn't need a double-blind to notice. I remember I was switching between the regular version and the MQA quickly, and I clearly could hear the difference in that album. I think there are other examples out there, but a remaster for MQA wouldn't be a strange thing to do.
Two things I would like to mention. First, my comment is based on what the OP asked BEFORE he edited this question and the thread title. So it isn’t exactly relevant any more. Second, are you suggesting that lossy is equal to lossless and that there is no science to the contrary? I’m confused by your comment and your aggressive and demeaning attitude.Where on earth did you get that idea? Not at ASR and not from SCIENCE.
I think he knows that. But being 'not the same' doesn't necessarily mean 'sounds different'.
There is no inherent flaw in comparing lossy to lossless audio. The problems with comparing in this user's case is that the user can't do volume matching, and can't know of the mastering is the same on the two sources.
Two things I would like to mention. First, my comment is based on what the OP asked BEFORE he edited this question and the thread title. So it isn’t exactly relevant any more. Second, are you suggesting that lossy is equal to lossless and that there is no science to the contrary? I’m confused by your comment and your aggressive and demeaning attitude.
I only edited my title as the original post was always spotify vs amazon HD.
I would be very interested in measurements showing the differences between the reconstructed signals between different amounts of lossy compression vs lossless but I don't know how you would compare them in an objective way.
I mean there was a time when lossy encoders all had their own issues, but it's no longer that time...If someone told me that lossless and properly encoded high-bitrate lossy are perceptually 100% identical to 99+% of humans, I would not take that claim at face value, but I would certainly not dismiss it either.
A defensible advantage of lossless is that it is 'archival' -- you can re-encode with the fewest artifacts. Lossy to lossy on the other hand is not recommended.
Studies have definitely shown that it's possible to discriminate lossily compressed recordings from their lossless originals, although at 320kbps it tends to be very difficult, and to take some training, the right source material, and a good system. So I wouldn't expect there to be any audible difference between the two for most recordings/systems/listeners, although subtle differences may be apparent in some circumstances.
Also keep in mind that a lot of streamed content from major labels appears to be watermarked, which may result in audible quality degradation regardless whether the content is streamed at lossy 16/44 or lossless 24/96.
Personally, as I started with Spotify before a lossless hi-res service with a significant collection of music existed, I have decided to stick with it. I guess there might be some subtle audible differences, but having done a number of 320kbps to lossless blind tests on myself, I've concluded that in most cases I can't hear differences, and in those few cases where I might be able to, the effects of lossy compression are very subtle and don't hinder my enjoyment of the music, anyway.
I prefer lossless and will seek it out over even high-bitrate lossy (e.g. 256k AAC or 320k mp3) whenever possible.
However, I prefer the idea of lossless and I feel better about it. I do not actually believe that I could reliably distinguish lossless from high-bitrate lossy in a blind test - I would guess that the best I could do would be to tell the difference reliably with some kinds/passages of music but not with most music. And in fact I have my doubts that I would easily or reliably distinguish the two in a sighted test either.
If someone told me that lossless and properly encoded high-bitrate lossy are perceptually 100% identical to 99+% of humans, I would not take that claim at face value, but I would certainly not dismiss it either.