Yesterday Apple introduced in iTunes music from EMI sampled at a higher rate than the iTunes usual for higher audio quality; this music is also offered without digital-rights management (DRM), which means that a purchaser of it can play it in just about any gadget that can play an MP3. I downloaded the Brahms German Requiem under this deal yesterday, and it was a nice purchase for the price (Berlin Philharmonic, Simon Rattle conducting, Dorothea Roschmann, soprano, and Thomas Quasthoff, bass-baritone). I played it through BOSE earphones and a BOSE docking station, and it sounded very good (talking sound quality here, not musical interpretation, though that is very good too).
I am not sure that I would be able to identify the new-style offerings from the old style ones in a “blind” test (wait, shouldn’t that be a “deaf” test?) but I did find this link on the point, courtesy of slashdot.org. Visit it to see what happened when somebody performed a “blind” test. (Hurray for people over 40 for this; despite our deteriorating ears, we seem to do better in discerning audio quality.)
Update: the site I linked to is now slashdotted… That was quick. I hope it will be back up soon.