Barence writes "Apple and music labels are reportedly in discussions to raise the audio quality of of the songs they sell to 24-bit. The move could see digital downloads that surpass CD quality, which is recorded at 16 bits at a sample rate of 44.1kHz. It would also provide Apple and the music labels with an opportunity to 'upgrade' people's music collections, raising extra revenue in the process. The big question is whether anyone would even notice the difference between 16-bit and 24-bit files on a portable player, especially with the low-quality earbuds supplied by Apple and other manufacturers. Labels such as Linn Records already sell 'studio master' versions of albums in 24-bit FLAC format, but these are targeted at high-end audio buffs with equipment of a high enough caliber to accentuate the improvement in quality."