I wanted mp3's for my mp3 player. I play and record varous insruments but the sound is predominantly acoustic.
Wavs sound tolerable compared to the source, so either it's simply that mp3 is crap or my setups are - however my ears have never been overly impressed by any music even at high bitrates on mp3. For my own music that I know inside out, it is excruciating.
I have tried compressing wav to mp3 with cdex, eac and foobar but so far I am not impressed.
I've tried medium and very high bitrates and various settings (from reading around the web) but with all of them the wav has a richness, depth and smootness that the mp3's nowhere near duplicate.
I know mp3 is a lossy format, but when for example I sit and listen to an acoustic guitar fingerpicked in open tuning coming back at me with the "D string" and the top end much more pronounced in the balance of the sound across the 6 strings on mp3 - then something fundamental is not right.
It's as if someone has deliberately set them up for an artificial mp3 soundscape, in a misguided attempt to jazz the sound up up a bit for mp3 at the expense of real quaility.
Foobar and cdex are the worst for this but eac isn't much cop either, it is more even across the acoustic guitar range but sounds a dull by comparison with the wav.