How does a format like Apple Lossless and FLAC compress file size without compromising audio playback quality in any way? What do these formats take out so as to make the file smaller? Or is a lossless format basically encoding during a rip, then decoding (much like a Dolby noise reduction operates) on playback to reveal the audio in it's full resolution??? Have there been any published listening tests, by reliable sources, between CD audio - lossless - or even uncompressed WAV/AIFF's? Are these all truly sonically identical? Also, are all lossless formats created equal when it comes to sonics & metadata support? FLAC has an advantage of being nonproprietary so this might be a more wise choice, for instance, when archiving one's collection of CD's that may total in to the thousands. I've heard however that FLAC may store limited metadata info. Bottom line here; what would be the wisest format for an audiophile to rip large collections of CD's to when putting together a music server? Any info and enlightenments are greatly appreciated!