Clearly there are some heartfelt opinions on this subject. I will add mine - as unwelcome as it may be.
Let's accept - for the sake of argument alone - that under ideal circumstances (I will come back to that) we can hear the difference between high-resolution (24-bit and/or high-sample rate) audio and CD-quality audio. Fine. We may agree or disagree with this. That is not the point. Let's PRETEND we agree...
What are the ideal circumstances to which this must be subjected?
1) The original recording must be at sufficient resolution and dynamic range that it exercises the benefits of the higher resolution format
2) The processing, mastering AND mixing of the the final product must not substantially reduce the original fidelity of the recording
3) The recording must be played back on equipment (especially speakers and headphones) capable of accurate reproduction at that level of fidelity
4) The SPACE in which the playback occurs must be sound isolated enough (headphones count) to permit the most quiet parts of the recording to be heard CLEARLY
5) If not headphone-based, then that same space must be treated so as not to interfere with the fidelity of playback by establishing resonances/standing waves/reflection aliasing, etc.
6) The ears at the tail end of this process must possess a small enough level of age or accident-induced hearing damage that they can hear the benefits of all this.
7) The person doing the listening must ACTUALLY BE LISTENING and paying attention to what he/she hears
Remember, the more precise a system is, the more sensitive it tends to be to minor flaws. I find it hard to believe that, except in tightly-controlled lab environments, there is ANY real-world setting where this entire CHAIN of fidelity will remain intact for anything as precise as even a 48/24 resolution. Frankly, I doubt that many people have even experience true CD-quality sound, since so many of those CDs are poorly-mastered, or mastered from redigitized tape, or played back in an un-optimized environment...
So, no, I think PRACTICAL (not theoretical) realities pretty much prevent the VAST majority of listeners (who are already a diminishingly-small subset of the population anyway) from appreciating the fidelity of high res audio. So beyond "I have golden ears so I can hear it" boasting, it has little relevance - IMO
YMMV, of course.
Display: Panasonic P60UT50 (Plasma)
Speakers: (4) Monitor Audio Silver 9i (Front and Surround), (1) Monitor Audio Silver 12i (Center), (4) Monitor Audio Silver 4i (Rear and Wide), (2) Aperion Audio Bravus II 8d (Subwoofers)
Receiver: Pioneer Elite SC-77 AVR (9.2)
Sources: Oppo BDP-103, Roku 3, Cable...