Well, I am a recording engineer. 44.1K is the standard for CDs. Most music these days is produced at a 96K sample rate and either 24 or 32 bits. That's getting up there in terms of resolution. So you can see that even a 256K MP3 is a vastly reduced sample rate, not to mention the data compression (like saying "hey, we don't think you can hear that so we're throwing it out") that they do. But you're correct in that more is better.
I hoped Denny would check in with his engineer hat on.
Not being argumentative - just looking for answers...
Theoretically records are analog and music is analog. Digitizing music quanitizes it into a series of "square" bits of a single value. You lose the changing value in the bit in the digital recording that is present in the same time space in the analog recording. The smaller period of time the bit represents (higher bit rate), the closer you can come to matching the analog curve. (like integral calculus).
However, analog music recordings on vinyl lose a little of the peaks and valleys in the groove every time the record needle tracks across it. So the recording is degraded with every play (not to mention the snap, crackle and pop of dust and scratches).
If analog recordings on vinyl are superior, wouldn't there be a market for new music recorded that way among audiophiles?
Using compressed files to store digital photos does the same "hey, we don't think you can hear that so we're throwing it out' game, only with light.