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Download Free Hi-Res Audio: What You Need to Enjoy HD Music

Free Hi-Res audio download websites with music

Do you love music and prefer to listen to it in the best quality on your devices? You might have heard of hi-res audio, but what is it and how can you get it? Hi-res audio is a way of listening to music that is much better than the usual mp3 files. It has more details, clarity, and depth that make you feel like you are in a live concert. In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about hi-res audio, including:

  • How to download hi-res audio for free from the best websites and streaming services that offer high-quality music in various formats, such as WAV, FLAC, DSD, DXD, MQA, and more.
  • The pros and cons of hi-res audio and how it compares to other formats, such as CD and mp3. You will also discover the truth behind some common myths and misconceptions about hi-res audio and how it works.
  • How to enjoy hi-res audio on your devices and what you need to play it on your computer, phone, or speakers. You will also find out what is the highest sound quality that you can hear and what is the future of hi-res audio.

This article is written by Yuri Korzunov, an expert in hi-res audio and the founder of Audiophile Inventory. He creates the software that helps you convert and optimize your music files. You can trust his first-hand knowledge and experience. In this article, you will also find videos and frequently asked questions to help you understand hi-res audio better. If you are ready to experience music like never before, read on and discover the world of hi-res audio.

updated

Author: Yuri Korzunov,
Audiophile Inventory's developer with 25+ year experience in digital signal processing,
author of the articles that make audio easy for beginners

 

 

 

 

 

Watch and share video: Hi-Res Audio [How it works. Real advantages. Myths]
video about hi-res audio
 

 

DISCLAIMER: Formats, other details in this page were at the sites when we visited them. It can be non-correct, incomplete, changed, or disappear with time. We suppose that you can legally download music using these links. But we can't guarantee it. Classification of the web resources is based on our opinion and may not be a reference for everybody.
It is not advertising or offer. We are affiliated with Audiophile Inventory only. We are not responsible for listed resources, record quality, and others.

 

 

 

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Top 10 best hi-res audio music websites for free downloads

Top 10 the best hi-res audio download websites with music

Discover the top 10 best websites where you can download high-resolution audio and music for free [sorted by resolution variety]. You will find DRM-free music in high-quality formats on these sites.

 

  1. Audiophile Inventory

     
    Audiophile Inventory free audio downloads

    Audiophile Inventory stands as a distinguished developer of professional-grade audio software. They produce own music in rock genre. Immerse yourself in the world of Audiophile Inventory. They offer an array of original high-resolution music compositions and pristine audio samples. Visit their collection to get free downloads of these pieces, presented in FLAC 24 bit | 32 bit / 96 kHz | 192 kHz | 384kHz, DSF up to D1024 (45.1 MHz / fs1024).
    Genre: electronic rock
    Free music downloads [FLAC DSF]   24 bit 96/192 kHz [FLAC]

  2. Blue Coast Records
     
    Blue Coast Records music downloads

    Blue Coast Records is recording label for audiophiles. They blend traditional recording principles with innovative technologies. Unique sound of Blue Coast Records is achieved through a new recording technique for surround known as ESE (Extended Sound Environment). Free DSD, WAV, FLAC, MQA downloads in various formats are available.
    Genre: acoustic, americana, folk, jazz, new age, pop
    Free sample downloads

  3. Oppo Digital
     
    Oppo Digital audio downloads

    Oppo Digital is one of a leading manufacturers of high-quality sonic equipment. They provide customers option to experience their products. This allows music enthusiasts to fully appreciate the capabilities of Oppo's devices. Download free audio tracks MQA music 24-bit / 384 kHz, DSD64 2.0 stereo and 5.0 multichannel, FLAC and WAV 24-bit / 88.2 kHz.
    Genre: acoustic, folk, world, country.
    Free music samples

  4. Hifi Statement
     
    Hifi Statement music downloads

    HiFiStatement Netmagazine is offering a unique opportunity to access high-quality music downloads in HD, including 384 kHz / 32 bit and DSD files up to DSD256. They provide free hi-res music samples for listeners to experience the HD sound quality. Variety of downloadable music examples allow users to estimate the difference through miscellaneous hi-fi equipment.
    Genre: jazz/classical
    Free HD samples Free tracks (WAV 24 bit / 192 kHz)

  5. Wechseldominante
     
    Wechseldominante audio downloads

    Wechseldominante is a doujin musical circle. It specializes in producing original songs with an emphasis on live recordings. Their goal is to showcase the richness of sound and the beauty of music through the blending of live recordings. In addition to creating music, the group is dedicated to ongoing research aimed at enhancing sound quality. This commitment to improvement is evident in their music production. The circle leverages their findings to deliver qualitative immersive sound experiences. You can download free high quality music in different formats by this self-publishing group.
    Genre: piano.
    Free audio samples

  6. Soundkeeper Recordings
     
    Soundkeeper Recordings music downloads

    The approach of Soundkeeper Recordings label to record live music is both technical and philosophical. They use a simple stereo array of only two microphones and recording directly to stereo. The label aims to capture the authenticity of the live performance and the natural musical dynamics.
    Soundkeeper Recordings captures the feel and emotion of the performance. They also emphasize the importance of musical dynamics and preserving the differences between the quietest and loudest parts of the music. At their website you'll find 24 bit 192 kHz high-quality music downloads for free.
    Genre: jazz, folk, world, country, rock, and others.
    Free downloads

  7. NativeDSD
     
    NativeDSD audio downloads

    Native DSD is online record shop. They care about hi-res audio quality. DSD recording sessions are suitable for acoustic music. It contain subtle instrument details. They should be preserved to avoid a quality deterioration.
    If you listen to a digial audio player (DAP), you want to enjoy perfect sound. Stereo (2 channels ) and multichannel (5 channels) DSD up to DSD 1024, DXD (24/32 bit, 352.8 kHz PCM) is a good choice for it. Significant share of their music catalog are albums that are not available on SACD. You can get free started pack to check out a sample before purchase.
    Genre: jazz, classical, bebop, bigband, choir, ethno, film tracks, fuzion, rock, electronics and others
    Free audio downloads

  8. Blue Moon
     
    Blue Moon music downloads

    In the design, Blue Moon specializes in natural music reproduction and offers a wide range of products including speakers, audio players, signal cables, power cables, anti-vibration mounts and more. They recognize that the environment and recording quality also affect the naturalness of music reproduction. You'll find 24-bit/96 kHz high-resolution music downloads at their site.
    Genre: various
    Free downloads

  9. Anadyomene' Secret Rec.
     
    Anadyomene' Secret Rec. audio downloads

    Anadyomene' Secret Rec. is a music label specializing in high-quality audio production. The label offers Studio Master 24 bit FLAC free downloads. It ensures that music enthusiasts can enjoy the pure, authentic sound experience. The pieces are meticulously recorded in a professional music studio to capture the full depth and richness of the sounding. These hi-res audiophile music downloads are not created by upsampling 16/44.1 digital masters. As a testament to their commitment to uncompromising quality, Anadyomene' Secret Rec. provides 24bit/96kHz free FLAC downloads.
    Genre: atmospheric ambient transcendental experimental-electronic
    Free music

  10. Internet Archive [Archive.org]
     
    Internet Archive [Archive.org] audio downloads

    Internet Archive is an expansive web archive. It contains vast collection of digitized content. You'll discover an array of free songs available as downloadable 24-bit FLAC 96 kHz files. This platform provides public access to an extensive library of music. There you have the opportunity to explore and enjoy a variety of genres. To navigate the archive effectively, utilize the search function with customizable options. Immerse yourself in the world of free, high-quality music downloads, available on this remarkable platform.
    Genre: various
    Download samples

Below you will find a big list of websites where you can download hi-res music. Hi-res audio can give you more details and clarity in your music. Download some music for free or buy your favorite songs and albums online. You may choose from different genres of music, such as classical, jazz, rock, indie, pop, and more. Hi-res music is playable on your special devices, phone, or computer with some software on Windows 10/11, Apple Mac, iOS, Android.

 

 

 

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Where to download free HD music?

Free hi-res audio download websites

 

Are you still interested in getting more free high-resolution music? You can find other places online where you can get free downloads that sounds great. Below you will see a long list of these places. You can download the music you like in different formats, including FLAC. Play this music on your computer, smartphone, or other devices with some software. To learn more about hi-res music sources and how to get it, read the list below.

  1. 24bit96


    The resource is about computers with free downloads.
    Genre: test.
    Tests in high resolution

  2. Bravura Records

    Recording label that releases albums in 44.1 and 192 kHz (master) / 24-bit audio sample downloads. Also, at the site, hi-res lossless audio downloads are available for free.
    Genre: various.
    Free music

  3. Burning Shed

    Online label with hi-res audio download shop. It is specialising in singer-songwriter, electronic, art rock. Format resolution is 24 bit and others.
    Genre: Alt Rock, Ambient, Art Rock, Blues, and others
    Free music samples

  4. Cambridge Music Technology

    Studio-production services, production-technology training. It's intended for project studios and education. WAV 24 bit is available for downloading.
    Free hi res audio samples

  5. Design w Sound


    Blog with DSD/DXD/PCM downloads. Download AIFF music for free.
    Genre: jazz.
    Free hi-res samples

  6. Digital Domain


    Calibration samples, demonstration recordings, 24 bit
    Demo samples

  7. Dr.Z's Test CD


    PCM, DSD formats
    Download file

  8. DSD Master


    DSD, PCM 24bit 352kHz download samples
    Free tracks

  9. EClassical


    Classical music downloads in high-quality FLAC up to 88.2 kHz / 24 bit.
    Free downloads

  10. e-onkyo music


    Record store
    Free samples

  11. Less Loss Audio


    Webshop conveys 24/96 WAV downloads.
    Free samples

  12. Linn Records


    Independent record label. They says that love music and quality. 192 kHz and others.
    Free test samples

  13. Masters From Their Day


    The site is about music production.
    Free samples

  14. Marten


    Marten Recordings from the Sweden. They uses only 2 microphones to record music. They want to be close to acoustic reality. 24-bit hi-res / 96 kHz.
    Downloads

  15. Max Research


    24/96, others
    Download free samples

  16. Melba Recordings


    24/96 FLAC, WMA, others
    Tests samples for download

  17. Mora


    96, 384 kHz/24 bit, DSD64/128/256, others
    Test downloads

  18. My Sound


    48, 96, 192/24, others
    Free music samples

  19. Nils Frahm


    24-bit audio and others
    Free samples

  20. Pierre de la Rue


    Website of Dr. William Kempster. He is a conductor, musicologist, reviewer, and music enthusiast with a passion for the Renaissance era. You'll find there the 'Complete' Performing Edition of choral works by composer Pierre de la Rue. To enhance your listening experience, surround music files in 24-bit / 96 kHz resolution is available. Immerse yourself in the exquisite sound quality of these high-definition recordings. They have been beautifully performed by the Ensemble de la Rue, Chamber Choir (Canada) 🇨🇦 .
    download 24-bit audio sample

  21. ProStudioMasters


    Recordings up to DSD256 (256fs, 11.2 MHz), FLAC/AIFF up to 352.8/24. Alternative, jazz, pop, rock and other tracks
    Download free hi res sampler

  22. Real HD-audio


    Free tracks by email request
    Free samples by request

  23. Sony


    Links to hi res downloads.
    Genre: pop.
    Download free samples

 

 

 

 

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Where to buy high-resolution music?

Where to buy high-resolution music

High-resolution music can offer better sound quality than ordinary recordings, depending on your equipment and preferences. You can find many websites that sell high-resolution music. To see a long list of them, click here…

  1. 2L

     
    2L The Nordic Sound audio downloads

    2L, a Norwegian label and online shop, specializes in classical and jazz music. High-resolution formats such as FLAC up to 24-bit/352.8kHz, MQA, DSD up to fs256, and DXD are available there. 2L collaborates with composers and musicians to capture music essence. The label prioritizing Pure Audio Blu-ray and HD file distribution. Their work includes Norwegian and international compositions.
    Genre: classical.

  2. 7digital

     
    7digital music file downloads

    7digital expand abilities of apps by providing API services for digital musics for social, fitness, and other solutions. With a huge global catalog. Downloads are up to 24-bit/192kHz in studio-quality.
    Genres: jazz, classical, easy listening, techno, electronic, pop, rock, others.

  3. Apple Music

     
    Apple Music buy high-resolution music downloads

    Apple Music offers high-quality audio for streaming and downloading. A wide array of tracks from its diverse library on platform allows exploration both new artists and timeless classics. Supported file formats: ALAC (Apple Lossless Audio Codec) files in resolutions of up to 24 bit / 192 kHz.
    Genres: acoustic, blues, country, classical, indie, hip-hop, jazz, r&b, pop, k-pop, rock, reggae, and others.

  4. Berliner Philharmoniker Recordings
    This label focuses on classical music. It serves high-fidelity music enthusiasts by providing a store with downloads in stereo 24/192 [FLAC / WAV], 5.0 Surround 24/96 [FLAC / WAV].
    Genre: classical.
  5. EClassical
    eClassical is a Swedish music webstore founded in 1999. It is dedicated for music enthusiasts and promoting the music of world-class musicians to a wider audience. Customers can download high-quality classical music in FLAC up to 24-bit / 88.2 kHz.
    Genre: classical
  6. HDtracks

     
    HDtracks digital audio downloads

    HDtracks is a prominent digital music retailer. They serves audiophiles and devoted music lovers. With a diverse catalog spanning popular genres and artists, customers have the ability to sample tracks before making a purchase, enhancing their browsing and selection experience. Supported high-resolution music downloads are in various formats from 24-bit/44.1kHz to 24-bit/352.8kHz, as well as DSD (2.8 MHz and 5.6 MHz).
    Genres: classical, jazz, disco, pop, rock, others.

  7. iTrax

     
    iTrax musical downloads

    AIX Records recording label is known for creating high-resolution albums using an all-digital process devoid of analog stages, processing, or conversion. The recordings undergo minimal adjustments, focusing solely on levels and panning, without equalization, reverb, dynamics processing, or mastering alterations. The label offers albums in FLAC and WAV at 96 kHz/24-bits, stereo and two distinct 5.1 surround versions.
    Genres: classical, blues, country, jazz, electric, others

  8. London Symphony Orchestra
    LSO Live, the official record label of the London Symphony Orchestra. They capturing the orchestra's most exhilarating performances using cutting-edge technology. Established in 1999, it aimed to engage new classical music audiences and dedicated listeners, marking a pioneering shift among artist-owned labels. Suggested formats: FLAC 24-bit/96-kHz, SACD, others.
  9. Qobuz

     
    Qobuz buy hi-res audio downloads

    Qobuz is devoted to delivering a superior music experience and a wide-ranging global selection. The platform leads the way in offering high-quality recordings close to the original studio versions in hi-res 24-bit/192 kHz audio.
    Genres: jazz, classical, rap, hip-hop, blues, children, and others.

 

 

 

 

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[Additional] Download music free online resources

 

Name Description
Audiomack Platform for musicians and listeners
Beatstars To find free tracks, enter "free" in the site's search line
Datpiff Service for musicians and performer discovery
Free Music Archive Music library of legal downloads
Jamendo Music Platform for musicians and performer discovery
Musopen Audio library with royalty free music
Noisetrade Platform for musicians and performer discovery
ReverbNation Service for musicians and performer discovery
SoundClick The site for musicians and performer discovery. Lossless available (.wav, .aif)
SoundCloud Service for musicians and performer discovery
Videvo Royalty free music in 44kHz/16bit and mp3. Commercial plans are included. Categories: rock, drama & film score, sports, romantic, new age, classical, country, children, and others.

 

 

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Other music libraries and resources

 

Name Description
Audio Check Various online sonic tests
Envato Elements Library
Epidemic Sound Tracks for a content are available
Sound Effects Site of sound effect archive
Undrgrnd Sample library

 

 

 

 

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High resolution and audiophile streaming

Amazon, Apple, Youtube, Tidal, Quobuz, Spotify, Deezer, and others offers high-qualitative streaming services.

Look at the list of these online websites >

 

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What do I need to listen to hi-res music?

 

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How can I play high resolution audio on my computer and other devices

To play to hi-res music you are need:

  • computer, or
  • mobile phone, or
  • smart TV, or
  • DAP, or
  • media server or
  • other capable device.

Computer and smartphone require player software installation.

For DSD consider music players [Mac, Windows [PC], Apple iPhone, Android].

Also, you can buy streaming service subscription. In instance, Amazon, Apple, Tidal, Youtube offer qualitative listening online.

Online streaming services are limited in resolution abilities. And you can use "on fly" format conversion with some software.

 

To get sonic improvements at smartphone, digital portable player, some people prefer use external DAC (digital-to-analog converter) with headphone amplifier. External DAC may be recommended for computer

Speakers, headphones, and amplifiers impact on the result.

High resolution audio file player software list

 

For wireless headphones and speakers, Bluetooth codecs with high-resolution capabilities was designed. aptX™ HD supports 48 kHz / 24-bit LPCM data. LDAC supports up to 96 kHz / 24 bit / 990 kbps. Sometimes we can see requests download free songs in 990 kbps. But this format is inner one for hi-fi wireless connection. See more...

 

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Can phones play hi res audio?

Mobile phones on Android and Apple iOS (smartphones) can play in the high resolution. For the listening, install player software and listen to favorite pieces and songs.

Some phones have pre-installed audio player software/functionality.

 

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What is the highest quality audio format download?

You want to know what is the best sound quality for music downloading. Online stores offer audio files in the different formats: FLAC, mp3, AAC, DSF, and others. If you has DSD DAC, DSF format may be suggested as the best option for you.

Is mp3 high-res file? Do exist hi-res audio free downloads in mp3? No. The format has 44.1 and 48 kHz / 16-bit limitation.

Can you download LDAC audio samples coded with high sample rates? No. It is wireless Bluetooth codec. Not codec for files with songs.

For majority of DACs, lossless formats (FLAC, WAV, AIFF, ALAC, DSD) are most recommended. Where can you download hi-res music for free? Listen to these musical files...

 

Is FLAC sounds better than WAV?

FLAC is lossless format like WAV. They are same for the listening. FLAC provides:

  • better metadata (song information) compatibility with geterogenous software and hardware,
  • file size (more 4 GB).

 

WAV is more flexible format than FLAC. It make available higher sampling rates and bit depths:

  • sampling rates up to 2^32 Hz with 1 Hz step. 64-bit integer/float;
  • 32-bit float bit depths are supported.

Study more...

 

Which is better AAC or FLAC?

FLAC is true lossless format. It keeps sonic information without any changes. AAC is modern qualitative lossy format that consumes lesser hard-disk space.

 

Is hi-res audio 24-bit only?

Not only. HD audio should provide at least 24-bit resolution or sampling frequency above 48 kHz. Where can you get 24 bit music? Start here...

 

Is 24-bit and 32-bit audio worth it?

There is no univocal answer the question. 24-bit data is close to modern DAC abilities accounting some reserve.

32-bit and 64-bit resolution are important in music production. Them allows work with sonic data "transparently" for user. In instance, they may don't worry about level clipping in mixing.

In the general case, we should not expect a better audibility of 32-bit than 24-bit. For actual comparison between 24-bit and 32-bit, you should to listen to your DAC. How can you download audio songs for free? Learn here...

 

Read also:

 

 

 

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What is Hi-Res audio?

 

Hi-res audio explained

 

Below you'll read short explanation what is high-resolution audio. If you want to read tech details, study this article...

High-res essence:

  • High-resolution audio (hi-res audio, high-definition audio) is digital sonic format family. Their resolutions is above 16 bit/44.1 or 48 kHz. 1-bit DSD (Direct Stream Digital) is included to HD family.
     
  • Hi-res music is intended to get a better listener experience, than standard CD. It should be reached due to higher sound quality (SQ).
     
  • Hi-Res format is the common term between audiophiles, hi-fi vendors and music producers.

Modern videos has soundtracks in HQ, including surround capabilities.

 

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Is high resolution audio a gimmick?

No. HD formats solve 44.1 kHz /16-bit issues. But, a high sampling rate and bit depth don't guarantee the best listening experience. It gives potential possibilities. Headphones, speakers, amplifiers, DACs, recording, mixing, mastering do the result.

 

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Can you hear Hi Res audio?

These formats give abilities to get more "transparent" sounding. It happens due to higher sample rate and bit depth allows to achieve lesser distortions.

However, an equipment has non-linear distortions. And, some playback units may cause audible noise for certain high-resolution recordings. Actual result depends on the unit and their system implementation.

See video...

 

One of important questions is can you hear difference between CD and Hi-Res? We means ultrasound audibility that HD records should keep. According to the current theory and practice, human hears up to 20 kHz. At first sight, CD resolution fully covers the frequency range. And hi-res doesn't need. But, science discovered new knowledge there. Learn more details...

You can try improve sound quality...

 

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Is Hi-res audio lossless?

Hi-res audio doesn't correspond to lossless or lossy directly. Both these formats may contain sampling rates above 48 kHz and bit resolutions above 16 bit. However, lossy mp3 doesn't support hi-resolution technically. Can you download high quality music? Yes. Start here...

 

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What is hi res audio certified?

You can read about hi-res certification.

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PCM vs DSD vs DXD vs Analog sound quality

And we should ask: is DSD better than PCM including FLAC? In the first approach, DSD, DXD, PCM formats give the same opportunities to designers of a music system. The system may be done differently according to the real vendor's abilities.

PCM has no technological "hump" of noise at high frequencies. Direct Stream Digital and DXD have the "hump". For PCM, high-frequency noise is not issue.

We don't hear ultrasound. And this noise is not audible. Nevertheless, the system hardware and, sometimes, software have non-linear distortions. They can cause the generation of audible noise from the inaudible high-frequency components.

If you hear noise in hi-res audio playback, read what can be done...

DSD is not the best in comparison with PCM or FLAC. Many factors define distortions for both modulation types. Final result depends on the implementation and played back recording.
SACD is absolutely the same as DSD.

Watch and share video: DSD vs FLAC comparison
video guide DSD vs FLAC
 

 

 

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How hi-res works?

 

Hi-res audio music. Tech explanation

 

Digital-to-analog converter always has analog filter. The filter type has some limitations by suppression of excessive digital products. Hi-res audio expands audio signal band. It allows suppress the products more effectively. Study what occurs there...

 

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Why does high resolution is need?

Hi-res audio was designed to provide better listener experience, than standard compact disk.

PCM 44.1 kHz / 16 bit vs. High resolution: PCM and DSD

PCM 44.1 kHz /16 bit vs Hi-Res PCM and DSD

 

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Does music genres make matter?

Some kinds of music with a wide loudness range (like classical, jazz, soundtracks), demand a wider dynamic range of a recording and listening setups.
The range may be achieved through resolution increasing. It allows the keeping of distortion levels at various loudness.

Also, genres may vary in a frequency range. According to the current common theory, the audible range does matter. And, high-res doesn't add something to it. It is worth remembering, high sampling rates allow solving some distortion issues in the audible range.

 
High-resolution recordings were invented for music with a wide loudness range
High resolution music records

 

 

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What is the highest sound quality?

If we have the hi-res now, we can also ask: what is the highest SQ?  In hi-fi, we look for minimum distortions. Higher sampling rates and bit depths give potential abilities to achieve better audibility. It means lesser distortions. Nevertheless, the actual result depends on implementation of audio equipment and software.

For understanding how implementation impacts the listening experience, let's consider the example:

We can design several different binoculars that allow seeing at 7 miles.
But glass transparency for each binocular model makes its individual image accuracy.

The same things are in the listening. Even if we discard ultrasound, HD data format with higher resolution should provide better accuracy in the audible range primarily.

 

In the moment of the answer writing, some DACs provide:

  • sampling rates are  DSD 1024 (45.16 MHz), PCM 1536 kHz;
  • bit depth is 32-bit.

It is necessary to remember, that an actual DAC noise floor is limited by electronic hum (approximately -120 dB). However, when using 32-bit formats, you do not need to particularly worry about signal processing in the converter. On the other hand, there are multiple factors, that can increase or reduce distortions.

What is noise floor? It is like water level in a pool.

Let's a sonic signal will be a ball in the pool. The upper part of ball may be visible.

The different signal levels are different ball's altitudes above the water level.

The ball may fully dive in the pool. And we can't see the ball's part above the water.

In other words, the signal under the noise floor is like the ball under the water level.

 

Resume

Lossless audio formats (FLAC, WAV, ALAC, AIFF, DSF) are recommended. However, lossy formats (AAC, mp3, etc.) with high bitrates (kbps) may save hard disk space. And they may be indistinguishable from lossless original files.

 

Learn more:

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High-res audio converters

Audiophile and professional audio conversion software should provide a wide range of sample rates and bit depth, including 32-/64-bit. It allows find optimal resolution and adapt you downloads for smartphone, computer, DAP, DAC, smart TV.

 

Hi-res audio download sites

 

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What is after hi-res sound?

The high-resolution formats solves issues of non-linear distortions primarily. However, it is one dimension of sound naturalness.

The second dimension is a spatial distribution of acoustic waves in the listening point. Read details...

 

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How many GB is 1000 songs?

Let's suggest the average song is 3 minutes.

Approximate size of 1000 songs (stereo files)

Format Resolution KBit per second*

1000 songs
(3 minutes),

GBytes**

mp3 44.1kHz/16bit 128 2,75
mp3 44.1kHz/16bit 320 6,87
FLAC 44.1kHz/16bit 847 18,17
FLAC 192kHz/24bit 5530 118,65
WAV 44.1kHz/16bit 1411 30,28
WAV 192kHz/24bit 9216 197,75
DSD64 2.8 MHz 5383 946.28
DSD128 5.6 MHz 10767 1892,57

* 1 KBit/s = 1000 bit/s of compressed stream
** GByte = 1024 * 1024 * 1024 bytes, average FLAC compression is suggested at 60%.

 

 

 

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Does 24-bit sound better than 16-bit?

In itself, 24 bits does not sound better than 16 bits. It's only one of many factors. But it gives potential technical abilities to reduce distortions.

Read details...

 

 

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Why sample rate above 44.1 kHz is need

High sample rates allows solve ADC and DAC issues with analog filters. It can improve sound fidelity.

Learn details...

 

 

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Myths

 

Hi-res audio myths

 

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Myth #1. High-resolution music has no sense because we can't hear ultrasound

High res is not intended to capture and play of ultrasound.

ADC and DAC contains an analog filters. The filters are not steep. For 44 100 Hz sample rate, They can't suppress aliases properly in the narrow band 20 000...22 050 Hz.

High sample rates causes placement of aliases at higher frequencies. It allows expand suppression band of the analog filter.

How it works:

  • digital filtering and decimation in ADC,
  • oversampling and digital filtering in DAC.

But, some improper filtering may occur due to limited computing resources of hardware.

Resume: High resolution is intended for analog filters in ADC and DAC. And ultrasound playback is only a consequence of higher sample rates.

 

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Myth #2. High resolution have sense because it playback ultrasound

Practical experience, which may be checked right at home, says, that we can't hear frequencies above 16 ... 22 kHz.

There is a study:

  1. Toshiyuki Nishiguchi, Kimio Hamasaki, Masakazu Iwaki and Akio Ando: Perceptual Discrimination between Musical Sounds with and without Very High Frequency Components

This study found no significant difference between samples with and without very high-frequency components. The research authors cannot confirm or deny general human ability to discriminate the component presence.

 

Another hand, some researches, that studied ultrasound issues:

  1. Milind N. Kunchur, 2007: Temporal resolution of hearing probed by bandwidth restriction

     
  2. Lisa Zyga, 2013: Human hearing beats the Fourier uncertainty principle

     
  3. Tsutomu Oohashi, Emi Nishina, Manabu Honda, Yoshiharu Yonekura, Yoshitaka Fuwamoto, Norie Kawai, Tadao Maekawa, Satoshi Nakamura, Hidenao Fukuyama and Hiroshi Shibasaki, 2000: Inaudible High-Frequency Sounds Affect Brain Activity: Hypersonic Effect

 

The studies show brain response to ultrasound. But effects of inaudible frequences on hearing unknown.

 

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Myth #3. Hi Res sound nicer (or closer to analog) because it cause lesser "stairs"

Digital signal doesn't cause "stairs" in any resolution. Because the analog filter at output works as an interpolator (connect momentary voltage values of samples via smooth curve).

Digital signal isn't stairs
Digital signal isn't stairs

For high resolutions, the interpolator (analog low-frequency filter) is easier to proper implementation (see myth #1).

 

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Myth #4. We can compare 24 bit / 192 kHz versus 16 / 44.1, DSD vs PCM, etc.

For the comparison, the samples should be purified of other factors.

As rule, such comparison is seen as a blind test. Samples are provided by a label in different resolution. As an example, one album is downloaded in 24-bit/192 000 Hz and 16-bit /44 100 kHz.

But, it is impossible to record "clean samples". As an example, we split a signal from microphone to 2 audio interfaces. They work in different resolutions. But we can't split into two completely identical signals. The identity of two interfaces is also problematic.

Or a single sample is converted to test ones with a software. We don't know whether we compare converters or resolution.

When converted samples are played back at single DAC, it may work in different modes. It happens due to electrical circuit, data processing for various resolutions.

The author would suggest considering all known kinds of tests like "hi-res vs 44/16" as a comparison of hardware and/or software, not as comparisons of music signal resolutions.

Test standard vs high-resolution:

  1. Joshua Reiss, 2016: A Meta-Analysis Of High Resolution Audio Perceptual Evaluation

 

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Myth #5. Hi-res records always bring the best sound quality

Sound quality depends on many variables:

  • recording,
  • playback,
  • mixing/post-production software and hardware tools,
  • skills in recording/mixing/post-production engineer,
  • recording and playback environment,
  • accuracy of resolution conversion;
  • etc.

Format/resolution is one of them only. No warranties, that DSD1024 will cause the best listening experience in comparison standard PCM 44/16.

 

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Myth #6. Hi-res formats bring advantages only

No. High-resolution formats contain ultrasound. Theoretically, it does not matter for ears, because we don't hear frequencies above 20 kHz.

Practically, listening equipment and, sometimes, software causes non-linear distortions. It can bring audible products from inaudible high-frequency components. It is called intermodulation distortions.

Watch and share: How to remove audible noise of high resolution recordings
video guide how to remove audible noise
 

 

In general case, higher sample rates and bit depth guarantee nothing. The result depends on implementation.

A professional audio interface at 44100 Hz can give better listening experience, than a built-in sound card at 192000 kHz.

 

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Myth #7. Resampling can't improve sound quality

Resolution altering (resampling) is lossy processing always. After upsampling no information is added.

But we can't consider a recording without playback music system. And the system may have different distortions for various resolutions.

So, we can optimize the recording to better playback mode: choose the resolution with minimal distortions.

To reduce conversion losses, conversion algorithm should be accurate.

Read more about sound quality improvement >

 

 

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High-resolution audio formats

High-resolution audio formats

Below we'll consider audiophile formats with and without audio data compression.

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PCM audio

High-resolution PCM is supported by lossless formats: WAV, AIFF, FLAC (up to 384 kHz / 32 bit), WV (WavPack), DVD, Blu-Ray, etc.

32/64-bit float formats are intended for music production and scientific purposes rather.

Also, new D-A converters support sampling rates up to 1411/1536 kHz. High rate values are especially recommended for non-oversampling DACs.

Read more...

 

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DSD

DSD audio (Direct Stream Digital) is a 1-bit audio format with a very high sample rate (from 2.8 MHz). This signal is based on sigma-delta modulation.

To reduce the noise level and expand the dynamic range, noise shaping is used there.

Mediums: DSF/DFF/SACD ISO files, SACD (Super Audio CD) optical disk.

 

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DXD

DXD (Digital eXtreme Definition) is a PCM format with a high sample rate, derived from Direct Stream Digital.

More about DXD see here.

 

 

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FLAC

Lossless method to compress PCM up to 384 kHz / 32 bit. Read details here...

 

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DST

DST (Direct Stream Transfer) is lossless data compression method for DSD (1-bit resolution) files. It's supported in *.dff format.

 

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MQA

MQA is intended for audio data compression of high-res PCM. As rule, it has a compression ratio better than FLAC.

But, as the author knows, MQA is not lossless for all resolutions. Because the "classical" definition of the "lossless" term means "no binary information losses after compression and restoration of a data". Read details here.

 

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LDAC

LDAC is an audio codec for the Bluetooth. The codec is intended to high-qualitative sound connection between mobile phone and wireless headphones or speakers, in instance. The codec's data compression is more effective than previous ones. Where to get music downloads in LDAC? It's a wireless codec for data transmission. These data are extracted from audio files in different formats. LDAC is uses for Bluetooth domain only.

Read details...

 

 

Hi-res audio: Frequently Asked Questions

 

 

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Frequently Asked Questions

 

Hi-res quality Play hi-res Convert hi-res Hear hi-res audio Audio formats Lossless Audio resolution Bitrate Download music FLAC sound quality DSD audio MQA audio LDAC Audio streaming

 

 

 

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F.A.Q. hi-res audio, sound quality

 

 

Is high res audio worth it for gaming?

High-res audio recordings can "open" better listening experience of your setup, if it is capable of 24-bit/88 kHz resolution and above. However, there are no any warranties.

Read details...

 

Is upsampling reasonable?

It depends on upsampling accuracy and your playback system. In general case, a higher sample rate has a better potential for lower distortions in a DAC.

Read details...

 

How do I fix MP3 sound quality?

You can't restore mp3 coding losses. However, you can maximally keep what's left if uses hi-fi equipment.

Also, you can try to convert mp3 to a file with another sampling rate and bit depth that is optimal for your setup (target lossless format is recommended: FLAC, WAV, AIFF, DSF).

Read more...

 

 

 

 

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F.A.Q. audio format

 

 

What is the highest-quality format for audio?

The best formats for demanding audiophiles are lossless formats (WAV, FLAC, AIFF, ALAC, DSF, DFF, others), that are capable save original sonic data without losses. So, these formats can be considered as the best for the audibility.

Question "what is the best DSD or PCM" has no single answer. It depends on implementation of equipment and played recording.

From point of view of format-resolution-abilities expanding, WAV and AIFF give great abilities due to flexible file structure.

What music format has the best SQ? Read details:

 

What is the best hi res audio format?

Lossless audio formats, like WAV, FLAC, DSF, DFF, SACD, provide the best audibility among hi-res formats. To achieve lesser space on hard disk or transmit music via a network, you can use audiophile lossy format like MQA. At high bitrates, other modern lossy formats, like AAC, are applicable for hi-fi.

Read details...

 

What format do audiophiles use?

Audiophiles uses different audio formats. Most popular: FLAC, WAV, AIFF, DSF, MQA.

Here you can read how to choose the best format for you...

 

Why do LPs sound better than CDs?

LP (vinyl) is mechanical system with its own distortions. These distortions are bigger than CD's ones.

But these distortions may sounds richer than without them. And some people prefer analog sound.

Read more...

 

Is WAV better than MP3?

WAV is a lossless format, that fully keeps binary recording data. mp3 saves free space of a data storage, but lose some sonic information.

However, high bit rate mp3 is almost indistinguishable from its source WAV.

A general recommendation is to use WAV. If hard disk storage is not enough, use mp3 with bitrate higher as far as possible.

Read more...

 

Is WAV better than FLAC?

Both WAV and FLAC bring lossless data content that is absolutely identical. However, some discussion is there...

 

 

 

 

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F.A.Q. lossless

 

 

 

Do I need lossless audio?

Lossless audio is the best audiophile choice. Lossy formats may be recommended to save space on hard disk. It is actually for mobile devices.

Read details...

 

Is lossless audio better?

Theoretically, lossless formats is the best format by technical reasons. Because, it doesn't cause distortions.

However, you may don't get audible difference between lossless and qualitative lossy formats.

Read more...

 

 

 

 

 

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F.A.Q. audio resolution

 

 

How many kHz is CD quality?

CD provides 44.1 kHz (41000 Hz) / 16 bit.

Read more...

 

Is 16 bit FLAC better than CD?

For 44.1 kHz sampling rate, 16 bit FLAC is the same CD.

 

Is CD quality 16 or 24 bit?

Compact disc supports 16 bit with 44 100 Hz sample rate.

 

Is 16 bit or 24 bit audio better?

16 and 24 bit is only potential abilities for audio device designers. Actual result is formed from applied decissions, that absed on the abilities. More abilities don't guarantee result. FLAC or WAV is meant here, it does not matter.

24 bit is not better, than 16 at its own. Theoretically, 24-bit has higher signal/noise ratio (lesser distortions). But the final result depends on the implementation of software, ADC and DAC.

Read more...

 

Is 48KHz audio good?

48 kHz gives some technical advantages comparing 44.1 kHz. But, there are many factors, impacting listening fidelity.

Read more...

 

Is 192kHz better than 44.1 KHz?

Technically, 192 kHz sampling rate allows improving of analog filter of DAC in comparison with 44.1 kHz.

It may reduce distortions and improve dynamic range.

Read more...

 

Is 192kHz better than 96KHz?

192 kHz gives some technical advantages comparing 96 kHz.

Read more...

 

Is 192kHz 24-bit good?

192 kHz / 24 bit give potential advantages comparing CD format (44.1 kHz / 16 bit).

However, recording, device and software implementation does matter.

Read details...

 

 

 

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F.A.Q. bitrate

 

 

Does higher Kbps mean better quality?

In first approach, bitrate (estimated in kbps, kBit per second) means how many information pass through within second.

Lossy files are size compressed source. For lossy formats, higher bitrate allows keeping more information about source stuff.

Of cource, losses-per-bitrate decreasing depending on algorithm of the size compression.

Also, own recording production level is primary key of audio fidelity for any bitrate.

 

How many kbps is lossless?

Different lossless formats and their settings have various bitrates. In instance, FLAC may have about 600...800 kbps for stereo 44.1 kHz / 16 bit.

Read more...

 

How many kbps is CD quality?

CD-audio bitrate is 1411 kbps ≈ 44100 kHz * 16 bit * 2 channels / 1024.

 

What is the best kbps for audio quality?

We want to know what Kbps is high quality audio. High and the best audio quality is not exact terms.

In instance:

  • DSD1024 stereo has 90316,8 kbps.
  • AptX HD codec has up to 576 kbps.
  • AAC and mp3 has 320 kbps for HQ stereo applications.

Read more about the formats...

 

Is 128kbps good for music?

128 kbps bitrate may be used for music. But higher bitrates (256 kbps and more) are recommended.

Read details...

 

Which is better 128k or 256k MP3?

128 kbps was used for downloads in early Internet. Now, 256 kbps is more recommended for hi-fi music.

Read more...

 

Is 320kbs CD quality?

320 kbs is not CD quality. Such bitrate is property of lossy codecs. As rule, compact disc has bitrates above 600 kbps (in FLAC compressed stream). Uncompressed CD has 1411 kbps. 320 kbps is lossy compressed data stream.

Read more...

 

Is 320kbps hi-res?

320 kbps is not hi-res. It is term referring data compression.

Sampling rate and bit depth define hi-res or not.

Read more...

 

Is 320k music good?

Is 320 Kbps MP3 or AAC good enough? If you are need significantly keep space at hard disk of your device and high fidelity, 320 kbps is proper bitrate.

Lossy size compression 320 Kbps has very subtle difference with lossless 44.1 kHz / 16 bit. Some people consider the distinction as unlistenable. 320 Kbps bitrate of mp3 format is estimated close to CD accuracy. Thus, audibility at a bitrate of 320 kbps is sufficient for many people.

Read more...

 

How do I get 320kbps audio?

You can convert audio files to mp3 or m4a with 320 kbps bitrate...

 

 

 

 

 

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F.A.Q. where download music

 

 

How do I download MP3 320kbps?

Look at mp3 320kbps at downloading resources...

 

 

 

 

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F.A.Q. play hi-res music

 

 

Are hi res music players worth it?

Hi-res audio players allows use full technical abilities of hi-res music formats. Read more...

 

How do I play a FLAC file?

You can play FLAC files via player...

 

How do you play multichannel FLAC?

Multichannel FLAC may be played back via software tools...

 

What is the best FLAC player?

It is a personal choice. But there are some general recommendations. You can use smartphone instead. External DAC or combined headphone amplifier-DAC may be used as option.

Read details...

 

Do audiophiles use equalizers?

Audiophile system should imply best listening accuracy as the setup can. Theoretically, lesser processing cause lesser distortions. Thus, removing an equalizer avoids its distortions (phase and non-linear). Read more about sound quality...

 

 

 

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F.A.Q. convert hi-res audio

 

 

How do I turn on high resolution audio?

High resolution audio is recorded in HD formats that are above 44.1 kHz / 16 bit.
However, 44.1 kHz / 16 bit recordings may be upsampled (converted to higher sampling rate and bit depth). How it can help you read here...

 

How do you convert lossless to MP3?

Read how to convert lossless music files to mp3...

 

Is it worth ripping CD to FLAC?

Ripping of CD audio to FLAC allows:

  • saving space at a hard disk;
  • storing metadata (track and album name, performer, artworks, etc.) and wide compatibility with various devices and software.

FLAC is lossless format, that can store CD content without losses. Unlike WAV, Free Lossless Audio Codec can reduce size of file.

If you upsample CD content above 384 kHz or 32 bit for audio optimization or editing purpoces, WAV or WAV/RF64 file format is recommended.

 

 

 

Hi-res audio

 

 

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Conclusions

 

  1. Higher sample rates are not intended for ultrasound recording. It allows solving issues of analog and digital filtering of analog-to-digital (ADC) and digital-to-analog (DAC) converters. Headphones, speakers, amplifiers are important too.
     
  2. Higher bit depths are not for providing sound level above thresholds of human hearing. Such bit depths bring proper signal/noise ratio for quietest musical signals. It's important for some music genres (classical, jazz, cinema audio, etc.).
     
  3. Now saving space is not so actual as before. Except portable devices. But, lower bit stream (bit per second) value is actual for network streaming yet. So high-resolution data compression is very demanded.
     
  4. Hi-res audio improves (in potential) some non-linear distortion issues. For better naturalness, spatial sonic reproduction (acoustic wave field) should be enhanced too.

 

Audio Basis - articles about audio

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