Free Hi-Res Audio Music Downloads [Websites 2022]
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Free Hi-Res Audio Music Downloads [Websites 2022]

Where can I download hi-res music files?

Are hi-res downloads worth it?

What is the highest quality audio format?

Myths. Frequently Asked Questions

Hi-Res Audio Downloads

Audio Basis - articles about audio

yuri korzunov► Read the definitive guide to hi-res audio (HD music, HRA): Where can you download free high-resolution files (24-bit FLAC, 384 kHz/ 32 bit, DSD, DXD, MQA, Multichannel)? Where to buy high-definition music? Where are hi-res audio streamings? See our top 10 and the long list of high-quality download websites.
What is high-definition audio capability or it’s a gimmick? What is after hi-res? What's the highest sound quality for hi-fi? Read myth debunking of audiophile musical formats and non-obvious things that would surprise you. A simple explanation by Yuri Korzunov, audio software developer with 25+ years of experience in signal processing. Keep reading.

Watch and share: Hi-Res Audio
[How it works. Sound quality. Myths]
 

Watch and share: DSD vs FLAC comparison
 

 

Top 10 Hi-Res Audio Music Websites for Free Downloads

Look at our top 10 sites with free high-resolution musical downloads [in alphabetical order].

  1. Anadyomene' Secret Rec.
  2. Archive.org
  3. Audiophile Inventory (FLAC 24bit / 96kHz, 384kHz, DSF up to D1024, others)
  4. Blue Coast Records
  5. Blue Moon
  6. Hifi Statement
  7. NativeDSD
  8. Oppo
  9. Soundkeeper Recordings
  10. Wechseldominante

See below the long list of high-quality music download websites, where you can get sound files for free or buy them.

Also read: Why hi-res audio in need?

 

Where can I download Hi Res music for free and buy albums [long website list]

Hi-res audio download sites

Download music and audio resources

DISCLAIMER: File formats, other details in the tables were at the sites upon publication. It can be non-correct, incomplete, changed, or disappear with time. The sites are looking legal in our opinion. But we can't guarantee it. Classification of resources is based on our opinion and may not be a reference for everybody.
It is not advertising or offer. Our site is affiliated with Audiophile Inventory only. We are not responsible for listed resources, quality records there and others.

 

See the long list of free and paid download websites with high resolution hifi music

Music site Description Free high resolution music downloads
2L Classical, jazz music up to DSD256 (256fs, 11.2 MHz), DXD, FLAC up to 352.8 kHz / 24 bit, MQA. Download free hi res audio sample(s) here
Free downloads may be temporary unavailable.
24bit96 Site about hi-res audio Test files in high resolution
7digital US, NO, DE | 24-bit FLAC sound recordings, pop, electronic, rock, jazz, classical, others  
Audiophile Inventory

Music and test signals in DSF files (up to DSD64, DSD128, DSD256, DSD512, DSD1024), FLAC 24 bit, 32 bit / 96 kHz, 384 kHz

Get free downloads
Anadyomene' Secret Rec. 96/24 FLAC audio files 24 bit / 96 kHz FLAC free downloads (studio master samples):
link #1
Audite WAV up to 44.1 kHz / 16 bit, FLAC up to 96 kHz / 24 bit, including surround. Classical music  
Acoustic Sounds DSD64(64fs, 2.8 MHz), FLAC up to 192 kHz / 24 bit  
Apple Music ALAC up to 24 bit / 192 kHz  
Archive.org Internet musical archive with hi-res samples Free HD music downloads
ATMA Classique Online classical hifi music store  
Audio Check Test sound files  
Bandcamp WAV, FLAC, AIFF, mp3, aac, etc., musical platform for various genres  

See the continuation of the list below...

Music site Description Free high resolution music downloads
Berliner Philharmoniker Recordings Blue-ray, SACD, downloads  
Bleep 24 bit musical files  
Blue Coast Records recordings up to DSD256(256fs, 11.2 MHz), WAV/FLAC up to 192 kHz Free hi res music downloads
Blue Moon Audio Technology up to 96 / 24 Free hifi downloads
Blue Note 44.1 kHz / 24 bit and others  
Boston Symphony Orchestra up to 192 / 24  
Bravura Records 44.1/24 Free music
Bruce Springsteen MQA, FLAC, DSD, others  
Burning Shed 24 bit and others Free musical samples
Cambridge Music Technology 24 bit Free hi res audio samples
Cardas Audio 96/24 FLAC and more Free musical files
Carpe Diem Records 24 / 192 and more  
Cedille Records FLAC 24-bit sound files and other Free download
Chandos Classical hifi music shop  
Channel Classics Records Lossless and DSD audio files  
Chasing the Dragon DSD [2.8, 5.6 MHz] and WAV 192kHz/24 downloadings  
Cybele Records
[unavailable]
96 / 24, DSD64, multichannel (5.0, 8.0), binaural Free test downloads
Dacapo Records FLAC 24 / 96 and more  
David Elias DSD 2.8MHz stereo and multichannel, MQA  
dCS Sample audiophile files Free file downloads
Dead.net FLAC 96/24 and more  
Design w Sound DSD/DXD/PCM Free hi-res samples
Digital Domain Calibration files, demonstration musical files, 24 bit Demo files
Downloads Now up to DSD256, PCM 192kHz  
Dr.Z's Test CD PCM, DSD files Download file
DSDfile.com DSD64, 128  
DSD Master DSD, PCM 24bit 352kHz Free samples
EClassical FLAC up to 88.2 kHz / 24 bit Free downloads
e-onkyo music Musical store Free samples
Footprint Records Stereo/multichannel, DXD, FLAC  
Gubemusic 24 / 96 and others  
Gumroad | Serieril DSD64, 256, 24-bit, others  
HackettSongs 24-bit audio and others  
HDtracks DSD, AIFF/ALAC/FLAC/WAV up to 352.8/24  
HD-Klassik
unavailable
DSD, 24/96, more Free test downloads
High Res Audio DSD (up to DSD128), FLAC, DXD, MQA and Multichannel up to 24-bit  
High Def Tape Transfers DSD, DXD, 24/192, MQA, multichannel, others  
Hifi Statement Magazine Free downloads:

#1 (WAV 32 bit / 384 kHz, DSD64/128/256)

#2 (WAV 24 bit / 192 kHz)
HiFi Track DSD, 24/192, others  
Hyperion Records FLAC 24/96, others  
ImmersAV
[unavailable]
24/96 and others  
iTrax WAV, FLAC, stereo, multichannel audio  
Kate Bush 24/96  
Less Loss Audio 24/96 sound downloads Free samples
Linn Records 192 kHz and others Free test files
London Symphony Orchestra SACD, FLAC 24/96, others  
Masters From Their Day Site about music production Free samples
MA Recordings SACD, 24 bit/176 kHz, others  
Marten 24/96 Downloads
Max Research 24/96, others Download free samples
Melba Recordings 24/96 FLAC, WMA, others Test files for download
MIR Creation 96/24, 192/24, DXD 352.8/24, DSD64, stereo, surround  
Mora 96, 384 kHz/24 bit, DSD64/128/256, others Test downloads
My Sound 48, 96, 192/24, others Free musical samples
Naim Records 24-bit lossless music  
NativeDSD up to DSD1024 (1024fs, 45.2 MHz), DXD. Classical, jazz, bigband, blues, chanson, rock, electronic, others Free sampler
Neu Records FLAC, ALAC, 24/96, 2.0, 5.1  
Nils Frahm 24-bit audio and others Free samples
Nugs.net FLAC-HD, ALAC-HD, MQA, DSD, others  
Oclassica WAV 24 bit / 96 kHz, others  
Oppo DSD64, MQA up to 352.8/24, FLAC up to 88.2/24, stereo/multichannel Free samples
OTOTOY 48 kHz / 24 bit, DSD, others  
ProStudioMasters Files up to DSD256 (256fs, 11.2 MHz), FLAC/AIFF up to 352.8/24. Alternative, jazz, pop, rock and others Download free hi res sampler
Qobuz up to 96/24  
Patricia Barber FLAC HD, ALAC HD (Apple Lossless) 24/96, others  
Pentatone Super Audio CD (SA-CD), downloads (F.A.Q.)  
Presto Classical FLAC up to 192/24, also physical mediums SACD, CD, DVD, Blue-Ray are available  
Rare Noise Records 24/96, others  
Real HD-audio Free tracks by email request Free samples by request
Reference Recordings WAV, FLAC, and Apple Lossless (ALAC) 88.2/24, 96/24, 176.4/24, 192/24, others  
Resonus Classics 24/96  
Sony Links to hi res download music stores Download free samples
Sound Gate Library Sound library 24/96
Soundkeeper Recordings Up to 192/ 24 Download samples
Sound Liaison DXD 352/24, DSD, FLAC 96 kHz, others  
Spotted Peccary Music 24-bit Apple lossless (ALAC) and FLAC, others  
The Spirit of Turtle 384 kHz, DSD256, stereo, multichannel and others  
trptk DXD Studio Master FLAC 352.8/24, 2.0, 5.1 surround, DSD and others  
YouTube Music Read details...  
Wechseldominante DSD64/256, PCM DSD free downloads
Willowhayne Records 24/96  

 

 

Download music free online resources (additional)

Name Description
Audiomack Platform for musicians and listeners
Beatstars To find free tracks, enter "free" in the site's search line
Datpiff Platform for musicians and music discovering
Free Music Archive Music library of legal audio downloads
Jamendo Music Platform for musicians and music discovering
Last.fm Music listening platform
Musopen Audio library
Noisetrade Platform for musicians and music discovering
ReverbNation Platform for musicians and music discovering
SoundClick Platform for musicians and music discovering. Lossless available (.wav, .aif)
SoundCloud Platform for musicians and music discovering


Other musical libraries and resources

Name Description
Envato Elements Music library
Epidemic Sound Music for a content
Sound Effects Sound effect archive
Undrgrnd Music sample library


 

Look for more information about:

 

 

High resolution and audiophile streaming

Look at the list of hi-res audio online resources >


 

What is Hi-Res audio? How it works? Why does High Resolution is need?

  • High-resolution audio (hi-res audio, high-definition audio) is digital music formats with resolutions above 16 bit/44.1 or 48 kHz, including 1-bit DSD (Direct Stream Digital).
     
  • Hi-res music is intended to get a better listener experience, than standard CD audio, due to higher sound quality.
     
  • Hi-Res audio is one of widespread terms between audiophiles, hi-fi vendors and music-production professionals.

For a better understanding of the hi-resolution, let’s consider a painting.

  • Analog recording is like painting with coarse strokes. It’s beautiful and has its own artistic nature.
    However, it is not too close to actual original picture in our eyes.
     
  • CD audio quality is like to color photo made with old an camera. Some blurring is there. We can see not all subtle details. However, it’s like more to original object.
     
  • High resolution is like to photo in modern digital camera and printed with professional quality. We can see all original image details. No blurring is there.


If these modern camera and printer are made is not good, the result may be worse than the old equipment, which we compared with CD above.

Does hi-res audio really sound better than CD? There is no simple answer to the question. Keep reading to know details.

What's the highest-quality audio format? [lossy, CD, Hi-Res, vinyl, tape]
click to enlarge to see more details

In the picture, we can see approximate artistic visualization of sound format differences. It is not a real distinction. It matters, how these musical systems are done. Nevertheless, we can see general trends.

In instance, analog systems corrupt sound:

  • "Wow and flutter" is tone floating due to fluctuations in the rotation speed of tape or vinyl recording.
  • "Tape compression" is a non-linear distortion close to overload level of input signal. It reduces output level softly when the input level is increased linearly.

Some colorization can cause a more "nice" or "interesting" "look" for analog mediums, if compare with digital sources. Despite the fact that the last ones are closer to the original acoustical source objectively.

When vinyl recording is produced from studio tape, their distortions are merged in a complicated way.

High resolution has not these "analog" issues. However, digital recordings may have aliases. They are shown as shifted copies of original signal; in the picture: shifted semitransparent images.


Watch and share: Analog vs Digital Audio
 

 

Why does Hi-Res audio needed?

Hi-res audio was designed to provide higher sound quality and a better listener experience, than standard CD audio. Read below: is the aim achieved or not?

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

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

 

Can humans hear in hi-res?

According to 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.

However, high-resolution audio may solve some distortion issues in the audible range. I.e. high-res solves equipment issues.

The author wants to remind, high-resolution doesn't guarantee improvements. It gives abilities only. Bad-made HD system can sound worse than a good-made 44.1 / 16 one.

Below read details about whether can humans hear hi-res audio or not.

 

Can humans hear 24-bit audio?

Below we consider how bit depth increases impact sound quality.

In theory, 24-bit has lower distortions than 16-bit resolution.

Practically, there are many factors, that may waste the advantages of the higher resolution.

Keep reading.

 

In istance, a picture is assembled from 100x100 squares and has a size like a home window.

This picture is well visible from 10 steps. The image looks smooth.

We want to increase the distance range (loudness range). I.e., we want to see the picture from both 10 and 100 steps.

So, we should increase the picture size to the size of the home wall.

After it, the square sizes become larger.

But, we want to keep a good look at the smaller 10-step distances too.
And we should use smaller squares in greater numbers: 300 x 300, in instance.

So, to see from 10 steps and 100 ones (both quiet and loud sounds), we need a higher 300x300 resolution instead initial 100x100 one.

 

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 musical system.
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. But, according to the current common sound theory, the audible range does matter in any case. And, high-res doesn't add something to it. It is worth remembering, that a high sampling rate allows for solving some distortion issues in the audible range.

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

 

 

What is the highest quality audio?

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

For understanding how implementation impacts audio quality, 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 quality.

Еру same things are in the audio. Even if we discard ultrasound, audio format with higher resolution should provide better sound 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, engineers do not particularly worry about digital processing into a digital-to-analog converter. On the other hand, there are other factors, that can increase or reduce audio quality.

The noise floor may be considered as a water level in a pool.

An audio signal is like a ball. The upper ball part may be visible the same way when moving from one poolside to another one. It's like the same signal level at any frequency from zero to the highest one.

The different signal levels are different altitudes above the water level.
Like a denser thing falling deeper under the water. In instance, wood floats, but an iron block sinks.

In the same way, the ball may move underwater.

The water in the pool is opaque. And we can't see the ball under the water.

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

Resume

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

Read more:

 

Digital recording issues

We haven't full control of a recording level. As example, in classical music recordings. Digital recording demands some tricks to avoid analog and analog-to-digital conversion overload distortions, that can not be fixed after the record.

 

Overload is the limitation of output level growth when input level of a device or software continues to increase.

Let's look at an example:

We have an empty pot (audio unit: device or software).
And we are beginning to pour water into the pot (the input level is growing).


The level of the water (output level) is growing. It becomes higher and higher.

When the level achieves the highness of the pot (maximum signal level for the unit), water overflows.
And, after it, the pot's water level is constant despite how much water will be poured (input level growing).

If we take the pot (audio unit) with higher walls, overflow is coming after more input water volume (higher input level).



 

ADC overload
ADC overload issues

However, reducing the analog signal level at analog-to-digital converter (ADC) input can cause a worse signal-to-noise ratio. Especially, for low-level fragments of a musical piece.

So, ADC should have a wider dynamic range, to reduce the risk of damaging the recorded signal.

The inherent noise of a digital signal is called quantization noise. It rises due to the error in measurement of the analog signal that is digitized.

Analog-to-digital converter (ADC) has electrical circuits that produce electrical noise.

In general, the quantization noise should be lower, than ADC's electrical noise.

Example:

ADC's maximum level is 0 dB and the noise floor is -120 dB.

We record a symphony orchestra with 2 microphones.

To avoid overload, we reduce the input analog level of ADC. It gives some loudness reserve. But it degrades the signal-to-noise ratio of quiet musical fragments.
A lesser reserve is more the signal degradation. It happens due to a lower signal-to-noise ratio. The ratio defines waveform purity.

 

Lower bit depth

If we use a lower bit depth resolution, it can cause quantization noise, that may be higher than the electrical noise floor of the ADC.

In instance, 16 bits cause a quantization noise floor of about -100...110 dB. It's above -120 dB of electrical noise.

And such signal-to-noise ratio falls and audio quality gets more degradation.

 

Digital Signal Processing

Digital signal processing (DSP) is any kind of manipulations with digital signal: gain control, equalizer, etc.

Resolution of further digital signal processing may be increased, to "transparent" work with sound for DSP designers.

Read more details in "Does 24 bit sound better than 16 bit?" part below.

There are many questions about the necessity of hi-resolution musical recordings.

One people thinks, that "excessive" resolution wastes disk space only.
Other people think, that such records are needed to produce ultrasound.

But, in the author's opinion, high-res may be useful due to other reasons. Read "Myths" part below.

High-resolution audio file formats
(sample rates)

 

High resolution audio formats (sampling rates)

 

http://hi-res-music-formats-bit-depthHigh-resolution music file formats
(bit depths)

 

High resolution audio formats (bit depths)

Opinion, that high res gives advantages always, is not correct for all cases.
Sometimes people, who play records with high sample rates, stumble with unexpected noise or other unwanted sounds.
In "Myths" part below you can watch the video with example.

 

Watch and share: What is DSD? Video explanation
 

 

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

Hi resolution may be played back at:

  • computers,
  • portable audio players,
  • mobile phones [smartphones],
  • tablet computers,
  • music servers,
  • SACD and BlueRay players,
  • etc.
High resolution audio file player software list

 

Separate [DAC-headphone amplifier] device may be used to connect to a mobile phone, portable player, computer and etc.

There are high res musical players Mac, Windows [PC], iPhone, Android.

There is Bluetooth for high-resolution music [aptX™ HD] may be used. It supports 48 kHz / 24 bit LPCM data.

 

Can phones play hi res audio?

Mobile phones on Android and iOS (smartphones) can play hi-res audio. You can install audio player software and listen to music.

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

 

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.

List of converter software for high resolution audio files

 

What is after hi-res sound?

High-resolution audio 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...

 

How many GB is 1000 songs?

Let's suggest the average song is 3 minutes.

Approximate size of 1000 songs (stereo audio 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%.

 

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 improve sound quality.

Bit depth in simple words

We can imagine music as a puzzle picture.

Bit depth is like the size of the puzzle element.

Higher bit depth it's like smaller elements.

When bit depth is discussed, the human hearing range (about 130 dB from inaudible to pain) is taken as the reference value.

16-bit resolution has a difference of about 96 ... 110 dB between the lowest (noise floor) and highest peak levels.
It looks like enough to cover almost the full 130 dB range.

However, the range doesn't consider sound quality aspects.

A low hearing threshold is 0 dB. It's a quiet rustle of leaves, as an example. Such sound has its own signal/noise ratio too.

As an example, we want to provide proper sound quality (like tape's 60 dB) at 0 dB audible level.

So we can add about 60 dB to 130 dB (total of about 180 dB) to provide allowable quality at the lowest levels.

Why is depth higher than 16-bit need?
Look at the signal/noise ratio of the lowest loudness (quiet instruments)

Why bit depth, higher than 16 bit, is need

 

It is not exact numbers, because the author doesn't have a result of researches. But we can get it as the hypothesis.

So sample depths, higher, than 16 bit, may be needed.

Direct Stream Digital solves the dynamic range issue via noise shaping.

EXAMPLE

ISSUE:

Let's low levels of a musical piece have a bad (low) signal/noise ratio.

We want to improve the listening experience of these piece places. And we boost volume control.

And we begin to listen to these places better way. But noise is boosted together with music. And it degrades the sound.

SOLUTION:

To reduce the noise in quiet places of the piece, we should reduce noise level there. If bit depth is bottle-neck, we can do nothing.

But bit depth reserve gives us the ability to boost of record level:

  • without noise level increasing (if DAC is noise bottle-neck); or
  • signal noise of the quiet places is good enough even for higher loudness.

 

Why sample rate above 44.1 kHz is need

Why hi-res is need [sample rate]

Sample rate 44100 Hz:

  • cover audible band 0 ... 20 000 Hz and
  • have 2050 Hz reserve for the transient band of low-frequency filter (in ADC and DAC).

However, the reserve is abstractly considered. Real-life filters are analog. They have a wide transient band.

To solve the wide transient band issue, digital filters, higher sample rates, oversampling are used.

But digital filters are not ideal and have:

  • ringing audio (property of digital filters);
  • limitation of the minimal size of the transient band (due to limited computing resources for example).

To reduce "hard" efforts to achieve a proper filter transient band, higher sample rates (including DSD) may be used.

Read details issues of sample rate and filters:

 

 

Myths

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

High res is not intended for record and playback of ultrasound.

ADC and DAC have an analog filter at input and output respectively.

Analog filters are not steep and can't suppress aliases properly in allowable band 20 000...22 050 Hz for 44 100 Hz sample rate.

Higher sample rates allow placing aliases at higher frequencies, in a better suppression range of the analog filter.

The issue may be partially solved via:

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

However, an issue with the quality of filtering may be there due to limited computing resources of hardware.

Resume: high resolution is intended for analog filters in ADC and DAC. And ultrasound playback is a consequence of higher sample rates. Ultrasound playback is not the target of hi-res records.

 

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 sines with frequencies above 16 ... 22 kHz. And there are no surprises for multiple trials.

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 didn't find a significant difference between samples with and without very high-frequency components. However, the authors of the research neither confirm nor deny a general human possibility to discriminate music with and without the components.

 

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

 

Some of the studies show, that we may have a brain response to ultrasound. But, it is unknown, how ultrasound impact to sound quality.

 

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 digital 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 implement in better quality (see myth #1).

 

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

For the comparison, we must have pure samples, that are cleared of other factors.

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

However, the main issue is there, that it is impossible to record "clean samples".

As an example, we split a signal from microphone to 2 audio interfaces, that work in different resolutions. But we can't split into two completely identical signals. The identity of two interfaces is a more sophisticated task than splitting.

When a single sample (music album) is converted to test with software, we don't know whether we compare: converters or resolution.

But, even, when converted samples are played back at single DAC, it may work in different modes (electrical circuit, digital 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

 

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,
  • quality of resolution conversion;
  • etc.

Format/resolution is one of them only. No warranties, that DSD1024 will sound better than standard PCM 44/16.

 

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.

But, practically, musical hardware and, sometimes, software have non-linear distortions. It can cause audible products from inaudible high-frequency components (intermodulation distortions).

In the educational video below, noise removal via ultrasound filtering is shown.

Watch and share: How to remove audible noise of high resolution files
 

 

Read more about optimization of audio >

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

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

 

Myth #7. Resampling can't improve sound quality

If consider altering of resolution (resampling) as itself, it is lossy processing always.

After upsampling no information is added. Conversely, we have losses, as we told above.

But we can't consider a recording without considering of playback musical system.

And the system may have different distortions for various modes (combinations of sample rates and bit depths).

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

To reduce conversion losses, audio conversion algorithm should have minimal distortions.

However, it needs to remember, that the sampling rate increase doesn't give advantages on its own.
Theoretically, in some cases, reducing a sample rate may make sound better.
In other cases, no audible difference between resolutions.
Each case should be learned individually.

Read more about sound quality improvement >

 

 

High resolution audio PCM

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

Also, 32/64-bit float formats are high-resolution formats. But these formats are intended for music production and scientific purposes rather.

Read details below in "Bit depth" and "Sample rate" parts.

Read more about PCM formats >

 

 

DSD

DSD (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 as DSF/DFF/SACD ISO files, SACD optical disk.

Read:

Watch and share: What is DSD? Video explanation
 

 

 

DXD

DXD (Digital eXtreme Definition) is a PCM format with a high sample rate, derived from Direct Stream Digital.
DXD contains a low part of Direct Stream Digital's spectrum with DSD noise "hump".
Only low part of the DXD spectrum contains useful musical signal.
Noise level is growing to higher frequencies.

As rule, Digital eXtreme Definition has sample rates 352 800 Hz and above and 24-bit and above resolution.

Primarily, DXD format is intended to edit DSD.
However, there are PCM lossless formats that may be used like DXD.
Read DSD editing details...

However, not all PCM files with such sample rates are DXD. Traditional Pulse Code Modulation has no significant noise level at high frequencies.

Playback devices can filter high-frequency noise to save dynamic range and avoid intermodulation distortions.

More about DXD here.

 

 

Audio data compression for audiophiles

 

FLAC

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

 

DST

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

 

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. Because the "classical" definition of the "lossless" term means "no binary information losses after compression and restoration of an audio file". Read details here.

Also read about MQA.

MQA official site

 

 

PCM vs DSD vs DXD vs Analog sound quality

In the first approach, DSD, DXD, PCM formats give the same opportunities to designers of a music system.

A music 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 Digital eXtreme Definition have the "hump".

So, for PCM, it's not necessary to suppress the high-frequency noise.

On the other hand, we don't hear ultrasound (see details below in "Myths"). And this noise is not audible.

Nevertheless, musical system hardware and, sometimes, software have non-linear distortions.
The distortions can cause the generation of audible products (noise, as rule) by inaudible high-frequency noise. It's called intermodulation distortions. See more here >

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


Watch and share: DSD vs FLAC [Format Comparison]
 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

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

 

 

What is hi res music? What does hi res audio mean?

Hi-res music is music that is produced and stored in hi-resolution formats. They provide a sample rate more than 48 kHz, bit depth is 24-bit and higher or 1-bit Direct Stream Digital).

Read details...

 

Is hi res audio gimmick?

No. Hi-res audio solves 44.1 kHz /16-bit issues. However, a high sampling rate and bit depth doesn't guarantee higher quality. It gives just potential possibilities.

Read more...

 

Is high res audio worth it for gaming?

High-res audio recordings can "open" better sound quality of your audio system, if it is capable of 24-bit/88 kHz resolution and above. However, there are no warranties, that hi-res bring better sound.

Read details...

 

What is the highest sound quality?

There is no limit to sound quality. As rule, the quality is estimated by distortion level. Modern digital systems are close to the limit of improvement by distortions.

Digital systems are moved far ahead in this matter. However, there is the next step of enhancement.

Read more:

 

What is the best audio quality?

Sound quality has 2 definitions:

  1. distortion level;
  2. subjective estimation of sound "beauty".

Distortion level estimates the degrading of sound of an original. But not only integrated level of distortions does matter. The character of the distortions makes an audio quality that is subjectively perceived. This phenomenon is studied by psychoacoustics.

Subjective estimation can prefer more distorted audio as "better sounding". Because some kinds of distortions can bring "warmth", "coziness", etc. of sound.

Resume: The best sound is zero distortions. But some distortions can "enhance" sound "beauty" ("colorization"). Analog sound is more colorized and it may be considered more pleasant.

Lossless audio formats (WAV, FLAC, ALAC, DSF, DFF, etc.) provide the highest sound quality.

Lossy formats (mp3, AAC, etc.) allow for saving more space on a hard disk. But, some audio information losses are there. However, high-bitrate (256 kbps and more) formats have a sounding that is very close to lossless ones.

Audio quality of both recording and playback units is essential.

 

Which audio quality is best?

The best audio quality is provided by lossless audio formats.

Read details...

 

What is hi res audio certified?

About hi-res certification read here.

 

 

 

 

F.A.Q. sound quality improvement

 

 

Is upsampling reasonable?

It depends on quality of upsampling and your playback audio 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 sound system (target lossless audio format is recommended: FLAC, WAV, AIFF, DSF).

Read more...

 

 

 

 

 

F.A.Q. hear hi-res audio

 

 

Can you hear Hi Res audio?

Hi-res audio gives abilities to get more transparent sound due to lesser distortions. You can try this way to check it...

However, due to non-linear distortions of some equipment, high-resolution records can cause additional audible issues (noise, as example).

See video...

 

Can you hear difference between CD and Hi-Res?

For certain equipment and recordings, difference between hi-res and CD may be audible. But, there is no technically correct way of comparison.

 

How can I hear high resolution audio?

High-resolution audio potentially allows for reducing distortions of recording and playback. But actual result depends on audio unit/system implementation.

 

Does high res audio sound better?

Theoretically, high-res causes lesser distortions than CD-audio. Practically, we should consider given audio units, software and recordings.

Read more...

 

Does hi-res audio sound better?

It is not fairly for every case. Hi-res audio has potential abilities to achieve lesser distortions. And a lot of cases show that high resolution sounds better than 44.1 kHz / 16 bit.

Also, it's necessary to remember, that listening comparison between CD and high-res audio is not technically correct.

Read more...


 

 

 

 

 

 

F.A.Q. audio format

 

 

 

 

 

What is the highest quality format for audio?

Highest quality music formats are lossless formats, that are capable save original digital data without losses.

Question "what is better 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 structure.

Read more...

 

What is the best hi res audio format?

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

Read details...

 

What is the best audio format for sound quality?

Lossless sound formats (WAV, FLAC, AIFF, ALAC, DSF, DFF, others) provide storing of audio stuff without losses.

So, these formats can be considered as the best by the sound quality.

Read more details...

 

What is the highest quality digital audio format?

To achieve highest sound quality, digital lossless audio formats are recommended:  FLAC, WAV, ALAC, AIFF, DSF, DFF, etc.

Read details...

 

What is the highest quality music format?

Highest quality music format is one of lossless codecs:  FLAC, WAV, AIFF, ALAC, WavPack, DSF, DFF, SACD ISO, and others.

Read more...

 

Which is the highest quality audio format?

Audio format can't improve the sound quality. But the format can keep the quality and bring proper resolution, which allows an audio equipment use better way. Lossless formats (WAV, FLAC, DSF, etc.) are the best decision to achieve these aims.

Read details:

 

What is highest quality audio format?

To get highest quality you can consider WAV, FLAC and DSD audio formats. Also, you can use high-quality lossy format, in instance, MQA.

Read details...

 

What music format has the best sound quality?

Lossless music formats give the best sound quality.

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 audio format for you...

 

Why do LPs sound better than CDs?

LP (vinyl) is mechanical system with 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 lossless format, that fully keep audio quality of a recording. mp3 save space, but lose some sound information.

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

General recommendation is 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 audio with identical sound quality. However, some discussion is there...

 

 

 

 

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 actual for mobile devices.

Read details...

 

Is lossless audio better?

Theoretically, lossless audio 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 format.

Read more...

 

 

 

 

 

F.A.Q. audio resolution

 

 

How many kHz is CD quality?

CD quality is 44.1 kHz (41000 Hz) / 16 bit.

Read more...

 

Is high res audio better than CD?

There are no abstract high-res and CD (44.1/16). We can oly compare given recording on given music system.

Read more...

 

Is 16 bit FLAC better than CD?

Sound quality of 16 bit FLAC is the same CD for 44.1 kHz sampling rate.

 

Is CD quality 16 or 24 bit?

CD quality is 44 100 Hz sample rate and 16 bit.

 

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.

 

Is 24bit audio worth it?

In contrast to 16 bit, 24 bit audio has noise floor reserve for moderm DAC.

Also, 24 bit is better, than 16 bit, for music with high dynamic range. Read more...

 

Does 24-bit sound better? Is 16 or 24 bit FLAC better?

24 bit get potential abilites for better sound.

Read more...

 

Is 24 bit audio better, than 16 bit?

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 details...

 

Does 24 bit sound better than 16 bit?

24-bit gives technical advantages to better sound quality. But it's not that simple.

Read more...

 

Is 32 bit audio good?

32 bit audio may be closer studio original (32-bit float, as example). Such resolution is the good for manipulation with audio, especially 32- and 64-bit float. For a DAC float point should be converted to integer value.

24-bit has precision reserve for electrical noise and required dynamic range. So we have options: 24- or 32-bit integer format for DAC playback.

In the general case, we should not expect a better quality of 32-bit than 24-bit.

 

Is 32bit better than 24bit?

As rule, 24 and 32 bit's quantization noise is placed below electrical noise floor of ADC and DAC.

32 bit has great noise floor reserve comparing 24 bit.

It's recommended to use 32-bit files for music production and other audio file processing.

Actual sound quality of playback for 24- and 32-bit files may depend on DAC device and music player implementation.

 

Is 48KHz audio good?

48 kHz gives some technical advantages comparing 44.1 kHz. But, there are many factors, impacting audio quality, in addition.

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.

Read details...

 

Is 24 bit/192kHz good?

24 bit / 192 kHz gives technical abilities to improve sound quality, comparing 44.1 kHz / 16 bit.

However, recording, device and software implementation does matter.

Read more...

 

Is 192kHz better than 44.1 KHz?

Technically, 192 kHz sampling rate allows building analog filter of DAC better than 44.1 kHz.

It may reduce distortions and improve dynamic range.

Read more...

 

 

 

F.A.Q. bitrate

 

 

Does higher Kbps mean better quality?

In first approach, bitrate (estimated in kbps, kBit per second) means how many information file contains about second.

Lossy files are size compressed source files. For lossy files, 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 quality is primary key of audio quality 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 quality bitrate is 1411 kbps ≈ 44100 kHz * 16 bit * 2 channels / 1024.

 

How many kbps is CD?

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

 

What Kbps is high quality audio?

As rule, high quality audio uses 250 and more kbps.

Read more...

 

What is the best kbps for audio quality?

There is no such term by technical reasons.

In instance:

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

Read more about audio formats...

 

Is 128kbps good for music?

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

Read details...

 

Which is better 128k or 256k MP3?

As rule, 256 kbps is more recommended for high quality music.

Read more...

 

Which music quality is best 128k or 256k?

256 kbps is better than 128 kbps by sound quality. Read more...

 

Is 320kbs CD quality?

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

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?

If you are need significantly keep space at hard disk of your device and high sound quality, 320 kbps is proper bitrate.

Read more...

 

Is 320 Kbps MP3 good enough?

320 Kbps bitrate of mp3 format is estimated close to CD quality. Some listeners can't distinguish these formats.

Check out review what the best audio format...

 

How do I get 320kbps audio?

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

 

Is 320kbs CD-quality?

320 kbps is lossy compressed audio stream. CD is lossless audio stream with 1411 kbps bitrate.

Read more...

 

Is 320Kbps good sound quality?

Lossy size compression 320 Kbps has very subtle difference with lossless 44.1 kHz / 16 bit. Some people consider the distinction as unlistenable.

Read more about audio formats...

 

Is 320kbps high-quality?

Yes. 320 Kbps bitrate provides high audio quality.

See details...

 

 

 

 

 

F.A.Q. where download and listen to hi-res music

 

 

Where can I listen to hi-res audio?

See list of online hi-res streaming services here.

 

Where can I download hi-res audio?

Download free DSF and FLAC music files...

Check paid and free hi-res music download websites...

 

How do I download high-resolution audio?

You can download high-resolution audio files here...

Also, HD files are sold and available for free at these online stores...

 

Where can I get hi-res audio files?

Get hi-res audio files here:

 

Where do you get hi-res audio?

Hi-res audio files you can get at:

 

Where can I get hi-res music for free?

There are number sites where you can get hi-res music for free:

 

Can you download hi-res audio?

Yes. You can download hi-res audio files at these web pages:

 

How can I download hi-res audio for free? Where can I download hi-res audio for free?

You can download hi-res audio for free here:

 

Where can I download high quality music for free?

Get free high quality music samples...

Look at paid and free download site list of high quality music...

 

Where can I download HQ music for free?

Free HQ music may be downloaded here:

 

Where can I download HiFi music? Where can I download Hi Fi music for free?

Check free hi-fi music samples...

See download site list of high fidelity music,,,

 

Where can I download high resolution music for free?

Check out free DSF and FLAC music samples...

Look at free hi-res music download site list here...

 

Where can I download hi-res music for free?

You can download hi-res music for free at these resources:

 

How can I download high resolution music for free?

To download high-resolution music for free, visit the page...

Also, check these download websites...

 

How can I get hi-res music for free? How can I get free hi-res music?

Check free high-resolution music for downloading...

Search for free hi-res music sites here...

Alternatively, try convert music files to hi-res formats...

 

How do I download hi-res music?  How do I download high resolution music?

Download free DSF and FLAC high-resolution files...

Look at where you can buy and download free hi-res music here...

 

Where can I download high-resolution music?

To download high-resolution music files, visit these webpages:

 

How do I get high resolution audio?

You can get high resolution audio files here:

Also, you can convert sound files to high-resolution audio...

 

How do I download hi-res songs?

Download free high resolution music samples...

Look at music download site list for hi-res audio files here...

 

How can I download high resolution songs?

To download high resolution songs you can visit listed online resources...

 

How can I download high quality songs? Where can I find high quality songs?

Download free high quality music files...

Look at high quality songs here...

 

How do I download HQ music?

HQ (high quality) music may be downloaded from HD audio stores, platforms, and other resources.

 

Where can I download CD quality music?

See where you can download CD quality and hi-res music...

 

How do I get lossless music?

Download free lossless music...

Also, look at where to download lossless music...

 

Where can I listen to lossless music for free?

You can download and listen to free lossless music at these websites:

 

Where do audiophiles get their music?

Audiophile music may be downloaded from special websites, that provides high quality music.

Check HD music samples...

See where to download audiophile grade music...

 

How do I get 24 bit audio?

You can get download 24 bit audio files here...

 

How can I download high quality music for free?

You can download free high-quality music at these websites:

 

Where can I download high quality music?

See the list of free and commercial audio downloads...

 

Where can I get high quality music?

You can get high quality music at these sites...

 

Where can I download free songs?

Download free music samples...

See list of free downloads >

 

What is the best free music download site?

Look at our top of free music download sites >

 

Where can I download high quality audio songs?

Get free HD music samples...

Songs in high quality you can download on sites that listed here...

 

How can I download lossless music for free?

Download free lossless music samples...

You can find websites to download lossless music here...

 

Where can I download high bitrate music?

You can download high bitrate music at these sites...

 

 

 

 

F.A.Q. where get FLAC music

 

 

Is FLAC music free?

FLAC is open-source (free) codec. However, music, that coded by FLAC, may be free or not.

You can download free music (FLAC)...

Check out free downloads (FLAC)...

 

Where do I get FLAC?
Where can I get FLAC files?

You can get FLAC files here:

 

Where can I download FLAC songs, music for free?

You can download FLAC songs and music for free here:

 

How do I download FLAC?

Visit for free downloads of FLAC music files...

Also, check out these download links...

 

Where can I download FLAC music for free?

Check out free FLAC downloads...

See list of free FLAC music downloads here...

 

Where can I find FLAC music for free?

You can find free FLAC music files at these resources:

 

Where can I download FLAC music?

You can download FLAC music by the links:

 

Where can I get FLAC music?

You can get FLAC music files at these websites:

 

How do I get FLAC audio?

You can get FLAC audio downloads here:

 

Where can I download FLAC albums for free?

To download FLAC albums for free, try check out archive.org.

 

Where can I get free FLAC? How can I get FLAC music for free? Where can I get free FLACs?

Check out free FLAC downloads...

Also, you can download FLAC for free at the sites. Pay attention to archive.org.

 

Where can I download FLAC albums?

To FLAC album download, you can visit archive.org website.

Also check these resources...

 

Where can I download FLAC files?

You can download FLAC files at the page...

Also, check out the website list...

 

Where can I listen to FLAC music?

Listen to free FLAC music files...

Download FLAC music at the websites...

 

 

 

 

 

F.A.Q. where download music

 

 

How do I download MP3 320kbps?

Look at mp3 320kbps at downloading resources...

 

 

 

 

F.A.Q. where get hi-res music legally

 

 

How can I download free music legally?

  1. Some labels (recording studios) have free samples at official sites.
  2. Sometimes coupons for free music downloads may be placed in pack of audio equipment.
  3. Audio magazines can provide samples.
  4. Services for promoting musicians.
  5. Others

See the list of free music downloads >

 

Where can I download music legally?

Check out the list of legal (by our opinion) music download websites >

 

Where can I download free music legally?

Download free music...

Check download sites...

Check hi-res stores...

 

Where can I download FLAC legally?

You can download legal FLACs for free here...

Also, you can check out FLAC for free or buy at these websites.

 

 

 

 

F.A.Q. where buy hi-res music

 

 

Where can I buy hi-res songs?

You can buy hi-res songs online at websites...

 


 

 

 

 

F.A.Q. FLAC sound quality

 

 

Is FLAC hi-res audio?

FLAC can contain high-resolution music (sample rate more 48 kHz, bit depth 24 bit and higher or DSD in DoP).

 

What frequency is FLAC?

FLAC supports up to 384 kHz standard sampling rates. Read more...

 

What sample rate is FLAC?

FLAC supports sample rate up to 384 kHz and bit depth up to 32 bit.

 

Is FLAC high quality?

Yes. FLAC is capable to store high quality music.

Read more...

 

What is 24 bit FLAC?

It is audio file in FLAC format with bit depth (precision of a sample) 24 bit. Higher bit depth give lesser noise ability. 24 bit cover modern DAC noise abilities.

 

Is FLAC 16 or 24 bit?

FLAC provides integer bit depths: 16 bit, 24 bit, 32 bit. You can check it in file properties, as example in converter or player software. Read more about FLAC...

 

Does FLAC support 24 bit?

Yes. FLAC supports 24 bit. Read more...

 

Is 24 bit FLAC better than 16-bit?

24-bit FLAC provides better potential sound-quality abilities than 16-bit one.

Read more...

 

Is FLAC 32 bit?

The standard program library of Free Losless Audio Codec may do not support FLAC 32 bit.

However, FLAC is 32 bit capable.

Read details...

 

Is FLAC lossless?

Yes. FLAC is lossless PCM audio format, that provides the binary identity of original and uncompressed information.

Read more details >

 

Can FLAC be uncompressed?

Yes. FLAC support uncompressed audio content.

Read details...

 

What level of FLAC compression is best?

FLAC is designed for lossless size compression of sound files. So, maximal compression ratio (minimum file size) is main criterion. Because sound quality doesn't depend on the level. It is level 9.

However, higher compression level consumes more time without dramatical improvement of compression ratio. And, if it's critical, compression level may be reduced.

There is opinion, that real-time FLAC uncompression causes additional distortions. But there is no safe evidences. And uncompressed FLAC is preferable.

Read more...

 

Why are FLAC files so big?

It is a technical limitation for lossless formats (original and uncompressed audio are binary identical).

 

How many GB is a FLAC song?

We can approximatelly estimate FLAC size compression ratio about of 60%.

Example:

Uncompressed audio is 2 ch x 16 bit x 44100 Hz = 176 KBytes per second.

Thus, compressed FLAC is 176 KBytes/s * 60% = 106 KBytes per second.

 

What is the highest quality FLAC?

Maximum sound quality (resolution audio) of FLAC is 32 bit / 384 kHz.

 

Is FLAC really worth it?

FLAC is a high-resolution format for audiophile music. Its' main advantages are:

  • lossless ability (size-compressed and uncompressed audio data are binary identical);
  • wide metadata compatibility with many playback software and hardware.

However, it you need support of a hi-res above 32 bit, or float-point formats, or sampling rate above 384 kHz, WAV RF64 may solve the issue.

 

Is FLAC the best audio quality?

Technically, FLAC has limitations in resolution audio. However, the resolution gives potential-only design abilities to reduce distortions. And using of super-high sampling rates and bit depths is no guaranteed way to achieve sound quality. Audio-item design is the main matter.

Also, DSD format allows solving some issues of PCM analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog conversion.

Read more:

 

Is FLAC the best audio format?

FLAC is one of the lossless formats, like WAV, AIFF, APE, DSF, SACD, etc.

FLAC has sample rate and bit depth limitations: 32 bit / 384 kHz. WAV and AIFF are more flexible.

But FLAC has wide support (including metadata) of software and hardware and lossless size compression.

Read about:

 

Does FLAC sound better?

FLAC sounds good as it may be possible. However, Free Lossless Audio Codec is limited by sampling rate and bit-depth. Other lossless formats .wav, .dsf, .dff may bring abilities to achieve higher sound quality.

Read more...

 

Is CD quality better than FLAC?

FLAC supports both CD quality and high-resolution audio. FLAC contains lossless stuff for both cases. It means CD's music keep full quality. Read more...

 

Is CD better than FLAC?

FLAC give more abilities to achieve lower distortion level. Read more...

 

Is FLAC better than CD?

Technically, Free Lossless Audio Codec allows achieving better signal/noise ratio, than a CD.

But actual sound quality depends on the implementation of audio playback system and recordings.

 

Does FLAC sound worse than WAV?

No. FLAC sounds the same WAV, if playback is correct. There is opinion, that WAV is sounding better. But no safe evidence are there. Read more...

 

Is FLAC or WAV better? Which is better WAV or FLAC?

WAV is more flexible format than FLAC. It allows higher sampling rates and bit depths. About sound quality discussion and details read here...

 

Is FLAC better than WAV?

FLAC is lossless format like WAV. They are same for audio quality. FLAC provides better compatibility with software and hardware for metadata, file size (more 2 ... 4 GB). However, WAV provides sampling rates up to 2^32 Hz with 1 Hz step.

 

Is FLAC better than hi-res? Is Hi-Res better than FLAC?

FLAC may contain high resolution audio...

 

Is FLAC better than MP3? What is FLAC vs MP3?

FLAC is a lossless codec up to 384 kHz 32 bit. mp3 is lossy 44.1/48 kHz 16 bit. So, FLAC is better than mp3 by sound quality anyway.

However, mp3 in 320 Kbps gives significant size compression comparing FLAC with negligible quality losses.

Read more...

 

Is FLAC really better than MP3?

MP3's sound quality is defined by bitrate. At high bitrates (above 200 kbps), audible sound quality is very close lossless formats.

However, if listen to better sound for FLAC, use it. Except cases, where song number at a file storage is critical and FLAC can't satisfy you.

Read more...

 

Is FLAC better than mp3 320 Kbps?

FLAC is lossless formats. mp3 is lossy. So, technically, FLAC is better mp3 in any bitrate.

But the difference between FLAC and mp3 320 Kbps is very subtle, that may be inaudible.

Read more details...

 

Is FLAC better than 320 Kbps?

Lossless audio formats like FLAC are technically better than lossy ones independently bitrate.

However, high bitrates 320 kbps and others are very close lossless quality.

Read more...

 

Is FLAC better than ALAC?

For sound quality, FLAC or ALAC is not mattered. But compatibility with audio player issues may be there.

 

Is there anything better than FLAC?

FLAC, as a lossless codec, keeps and restores the full quality of music stuff. However, FLAC has limitations by sampling rate (384 kHz) and bit depth (up to 32 bit, integer only). For end-user distribution, it may be considered as enough.

But, sampling rate and bit depth of an audio file doesn't define sound quality separately without recording and playback equipment.

And a higher sampling rate may bring sound quality advantages potentially. For instance, WAV format has sample-rate limitation up to 232 Hz. However, ordinary WAV is limited by length (232 bytes). The issue is solved via WAV RF64 format.

RF64 has narrower compatibility with software and hardware comparing FLAC, which also is capable with audio-stuff size of more 232 bytes.

DSD files (DSF, DFF, SACD ISO) provides alternative audio coding, that has its own advantages and disadvantages: simpler audio system in some cases but higher file size and editing issues.

Read more about audio formats (codecs)...

 

How can you tell a fake FLAC?

Lack of spectrum content above 16 kHz may be caused mp3 compression of source of a FLAC file.

But still, there is no 100% safe methods detecting of FLAC source: mp3 or lossless audio. Because, processing can causes frequency distortions. In instance, audio optimization, cut all above 20 kHz to reduce some playback distortion for hi-res audio systems.

 

How do I make FLAC music?

You can convert audio files to FLAC...

 

 

 

 

F.A.Q. DSD audio

 

 

What is DSD audio?

Direct Stream Digital is high resolution audio format based on 1-bit sigma delta-modulation to achieve proper signal/noise ratio.

Read more details >

 

Is DSD better than FLAC?

Final result depends on the implementation and played back recording.

Read more details...

 

Is DSD better than PCM?

DSD neiter better nor worse than PCM. Many factors define sound quality for both modulation types.

Read details...

 

 

 

 

 

F.A.Q. MQA audio

 

Where can I download MQA music?

You can found download sites with MQA music here (see "Description" column)...

 

Can I download MQA files?

Yes. You can download MQA files at these sites...

 

Is MQA better than CD?

MQA is format supporting high-resolution. It may give some advantages, that high-resolution technologies bring. However, recording quality and implementation of used audio system is matter in comparison hi-res vs CD.

 

Does MQA sound better than CD?

Decoding with spectrum unfolding of MQA let support high resolution audio. As hi-res format, MQA allows using abilities of such type of audio in improving of sound quality.

Read more...

 

Is MQA better than FLAC?
Is MQA worse than FLAC?

Both MQA and FLAC support high-resolution. However, FLAC is lossless format (coded and decoded binary content is identical). But, as far as the author know, is not lossless format in this meainig. You can compare certain recording played back on certain hardware/software.

 

Can normal CD player play MQA CD?

Ordinary CD player can play MQA CD. "Unfolded" MQA is compatible with ordinary audio systems.

 


 

 

F.A.Q. LDAC audio

 

 

Can LDAC play FLAC?

LDAC is Bluetooth protocol for wireless speakers or headphones. An audio player decodes FLAC to lossless audio stream. The stream may be transmitted thru Bluetooth via LDAC protocol.

Read more...

 

How do I know if my phone has LDAC?

On your phone, at the Settings > About phone, check Android version. LDAC codec is available at Android 8.0 and above [*].

 

Is LDAC really lossless?

LDAC operate on Bluetooth at bitrate up to 990 kbps 24bit / 96kHz. CD quality is about 1411 kbps.

CD quality is transmitted losslessly. 24/96 is transmitted with losses but in high quality [*].

 

Is LDAC better than aptX HD?

LDAC codec for Bluetooth provides bitrate (24bit / 96kHz, up to 990 kbps).

aptX HD provides 24-bit / 48 kHz with maximum bitrate 567 kbps.

In the first approach, 990 kbps give more abilities for the sound quality. But, practically, we anyway discuss system contains recording and given equipment.

Read more...

 

Is LDAC better than AAC?

LDAC and AAC are used in Bluetooth wireless audio connections (speakers, headphones).

AAC provides bitrate up to 250 kbps (96 kHz), LDAC provides up to 990 kbps (24bit / 96kHz).

We can consider LDAC as better codec due to higher bitrate. But actual result is implementation defined.

Read more...

 

Is LDAC better than aptX?

There are several aptX codecs. It defines result of comparison with LDAC. See details...

 

How do you get Ldac songs?

LDAC is codec for wireless audio (Bluetooth). The codec provides higher bitrate (24bit / 96kHz, up to 990 kbps) of transmitted audio stream.

It means that it is not only compression, but transmit syncronization.

As the author understand, the technology can't be applied to audio files in full range at least.

 

Where can I buy Ldac songs?

Sony LDAC is a type of a Bluetooth audio codec to improve sound quality. If the codec is available for your mobile phone, DAP, etc., you can choose it in the device's Bluetooth settings.

 

Is Ldac better than FLAC?

LDAC codec supports 24bit / 96kHz (up to 990 kbps) audio.

FLAC supports up to 32 bit / 384 kHz audio.


 


 



 

 

 

 

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 music 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.

Read details >

 

How can I play high resolution audio on my computer?

To playback hi-res audio, use compatible audio player software...

 

Do audiophiles use equalizers?

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


 

 

 

F.A.Q. convert hi-res audio

 

 

 

How do I turn on high resolution audio?

High resolution audio requires recordings in high resolution format (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.

 

Should I rip my CDs to FLAC?

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 sound file format is recommended.

 

 

 

 

 

F.A.Q. audio streaming

 

 

How do I stream high resolution audio?

There are online services, that provides high resolution streaming. It requires installing special software at your device or purchasing of a service-compatible hifi device. Read more...

 

Does CD sound better than streaming?

If a streaming supports lossless (coded and decoded binary content is identical) transfer 16 bit / 44.1 kHz, it provides sound quality identical to CD. However, stable and fast internet connection is need with proper data packed delay.

 

Is CD quality better than streaming?

There are hi-res streaming services that has resolution higher than CD.

Other services provides lossy streaming, that is technically worse than CD quality.

However, audio system and listening conditions are matter.

Read more...

 

How do I stream FLAC music?

You can check audiophile music streaming services...

 

Is Spotify hi-res?

On moment of the answer writing, the Spotify supports AAC lossy codec up to 256 kbps [latest state]. Looks like, it's not hi-res audio.

Look at hi-res streaming websites...

 

Does Spotify have hi res audio?

On moment of the answer writing, looks like, Spotify doesn't support hi-res audio [latest state].

Check out high-resolution audio streaming services...

 

Does Spotify accept 24bit?

On the moment of the answer to the question, Spotify doesn't support 24-bit audio [latest state].

 

Is CD quality better than Spotify?

On the moment of the answer question, Spotify uses high-bitrate AAC codec that provided hi-fi quality [latest state]. It's close to Compact Disk quality.

Read more...

 

Is Spotify as good as CD quality?

On the moment of the answer to the question, AAC codec up to 256 kbps is supported [latest state]. It provides quality close to CD's one.

Read more...

 

How many kHz is Spotify?

Looks like, on moment of the answer writing, Spotify streams music with sampling rate 44.1 kHz.

 

Does Spotify have lossless audio?

When the answer to the question, Spotify doesn't support lossless audio [*].

Also, look for lossless streaming...

 

Does Spotify have LDAC?

LDAC is Bluetooth codec. Spotify uses AAC. Read more...

 

Does Spotify have FLAC?

On moment of the answer to the question, FLAC isn't supported by Spotify [*].

 

Is Spotify a FLAC?

On moment the answering, Spotify doesn't provide FLAC codec [*].

 

Is Spotify lossless?

On moment of the answer writing, the Spotify supports lossy codec: AAC up to 256 kbps.

 

How many kbps is Spotify?

On moment of the answer to the question, Spotify supports codec from 24 to 320 kbps [latest information].

 

What bitrate is Spotify very high?

On moment of the answering, Spotify declares 320 kbps as highest bitrate [latest information].

 

Is Spotify a Hi Fi?

Yes. Spotify provides hi-fi music.

 

Is Spotify high quality?

On moment of the answer writing, lossy codec (AAC up to 256 kbps) is supported by the Spotify. It is high quality codec.

 

Is CD quality better than Spotify?

On moment of this answer writing, the Spotify uses lossy codec (AAC up to 256 kbps). It is high qualitative audio format.

CD quality audio is lossless sound format. And it's better AAC technically.

But, you can don't get audible difference between these formats.

 

Does Apple music have hi-res audio?

Yes. Apple music have hi-res audio coded to lossy AAC and lossless ALAC (up to 24-bit / 192 kHz)[*].

Tech details.

 

What Kbps is Apple Music?

Target bitrate of apple music is 256 kilobits/second. It uses variable bitrate (VBR) to more effective compression.

Tech details.

 

Can Apple Music FLAC?

No. Apple Music don't use FLAC format. They use ALAC instead[*].

 

Does Apple Music LDAC?

No. LDAC is Bluetooth codec. Apple uses AAC and ALAC[*].

Read more...

 

Does YouTube support hi-res audio?

Yes. YouTube supports hi-res audio[*].

Look at list of hi-res streaming...

 

Does YouTube support 32-bit audio?

No. On momemt of the answer writing, YouTube doesn't support 32-bit audio[*].

 

Can YouTube play lossless?

No. YouTube stream lossy audio on moment of the answer to the question[*].

 

Is Tidal free?

On moment of this answer writing, Tidel provides free trial ability.

 

 

 

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.
     
  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 improves (in potential) some non-linear distortion issues. For better naturalness, spatial sound reproduction (acoustic wave field) should be enhanced too.

 

Author: ,
Audiophile Inventory's developer

December 8, 2022 updated | since November 25, 2018

 
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