Reliable place to download/purchase lossless music

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Reliable place to download/purchase lossless music

Postposted on Tue Mar 19, 2013 1:39 pm

Is purchasing a physical CD and ripping the songs into WAV files the only reliable way to get all the songs I want onto my computer in a lossless format? I don't wanna have a whole bunch of CD's cluttering up space in my house, I'd much rather have the ability to download the lossless tracks, even if I have to pay a bit more. All the places I've seen so far offer the MP3's as downloadable and the physical CD for purchase for anything better than that. I know someone's gonna suggest the route of the pirate, but there's always stuff that isn't available for torrenting because simply not enough people seed/download what I'm looking for. Any suggestions?
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Re: Reliable place to download/purchase lossless music

Postposted on Tue Mar 19, 2013 2:07 pm

I hate to break it to you, but even CD's aren't always the best place to get lossless. You'd have to move up to the pretty niche Super Audio CD. You'd also need some pretty high end components to support it. Entry-level speakers for that sort of quality is going to be in the $3-5k range.

If you are looking for digital downloadable, you need to find something that supports DSD instead of the vanilla PCM. http://www.2l.no sell DSD and DXD as well.
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Re: Reliable place to download/purchase lossless music

Postposted on Tue Mar 19, 2013 3:01 pm

TheEmrys wrote:I hate to break it to you, but even CD's aren't always the best place to get lossless. You'd have to move up to the pretty niche Super Audio CD. You'd also need some pretty high end components to support it. Entry-level speakers for that sort of quality is going to be in the $3-5k range.

If you are looking for digital downloadable, you need to find something that supports DSD instead of the vanilla PCM. http://www.2l.no sell DSD and DXD as well.


I'm not looking for the crazy expensive and niche audiophile products, I have a pair of Sennheiser pc350's hooked up to a Xonar STX, and I just wanna be able to download something considerably better than the 320 MP3's that are out there. I wouldn't call myself a serious audiophile, but certainly at least someone who wants above average sound quality for his music
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Re: Reliable place to download/purchase lossless music

Postposted on Tue Mar 19, 2013 3:21 pm

I know of HDtracks. They specialize in 24 bit, 88 or 96khz (whereas a CD is 16 bit/44khz). However, the selection ins't huge and there's not a lot of contemporary stuff. Plus you pay pretty much top dollar.

In some cases those 320 kbps mp3s that you download from places like itunes may contain more information than a 320 kbps mp3 (or potentially even lossless formats) you rip from a CD at home as a lot of those mp3s are encoded directly from higher bitrate digital masters. However, I've never spent any time doing comparisons myself, so I don't know if they'red be much of an audible difference. The point being, that depending on the music, settling for downloading mp3s from places like Itunes doesn't necessarily mean you are sacrificing quality vs a CD.

@ TheEmry's: Wow! I've never heard of Direct Stream Digital audio format before. Does this really make an audible difference? Or there any recordings of popular music that are available in true DSD? (From a brief look at Wikipedia, it mentions that even most SACDs are not true DSD because they mixed in PCM due to the ubiquitousness of PCM in studio software tools... Are the downloads available on that website pure DSD? Or could they also have been mixed in PCM?
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Re: Reliable place to download/purchase lossless music

Postposted on Tue Mar 19, 2013 3:26 pm

Depending on the band in question, you may be able to get the source audio from their website as part of a digital album purchase.
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Re: Reliable place to download/purchase lossless music

Postposted on Tue Mar 19, 2013 4:29 pm

TheEmrys wrote:I hate to break it to you, but even CD's aren't always the best place to get lossless. You'd have to move up to the pretty niche Super Audio CD. You'd also need some pretty high end components to support it. Entry-level speakers for that sort of quality is going to be in the $3-5k range.

If you are looking for digital downloadable, you need to find something that supports DSD instead of the vanilla PCM. http://www.2l.no sell DSD and DXD as well.


Umm ... no! Speakers do not have to meet a price point to play high end sound. I would argue, not terribly hard, that your higher bitrate samples are just that, samples. You get the analog wave form on a record but this is an old argument that requires some work to test.

Lovely Norwegian sound. Reminds me of one of the most perfect direct to disk records I ever heard: Efrem Zimbalist Jr, the star of 77 Sunset Strip sings George Gershwin. Absolutely pointless waste of vinyl.
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Re: Reliable place to download/purchase lossless music

Postposted on Tue Mar 19, 2013 4:30 pm

Philldoe wrote:Depending on the band in question, you may be able to get the source audio from their website as part of a digital album purchase.

Many bands sell FLAC-encoded lossless music on their websites.
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Re: Reliable place to download/purchase lossless music

Postposted on Wed Mar 20, 2013 12:44 am

cynan wrote:I know of HDtracks. They specialize in 24 bit, 88 or 96khz (whereas a CD is 16 bit/44khz). However, the selection ins't huge and there's not a lot of contemporary stuff. Plus you pay pretty much top dollar.

In some cases those 320 kbps mp3s that you download from places like itunes may contain more information than a 320 kbps mp3 (or potentially even lossless formats) you rip from a CD at home as a lot of those mp3s are encoded directly from higher bitrate digital masters. However, I've never spent any time doing comparisons myself, so I don't know if they'red be much of an audible difference. The point being, that depending on the music, settling for downloading mp3s from places like Itunes doesn't necessarily mean you are sacrificing quality vs a CD.

@ TheEmry's: Wow! I've never heard of Direct Stream Digital audio format before. Does this really make an audible difference? Or there any recordings of popular music that are available in true DSD? (From a brief look at Wikipedia, it mentions that even most SACDs are not true DSD because they mixed in PCM due to the ubiquitousness of PCM in studio software tools... Are the downloads available on that website pure DSD? Or could they also have been mixed in PCM?


Oh man, HDtracks is awesome. 192Khz/24 bit tracks, premium price but amazing quality. I think you've helped me find music that'll give me a reason to upgrade my headphones =D thank you so much
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