What Is Your Favorite Source for Downloading Music? - Page 2 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
View Poll Results: What Is Your Favorite Source for Downloading Music?
Amazon 63 15.04%
CD Baby 8 1.91%
HDTracks 60 14.32%
iTrax 3 0.72%
iTunes 88 21.00%
Pono 3 0.72%
Rhapsody/Napster 11 2.63%
Other 91 21.72%
I don't download music 92 21.96%
Voters: 419. You may not vote on this poll

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post #31 of 125 Old 08-12-2015, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by AllanOmar View Post
Usually Youtube, and rarely Pandora. Used to use Grooveshark as well but they shut down.
Read the question again.
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post #32 of 125 Old 08-12-2015, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by SMHarman View Post
I download from Rhapsody to my phone to use it in zero coverage areas like Subways and the Catskills and Cape Cod Beaches.
I put Rhapsody tracks on local storage as well, but since it's subscription-restricted I can't really count it as "downloading" -- more like deferred streaming.

I chose Amazon here because, like many others, what I'm not streaming I'm generally buying as CDs -- Amazon's "AutoRip" feature being a nice stop-gap until the opportunity arises to to a local rip at desired quality.
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post #33 of 125 Old 08-12-2015, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Sibuna View Post
i don't download music

i buy CDs
I really love purchasing CD's through Amazon. AutoRip gives you the best of both worlds.
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post #34 of 125 Old 08-12-2015, 01:18 PM
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I prefer to purchase CD's on Murfie.com and then download the album in FLAC.
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post #35 of 125 Old 08-12-2015, 02:36 PM
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I voted *other* because I download from Soulseek. Best P2P on the planet. Been rocking it since 2003! If some Scandinavian death metal band that existed in the early 90's put out a demo tape, but never actually got signed, I could find that demo on soulseek.

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post #36 of 125 Old 08-12-2015, 03:00 PM
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I voted other because I get most of my music from torrents. There is a great site called losslesslegs.com where people upload torrents for FLAC or SHN live shows (these are from bands that, for the most part, allow people to tape and share their shows, such as the Grateful Dead, Furthur, JGB, Allman Bros, Phish, etc...). This is 95% of what I listen to.

For the times when I want to have an album I buy a FLAC download (like from the grateful dead's website dead.net) or I get the CD and rip it. My family listens to more mainstream music and pretty much they purchase from itunes for their stuff. We used to buy the disks and rip them but my wife and kids really can't tell the difference in quality and I don't listen to that crap, so it's mostly iTunes now. We have purchased downloaded albums from Amazon a few times (Mexican stuff we could not find on iTunes) and all went well with them; no complaints.

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post #37 of 125 Old 08-12-2015, 03:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JGM View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by AllanOmar View Post
Usually Youtube, and rarely Pandora. Used to use Grooveshark as well but they shut down.
Read the question again.
You can download content from YouTube, but not without the help of a app.

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post #38 of 125 Old 08-12-2015, 03:51 PM
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I now check HDtracks first, although they don't usually have the bands I like, they mostly have "big" names.
If HDtracks has what I want in higher than cd quality (24bit), then I'll buy it there. If HDtracks only has cd quality, even if its flac, then I go buy the cd and rip to flac myself, because its usually cheaper.
Some bands are unfortunately not bothering with cd's anymore, or don't think its worth doing a pressing run, so occasionally I'll have to resort to mp3. If that's the case, I go to Google Play first, because they have 320k, and Amazon as a last resort since they are only 256k. If its an itunes exclusive, screw it, I don't need it that bad :P

One service not mentioned yet: Bandcamp.com
I have bought several albums here in 24/96 FLAC (they usually offer every format you could want, but this is my prefered format). Its mostly smaller/indie artists. Bonus: they let you choose your price most of the time. Some new artists will allow you to download it for free, some will have a reasonable minimum price.
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post #39 of 125 Old 08-12-2015, 04:02 PM
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First choice iTrax, the only source for guaranteed high resolution audio - their sister site AIX Records records the groups themselves in 96/24 5.1 and has releases in DVD-A and now even 3D Blu-ray.

Their disks contain stereo, 5.1 audience perspective, and 5.1 stage perspective (instruments all around you) mixes, and you can, through iTrax, buy your choice of mix in PCM or FLAC.

Only problem is that these aren't reissues of classic albums by headline name groups - but solid stuff nonetheless, and a few industry luminaries have begun to make recordings with them.

My second choice is HDTracks, primarily for Chesky Records' own recordings (Chesky owns HDTracks, the way AIX owns iTrax), which I have confidence are really high definition. But the bulk of HDTracks' catalog are old classic albums from other labels, most of which are from analog tape, which a CD can properly capture, when the recording company refrains from using compression to make it sound consistently loud - which is, to put it charitably, not all the time.

I have bought a few classic albums from HDTracks that I was happy with, like Bill Evans' Waltz for Debbie in 192/24 but what you're really hoping for with an old album is a damned good copy of a standard resolution master - there's no recovering whatever the tape couldn't capture. Putting it into a higher resolution container doesn't make it sound any better than the same analog mix would as a standard CD.

Unfortunately, even though recording studios have been working in 96/24 PCM for decades, the analog religion is so strong among musicians and producers that many insist on putting the digitally-recorded master through an analog tape step to get the "vintage" sound! They're like goslings following the first creature they saw when they hatched.

Steely Dan's and Donald Fagen's DVD-Audio disks are great as well, since Fagen wasn't infected by that attitude.


Last edited by Philnick; 08-12-2015 at 05:08 PM.
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post #40 of 125 Old 08-12-2015, 04:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JGM View Post
Read the question again.
Yes, I picked "I don't download music" and the post was the explanation. Downloading music these days is getting kinda old-fashioned imho.

And as someone else mentioned, it's possible to download from Youtube with the right browser plugin for those few songs worth keeping, but in general it's more convenient to just have a Youtube playlist and be done with it.

Last edited by AllanOmar; 08-12-2015 at 04:10 PM.
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post #41 of 125 Old 08-12-2015, 05:42 PM
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Philnick: Thanks for the iTrax suggestion as I just become a member, long time user of HDTracks and been happy with it, I wish iTrax had more downloads for AIFF/WAV files and DSD would be nice to have on their as well. Again I want quality not have the sure quality of saying I stream my music look at all the access I have, I am a "I" like to own it kind of guy. The Rent for play reminds me the old days of Divx!
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post #42 of 125 Old 08-12-2015, 06:43 PM
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I do have an iTunes library as result of being sucked into the Apple universe via phones. However for high def the albums I got them from HDTracks or they came from there. Also like the offline option nowadays from Tidal in their hifi quality, also handy when I want to use it with one of my systems that uses Linn Sneaky DS streamers cause its built into the Linn app.
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post #43 of 125 Old 08-12-2015, 07:01 PM
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I spent years moving thousands of high-bitrate MP3s from computer to computer, adding hard drives and external drives to make sure I didn't lose them. Then I realized that I never sat and listened to them except on a whim. I've still got a huge collection, but I no longer keep them backed-up in triplicate.

But now, I am all-in with PANDORA. Every few months I'll put together a few hours of albums on MP3 to stick in my car, but the wide majority of my music is pre-cultivated by the algorithms at Pandora.

I can tell the quality isn't as good via Pandora if I sit and listen, but I am simply using it as background music, so I am able to ignore it's shortcomings for... I apologize.. convenience.

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post #44 of 125 Old 08-12-2015, 07:07 PM
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Originally Posted by WHATTHEDILEO View Post
I spent years moving thousands of high-bitrate MP3s from computer to computer, adding hard drives and external drives to make sure I didn't lose them. Then I realized that I never sat and listened to them except on a whim. I've still got a huge collection, but I no longer keep them backed-up in triplicate.

But now, I am all-in with PANDORA. Every few months I'll put together a few hours of albums on MP3 to stick in my car, but the wide majority of my music is pre-cultivated by the algorithms at Pandora.

I can tell the quality isn't as good via Pandora if I sit and listen, but I am simply using it as background music, so I am able to ignore it's shortcomings for... I apologize.. convenience.
This is a poll on downloading though, not downloading vs streaming. The more relevant poll to your comment was a few weeks back, specifically about delivery methods:
What is Your Preferred Delivery Method for Music?

And this one for favorite streaming provider:
What Is Your Favorite Music-Streaming Provider?

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post #45 of 125 Old 08-12-2015, 08:09 PM
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I voted for Amazon because that is where I download stuff which isn't available on CD. Mostly I buy CD's from Amazon and rip them at 44.1/16.

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post #46 of 125 Old 08-12-2015, 08:52 PM
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Multiple choice for downloads:
Amazon (best selection but lesser MP3 quality; will 16 and 24 bit ever happen there??)
HDTracks (great quality but needs more variety)
Acoustic Sounds Super HiRez (great quality but needs more variety)
Bandcamp (love the Ultimae catalog in 16 and 24 bit quality)
CD Baby (e.g. Two Steps From Hell)

Nonetheless, I get most of my music on CD and rip it losslessly to my NAS.
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post #47 of 125 Old 08-12-2015, 09:15 PM
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i prefer bandcamp
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post #48 of 125 Old 08-12-2015, 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Garman View Post
Philnick: Thanks for the iTrax suggestion as I just become a member, long time user of HDTracks and been happy with it, I wish iTrax had more downloads for AIFF/WAV files and DSD would be nice to have on their as well. Again I want quality not have the sure quality of saying I stream my music look at all the access I have, I am a "I" like to own it kind of guy. The Rent for play reminds me the old days of Divx!
Great, Garman -

1) - PCM stands for Pulse Code Modulation and can be sampled at different rates and different word lengths. Standard CDs use a sample rate of 44.1 Khz with 16-bit samples. If you look at the directory of a CD you'll see a bunch of .CDA files. CDA=CD Audio=PCM encoded at 44/16.

When you "rip" a CD to WAV, you're simply copying the .CDA files to your hard drive and changing their extensions to .WAV.

So WAV files are PCM files - they're just two names for the same thing. (WAV is the extension Microsoft chose to use for its PCM files on PCs.) However, unlike CDA files, WAV files can have any sample rate and bit depth that any other PCM file can have.

Not only can PCM files have higher sample rates and bit depths than CDs, they can also have more channels. That's why, before the movie industry standardized on lossless compression with Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master Audio (to fit more extras on a Blu-ray), it was common to see uncompressed PCM surround soundtracks on early Blu-ray disks.

2) - FLAC files are, in essence, zip files for PCM. They save the same approximately 50% in file size that zip files save. The modest amount of saving - compared to mp3 - is the price of being able to reconstruct, on the fly, an exact copy of the original recording. Not only does this save storage space on disk, it means that, since they're smaller, the files can be played over a local area network more easily, and decoded by the player in real time.

The other advantage of FLAC is that FLAC files use the same ID3 "tagging" mechanism as mp3s - so I can use the (free) mp3Tag Windows program to manage the tags on FLACs, up to and including embedding album art.

From your reference to AIFF I suspect that you're using a Mac. If so, you should know that the (also free) VLC media player that runs on both Mac and Windows plays FLAC files, and a little searching found Kid3, a free tag editor that also runs on both OS X and Windows and works on FLACs as well as mp3s.

3) - DSD was invented by Sony as an archival storage medium for CD masters. It has little more frequency response than a CD because it uses a sampling method that creates so much supersonic noise that players have to use a brickwall filter to keep the supersonic noise from blowing out users' amplifiers and speakers. DSD also cannot be edited, which is why most DSD releases are actually mixed and edited in PCM and then converted to DSD, so they will be bought by folks who think DSD is the best format and don't want to listen to that terrible PCM stuff.

4) - DXD, by contrast is - guess what - just PCM disguised with yet another name so it will be bought by folks who think DSD is the best format and don't want to listen to that terrible PCM stuff.

Have fun!
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Last edited by Philnick; 08-12-2015 at 11:37 PM.
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post #49 of 125 Old 08-12-2015, 10:38 PM
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Great, Garman,

1) - PCM stands for Pulse Code Modulation and can be sampled at different rates and different word lengths. Standard CDs use a sample rate of 44.1 Khz with 16-bit samples. If you look at the directory of a CD you'll see a bunch of .CDA files - which means PCM encoded at 44/16.

When you "rip" a CD to WAV, you're simply copying the .CDA files to your hard drive and changing their extensions to .WAV.

So WAV files are PCM files - they're just two names for the same thing. (WAV is the extension Microsoft chose to use for its PCM files on PCs.) However, unlike CDA files, WAV files can have any sample rate and bit depth that any other PCM file can have.

Not only can PCM files have higher sample rates and bit depths than CDs, they can also have more channels. That's why, before the movie industry standardized on lossless compression with Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master Audio (to fit more extras on a Blu-ray), it was common to see uncompressed PCM surround soundtracks.

2) - FLAC files are, in essence, zip files for PCM. They save the same approximately 50% in file size that zip files save. The modest amount of saving - compared to mp3 - is the price of being able to reconstruct, on the fly, an exact copy of the original recording. Not only does this save storage space on disk, it means that, since they're smaller, the files can be played over a local area network more easily, and decoded by the player in real time.

The other advantage of FLAC is that FLAC files use the same ID3 "tagging" mechanism as mp3s - so I can use the (free) mp3Tag Windows program to manage the tags, even including embedding album art.

From your reference to AIFF I suspect that you're using a Mac. If so, you should know that the (also free) VLC media player that runs on both Mac and Windows plays FLAC files, and a little searching found Kid3, a free tag editor that also runs on both OS X and Windows.

3) - DSD was invented by Sony as an archival storage medium for CD masters. It has no more frequency response than a CD because it uses a sampling method that creates so much supersonic noise that players have to use a brickwall filter to keep the supersonic noise from blowing out users' amplifiers and speakers. DSD also cannot be edited, which is why most DSD releases are actually mixed and edited in PCM and then converted to DSD, so they will be bought by folks who think DSD is the best format and don't want to listen to that terrible PCM stuff.

4) - DXD, by contrast is - guess what - PCM disguised with yet another name so it will be bought by folks who think DSD is the best format and don't want to listen to that terrible PCM stuff.

Have fun!
I am pretty versed on audio formats but I thought DSD was basically the digital version of SACD or for that matter I thought DSD was the technology originally developed to archive master tapes and SACD was the format developed to deliver the native DSD bitstream to the consumer? from my understanding. It's a tad confusing at times, but if you want the masses to get ahold of it and use it as the next best thing you need to make it affordable as the technology has been around for awhile now, I just feel cheated if I download a MP3 from iTunes when I know it's not even near CD quality. But lets not forget, how some thing is recorded plays a huge roll on how it sounds. I do use Mac and burn it via AIFF and have 2 HD backups with the main drive as a NAS server via my Oppo 105D, but I found out it sounds better directly plugged into the back of the Oppo unit. I am hoping Oppo comes out with a Network player that just does Audio and will be able to decode DSD/DSF 5.6MHz files. Again not a format chaser, just look for well recorded stuff, but I tend to look for a good network/Dac or just Dac that will read everything and so far Oppo 105D can with the exception of 5.6Mhz files. Doesn't matter if it's Wav/AIFF/ACC/MP3/ etc.. everything plays without glitches most of the higher end Dacs and Network devices always seem to be extremley lacking when it comes to reading all the formats.

Last edited by Garman; 08-12-2015 at 10:49 PM.
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post #50 of 125 Old 08-12-2015, 11:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Garman View Post
I am pretty versed on audio formats but I thought DSD was basically the digital version of SACD or for that matter I thought DSD was the technology originally developed to archive master tapes and SACD was the format developed to deliver the native DSD bitstream to the consumer? from my understanding. It's a tad confusing at times, but if you want the masses to get ahold of it and use it as the next best thing you need to make it affordable as the technology has been around for awhile now, I just feel cheated if I download a MP3 from iTunes when I know it's not even near CD quality. But lets not forget, how some thing is recorded plays a huge roll on how it sounds. I do use Mac and burn it via AIFF and have 2 HD backups with the main drive as a NAS server via my Oppo 105D, but I found out it sounds better directly plugged into the back of the Oppo unit. I am hoping Oppo comes out with a Network player that just does Audio and will be able to decode DSD/DSF 5.6MHz files. Again not a format chaser, just look for well recorded stuff, but I tend to look for a good network/Dac or just Dac that will read everything and so far Oppo 105D can with the exception of 5.6Mhz files. Doesn't matter if it's Wav/AIFF/ACC/MP3/ etc.. everything plays without glitches most of the higher end Dacs and Network devices always seem to be extremley lacking when it comes to reading all the formats.
Yes. DSD is the format that is used on SACDs. However, before Sony decided to use it as a distribution medium on those disks, its original purpose was to archive masters for CDs. The major thing that SACDs have over standard CDs is the ability to contain multichannel mixes - though a large percentage of SACDs are stereo only - or even mono!

I am surprised that the same file sounds different played locally or over your LAN - when I realized that I could network files into my Oppo 93, I stopped burning DVD-Audio disks with the program I had bought for that purpose, since the network play sounded the same to me and was a lot easier than making disks - I buy a download as FLACs, tag the files with mp3Tag, and have my DLNA server update its catalog (a 5 second process).

I actually have two DLNA servers reading the same group of folders:

1) oShare for local play on my Oppo, which is a flea-weight piece of freeware you can get at SourceForge that does no transcoding (and that Oppo uses for testing its DLNA routines). Might your NAS be transcoding your music to a lossy format behind your back? That could account for a difference in sound quality. I just checked and oShare is available for OS X as well as Windows.

2) I also have foobar 2000's addon foo_upnp running, syndicated over my internet connection by BubbleUPnP (written by the same guy as the add-on) to my Android phone's copy of BubbleUPnP. All of the above are free except for the Android client, which costs the princely sum of about $5. This lets me listen to my whole collection of FLAC-ripped CDs and downloads, transcoded to 128kbps mp3 while I'm out in the world. (When my phone is on my LAN by wifi it gets FLAC at 44/16.)

Unfortunately, foobar 2000, its plugin, and the BubbleUPnP server are Windows only, and I'm not aware of any OS X equivalents.

PS I see from your avatar photo that you're a projector guy like me! I use an old Panasonic PT-AE2000 and hand-painted a section of wall with a screen paint mix called Cream&Sugar Ultra, from a recipe published at the home theater shack site. (I went big on the screen, painting an area a little larger than the 9' 6" by 5' 4" the projector fills, starting just above the baseboard molding.)

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post #51 of 125 Old 08-13-2015, 03:34 AM
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I use Qobuz... Great service ... Some Hi-Rez too
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post #52 of 125 Old 08-13-2015, 04:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lazarus Dark View Post
I now check HDtracks first, although they don't usually have the bands I like, they mostly have "big" names.
If HDtracks has what I want in higher than cd quality (24bit), then I'll buy it there. If HDtracks only has cd quality, even if its flac, then I go buy the cd and rip to flac myself, because its usually cheaper.
Some bands are unfortunately not bothering with cd's anymore, or don't think its worth doing a pressing run, so occasionally I'll have to resort to mp3. If that's the case, I go to Google Play first, because they have 320k, and Amazon as a last resort since they are only 256k. If its an itunes exclusive, screw it, I don't need it that bad :P

One service not mentioned yet: Bandcamp.com
I have bought several albums here in 24/96 FLAC (they usually offer every format you could want, but this is my prefered format). Its mostly smaller/indie artists. Bonus: they let you choose your price most of the time. Some new artists will allow you to download it for free, some will have a reasonable minimum price.
+1 for bandcamp, FLAC and supporting independent artists. Also Beatport for electronic music.

I've never bought music downloads through Amazon, iTunes or any of the others listed in the poll...
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post #53 of 125 Old 08-13-2015, 04:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Garman View Post
Philnick: Thanks for the iTrax suggestion as I just become a member, long time user of HDTracks and been happy with it, I wish iTrax had more downloads for AIFF/WAV files and DSD would be nice to have on their as well. Again I want quality not have the sure quality of saying I stream my music look at all the access I have, I am a "I" like to own it kind of guy. The Rent for play reminds me the old days of Divx!

Don't expect Mark at AIX to offer DSD anytime soon. All of the stuff I have purchased from there has been WAV. That is what the PCM tracks are delivered in.

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post #54 of 125 Old 08-13-2015, 09:06 AM
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I buy cd's off amazon. I've tried the hi-res downloads but really struggle to notice a difference, especially after running everything through my eq. I used to buy a ton of used cd's, but they upped their shipping charge to $4. Not such a great deal anymore, but you can save a few bucks here and there compared to the $18+ for hdtracks download.
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post #55 of 125 Old 08-13-2015, 09:39 AM
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Flac:
  • HDTracks if I can find what I'm looking for.
  • AcousticSounds for harder to find items.

MP3's
  • Amazon. Most convenient.


I liberally rip CD's and DVD's to FLAC for use on my NAS and on my Android phone for travel and work.
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post #56 of 125 Old 08-13-2015, 09:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by speavler View Post
I buy cd's off amazon. I've tried the hi-res downloads but really struggle to notice a difference, especially after running everything through my eq. I used to buy a ton of used cd's, but they upped their shipping charge to $4. Not such a great deal anymore, but you can save a few bucks here and there compared to the $18+ for hdtracks download.
Hi-res downloads of classic albums are seldom superior to CDs, because they're usually based on copies of the same master used to make the CDs, just copied into a larger container.

That's why I stick to modern recordings made by companies like AIX (sold as downloads by its download site, iTrax) and Chesky (sold as downloads by its download site, HDTracks). With those, I know I'm getting something that has stayed in the digital domain throughout and not knocked back to analog for the "vintage" sound.

AIX has the edge for me because they record and release in true discrete 5.1 surround, including "stage perspective" (sitting among the musicians) for maximum clarity per instrument.

Chesky has been doing near-field binaural, which comes close to discrete surround in terms of clarity.

Both companies record live without overdubbing.

I have no use for recordings done from the middle of the audience, which is the traditional way of doing binaural. The whole point of high resolution music for me is clarity. Recording from dozens of yards away sacrifices clarity, to recreate the experience of being in the audience.

"Audience perspective" recording is the modern-day equivalent of early movies that filmed stage productions from the audience. "Stage perspective" recording is the equivalent of modern movies that place you up close to the action.

I'll make an exception to the above and buy a classic album when the site is proud enough of the process involved in its high def transfer to explain it clearly - which usually means that it will be a copy made from the original *uncompressed* mix (the "flat master").
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Last edited by Philnick; 08-13-2015 at 09:58 AM.
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post #57 of 125 Old 08-13-2015, 12:04 PM
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I still buy CDs. I rip them and put the CDs in storage but I like having the hard copy as a backup. I usually rip at 192Kbps because, to me, the minor noticeable improvement(at least for me) isn't enough to justify the extra storage space. I can get more on my Zune HD(yes, I have a Zune and I love it, great UI and pretty damn good sound quality) at 192Kbps.

Last edited by jimv1983; 08-13-2015 at 12:09 PM.
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post #58 of 125 Old 08-13-2015, 02:22 PM
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Generally I always buy the physical disk and rip it as 44.1/16 AIFF.

I'd download a whole lot more hi-res audio if Pono would only open their store in Canada
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post #59 of 125 Old 08-13-2015, 03:33 PM
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You neglected to include Google Play.
I get my MP3s from there because Google offers 320 CBR.
Most other MP3 sites offer 256 VBR or lower.
You can also upload you library for Free.

If the physical CD is cheaper than the digital D/L I usually buy that and Rip it.

For HiRes files such as FLAC or DSD I prefer Pono & HD Tracks.

Last edited by eddieb187; 08-13-2015 at 03:36 PM.
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post #60 of 125 Old 08-13-2015, 04:21 PM
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I use qobuz.com. They're linked on Sony's site. Lots of loss-less and hi-res audio. It's the only place I could get a loss-less copy of the deluxe version of No Mythologies To Follow (by Mo). You can pick any format (Flac/Wav/Mp3/etc) at many bitrates.
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