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Audiophile quality download files please


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In reply to an earlier post on 17 Jun 2012 19:04:14 BDT
As I said in a previous post, I'm surprised how superior my ripped CDs are to the original. I think Hair was referring to the MP3s, not the Apple lossless which is basically the same as FLAC. I rip mine in AIFF which is like WAV. They ALL sound better than the CD played on a player. If you are a Mac user, don't think that FLAC/ WAV is better than AIFF. They're just the Windows versions. The only FLACs better than AIFF are the 24/96 downloads which are similar quality to SACD.Macs don't recognise FLAC but you can download a converter that will turn them into AIFFS. but Even better is the Audirvana which plays everything, can sync with iTunes and is VASTLY SUPERIOR. Its free to download though they welcome a small donation.I reckon if Hair prefers the CDs to the ripped versions, its iTunes thats at fault, not the Apple Lossless. If you get the Audirvana and compare the same tracks in iTunes and then play them through the Audirvan, you will be astonished at the difference. The Audirvana can disable many parts of the Mac while its being used. All you have to do is drag tracks from you iTunes library or playlists into an Audirvana playlist. Dead easy and all for free!

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Jun 2012 08:30:54 BDT
C. Spark says:
ogg's quite good it goes upto 500kbs

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Jun 2012 11:23:58 BDT
Not heard of ogg? Is it a website?

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Jun 2012 11:26:46 BDT
MC Zaptone says:
No it's not!!!!!!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ogg

Posted on 18 Jun 2012 11:27:58 BDT
I have to say I still play my CDs and only rip favourite tracks. I have a huge number and couldn't possibly rip everything. I listened to a CD last night and although there is less detail than a ripped track (played through Audirvana and Haloid bridge, not just directly from the Mac) it sounds slightly warmer and more 'vinyl-like' than a ripped version. Maybe not as technically accurate but less tiring on the ears.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Jun 2012 11:56:24 BDT
D. W. Salter says:
I think the audible differences between a CD and the ripped version of the same CD could possibly be down to the low pass filters used to smooth the jagged high frequencies that are close to the Nyquist limit - probably more so than which D/A converters you use. A sample rate of 44.1kHz, means the Nyquist limit is 22kHz, which means that the filters have to be very steep and can cause artifacts in the passband if they are not designed very well.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Jun 2012 13:43:36 BDT
I wish I understood this but I don't. Where are the low pass filters? I use the same DAC for Cd and ripped. Are these filters within such as the Audivarna etc.? I presumed any differences were due to the transport but as I say, I know there are differences but but not why.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Jun 2012 14:13:06 BDT
D. W. Salter says:
Basically, a 20kHz sine wave, when turned into a 44.1kHz sample as in CD, only has 2 sample points per cycle, which means that when it is restored back to analogue it becomes a square wave - ie massively distorted. They then use filters to filter this so that it approximates a sine wave again. I believe (not completely sure on this bit) that there are two types of filters in common use; digital and analogue. If the filter is digital, then this happens before the D/A, and analogue is after, and sometimes both. In the setup you describe, it is probably not what I thought because you are using the same for both.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Jun 2012 14:27:16 BDT
Fascinating! Yes the CD players DAC can be used separately. I have the Haloid bridge connected through USB which is recommended by the Audirvana designer. I imagine this is a similar set up to computers used through the various high quality streamers that people use. I was told that the sound directly played from iTunes, even through a good DAC is pretty dire and there is a very big difference between playing the same ripped track between iTunes and Audirvana whether through headphones or speakers. perhaps the people who are getting poor sound from ripped tracks on Macs are playing through iTunes and are therefore losing quality.

Posted on 18 Jun 2012 14:38:59 BDT
Here's something for youses to considers.Meses read that a £1200 cd player cost less than thems £400 to make...

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Jun 2012 14:45:42 BDT
D. W. Salter says:
There is also the possibility that the USB connection is an issue, as USB is not a real-time interface, and simply relies on the fact that it is quite fast in relation to the data rate, but it is still possible the data flow could be momentarily interrupted now and then due to other multitasked operations. It's impossible to tell without looking at detailed schematics what is causing the effect you describe, as these things are always rather more complex than they first appear.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Jun 2012 14:58:34 BDT
D. W. Salter says:
Thinking about filters again, it makes sense that most would be digital now, as high sample rate and bit depth chips are now easily available, so it would make sense that the low resolution CD data would be up-sampled to say 192kHz, 24 bit, and then filtered digitally to restore the high frequencies, then output through a 192kHz 24bit DAC - I'm just guessing.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Jun 2012 15:22:07 BDT
D. W. Salter says:
Why is that significant? Many electronic industries have margins that exceed 10x cost, the soft drinks industry has margins in the area of 50x, it's just the cost of doing business, it's not all profit.

Posted on 18 Jun 2012 15:34:53 BDT
Peter Lanky says:
Meses, to add to the post above, replica sportswear and trainers probably have an even higher mark up, seeing as the people who make them typically earn around 30p an hour in Asian sweatshops. If you want to make a point, highlighting a CD player with 3x mark up is not the best way to go about it.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Jun 2012 18:43:16 BDT
Not sure if you mean me? What effect? that the ripped CDs sound better than the originals with more detail? Can't see a problem there. According to Audirvana, using the USB port is far superior than the jack socket and the main claim is that the system is 'bit perfect'. If the original CDs sound warmer, which they do on my system though not as detailed, then perhaps its just a bit of coloration added by the transport. Since getting the Haloid bridge, I saw a review of it and it was very favourable indeed. I don't have a problem with ripped CDs. As I said, they have more detail but are just a tiny bit clinical compared to the warmer sounding, albeit more laid back presentation of the original. Perhaps neither are better, just different.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Jun 2012 21:25:38 BDT
D. W. Salter says:
Maybe the ripping process adds some digital processing - I have tools in the studio that can make things sound "better" to some people just by processing. I doubt very much if the transport is making any difference, as all it is doing is filling a memory buffer, then the buffer gets emptied as it is played at a constant rate regardless of any transport fluctuations. Reading a file from the hard disk works the same way, the music gets played from a memory buffer in both cases. The only possibility is that the transport motors are inducing electrical noise, which is interfering with something, but as it is digital that is highly unlikely, the noise would have to be very serious to effect even 1 bit of data.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Jun 2012 23:42:19 BDT
I know that they both sound very good but different. The ripped Cd has more detail and 'air but is perhaps not as 'nice' However the Audirvana up samples everything so maybe that is why it sounds technically 'better'.

Posted on 23 Jun 2012 20:59:57 BDT
Ian says:
Hmm, Daniel Barenboims' Beethoven for All (all 9 symphonies) is £18.49 as an MP3 on Amazon UK or £27.60 on CD. Alternatively I can download a Hi Res file from the US for $19. Why would I buy compressed MP3 when I can get a better-than-CD version? OK so technically the hi-res version is only available to purchase if you're in the US, but there are ways around that...
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In reply to an earlier post on 25 Jun 2012 11:29:00 BDT
For some reason I was able to buy hi-res music off HD tracks despite being in the UK. Now, all of a sudden I can't any more. It just tells me not available outside US. Please tell me how to get round this. I bought the whole new Bonnie Raitt album and was trying to buy the new Joe Walsh. Have tried different ways but no luck at all.

Posted on 25 Jun 2012 22:54:22 BDT
Ian says:
You can use a VPN (a virtual private network) which will disguise your computer's location. I used one called ProXPN. It tells HDtracks that you're in Miami (I gave my home address as a friend's address in Houston, Texas) and you're able to make the purchase. The free version (which I used) seriously slows your internet connection so switch it off once you've made the purchase (HDtracks will still allow you to download the files at this point).

I've bought the Hi-res version of Beethoven For All and it sounds fantastic, but I don't have a lower res version to compare it to (I suppose I could make one if I could be bothered).

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Jun 2012 11:33:16 BDT
Does that work on a Mac? Also they already have my email address and name since for a while although it knew I was in UK, for some reason I had no problem at all downloading tracks. I got the whole of Metallica's Black album and also a new Eric Clapton. Very frustrating because they do sound good though the Metallica is still more dynamic on my vinyl version.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Jun 2012 12:44:11 BDT
Ian says:
Yes, there's a version for Mac (and no doubt lots of other VPNs, both free and paid for).

It seems to be a recent policy change by HDtracks that means some music is restricted to sale in certain countries. A lot of other people have reported no difficulty in buying music until recently or until they tried to purchase music on certain labels.

I suspect it doesn't matter where your account is registered, but if it does you can easily change it or open a new account with another email address (it's always handy to have a gmail of Hotmail address to give to businesses so you keep your real email free of spam). I paid by Paypal to avoid any problems with a UK credit card but I don't know if that was necessary either.

As for whether hi-res files make any difference; I'm beginning to suspect they do. I'm sure if I listened back to back to a reasonably high rate MP3, a CD and a hi-res file then I couldn't tell which was which. But increasingly when I put my Squeezebox to play a random mix of files at some point I'll start paying attention to what I'm listening to because it's really good. Invariably this seems to be when a hi-res FLAC or WAV file (either downloaded or ripped from a DVD) is playing (quite a lot of my music is stored on my NAS in several different formats because I've made compressed versions for portability). Similarly I've heard (and owned) stereo systems which sound great on first listen but after a while you find yourself turning the volume down. The system I own now isn't brash and some people are initially unimpressed, but without fail anyone given the remote turns the volume louder and louder without realising quite how loud it is until they try to talk over it.

Posted on 26 Jun 2012 14:29:21 BDT
C. Spark says:
Would a proxy server based in the us work? theres a ton of them around

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Jun 2012 14:34:12 BDT
Peter Lanky says:
When somebody has eventually worked out a foolproof way to purchase music from HD tracks, does the website sell a decent enough range to have something in the catalogue worth buying? Every website I've seen so far has a minuscule range, so the chances are that unless somebody is lucky and these sites sell the music they like, then surely people end up buying music just because it is high quality, and not necessarily what they want?

Posted on 26 Jun 2012 22:09:12 BDT
I do so agree with Peter Lanky. This is the problem with hi-res sites, The music is very mainstream and as a prog fan I have to either buy the CD or download an MP3. I really do prefer the quality of CD to MP3 so I end up buying that and ripping favourite tracks. CD may not be perfect but its sure better than MP3. HD tracks have a better selection than some but it certainly isn't like whats available on CD or MP3.
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Discussion in:  mp3 discussion forum
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Initial post:  5 Oct 2009
Latest post:  2 Apr 2014

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