How do you purchase your music downloads?

I’m considering getting into hi-res music downloading. I’m not particularly computer savvy. Since I bought my Eversolo A6 Master Edition last year and my DS MKll recently I’m thinking that purchasing downloads might be worth exploring. It might be easier than purchasing CDs online and waiting for delivery. Seems like it has been harder to find CDs that I am interested in stores lately as my musical tastes are evolving away from the mainstream.
I have a solid state stand alone hard drive that I don’t use with my Mac desktop computer anymore. Could I delete its contents and use that or would it be better to buy one to install into the A6 physically instead? I heard that a drive needs to be “formatted” correct? How do I do that?
Lastly, does anyone have opinions on purchasing via HDtracks versus Qobuz directly? I realize I would need to upgrade my Qobuz subscription to Sublime to qualify for a discount on downloads. Which would be a more economical way to go? I assume there is a way to upgrade a Qobuz subscription mid year as I pay annually. How does going this route compare to buying CDs cost wise? I’m talking about maybe one purchase per month or so.
I don’t know if even considering this at all is worthwhile as it seems kind of complicated when I sit down here and type all the considerations out. What do you think?

I have the DSD256 files of these, and are extremely high on my OMG list (and they sounded great on the A6 when I borrowed one about a year ago:

I purchase online from my computer and download directly to my computer. I then copy the zipped files to a folder on my computer and unzip them (technically called “extract all…”). From there I copy the extracted full-sized unzipped files to a usb flash drive, and insert into my music source player.

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Price:USD 10.00 ??

$26.00 USD for the DSD256

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Well that’s a positive for downloads, the possibility of buying DSD. I haven’t experienced those with my MK ll yet. They say they can really sound exceptional. On the other hand when comparing a CD against a hi res stream I usually prefer the CD by a small margin.

Doing the math, it probably wouldn’t make much sense upgrading to the 4 dollar a month higher subscription plan just for the discount of the few purchases I would make. HDtracks run discounts regularly so it would probably make more sense going that route assuming I can find what I want there.

NativeDSD is another option for hi-res and dsd.


Trying those 2 would be a good start. If you like those, then @waymanchen11 will certainly find a way to influence you to buy a lot more DSD’s :wink:

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Octave Records is another…

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I also like Reference Recordings and Blue Coast Records.

That’s usually a indication of the quality of the transport used, but using a very high quality transport, higher bits do indead gives more resolution and detail than 16 bits. As far as DSD vs PCM, I have done extensive comparisons and I find generally DSD sounds a bit more “analog like” than PCM. The higher rate DSD256 even more so. I have just compare DSD256 to 24 bit 352k and the DSD256 is less shouty and more at ease and with all the detail you would want in a recording.

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Resolution is not sacred. Quality of recording, master and mix are absolutely of more importance. I remain amazed at what a good DAC / streamer combination (dCS Vivaldi Apex & Aurender W20SE over here;-) manages to conjure up from ordinary 16/44.1

IMHO for regular downloads Qobuz Sublime is the way to go. Cheap, easy and once purchased downloadable again at any moment in all resolutions up to the ones paid for, in all formats and often including PDF-booklets. All ‘n all taking out the additional costs of a Sublime subscription every year with the greatest ease.

In addition, in case of DSD other providers will be happy to deal with you :wink:

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Didn’t know that about purchased files being reloadable on Qobuz. That certainly is a plus.

First and foremost, Bandcamp! Especially on Bandcamp Friday when the artists get 100% of the sale. Second, Qobuz, which sells high definition music for around $11 a title if you pay their top subscription rate. (I happily do)

In the last year my fervor for 24.192 and DSD256 has all but vanished. Sure, high bit rate normally sounds a bit better. But the music is so important that getting the .0005% improvement is no longer a concern for me. Plus, a DSD256 recording takes up anywhere from 8GB to 20GB. A 16.44.1 recording around 550MB. Can’t wait for DSD512.


Some other download sources not yet mentioned are PrestoMusic (UK-based but accessible in Australia at least) and 7Digital (zDigital in Australia). Some companies offer proprietary ‘download manager’ programs as an option to downloading via your browser.

I use my standard (Windows) PC to make the purchase and download to my ‘Downloads’ folder. I firstly copy the bundle, as downloaded, to archive storage. Then I unzip or extract to a ‘staging’ folder (in my case the standard Windows ‘Music’ folder). Here I customize the metadata of both FLAC (PCM) and DSD files for consistency with the rest of my library. Lastly, I ‘promote’ (move) the edited folder (and files) to my NAS music server.

I should also add that for ripping CDs and SACDs I follow the same procedure (except the ‘copying to archive storage’ where the actual physical media is the ‘archive storage’).


I get that. Many times I hear a great sounding song that surprises me when I look up and see that it is 16 bit. The 16 bit CD actually sounds better on my system than the 24 bit stream as a rule. But a 24 bit stream almost always sounds better than a 16 bit stream IMO. But I think everyone agrees that this forum is all about pushing the envelope. If there is a way for a better listening experience most of us are all over it.

Dumb Questions? What resolution to purchase?
My DAC will decode up to 192/24 and DSD 128.
If all formats are available with the purchase I will usually get the highest DSD for “future proofing”.

  1. Is this even necessary?
  2. If the recording was made at a lower resolution, is there a benefit to purchase the higher resolution, at all? For example, if recorded at DSD 64, does the DSD 128 or higher file offer any benefit?
  3. Is there a mathematical relationship to the different file formats and the sound quality? If the music is recorded at a specific resolution, are there better up or down-samplings resolutions to select, due to “fractal relationships”?
  4. Generally speaking, do FLAC files equate to DSD files? For example, DSD 64 is, more or less, the same as 192/24, or to whichever equivalent resolution?

I understand about file size - Not an issue, at this point.
I understand that recording and engineering, etc. play a tremendous role in sound quality. Assume done well and properly.
Please, not opinions. Trying to get facts and follow the “musical and file science”.
If there are links to other posts answering these questions already, please share.

Answering the original post question: Yes. I have purchased from Octave Records, Presto Music, HDTracks, HDTT and NativeDSD. Overall, I have been very satisfied with my purchases.
And, the reason for my questions is to try to manage my music purchase budget, logically, if I can.

Thanks in advance!

There are no dumb questions. Only dumb answers.

You will get a lot of different opinions but if you can find the native resolution of the recording you are interested in that’s a good place to start. Especially if your DAC will upsample to different resolutions. You may like one more than the other. It is strictly personal preference.

The general current train of current is that DSD256 is the upper limit to resolution without some artifacts creeping into the audible spectrum if I remember correctly.

Some reissues / remasters to higher resolution do sound better than the original recordings just due to the ability to use newer tech to fix old problems. The inverse is also true for various reasons. Newer is not always better.

FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) is just a lossless way to reduce the physical file size without losing any data or playback sound quality. Usually by removing “spaces in the data stream” which add to the file size but not the recording itself.
Like .zip files do for text files. Any format of music file can be saved as a FLAC and then automatically decoded back during playback by your streamer or DAC.

As long as you have room and for the relative low cost of modern memory storage devices it really isn’t as necessary as it was just a few years ago. 6 years ago I converted all of my CD’s to FLAC files just to save room on the HDD. With the low price of drives today I probably would just leave them in their native format as I do for all music files that I download.

The DSD64 sample rate is 64 times the 44.1 CD sample rate so:
DSD 64 = 64 X 44.1 = 2822.4 KHz = 2.8224 MHz.
DSD 128 = 128 X 44.1 = 5644.8 KHz = 5.6448 MHz.

Do a little search on the history of DSD. It is an interesting solution to an old problem but has limitations of its own. One limit is that it cannot be edited after the fact without converting it back to another format then back to DSD.

Also check out the Sonoma recording system history for info.

In general the recordings that were done natively at higher resolution will sound better when played back but they must have also been well recorded. Mic placement, room acoustics, mixing, mastering, etc.

The DSD recordings from PS Audio, Cookie Morenco and David Chesky (among others) are usually very well recorded and playback follows suit.

Hope this helps!


Fascinating discussion guys!


Good advice…especially if you have an “up sampling” DAC or pice of kit that lets you play with resolution settings.

Personally, I believe it is the general quality of the recording engineering effort that makes a record a gem, rather than its sample resolution.