If you're thinking about joining the ranks of dedicated audiophiles and music lovers by listening to High-Res Music, congratulations! Listening to your favourite music in superior sound quality is an amazing experience. But if it's your first time, downloading High-Resolution Audio songs can be a bit of challenge since there are many different formats, software programs and gadgets out there.
Don't sweat it—we've got you covered. From selecting the right software to choosing the audiophile equipment that will best suit your needs, here is everything you need to know.
1. Download High-Res Library Software
Most high definition audio is available to download through online music downloading stores. While you can easily download the file to your computer, you'll need the right software to be able to listen to the music.
One exception to this rule is that iTunes® allows you to play High-Resolution Audio files. However, there are some limitations. Luckily, there are software options out there that let you play High-Res Music alongside or on top of iTunes®, so you can still use the interface that you are used to. A few software possibilities for Mac users include Audirvana, BitPerfect and Pure Music 2.
If you prefer a completely different interface that doesn’t rely on iTunes®, check out JRiver Media Center. This software is available for both Mac and Windows users. You can download a free 30-day trial to see if it has the features you want. Once you decide on the right high-res library software for you, you'll have a new home for your high resolution music library and will be ready to move on to the next step.
2. Determine the Format for Your Music
Most High-Res Music downloading sites provide several different file format options for songs. These formats are broken up into two major categories: uncompressed files and lossless compression.
Uncompressed files include WAV (for PCs), AIFF (for Macs) and DSD. Lossless compressed files include FLAC and ALAC (Apple Lossless). Both of these files sound great, but you can always download test files available on many music downloading sites to see which format you prefer.
It's important to remember that uncompressed audio files will take up 50 percent more storage space than lossless compressed files. Lastly, before you hit download, check to make sure that the file format is compatible with your music library software.
3. Find Your Favourite High-Res Music Site
Now for the fun part—you are ready to browse all your favourite songs and new music that you love in High-Resolution Audio. As the popularity of High-Res Audio has grown, so has the number of High-Res Music downloading websites that cater to audiophiles' needs. You can find every genre and artist under the sun in great sound quality.
Some stores that we recommend you check out are:
4. Invest in some High-Res Audio Gear
You will need High-Resolution Audio capable devices to listen to your new High-Res Music library. From portable players to home stereo systems, there are plenty of options out there that will fit your lifestyle.
The simplest way to get up and running is to pair the PHA-3 Headphone Amplifier and MDR-Z7 Headphones together, which will allow you to listen to your new music right off your computer.
The PHA-3 features D/A conversation technology that provides a new level of detail when you’re listening to High-Resolution Audio files. The MDR-Z7 features wide soundstage reproduction and a balanced audio cable to guarantee perfect signal separation and sound quality.
If you want to take your music on the go, then the NW-ZX2 Walkman® also pairs perfectly with the MDR-Z7 and PHA-3. Simply load up your music on your Walkman® and you are ready to go.
PHA-3 Top Features:
Supreme sound quality: Internal DAC can decode PCM audio up to 384 kHz/32-bit and DSD files at 2.8/5.6 MHz.
Portable: Designed for both home and mobile usage—can be connected via USB input to smartphones, PCs, portable audio devices, etc.
Battery life: Digital (balanced) connection of approximately 5 hours
MDR-Z7 Top Features:
Wide soundstage reproduction: Sound reproduction up to 100 kHz (for High-Resolution Audio) and 70 mm driver units for ALCP articulate reproduction
Balanced audio cable: Guarantees perfect signal separation and sound quality
Long-lasting comfort: Pressure-relieving urethane cushions with 3D sewn covers to ensure ultimate comfort and powerful bass
NW-ZX2 Top Features:
Superior sound quality: Supports high resolution playback DSD, WAV, FLAC, AIFF, ALAC, MP3, and WMA files
Superb battery life: Up to 60 hours of MP3 playback and 43 hours of high resolution (FLAC 96 kHz/24 bit) playback on a single charge
High-quality wireless streaming: Provides top wireless Bluetooth® music streaming with Sony's new audio technology LDAC™
Store hundreds of High-Resolution Audio songs: 128 GB of internal memory
Once you have completed each of these steps, you are ready to listen to all the High-Res Music you want. Get ready to be blown away by crystal clear sound quality and nuances you’ve never noticed before.