Submitted by Bill St. Clair on Mon, 11 Jan 2010 12:50:39 GMT  <== Hifi ==> 

One of the problems of converting your computer music to Audiophile quality is that compressed music no longer cuts the mustard. You need full CD quality, or better. Enter HDTracks.com. A sizable music library, with an artist and audiophile focus. Every album is at least CD quality, and they have a selection of 24-bit audio at 96Khz, if you've got a DAC that can handle that. You can download as FLAC, AIFF, or 320K MP3. Why anyone would pay a premium for pretty-good MP3, I don't know, but it's there. They charge $12 for CD-quality albums, or $1.49 per track (but not all tracks are available individually), and $18 for Audiophile 96khz/24bit albums, or $2.49 per track.

HDTracks doesn't have all the latest pop albums, but they have a large enough library to keep you discovering new gems for a good long time. And the recordings are amazing.

I download in FLAC format, that being nearly half the size of AIFF, so half the time to download. But iTunes doesn't handle FLAC, so I use XLD (X Lossless Decoder) to convert to Apple Lossless format, which iTunes does handle. On Windows, most of the audiophiles I've encountered (at head-fi.org), use the Fubar2000 player. I'm sure Google will lead you to plenty of FLAC players for Linux.

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