• HDtracks Uncompressed Downloads

    Add another online store to the growing number offering lossless audiophile downloads. Not satisfied with lossless? HDtracks offers uncompressed AIFF albums and 24/96 DVD-Audio quality downloads! Started by the brothers Chesky of Chesky Records, the store will be fully functional very soon. This is very exciting news for audiophiles using music servers. Read more for additional details.
    From HDtracks.com

    "Founded by David and Norman Chesky of the audiophile-record label Chesky Records, HDtracks is a high-quality music download service offering a diverse catalog of independent music from around the world. HDtracks does not believe in DRM, and as a result, we offer a selection of unencrypted files that play on any computer or portable device.

    In an age when there is a computer in every home, we have grown accustomed to accessing music at the touch of a button. But, what about the quality of that music? Why should the sound suffer because of convenience? With HDtracks, we have discovered the way to have it all: world-class music, unrivaled sound, and files that play in any environment.

    We have several formats available for fans of all types of music. If you would like genuine CD-quality sound, HDtracks offers both AIFF and FLAC lossless files. For those who wish to carry their music in a portable player, we have 320kbps files that far exceed the quality of standard MP3 files.

    Finally, audiophiles take note. HDtracks will soon offer select titles in ultra-high resolution 96khz/24bit files. This is true DVD-audio sound quality for music lovers that demand the very best!"

     

    One note from the FAQ section of the site:

    Q: Where is the Mac version of the Download Manager?
    A: We're currently working on a Mac version of the Download Manager which should be available soon. We will let you know as soon as it is.

    Here is the link
    Comments 30 Comments
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      I just heard from David Chesky, he said they won't be adding 5.1 content for a while.
    1. Poo's Avatar
      Poo -
      Wouldn't it be great if they offered a sample of that high resolution audio for Free Music Friday?!!! Nothing beats a little test at home...
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Don't steal my thunder (**cough** coming soon **cough**) <br />
      :-)
    1. markr's Avatar
      markr -
      I'm just looking at the FIRST page of their Blues Artists and noticing a few I like:<br />
      <br />
      Marcia Ball<br />
      Clarence Gatemouth Brown<br />
      Roy Buchanan<br />
      Clifton Chenier<br />
      W.C.Clark<br />
      Commander Cody<br />
      Albert Collins<br />
      James Cotton<br />
      <br />
      I know I saw a Johnny Winter in there somewhere too....<br />
      <br />
      This site ROCKS!<br />
      <br />
      Thanks for the 'heads UP' Chris!!!<br />
      <br />
      markr
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      That's what I thought too mark. Look at all the labels they sell. The list is huge.
    1. markr's Avatar
      markr -
      ... for a couple of hundred dollars credit at that store TODAY! (I've got a PC..... heheheh).<br />
      <br />
      I hope that the relative silence here about this is because everyone is too busy downloading over there.....<br />
      <br />
      markr<br />
      THIS - Is MARVELOUS. I hope they are for real.
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      I don't think people quite realize how cool the Chesky site is and will be. As you probably know they have been a huge player in the audiophile quality CD / SACD market for some time. Much more so than Linn Records. Chesky put about three years into creating the site and I think it is here to stay.
    1. Shamsky's Avatar
      Shamsky -
      I am curious what equipment that fellow computer audiophiles are using to play these 2 channel 96khz/24bit file downloads. The only player that I am aware of that will output downloaded 96khz/24bit AIFF and FLACs is Slimdevices Transporter via their Slim Server software.<br />
      <br />
      BTW, a 5.1 multi-channel Transporter is very high on my future wish list. I hope that Slim Devices is checking out this forum.<br />
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Hey Shamsky - A lot of us are using Benchmark DACs of various versions. They support 24/96 via USB. there are a few others that do as well. I think there is a thread in the DAC forum that lists a few.<br />
      <br />
      Many DACs say they support 24/96, but in small print they say USB only supports 16/48.
    1. markr's Avatar
      markr -
      ....and HI THERE Shamsky!<br />
      <br />
      Quick relevant equipment/player profile: I use iTunes on the Mac to playback the files. I use 'Max' to covert the downloads from FLAC to AIFF in 24/96. I keep the FLAC file in hopes that a player will emerge for the Mac that really works well (send feedback to the iTunes site everyone!).... I have a PC too, so.... The hardware I'm using is a Firewire 400 RME Fireface 400 (pro side) A/D/A box - on a Mac, it tells me that it supports up to 32 bit/192 KHz. Haven't acquired anything above 24/96 to use so far, but the possibilities are there. ....Say like when I start digitizing my vinyl.....<br />
      <br />
      <strong>DID I MENTION THAT THE CHESKY SITE IS ..... awesome?</strong><br />
      <br />
      markr
    1. Shamsky's Avatar
      Shamsky -
      Hi Chris - Thanks for pointing me to the DAC section in the forum. Most of these articles deal with their capabilities including USB support for various SACD, Audio DVD, and other output hardware devices. <br />
      <br />
      My question to stay on topic with 24/96 from a download provider to a computer is how to pass this file unaltered to your audio system.<br />
      <br />
      I know that the Slim Server will pass a 24/96 to the Slimdevices Transporter either via WiFi or Ethernet, then analog convert (balanced or unbalanced) to the AVR receiver or pre-amp that accepts the 24/96. But how does your computer pass through the 24/96 to your Benchmark DAC without altering it? <br />
      <br />
      Do you have a special audio card in your computer with a USB out? <br />
      <br />
      What software player/manager are you using for your Mac / PC / Etc. that supports 24/96 FLAC or AIFF? <br />
      <br />
      Is your computer stacked with your audio equipment in the same room?<br />
      <br />
      I hope that I did not make your head explode with all of these questions, but my point is whether members of this forum using external DACs are truly hearing 24/96 output from online resources like HDtracks, Music Giants, Linn, etc.<br />
      <br />
      Shamsky<br />
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Hey Shamsky - I just put my head back together after it exploded :-)<br />
      <br />
      I'll use the Benchmark DAC1 USB as an example here. The DAC1 is technically an external sound card. It has USB input. So, no need for an internal sound card with good specs. On a Mac you can set your audio to be sampled at 24/96. iTunes then plays the 24/96 content bit perfect, sending it to the Benchmark DAC1 USB which can accept true 24/96 USB signals. <br />
      <br />
      I use a MacBook Pro currently and it is directly connected to my DAC via USB. I store my disk in another area of the house connected to the Apple Airport Extreme Base Station.<br />
      <br />
      Right now there are very limited options to pass 24/96 signals via wireless like the Transporter does. Thus, I prefer USB right now.
    1. Shamsky's Avatar
      Shamsky -
      Chris - Thanks, I now get it on the 24/96 setup.<br />
      <br />
      BTW, if you want to pass a wireless N signal to your Benchmark, you can pick up an Apple TV. Your router can communicate to the Apple TV, then run an optical cable out of the Apple TV to the optical input of the Benchmark.<br />
      <br />
      I am using this type of setup to send iTrac 5.1 DTS files (minus the DAC) to my AVR receiver and it works great. When the source files are of excellent quality, even the crappy DACs in my receiver produce decent sound.<br />
      <br />
      Thanks again for all of the helpful information.<br />
      <br />
      Shamsky
    1. rom661's Avatar
      rom661 -
      Maybe Gordon can confirm this but I believe Wavelength is working on 24/96 (or 88.2, which makes more sense) and I believe that updates to existing products will be available. <br />
      <br />
      I was just inquiring a few days ago about the lack of lossless download sources that had desirable content and then this comes out. Were you holding out on me?<br />
      <br />
      Seriously, it's good news. Some of Chesky's in house artists don't do much for me but their production values are superb. I have also enjoyed a lot of their re-releases of classical works. I am saying the audiophile prayer that Johnny Winter's first album, my favorite, will be included. Nothing has ever sounded as good as the vinyl, even though it was raw and rude. Great blues.
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      Hey Rick - This one actually snuck up on me until the last minute, honestly :-)<br />
      <br />
      The 24/96 capability in all of Gordon's products would be a nice add-on. Or as you say 24/88.2 would make more sense. But as we all know consumers would go for 32/768 if they could. The higher number the better right :-) (only kidding of course).<br />
      <br />
      You might want to email Chesky through the contact form on their website. David is pretty responsive and I'm sure he'll let you know if that Johnny Winter album is coming out.
    1. markr's Avatar
      markr -
      Hey Rick, I'm tempted to argue about what 'makes sense' with regard to digital audio resolution here, but I will not do that. I'm really not an argumentative sort of person.<br />
      <br />
      Johnny Winter is probably the best living blues guitarist on the planet & I don't really mind that he took a notch off of my hearing abilities during the times I went to see him play. The first time was the "AND" tour with Rick Derringer. He comes through Austin fairly regularly of late.<br />
      <br />
      - The Progressive Blues Experiment - YES!<br />
      <br />
      Sorry about taking 'it' off-topic<br />
      markr
    1. kryan's Avatar
      kryan -
      You can get non-DRM 5.1 downloads on MusicGiants in their Super HD catalog. There is some really good classical, jazz and blues from Concord and Naxos available. As far as HD Tracks, they seem to be missing all of the content from the four major music labels. I want music from artists like U2, The Rolling Stones, Alicia Keys and Pearl Jam.
    1. The Computer Audiophile's Avatar
      The Computer Audiophile -
      I agree that HDtracks does not offer a lot of "popular" music. I think MG is the only place to get non-DRM 5.1 music right now.
    1. rom661's Avatar
      rom661 -
      Hi Mark <br />
      <br />
      First let me point out that I never used those numbers. They are courtesy of our good friend Chris, whose tongue was firmly in cheek.<br />
      <br />
      I'm glad you are not in the mood to argue because I am not qualified to argue the finer points of digital design. I have a lot of experience listening, but most of the explanations for what I hear are basically parroting those of people I respect. I have always maintained that it is as important to know what you don't know as it is to know what you know. I am not recommending upsampling at all but it does seem that if a recording is mastered at 24/88.2, being able to store it and play it back without math gymnastics would be advantageous. I am not technically capable of making a case for that perspective though. I have noticed, just through subjective listening, that it seems that upsampling players do the "audiophile" things well and non-upsampling gets the urgency, for lack of a better term, well. <br />
      <br />
      If I am missing your point, entirely possible, let me know.<br />
      <br />
      I thought about you the other day. I heard a pair of the big TAD speakers. I don't sell them, don't really have a market for them, but they reminded me a bit of what I like about horns and what I like about traditional driver designs. Nice compromise.<br />
      <br />
      I first saw Johnny Winter in 1971 when I was a senior in high school. Wow. Tommy Shannon, later of Stevie Ray's Double Trouble was on bass and I can't recall the rest of the band. Rude, crude, and amazing. Even though their styles were entirely different he reminded me of Hendrix in one important way; incredible virtuoso mixed with enormous soul. <br />
      <br />
      Take care<br />
      <br />
      Rick
    1. markr's Avatar
      markr -
      ... yeah, I was responding to Chris's remark about folks going for the highest numbers available ( I know his tongue was in cheek. As was mine...) . When I titled that post "32/768" - it didn't have anything to do with what you had said. On the other hand, I was directing a majority of the rest of that post to you. I suppose that I came across as confusing in that respect. Sorry about that. <br />
      <br />
      24/88.2 makes sense to me if you want to retain easy compatibility with the redbook 16/44.1 standard. For myself, I'm not so conventional: I don't see a REAL need to retain that compatibility - at least not in the long run - And certainly not for the home listener 'of the future'. For myself, I would not mourn the demise of 16/44.1 as the format of choice. For recordists, they do need to think about downward compatibility for their master recordings at least in the short run (CD distribution *at this point* being the elephant in the room there..), so 24/88.2 makes sense in that respect. <br />
      <br />
      My ears settled on 24/96 as an optimum choice for digital audio resolution purely from experimenting with recording musicians and playing back that material approximately 8 years ago. In retrospect *today*, there is actually very little difference to me between 24/96 and 24/88.2 digital audio. That difference doesn't matter anywhere near as much to me as achieving the obsoletion of 16/44.1 - finally and totally. I will admit that I'm a radical on that particular subject. I'm considered a whack-o by the professionals that I know for holding that position. But I have to do it: It isn't about higher numbers, it is about the sound - I can HEAR the difference between the CD and 'real' high resolution formats a very high percentage of the time. That was true in my mid 40's and is true today. ...what was that guy's statement that I saw & admired?: <em>"I suppose that I'm a radical, because I consider 16/44.1 (uncompressed) a lossy format"</em>. Something like that..<br />
      <br />
      Now to the IMPORTANT stuff:<br />
      Your analysis of Johnny Winter is RIGHT ON. He definitely 'brings it all with him' when he steps on stage, gives it all up to the audience for the taking, and does quite well on recordings as well. You can get a pretty good idea of what JW is about from his recordings, but live is really the way to go. Rude, Crude and amazing is what his performances are alright! Totally bared soul. I have to make sure I see him at least one more time.<br />
      <br />
      Peace,<br />
      markr