Why should you use high-resolution audio?

high resolution audio

Every true audiophile knows how important it is to have high-resolution audio. That special vibe music gets when you hear the sound of fingers gently gliding along the guitar strings, or that short barely noticeable intake of breath before the singer starts singing is what makes the difference between good and great sound quality.

All those and other small details similar to them make music come alive, and all of us want that special concert feeling every time we hear the sound of our favorite music. The same goes for creating and streaming your music because you want just the best sound quality for your work. That’s why we are here – to teach you a bit of something about high-resolution audio, its file formats, and opportunities you can create using popular streaming platforms.

What is high-resolution audio, or should we say hi-res?

Let’s start with the basics – meaning and features of every high-resolution audio file. The first thing you should know about high-resolution files that they don’t have a universal standard like high-definition videos, for example. On the other hand, there are a lot of similar features every hi-res file has.

Sampling frequency, or sample rate, is one of the most important things about this type of file. It refers to the number of times samples of the signal are taken per second during the analog-to-digital conversion process. If this makes no sense to you, let’s say it differently – the more bits there are, the more accurately the signal can be measured in the first instance.

So, if you have a file going from 16-bit to 24-bit, it will deliver a noticeable leap in quality. In case you were wondering, the bit part tells you how detailed each sample is. With that being said, we have to mention that Hi-res audio files usually use a sampling frequency of 96 kHz or 192 kHz at 24-bit.

However, Hi-res audio does come with a downside known as file size. They are quite huge, and just a few tracks can quickly eat up the whole storage space on your device. Thankfully, nowadays, the storage is much cheaper than it used to be, and it is easier to get as well. Plus, there are plenty of audio converters that will transform your files to any other format and save you a lot of storage space compressing your files.

Have you heard about high-resolution audio extensions?

Now that we know the main features of every high-resolution audio let us introduce you to their extensions.

First, we have a WAV file format that is the standard format for all CDs. It has great sound quality, but it is uncompressed, which means that it has a huge file size. This type of file is an application of the Resource Interchange File Format, known as RIFF, and storing data in so-called chunks.

Next, there is an MQA file extension mostly used for digital audio streaming. Compared to the MP3 file format that retains only 10% of the original file data, this file format captures and reveals the whole 100% of the studio recording.

Another hi-res file format is DSD. It comes in a few varieties, like 2.8 MHz, 5.6 MHz, and 11.2 MHz, but it is not widely supported. That is the main reason why you should use a DSD converter and change the format of your file to another more popular one.

FLAC is a lossless compression format that supports high-resolution sample rates. The good news is that it takes up about half the space of WAV, and stores metadata. That’s why this file format is widely supported. It is considered as the perfect format for downloading and storing all hi-res albums.

There is also an ALAC file extension. It is quite similar to previously mentioned FLAC, except it is for Apple devices only. ALAC file extension is a lossless compression format that also has high-resolution audio, stores metadata, and takes up half the space of WAV.

Last but not least, there is an AIFF file format. It is another Apple device alternative to WAV, but just with better metadata support. It is lossless and uncompressed, which means that this type of file extension is a bit tricky when it comes to its size. AIFF files are big and require more storage space than some other audio file formats. This type of file format is not massively popular, and most of the AIFF files are converted to MP3 or some other file format.

Why should you use high-resolution audio files?

As a number one feature of high-resolution audio files is superior sound quality over some other popular compressed file formats. And we’re mostly going to focus on that.

When you download music from sites such as Amazon, iTunes, Spotify, and other streaming services, files usually have lossy compression.  It means that part of a data is lost during the encoding process, and resolution is sacrificed for the sake of file size. And the ultimate feeling that hi-res audios can give you is not an option anymore. So, if you are a true audiophile, this is a big reason why to choose hi-res over compressed files.  

If you want numbers to support our previous statement, here they are. For example, let’s compare relative bitrates of an MP3 file and a hi-res file. The highest bitrate quality MP3 has is 320 kbps, and hi-res with 24-bit/192 kHz have a data rate of up to 9216 kbps. Quite a difference, don’t you think so?

More information about the file means greater sound detail and texture as well. So, if you want that in-a-studio-recording feeling of every beat, you should use hi-res formats for your music. 

What can you use to listen to high-resolution audio files?

listening to high resolution audio

Luckily, there are plenty of devices you can listen to hi-res audios. Some can easily open and reproduce high-quality files by themselves, and some are accessories for emphasizing all features of a perfect audio file.

For starters, let us mention one thing 90% of people (or even more) can’t live without – smartphone. Most of the newer Android mobile devices natively support high-resolution audio, but iPhones don’t have that option yet. But, don’t worry, there are a few ways for you to listen to hi-res audio on your iOS device.

You can stream high-quality sounds throughout different music streaming services such as Tidal or Amazon Music HD, or you could use an external DAC and Lightning headphones. In case you want to use DAC or headphones, you’ll be needing something else, an app that will play hi-res music. For example, you could use Vox: MP3 & FLAC Music Player, Onkyo HF Player, Audioquest DragonFly Res, Chord Mojo, Chord Hugo 2, or any other app similar to them.

Next, you can use portable music players like Cowon Plenue D2, Astell & Kern A&norma, Sony NW-A45, Apple iPod Touch, Astell & Kern A&future, FiiO M11 Pro, Astell & Kern A&ultima, etc.

In case you are a fan of desktop solutions, and your device doesn’t support hi-res playback, you should buy and download separate music playing software. You can choose one that is best suited for your needs, like JRiver Media Center or similar if you are a PC owner, and Channel D’s Pure Music, Amarra, or any other like them, if you are a Mac user.

Last but not least, you can always use wireless speakers and music streamers.

Where to find high-resolution audio?

Now that you are aware of all technical details and well-known with devices used for high-resolution audio files, it’s time to talk about places where to find them. We present to you some of the most popular hi-res download and streaming platforms.


Qobuz is a well-known French company that delivers high-quality digital audio. When it comes to streaming music services, this is the one to try. With this app, you can listen to the best sound quality anytime, everywhere, and on every device. Plus, unlimited listening is included.

You can also choose one of the three possible ways to use this app. You can pick the option for just streaming, or just for the purchases of your favorite albums and tracks, or you can combine it.

Now we’re about to get to the good part – Qobuz has one month free trial period, no strings attached. So, you can dive into the world of music, enjoy it, and then decide if it’s worth the cost that comes afterward. Spoiler alert: it is.

high-resolution audio streaming platform


Another well-known site that offers high-resolution downloads is HDtracks. But don’t be fooled by the just downloading part, because HDtracks shares the philosophy that everyone involved in any part of a creation process should be acknowledged about it. That’s why the creators of this platform encourage their users to learn more about the production process.

All music files you can find and download from HDtracks is either AIFF, ALAC, WAV, or FLAC. But in case you need to compress these high-resolution files, there is our free audio converter you could use. On the other hand, there is one thing we can’t help you convert – genres. Luckily, HDtracks have a rich library of music genres like rock, pop, jazz, classical, country, folk, house, and many more you can choose.

Acoustic Sounds

With more than 25 years of experience, Acoustic Sounds offers one of the largest selections of songs available in high resolution. So, if you are looking for the finest and most popular DSD music files, Acoustic Sound is the right place for that.

Regardless if you are a fan of good all Rock, or a fan of smooth Jazz vibe, or you’d rather listen to Country during the afternoon chill, there are plenty of genres and tracks you can choose. Plus, you don’t have to worry about file extension because all songs are stored in DSD, FLAC, or ALAC file format.


If you are interested in clean and easy to use platform for purchasing music, 7Digital is the right pick for you. All you have to do to find tracks on this website is to type artists name, album or song in the search box, and that’s it. There is also a hi-res section, but without any filtering system and it’s the only “downside” of using this platform.

In terms of formats available, 7Digital is a little less flexible. It will only allow FLAC downloads, and for WAV and AIFF files, you will have to convert it from FLAC, or you can always look elsewhere for the format of your choice. But taking into consideration the compatibility of a FLAC file to popular devices and media players, this shouldn’t be such a big problem for any true music fan.

Don’t get us wrong, 7Digital has a rich catalog that offers high-resolution music from all genres, and makes buying easy. Overall, this platform is an excellent all-rounder that makes it an easy go-to for music downloads.

high-resolution audio app


Have you ever been in search of hi-res Acoustic, Guitar, Blues, Rock, Pop, Jazz, Classical, Country, Folk, Electric, R&B, or Christmas music? Well, if the answer to this question is YES, you have probably opened the iTrax website in one moment. Why? Because it offers high definition video and audio downloads (surround sound included), and it’s quite popular as well.

We can easily say that this platform is a perfect choice if you want to build your music library. At least if you want it to be in FLAC or WAV file format. But, no worries, you can always convert your files from one format to another.


This app is reserved for all classical music lovers. With Primephonic, you can either download or stream latest releases, or the biggest labels in hi-res audio classical music truly deserves. You can find your new favorite artists or enjoy in creations of the already famous ones it’s up to you. Plus, there is a lot of educational podcasts that will prove you the right information about the entire genre.

So, for the creators of Primephonic, it’s not just about the listening, it’s about learning as well. And everything of the previously mentioned is available in FLAC stereo and surround, DSD stereo and surround and WAV file format.

Tidal Masters

Tidal was the first service to offer high-resolution streaming. These 24-bit/96 kHz tracks are called Tidal Masters. They are available as PC and Mac desktop apps, web players, Android and iOS mobile apps, as well as Apple and Android TV apps.

Whether you’re listening to 320kbps, CD-quality, or hi-res streams, Tidal tracks sound great. So, one thing is certain – you won’t make a mistake using it.

Amazon Music HD

When you have a company that’s in the music streaming industry for more than a decade, you can’t go wrong with using its services. Not only you can download high-resolution music, but you can also use Amazon as a music streaming service.

Besides it’s easy to use, this platform provides its uses an exceptional user experience, a rich library of content, and a perfect sound quality. Plus, you can use it as a desktop or a mobile app on every iOS and Android.