Hi Resolution download - question on authencity of the files

Hello all,
I have never downloaded a hi-rez album till date.
I recently heard samples of Norah Jones Day Breaks album and was thinking of purchasing the hi-rez album via acousticsounds.com or hdtracks.com or prostudiomasters.com. Question is - are these REAL hi-rez files or are these just up-sampled CD version? Sorry if this is a dumb question, but I am currently listening to "Celtic Woman - A New Journey" and the recording on this CD is superb. I wondered how much the "quality" of such a nicely recorded album can be improved. Hence the question. I am not sure if the FLAC 96kHz/24bit version is a real one that I would be able to distinguish from a CD 16/44 version.
Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
There is software you can download -Musicscope, for example - that will analyze the track and provide a visual summary of the ultrasonic - high-res - content of the file. There are others, I am sure.

I dont hesitate to purchase hires tracks from the growing number of reputable and visible sites who sell them. Whether I am able to actually tell the difference between a high-res file and a standard redbook version is another thing entirely. Recently produced music (last ten years or so) can sound very good in standard resolution. 

HDTracks has a free hires sampler that will help you decide if hires is for you. 

I am not associated with them. Just a customer sometimes.  

You can stream the new Norah Jones album on Tidal  16/44 and it sounds excellent. I have found Hirez to be very over rated
You have a right to be concerned.

The providence (original source of recording) is "hidden" in many cases from the buyer. It is a "shell" game IMO!

However, there are very good recordings in the plain CD format, and crappy high-rez recordings as well.

You have forums like these, to "call out" the fraud, if you can detect it.

Thank You for the thoughts folks. I am not yet ready for Tidal. For now, it looks like the CD is the best option for me.
I've found that you have to be careful. Redbook--standard CD quality--can be excellent. Hi-Rez sometimes is no better. I wish you could easily see how the hi-Rez was created. From original analog tape digitized at a high-sampling rate and/or remastered? That would be nice to know. 
I checked BlueNote site and Norah Jones site. Nothing about downloads is mentioned there.
I have not delved into digital downloads for the simple reason there is no software to keep my classical music files in order. Renaming Beethoven symphonies as #5, 5, No5, No.5, etc is too much for me!!! It does not help that decent CD beats SACD or hi-rez downloads on my stereo. LPs sound sooo much better to my ears that $25 for the download vs. $30 for LP is a no-brainer for me. All system-dependent of course, thats why I (finally!) posted photos of my big rig today here at a-gon. For those who have $100k dCS stack the results may differ from mine...

I have purchased about 15 high res from hdtraks. I frankly do not like any of them and a few compare unfavorably to my ripped files from cd - for example, two rem albums. it could be me or my system but thats my experience. 
Can you please elaborate on "compare unfavorably"? Are the downloads harsh or cold sounding? Your system seems pretty good to be able to resolve thee files.

You use an older Wadia which are considered the best CD playback, by some folks. So I have no doubt you like CDs. Maybe you should get a $$$$ DAC to beat it :-)
Correct - the downloaded high res files are very etched sounding and hard to listen to. also they seem to lack bass. i purchased them all from known online companies. 

I use macbook - audirvanna - a rega dac and also a halide hd dac, to hegel h200 to tannoy hpd speakers or tekton lore s speakers.

the files i compared to my ripped cds to are: u2 joshua tree, u2 october, rem automatic for the people, rem document, miles davis kind of blue and two van morrison albums. 
After a few high profile scandals, HD tracks claims they scan all their files to ensure you are getting what you pay for.

I'm coming to believe the difference in sound between CD and hi rez has more to do with players than with data.

Some modern DACs play CD much better, so there's little or no audible difference. Of course, many insist on saying that these DAC's are inferior becuase the high rez signals should sound better.  I'm not in that camp, but buy what you like. :)

Also, I like the work of Blue Coast Records more than anything else right now. I encourage you to buy from them.



I'm coming to believe the difference in sound between CD and hi rez has more to do with players than with data.

Upon first reading this it seems like an obvious conclusion, but after thinking about it, I understand and agree. 

At someone new and trying to educate myself on these technicalities, I assume it has to do with filtering?
I wish I knew. I just think the latest crop of DAC's does such a very good job on Redbook files that I am not easily able to hear a difference.

Then I realised, what if the a DAC played redbook and hi-rez equally well. We would be forced to challenge our own biases and come to one of two conclusions:

1 - Previous DAC's were flawed and did not play Redbook well enough
2 - This DAC is flawed and doesn't play high rez well enough.

I'm starting to think 1 is more likely, since the DAC I'm listening to sounds better with all formats than previous gen at High rez. But this is all quite subjective and hard to prove at all.

I'm just wondering, if there were audible differences, if they really were the fault of the format, or if DAC's just had an easier time being musical at high rez.


Part of what makes me wonder about htis was my previous DAC with the Wyred4Sound Remedy.

The exact same data would come in at 44/16, come out at 96/24, and it would sound better. My next DAC however the Remedy had no such effect. With/without it sounded equally well and better than my first DAC.

So..... now I am rethinking my biases.



Did I read someplace that your new DAC is a Mytek Brooklyn?

Perhaps the newer DACs have better jitter control?
Got the CD today. Pretty nice music. I like Norah Jones songs.
Oh and the recording is also nice...slightly dark sounding. Highly recommended.
I am intrigued by the Kitsune and Bryston BDA-3 DACs.

You are correct, and in my case, correct as well. My previous DAC had pretty mediocre jitter control EXCEPT via USB, which I did not have a source for.

I was however able to compare the Mytek to the previous DAC using the same source, Squeeze Touch via Coaxial.

Since then I built a Linux server (I'm typing this now on it) and switched to USB exclusively. It's fab.

  1. the place of origin or earliest known history of something."an orange rug of Iranian provenance"synonyms:origin, source, place of origin; More
    • the beginning of something's existence; something's origin."they try to understand the whole universe, its provenance and fate"
    • a record of ownership of a work of art or an antique, used as a guide to authenticity or quality.plural noun: provenances"the manuscript has a distinguished provenance"
Not providence, that's a city in Rhode Island and a failed tv show. 

However, provenance is the key to the original question and many broad brush posts above are just plain wrong. You can't conclude anything about Hirez overall from listening to an HD Tracks demo. Sure those will sound good. Almost anything from Blue Coast will sound great. Not enough of what's for sale for $25 sounds great and shame on those selling upsampled redbook and calling it Hirez. 
HD Tracks and all others need to follow far higher standards of disclosure so the public knows what they are paying for. It's true that with many better DACs (especially R2R DACs and some others) and today's better servers and other digital sources redbook(i.e. CD) quality files can sound better than most associate with playing CD disks, and this quality regularly surpasses what is heard on some poorly produced hirez.
 It just ain't fair! We need somebody with real musical cred like Neil Young fighting the good fight! Oh wait, that didn't work so well. Cheers,