A couple of weeks ago we published one article with a few hints about the history of liquid music, adding a quick overview on how, in recent times, this mode of enjoyment has become attractive to many audiophiles. On that occasion we focused mainly on streaming; today, however, we want to deepen the discussion on platforms where to download FLAC music. If you want to download and save Hi-res music locally, this is the article that will explain how and where to do it. Or at least five possibilities in this sense.
Five sites for downloading liquid music
HDtracks is the first site we recommend when talking about buying music in high definition. It was one of the founders to offer the download of songs in high resolution. You can see it, alas, starting from the interface and graphics, not very updated. This means that the prevailing genres in the catalogue are mainly rock, jazz and classical music, something that could discourage younger audiophiles. The pop section, however, is constantly expanding and you can already find the artists of the moment. The available formats are quite numerous and typical when talking about lossless music, so: FLAC, WAV, AIFF, ALAC, DSD. The biggest problem with HDtracks, however, is another, in addition to prices that are not exactly competitive: the need, in Italy, to make purchases via VPN and choose USA or UK as the origin. Doing otherwise, the number of tracks that can be purchased is drastically reduced and we can almost only browse the site.
We talked about Qobuz when we looked at the best platforms for Hi-res music streaming. But Qobuz also boasts a digital store. The service doesn't have a very up-to-date interface, but relies on a blog with in-depth analysis and interviews, as well as a brief but exhaustive presentation of the artists. The catalog is quite varied and constantly evolving, and able to leave room for independent productions. Qobuz also offers a certain variety of formats to download: FLAC, ALAC, WAV, AIF and others; moreover, it is available in Italy and does not require any VPN. Not only that, the prices are on average more affordable than HDtracks and you can download the app for smartphones, tablets and computers. The icing on the cake is being able to take out a hybrid subscription (download + streaming) that allows you to get discounts on the direct purchase of music tracks.
7digital is another site where to download FLAC music, as well as an example of how a book should not be judged by its cover. Not that the interface of 7digital is bad, on the contrary; it is among the most modern, with an intuitive and functional player. Just click on an album to listen to the preview of each song present, even scrolling, in the meantime, other pages of the site. The problem is the editorial side: at least in the Italian domain, through the sections "New Albums" and "New Singles", you won't find anything more recent... than the hits of 2018. Dulcis in fundo: among the "Suggested" there is the "Best of 2014". Luckily, using the internal search engine, you can find a number of very recently released hits. There are not many formats instead: the tracks can be downloaded only in MP3 or FLAC 16/24 bit (distinguished by special badges). The files, sold at competitive prices, can also be saved in the cloud so as to be accessible via the web or mobile app.
The first thing that would jump out at anyone who visits Bleep for the first time, would certainly be the type of offer proposed to the audiophile. Bleep, in fact, intercepts a user with particular tastes and niche. The catalogue includes hip hop, electronic, house, ambient, alternative and modern classical music, among others. The number of formats to select when we choose to download is discreet (MP3, FLAC and WAV). Being "out of the choir" is also manifested in another way: not in the aesthetic side, rather anonymous, but in the type of offer proposed to the customer. In almost all the tracks, next to the option to buy the file, there are those to take home the CD, the vinyl or, hear hear, the cassette. But that's not all, because Bleep also presents a merchandising section in which you can find clothing, books and other accessories of the most underground labels.
HighResAudio is rather spartan in appearance, except for the presence of badges that will indicate limited time offers (prices are still competitive) or the format. HighResAudio, without many niceties, throws in our face several albums directly in the home page, summarily divided by best sellers, recommended and by major record labels. To be canonical (at least for an audiophile) are also the main genres in which the catalogue is branched: classical, jazz, rock and pop (there are however many others). What makes us think that HighResAudio was conceived with a precise target in mind is the choice to make available only studio master quality albums (FLAC, AIFF, ALAC, WAV, DXD WAV, DSD64). The picture is completed by a nice editorial side, even if in English, with some Hi-Fi advice and several music album reviews.
An important note to close the speech: HDtracks and HighResAudio do not allow to buy the single track, but only the whole album. An aspect that some audiophiles might consider fundamental. Regardless of which service where to download FLAC music you choose - the best, the cheapest or the most alternative one - it remains fundamental to have quality electronics and connections. Click the button below to find out which cable is right for you.