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Where's the best place to buy hi-res tunes? Here's a list of the top sites and what they offer...

Want to build a library of high-resolution music but don't know where to start your shopping? Whether you've only just taken the plunge into hi-res audio, or are wondering what other online stores have to offer, we've rounded up some of our favourite hi-res download websites to show you what each has to offer.

In its simplest terms, hi-res audio tends to refer to music files that have a higher sampling frequency and/or bit depth than CD (16bit/44.1kHz), giving the potential for better sound quality (with the appropriate listening equipment, of course). With major music labels such as Sony, Warner and Universal making their extensive music catalogues available to these hi-res download services, there's a huge variety of genres, file formats and download options available for fans of high-resolution audio.

We've focused on the biggest and most popular UK download sites that let you buy and download single tracks and full albums in various hi-res formats. Each has its own distinct flavour, bitrates and features to offer.

You may ultimately end up with a favourite go-to site, but even then, it's worth checking across the different sites for the same album or track, too, as some stores can offer better prices than others.


Rating: 5 stars

Hi-res sampling rates available: 24bit/44.1kHz - 24bit/192kHz

Hi-res file formats available: FLAC

With a strong catalogue of hi-res music (around two million tracks now) from all genres and a website that makes buying music easy, 7digital is an excellent all-rounder.

There's an accurate search function and the website is simple to navigate. You can easily spot hi-res recordings thanks to a '24bit FLAC' badge on an album or song's thumbnail, and there's also a dedicated hi-res section for some focused browsing. You can preview 30 seconds of a song before buying it, too.

The sole drawback is that it only offers hi-res downloads in the FLAC format. Prices are affordable, though, and you can buy individual tracks as well as full albums - something that not every site offers.


Rating: 4 stars

Hi-res sampling rates available: 24bit/44.1kHz - 24bit/192kHz

Hi-res file formats available: FLAC, WAV, AIFF, ALAC, DSD 2.8 and 5.6MHz

HDtracks may be one of the longest-established hi-res download stores, but it's in need of a refresh both in terms of looks and catalogue.

It feels aimed at an older audience (there's strong focus on jazz, classical and dad-rock), which can be off-putting for wider audiences (especially fans of more current, popular music). The cluttered interface looks dated, you can't really buy individual tracks and hi-res albums tend to be pricey.

On the other hand, whereas other download sites offer FLAC as default (and in some cases, only FLAC is available), HDtracks lets you choose between FLAC, WAV, AIFF and ALAC (and the sampling rates for each) formats before downloading. There's a selection of tunes in DSD and double DSD, too, which is great for audiophiles.

More after the break

Onkyo Music

Rating: 4 stars

Hi-res sampling rates available: 24bit/44.1kHz - 24bit/192kHz

Hi-res file formats available: FLAC, MQA

Onkyo Music (like Technics Tracks) is a hi-res download store resulting from a partnership with the 7digital music platform - so it shares the same catalogue and pricing as the other two sites.

What makes it stand out from the crowd is offering music in the MQA format. It has an entire section dedicated to MQA downloads, with hi-res (FLAC) and MQA logos clearly visible, so you know exactly which format you're buying. 

While we didn't find it as intuitive to use as the others when we first tested the service in 2016, the interface and search functions have since been through a redesign - which we'll be putting to the test in due course.

To date, Onkyo Music offers 870,000 tracks in FLAC and 105,000 in MQA. New arrivals for each format are in separate sections, too, which is a helpful touch.


Rating: 5 stars

Hi-res sampling rates available: 24bit/44.1kHz - 24bit/192kHz

Hi-res file formats available: FLAC, WAV, DSD 2.8MHz

Love classical music? Then this is the site for you. Primephonic is limited in scope, but wears it like a badge of honour.

The classical-only catalogue is extensive, with tens of thousands of tracks from CD quality to 24bit/192kHz in FLAC and WAV, and DSD 2.8MHz files. Some are even available in surround sound. You can buy full albums (there are currently 20,000 albums in hi-res) as well as individual symphonies. The song previews are also handy when you want to make sure you have the right version.

The nicely designed website is lovely to use, with a useful search function that makes it easy to discover classical tunes across all eras. Nice touches include the classical era clearly labelled for every album, and it even provides a spectrogram for each album to prove it's a true hi-res recording.

Qobuz Sublime

Rating: 5 stars

Hi-res sampling rates available: 24bit/44.1kHz - 24bit/192kHz

Hi-res file formats available: FLAC, WAV, AIFF, WMA Lossless

Music discovery and front-end intuitiveness get full marks on French download store Qobuz.

Both the website and dedicated app are easy to navigate. Hi-res albums are clearly labelled, and you can search by genre or new releases, which can be sorted by sample rate. Hi-res albums in 5.1 surround sound are available too. There is a strong Francophile focus, although the hi-res catalogue - a million tracks - is growing more varied every day.

It's worth noting that you choose the file format and sampling rate you want to download your hi-res album in after you've made your purchase. You can also choose the streaming quality - MP3 320kbps or FLAC 16bit/44.1kHz - when previewing songs (even when you can't buy individual tracks).

Pricing is competitive, but if you opt for the hybrid download-and-streaming Sublime+ service (£350 per year for streaming 24bit/192kHz files) you do get discounts when buying hi-res albums.

Technics Tracks

Rating: 5 stars

Hi-res sampling rates available: 24bit/44.1kHz - 24bit/192kHz

Hi-res file formats available: FLAC

All the benefits of 7digital's catalogue, but with a custom-built interface - it's what makes Technics Tracks such an appealing place to shop for music.

Technics Tracks, like Onkyo Music, is powered by 7digital - so you'll find plenty of overlaps in music and features, such as being able to buy individual tracks, preview options and a FLAC-only ethos.

The bespoke minimalist interface makes Technics Tracks look and feel different from 7digital, though - it's a slick site to use.

Hi-res files are available in FLAC from 24bit/44.1kHz up to 24bit/192kHz and are marked with a 'Hi-Res' badge on the thumbnail artwork. Pricing is similar to 7digital as well, making it a top place for hi-res tunes.