How to listen to FLAC

So I recently purchased my Sennheiser HD58x Jubilee’s but have yet to purchase a dac or amp or anything like that yet. I have a laptop and Spotify on “very high” quality music, but I want to start building my music collection now.
I just recently purchased the Interstellar Soundtrack and I am going to rip the songs onto my computer for high quality music like that. I have a few questions regarding this.

  1. is this the only way to reliably get high quality music?
  2. are free FLAC files worth it/reliable (if so where can I find a good source for free)
  3. can I hear the difference without a dac or an amp

I want to put my new headphones to good use, and I know Spotify does not do them justice due to the nature of streaming music, and I want to start listening to high quality music but I don’t really know how. I appreciate all feedback

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Easiest way is through Amazon music HD, but if you want to buy music, either rip CDs to flac or buy them on various sites and play them through Foobar.


If you are running a Windows machine, you can adjust the audio playback quality (NOTE: this will not force your low quality files into being better, but can restrict how low quality the onboard DAC/AMP on your motherboard will produce.) You’ll be looking for the sound control panel. Exactly how to get to it can very dependent on which version of Windows you are running.

I’m really impressed with the quality of Amazon music. Big selection and an easy interface

You all beat me to it, I was going to suggest Amazon music hd. I have Spotify family and used the extreme quality, I sub to Amazon music when they added HD and I have apple music free from my mobile phone carrier.

Hands down Amazon music for quality. Only problem is it will give you the no internet error on mobile, even when I’m on 4g lte. Spotify is way more stable and hardly ever drops unless I legitimately pass thru a dead zone for mobile signal.

I guess that’s to be expected when it’s streaming literally 10 times the data. So if you are using mobile I recommend an unlimited data plan.

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For free FLAC (to try your gear out) try:

You can get some fairly cheap gear that will drive those headphones! What’s your budget? Also TIDAL/Flac will blow Spotify out of the water

Let’s not go there lol. For multiple reasons.


nothing like gettin hentai and flac files from the same website!


I mean I guess but I still suggest to get your stuff from legit sources


i sort of treat them like ROMS, if you already own the record or tape or cd, try this out for size.
if you enjoy the sound, then go from there. use legit sources and support the artist. also check bandcamp. im a budget college student, gotta save where I can lol

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Amazon Music also has an entire library of “Ultra HD” playlists. 29 curated playlists of different categories, all in 24/96 or better. It’s a pretty cool way to play with your equipment and also discover some new music too.

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my issue is that I have around 2 or 3 thousand songs on my Spotify, so the chance that I’d switch my entire streaming service is highly unlikely unless there is a feature that lets me import my playlists.
What I am planning on doing is choosing a select few songs for FLAC, like my Interstellar Soundtrack and my jazz playlists

hmm there are playlists transfer services online. you could try that

Or join my club, club multiple services…lol

I use Spotify for the family, and pod cast at work. I’m been a member since the publice beta.

I tried the free trial of Amazon HD and did A/B testing on the same tracks both service open on the PC at the same time. Some tracks are very noticable, some have bairly to noticable improvement in sound quality over Spotify extreme.

So at home and I the car I use Amazon HD for enjoyment, I don’t really use :apple: but it is free. Spotify for the family, to keep my old playlist and for podcast.

Plus 1 month of Amazon HD = cost of one FLAC album.

Easy choice, buy one album or get thousands of albums. That’s my view

Hey jo-mama, I’m one of the (lots of) people who recommended you HD58Xs (like, months ago?). So you finally got them. Hope you like them. :slight_smile:

This is a blind test, 128kbps vs 320kbps vs CD-quality files. All ears are different. See if you can hear the difference, so you’ll know if the hassle of switching from 320kbps spotify to FLAC (CD-quality) is worth it. I honestly can barely hear the difference between CDs and mp3s, but I still don’t have a decent amp. I’ll order a JDS Labs Atom next week actually, curious to see If I’ll hear the differences more easily.

  • With 128kbps, the cymbals are all screwed up. Especially with HD58Xs, because they’re excellent for treble and high treble, and 128kbps kills treble.
  • 320kbps is damn near CD-quality sound.
  • With CD-quality, I can hear more instruments/sounds at the same time, or longer reverb/echoes, or both at the same time. 320kbps isn’t good for this. But still, it’s really damn close, for me, AND without an amp (I still can find the CD-quality file 4 out of 6 or 5 out of 6 times).

Again, all ears are different. Enjoy!


CD quality lossless is worthwhile pursuing, but don’t try and have all your files be 24 bit whatever sample rate, because it’s much harder to hear the difference for that

Oh, also, this is the test for CDs and higher than CD-quality files.

From 20mb CD-quality 5-minute files, to DSD 256 11.2896Mbit/s for one f-:skull:-ing gigabyte for 5 minutes for the same song, lol.

Apparently right now the top is DSD512 32bit/768kHz and is named like that because it’s 512 times CD quality, I think (therefore 512 time the size, uncompressed). CD quality is 16bit/44.1khz …don’t bother. :stuck_out_tongue:

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Ha! Well, my system’s bottleneck is my ears, and they top out at 24/96…max. Probably well before that.

So yeah- I wont bother with 32/768!!:grin:

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To be honest, I don’t really think there is a noticeable difference between 16 bit and 24 bit. What matters more is how it was mastered. I even have 16 bit 44.1 khz FLAC that sound better than 24 bit 96 khz FLAC or WAV because the mastering is better on the former. It all depends on how they mastered the CD format.


I know there are free things like foobar that are way better to use than Windows Media player, but I am switching to a MacBook soon and I didn’t know if foobar or whatever would work (for non streaming service)