24-bit FLAC files

Important information about 24-bit audio

Our 24-bit FLAC files offer the highest resolution available for audio replay. In fact, technically speaking, 24-bit digital audio resolution surpasses the signal-to-noise ratio of all consumer and professional audio electronics - it is both theoretically and physically impossible to build electronic circuits or amplifiers capable of matching the dynamic range of 24-bit digital audio - which should mean that with the digital noise floor well below your hi-fi system's limits, the sound is transparent and free of any low-level digital interference or noise. This is why a number of audiophiles prefer 24-bit recordings over 16-bit recordings.


24-bit audio will not go onto CD!

One common misconception is that you can record 24-bit downloads onto standard audio CDs, thereby increasing audio quality over 16-bit downloads. Not only does this represent a misunderstanding of how CDs work - whatever the electronics claims of your CD player and some of the dubious marketing of some record companies' products, all CDs are by definition 16-bit audio - but it is quite simply impossible to write our 24-bit files to CD as they come. You would need to resample them and dither down from 24-bit/48k to 16-bit/44.1k - which is precisely what we do when we prepare our 16-bit masters. This requires specialist software not normally found in CD writing packages.

Beware of any software which claims to convert FLAC into other formats - make sure it specifically states 24-bit 48k compatibility and the ability to convert sample rates and bit depths if you wish to use it to convert our 24-bit FLACs for audio CD or iPod use.


24-bit audio will go onto DVD!

It's not widely known, but the audio standards set for DVD video includes uncompressed audio at 24-bit resolution and a 48k sampling rate. Some software has been developed to take advantage of this, allowing you to use your DVD player as a 24-bit audio source, though most standard CD and DVD writing software will not support this. For more information and links to software handling 24-bit audio on video DVD, click here.


So how do I listen to 24-bit audio?

Your computer's audio replay software should be able to handle 24-bit files. Though you won't get the best sound quality from a standard PC or Mac sound card, upgrades which remove the sound card from within the machine (where it's surrounded by noisy electronics) can massively improve the sound output from a computer, and a carefully-chosen external sound 'box' should result in much improved replay, worthy of 24-bit audio.

We also recommend testing your replay software for 24-bit FLAC replay before buying any 24-bit files. A 24-bit sound file is provided below for testing. If this does not play on your chosen audio software do check our help files to see whether you need to install any further software simply to enable FLAC replay, for example with Windows Media Player on the PC or iTunes on the Mac. Again - even with this software installed, please try before you buy.

In addition, some standalone hard-drive-based media players do support 24-bit audio. Please check carefully before purchasing a device for this purpose that it can replay 24-bit 48k audio files. Note that you may need to convert our FLAC files into an alternative format (normally WAV) to play 24-bit audio on some devices. Whilst support for this replay is increasing, many manufacturers seem more interested in the video replay capabilities of their equipment than their audio capabilities.


24-bit audio is still a little 'specialist'

If you have any doubts about your ability to get the most out of our 24-bit audio - and remember to test before going any further - we strongly recommend sticking with 16-bit audio. We use the latest and best dithering technology to get the very most out of 16-bit audio, with dithering software which effectively raises the perceived bit-rate to something closer to 20-bits on many recordings.

If you can replay 24-bit audio with no difficulties, and do not need to transfer these files to CD, then go for it - you're getting the highest quality audio we can produce, with no compromises and no limitations.


The XBMC Media Canter - A Universal Free Replay System

Pristine Classical recommends the XBMC Media Center software for all audio replay on all computer plaftorms. Click here for further details of this comprehensive, free, universal audio, video and photo replay software.


Test your 24-bit FLAC replay with the following piece of music:

Rachmaninov: Prelude in C sharp minor, Op. 3, No. 2 (orch. Cailliet) - 4:55
The Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by Eugene Ormandy, Feb. 1950
Taken from
Ormandy conducts Stravinsky and Rachmaninov, PASC183

Click here to download 24-bit 48k FLAC (23.8MB)









Pristine Classical - DRM-free historic FLACs and MP3s since 2005


FLAC or MP3?

All our Pristine Audio recordings are available in both MP3 and FLAC format

Horowitz plays Tchaikovsky

Toscanini's Barber

Trio di Trieste - Brahms Piano Trio No 3

Miles in Paris, 1949

Boulanger's French Renaissance Music

Mississippi John Hurt - the 1928 sessions complete