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Tune Surfing

Channel Classics’ new download site and Priory Radio’s fine debut

Amsterdam’s Channel Classics has launched its own high-resolution download facility on its website and very nicely constructed it is too, even down to a Java-powered download manager. Downloads are offered at a variety of bit-rates from MP3 (320kbps) via 44.1/24-bit FLAC, 96/24 FLAC to 192/24 FLAC – you can download a sample file with a Haydn duo for violin and viola offered in the three FLAC formats. Having listened to all three, I’d be quite happy with the 96/24 version (Studio Master), and it takes up less space than the Golden Ears’ 192/24 (Studio Master HD): though the 44.1/24 (CD quality) file takes about one third of the space of the highest-definition version. But check them out for yourself and go for the one that best suits your playback kit. The pricing reflects the quality of the format: the physical SACD will set you back £15.17 – exactly the same price as the Studio Master. Studio Master HD costs £17.84, 
CD quality £12.49 and the MP3 £8.03.

Given the extremely high production values of Channel Classics’ recordings – the label’s founder Jared Sacks engineers many of them himself and he has a great pair of ears – this is a catalogue that really benefits from higher bit-rate sound. And the performances are pretty fine, too: I’ve long been a great fan of Iván Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra and their growing discography offers many rewards (their recent Beethoven Pastoral is a wonderful performance). If you’re into high-quality downloads, pay it a visit at channelclassics.com

Gramophone