A different world

For decades I have struggled to get digital even close to comparable to analog. Then finally a couple years ago after lots of upgrading and experimentation I succeeded. Streaming is equally satisfying with analog, very, very comparable. The full soundstage, instruments suspended in space, tonal balance, dead silent background, and details of brass cymbals … etc. Red Book CDs through my CD player are bested by my streamer with Qobuz or Tidal with hi-Rez versions.


A new world. It takes a while to get it. No longer confined to music you “own” to play over and over. Replay is supplanted by exploration. You love an new (or old album) and hit, “add to library”. It is yours.

So, HiFi+ magazine has an article on building a European 21st Century Jazz Library. I just start with the first album in the list and listen (add to library), the 2nd album (add to library), the third… the forth, fifth… a whole new category of incredible music to sit along side Miles Davis and Hank Moberly. Just a couple days in the life of a audiophile streamer. I could have never predicted this as a possibility ten years ago.


You love music? The goal of having an infinite audiophile library is now possible. It is possible at any high end level… just requires knowledge that it can be done… and I guess give up the idea that there is something special about your CD collection, or players.


I have a 2,000 vinyl albums, play them, usually one a day. They are fun, occasionally sound ever slightly better… but not significantly, I like them for nostalgic reasons.




Yes, very true. High end streaming is like all other aspects of high end audio, getting outstanding sound requires all components to be of the highest quality and all the little stuff matters. It takes little wrong to collapse the magic bubble… but when you have it… it is breathtaking. 

The streaming components don’t all have to be of highest quality. It just has to be done well, which most modern streamers and DACs are, for outstanding sound.  The end result will depend on the entire system as always.  


It is not only one example. I stream alot, just typically not as good as vinyl even though my digital system cost in in the 5 digit range. The link below is a newer site but is doing our community a service by examining these formats in detail. 30+ popular albums analyzed which is not a lot by all means but it is a start. In no case is the vinyl version compressed. In the cases they have the streaming data, 90% of the Qobuz and Tidal version are compressed. This is statically significant. I was surprised that Amazon Music seems to be using less compressed versions than the other two. Too bad Amazon Music in not on Roon.


And so we have thirty three albums analyzed. Were these cherry picked? Does this guy have an agenda? Will one's system expose these varying levels of compression?


Thirty three releases out of the tens of thousands releases, still anecdotal evidence at best.


I have aprox. 2500 cd rips, 3,000 vinyl, varying levels of compression in all formats, far more dependent on individual release than format in my experience. Vast majority of sound quality determined by original recording engineering, production. Also whether duplicates come from original masters, safety's, whatever generation copy.


I don't hear overarching and inherent dynamic range limitation with streams vs other formats. Such contentions require large scale testing.

Cherry pick?  Agenda?  If you spend any time on the site you would understand there is no agenda.  Several comparison are digital to digital. Comparing Blueray as well.   I have compared several of these in my system and I heard a big difference. Have you?  If you have a bigger data set that prove this wrong, show it and I will change my position.    I plan to monitor this site as new albums are added so I understand the best versions. I personally I want all formats to be the best they can be because I use them all.   I won't stop streaming because it is great way to hear new stuff but if there is something I really like I will buy the vinyl because it is likely to be better in my opinion.