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.



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.

One of the last things I do at night is to listen to one of my many LPs. One of the first things I do the next morning is to stream.

I listen to streaming about three hours a day, and also spin a vinyl album once a day. Sometimes just for fun I’ll spin a CD (and compare to streaming). All of these formats sound outstanding to me, and typically when something sounds notably better it’s a well mastered tune… usually in streaming. But this discussion about the masters of a few albums mastering is just nitpicking. There are a few remasterings that not as good as one you got in the 70’s is just irrelevant minuscule noise.

When you have a system that can stream at the same level of fidelity as CD… or even vinyl, a few albums might be not as good sounding (I haven’t run into any)… and a lot better are absolutely better… this argument just becomes non-sense. The world of audiophile level of streaming is so incredible it just leaves physical media in the dust.


Hey, I still buy a couple vinyl albums when I go to get my hair cut. There is a vinyl record store across the street. It’s nostalgic, I just got a new record cleaner… I have an incredible analog end… no ticks, groove noise, elegant… fun. But 95% of the time it is streaming.