CD or Streaming... am I missing out?

I listen to CD in my headphone office system. Use a Theta Compli transport and a very nice and pricey tube 16/44 DAC. Have thought about a streaming capability and all its benefits but am both limited by SPDF and by 16/44 only. I also love the analog sound of my tube DAC. Does streaming sound far surpass CD? Am I missing out?
What I like about streaming is having access to millions of albums and finding new music.  That takes time, though, and if you're at work you don't want to lose your job because you're fooling around with your stereo all day.

I would not expect a major upgrade in sound quality by adding an inexpensive streamer to your setup.
Sound quality is arguable. Music selection is not. That is what makes streaming worth it. Period.
CD or Streaming... am I missing out?

Sound quality is arguable.

Not to me it’s not, CD every time, how opportune this thread just started.

Not looking at the different releases of this Tears for Fears, between 1989 to 2020 comparisons of dynamic range and how it get compressed
(green is good uncompressed red is bad very compressed)

I use a Bluesound Node and subscribe to Qobuz. Very good quality, but my CD setup beats it. My Node2i only cost $500 whereas DAC and transport is in the thousands.
I really enjoy streaming, the only downside is the streaming service decides which version of a digital release is available; eg, original release vs. remaster.
I listen mainly to classical so these recordings are not subject to high compression, poor dynamic range.

Truth be told, I haven't played a CD in months. I like having thousands of albums to choose from. And they are audiophile quality.

There are regular posts here asking some variation of the same question, "CD or streaming?" It's not an either/or situation. There's absolutely no reason having a great streaming setup means you can't also enjoy whatever pleasure you get from owning and playing CDs.
I bought a $40 Chromecast Audio and mainly stream radio and a few hi res streamers.  Can stream spotify but not Apple Music.  Very happy with it.  use the toslink to my DAC
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It seems there is a partial consensus toward CD. And aside music selection and convenience, I am happy to see SQ going to CD.
When mentioned “advantages of streaming” it is clear that having access to virtually unlimited music and discovering new is central.
After collecting CDs for decades, I have winnowed them down to about two hundred that I love and, many, are listened to repeatedly.
I am indeed fortunate to be retired and have a home office where I do busy work leaving me open to carefully listen to and enjoy my system. My rig is a pair of ZMF Verite headphones, Theta Compli transport, Bakoon HA 1 amp, Stealth digital IC and analog IC, and a rather special 3 Dimension Audio DAC that is a close copy of the Audio Note Level 8 DAC.

mglik OP
And aside music selection and convenience, I am happy to see SQ going to CD.

That about sums it up nicely. If you have a library of CD’s.
Sound quality - CD
Convenience - Streaming

In Australia you can always listen to free DAB radio (streaming) for the latest stuff if you like it, we have hundreds of genre specific channels of it, it’s far better than listening to FM .

Cheers George

Often similar topic discussions become framed as either/or, but truly both formats, as well as purchasing downloads, have their place.   With streaming there is a tremendous amount of access to music, but not all music is added to these services leaving purchase options for CD or downloads as viable.  16/44 resolution can sound very good depending on the recording and your playback equipment.  I am reletively new to streaming purchasing Qobuz for a year last May.   I like expanding my listening to new artists and further following contributing artists for music I like.   I had a tendency to get a hunger for new music and had been buyinbg multiple CD's at a time, but have largely satisfied that appetite with Qobuz for now.  I still buy music, but much more targeted. I also enjoy convenience of music playing continually in background while doing other things without swapping CD's from the player.  I have ripped my CD's to my server hard drive, and often play a mix of owned and Qobuz music.   

Well, I'm glad I haven't ordered my coax cable yet. I'm awaiting delivery of Teac 505 streamer  this afternoon. I was going to hook up my Theta Miles to the new Dac in the Teac to see if it sounded better. Probably not. 

I bought the Teac for convenience. Age 70 is coming fast (2 1/2 wks) I figure there may be times in the future when I just didn't feel like turning over albums. Plus I have tons of flac files that I could burn to CD but even easier, play  from the Teac.

BTW @georgehifi  , Do you live in Australia? just curious

BTW @georgehifi , Do you live in Australia? just curious


Cheers George
Yes you are totally missing out on the totality of available music. SQ not so much but you would have a hard time picking blind.
There is NO WHERE near a deal breaking difference.
If you are happy listening to a limited library repeatedly, good for you.

SQ not so much but you would have a hard time picking blind.
Maybe, but a group of 6 of us all picked it CD was better, even the pro streamer guy, who was upset because he sold all 2000 of his CD's to go to streaming.
432evo High End mMusic Server 432evo Roon Core.
TotalDac T1
Yamaha CD Transport
Supratek Cortese
Wilson Alexia II
Gryphon Antillion.

Yes very high end, but isn’t that what it’s all about??
No compromises if possible, otherwise you’d use the cheap supplied interconnects that come free with sources as well.

Cheers George
It must depend on your setup, I have a NAD M33 and stream Qobuz HR and it blows away my CD player so much so that I removed it. Admittedly the CD player was a Yamaha mid-level at best and the M33 is not. Even if they were simply equal (they were not) the vast selection on Qobuz would make CD a non-competitor.
Horses for courses, in my view.  Where I live, best streaming option is Tidal HiFi (no Qobuz here) and I have a large library of CDs.  So for me I still rely on CD (or vinyl) for familiar recordings but use streaming for new things.  I run an Accuphase DP 570 which pretty much outshines my Naim streamer.  On balance I don't think streaming is better for me than Redbook on my system.
streaming an identical recording at 16 bits / 44.1 kHZ and a CD of the same recording at 16 bits / 44.1 kHZ is sonically identical to my ears. streaming 24 bit files (Tidal Master MQA or Qobuz HiRes) through systems that are able to deliver those files bit perfect (without down sampling to 16 bit) are very noticeably higher quality (higher resolution, smoother, more dynamic, broader soundstage) than the same music streamed from a 16 bit file. having access to a streaming library of millions of recordings is a revelation. it’s all about the music.
sold my $3000 CD player over 12 years ago because ripped music and now streaming done right sounds better than cd and vinyl (sold all my vinyl equipment/albums over a year ago with no regrets. SACD is a different animal, but I haven't turned on my SACD player in over 5 years. 
Hi mglik1   I never heard streaming that was as good as a CD. Compare Nina Simone's "Baltimore" with the streaming versions - doesn't sound like the same session. Why bother? New music, I know. Good Luck!
Qobuz has 50 million songs while Tidal has 60 million songs which I believe is the most economic way to hear various songs. Many songs come with significantly higher resolutions files compared to redbook (CD) files which sound significantly better on highly resolving audio systems. If you want to do in-depth research such as which albums does a particular artist contributes to, try searching on Metadata and Roon.

Like vinyl, CD albums usually contain a few songs you may like and sometimes songs you don't.  But with streaming, you can choose individual songs and even create playlists. Might be a good idea to find an audio dealer with streaming hooked up for a demo.

I plan to burn all my CDs to a Innuos Zenith server, then use Roon player to seamlessly combine my server files with Tidal and/or Qobuz to look like a single library of songs on a iPad (I believe you can use a PC/Mac/laptop instead). If I want to spin CDs, I can always add a quality transport later.
I'm a recent streaming convert as well

Tidal and Qobuz delivered via Roon to a streamer capable of rendering bit perfect playback of HiRes and MQA formats

Everything in the streaming network is wired and nothing connected via wifi or BT

The SQ is much preferred over my Audiolab transport

Add in the convenience of changing music without getting out of my chair, the advantage of the vast music libraries (est 35 million tracks) and my favorite part..... the new releases just keep getting added

I hope I never have to purchase another piece of physical media again

The mobile benefits of streaming is another nice feature - car stereo, PC, headphones for bike rides and dog walks, etc

We all have our preferences and for different reasons but the value proposition of streaming works for me

This is a wonderful hobby that we all enjoy and great to share our experiences and ideas

Happy listening and enjoy the journey
If you’ll spend at least twice more on your new streamer then you did spend on Theta Compli you’ll definitely will not be regret.  Decent streamers starts from around 2K and up... don’t go budget on it, get high res service and you’ll definitely will be surprised by streaming SQ superiority. 
Some people actually says that a ripped cd played from a hdd sounds even better than cd.

I agree that you are missing out on music. And personally I think the sq difference is very small, whichever direction it goes.
Yamaha CD transport is not a high-end CD transport LOL

It is a  Yamaha CD-S2100 transport
Even though it not what's considered "hiend" audiophile transport, it was good enough to be better than anything streamed  via that streamer..

Cheers George
I have a Lyngdorf CD2 and a Bricasti M5 streamer with an ENO filter on the Ethernet input. The Bricasti has the edge, I never listen to the CD player. All my CD’s are ripped to FLAC on a NAS drive and I use Qobuz too. Streaming all the way for me.

Nice system. Your Theta is an excellent transport. I have been thinking about adding one to my collection. Is your the basic or blu-ray upgrade?

Happy Listening!

The DP-570 is sweet. Is this spinner your 1st Accuphase?

Happy Listening!
My okay Denon streamer was no longer supported by the company. It then became a FM tuner with wired iPhone/iPad capability. That being said, as long as I am using my iPhone via the firewire connection to the streamer, even a compressed 320 kbps streaming source will give CD's a run for the money.  Really well executed, non remastered CD's (Diana Krull, Mark Knopfler, Gomez and others) generally blow streaming away. I do have some grey market FLAC downloads that are amazing.
Streaming vs CDs is about convenience.  Not having to change a CD, being able to call up a wide variety of tracks with a few swipes of a tablet, and not having to store physical media.  Sound quality for streaming vs CD is essentially a non factor.  They both send 1s and 0s to a DAC.  Which sounds better depends more on the specific CDP or streamer under consideration 
It my system CD sounds better.  It's a tie when comparing CD's to CD's ripped on the hard drive of my music server with the CD Transport adding a little bloom around the midrange that locally stored rips playing on a music server don't have.  I think the server is probably more accurate.  Now for streaming the quality comes close to that of CD but where steaming blows the CD out of the water is the user experience.  I can sit on my chair with my IPAD and put together a playlist of 20 songs off qobuz and my cd rips without ever getting up from the chair.  Plus I have discovered so much new music from streaming that I never would have heard by just buying CD's.  I think the best thing is to discover new music using streaming and then go out and buy the CD's you want and either play them on a transport or ripped to a music server.
Streaming just makes sense.  Especially since an inexpensive tablet can be used for quality streaming via a quality outboard dac and headphone amplifier.  I use Amazon Fire HD10s and a Fire 7 for streaming audio, and am amazed at how good high quality files sound through my system.  Basic system is fully balanced: Schiit Modius Dac,  Cavalli Liquid Platinum, Sennheiser HD600,HD6XX, Hifiman HE4XX, and Audioquest Nighthawk Carbon.
You're not necessarily missing out on sound quality.  Much of the content available from streaming is CD quality.  What you're missing is convenience and selection.  It doesn't have to be either/or, however I have hundreds of CDs including some nice SACDs and they rarely get played anymore.  I'm streaming music every day.
Streaming vs CDs is about convenience.  Not having to change a CD, being able to call up a wide variety of tracks with a few swipes of a tablet, and not having to store physical media.  Sound quality for streaming vs CD is essentially a non factor.  They both send 1s and 0s to a DAC.  Which sounds better depends more on the specific CDP or streamer under consideration
Yah, but...... all that negativity of moving parts of driving mechanisms definitely not in favor of CD superiority vs streamers.  
If someone can purchase a Jay's Audio CD MK3 unit and ship it to me, I promise to compare it to my streaming setup and post my impressions asap.
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I enjoy streaming due to the simplicity. I have a Simaudio 680D Focal Kanta 3 floor speakers and Anthem Str Integrated amp. I use both Qobux and Tidal. A song I like might sound better on one service than the other. Vinyl sounds great CD can be really good too. Nothing wrong with using them all.
Time to step back. 

A CD is a digital file limited to 44khz.

A streamer is a digital file and is at least 44khz or greater 

Streamers have thousands of tracks and one month subscription is the price of one CD.

The most determining sound quality factor is the DAC just like in a CD player. 

No brainer!

A streamer is a digital file and is at least 44khz or greater ... The most determining sound quality factor is the DAC just like in a CD player
This is completely mistaken. There are many streams of lesser quality than 44.1.

When playing a digital track - regardless of whether it’s from CD, NAS or a stream - the biggest "determining sound quality factor" is the quality of the file itself, imo.
CD'S are not as good as streaming,if you have the right equipment. Some of the steaming services offer HI-RES, also.
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CD for SQ, in my opinion, but also for owning music. Check out Ted Gioia's video on this question:

I love having records and cd's, and there will be times where I rearrange, spend time reading liner notes again, or even stumble into things I've forgotten about. There's something important to me about the physical nature of the media. Streaming is great; it's convenient, it gives you opportunities to discover new things, and it can sound great. But I have a decent enough DAC and CDT that the better sound is here.

And I love shopping for used cd's and (mostly) new records. It's about all I've done outside the house since COVID hit.

Another point in favor of Streaming superiority is mobility. If you have latest phone in pair with DAC like Audiquest DragonFly Cobalt and nice pair of headphones, you can take your High Res music to your walk, workout, trip, work and other activities. I have this setup besides home system and very happy with it.