CD Quality Versus Streaming Quality


I realize this will be a contentious subject, and far be it from me to challenge any of the many expert opinions on this forum, but if I may offer my feedback vis-a-vis what I am hearing, and gain some knowledge in the process.

i will begin saying that my digital front end setup is not state of the art, but i have had the good fortune to listen to a number of really high-end systems. I guess the number one deficit in my digital front end is a streamer server, and no question about it that will improve the sound.

My CD player is a universal player; Pioneer BDP-09fd. It uses Wolfson DACs. It has been modified to a degree. I have bought and sold other players, but kept this one, because it has a beautiful sound that serves the music well.

Recently, i ventured over to my son’s place and we hooked up my player (he doesn’t have one and rely’s on streaming only) We compared tracks / albums of CD quality and master quality streamed on Tidal with ‘redbook’ CDs I have. For example, some Lee Ritenaur CDs and some Indian classical and the wonderful Mozart and Chopin.
His system is highly resolving.

we were both very surprised to find the CDs played on the player to be the better sound. And not just by a little. The sound was clearly superior, with higher resolution and definition, spatial ques, much better and clearer imaging. Very surprising indeed. Shouldn’t there be no difference? This would suggest the streaming service is throttling the bandwidth or compressing the signal?

i am most interested to hear others’ observations, and suggestions as to why this might be? I do love the convenience aspect of streaming, but it IS expensive for a chap like me of fairly modest means. The Tidal HiFi topline service is $30 per month I believe, something the good lady is not too thrilled about. God forbid I should suggest Roon on top of that I may likely get my walking papers. I jest, but only partially LoL. My point is, if I pay this sort of money, isn’t it fair to expect sound to equal the digital stream from the CD player and silver disc?
Thoughts?

AK





4afsanakhan
Stating old stuff here.  When cd’s came out 1 k of ram was about 1000 dollars. The red book standard for music was ahead of the means to store it or read it accurately in real time.  Reading digits off a spinning disk has inherent errors up to 5 percent depending on the condition of the disk and the quality of the transport and laser.   Dacs essentially have to guess where the missing information is based on algorithms.   Once you had cheap enough buffers like the original ps audio rom systems the errors were gone.  Now with solid media the digits can be stored without error and served yo an asynchronous dac.  No matter how good your CD player is, the process is flawed and outdated.
now there are data issues when you rip your cds to memory that are probably not audible, purchased 16/44 will provide excellent sq.
Streaming, like Class D amplifiers, are both getting better and better and at a very fast rate! 
With streaming everything matters in terms of getting great sound quality.  The software used is VITAL folks. Ridding the digital front end of noise is critical.  In the end, streaming CAN sound every bit a good as the best CD players.  Just no doubt. 
Streaming is wonderful for discovering new music much like Youtube.  However as has been stated previously your listening to overly compressed music where much of the detail has been lost. The music supplied by Tidal/Quboz are not original mixes/masters that were mostly carefully done in the 1980's by people like George Marino at Sterling Sound. Your getting what the Record Labels are currently supplying which is Remastered crapola.  Do your research instead of spreading myths.  Go buy a 1985 CD of any title you want...compare the DR to your streaming options. I doubt any of these streaming guys have ever heard a TOTL Esoteric/MSB/Luxman/DCS system with Original master recordings. Your in denial or just plain lazy. In todays world everybody wants convenience and not quality.  One of the Posters put a link in as to declining CD sales....so what does that mean?? Did you do that to prove your point that the masses are turning away from CD's because of the sound quality? Going by that logic I guess since Britney Spears has sold more Records/CD's than most of the Classic Rock bands I grew up listening to she's more talented?? LOL  

Since 1987 I have been dealing with Hundreds of people in the music industry from every possible avenue...Recording Engineers, Producers, A+R, etc  Thats how Ive gotten over 9000 Gold/Platinum Record awards (Featured on my Facebook page). These people will tell you exactly what I said above. You arent getting the Primo original recordings....especially since the Fire 15 years ago where a Huge portion of the Universal Archives went up in smoke.  You do know that there are only 3 Major Record Companies left right???...and the largest one lost Thousands and Thousands of the Masters before streaming even existed.  So what copies do you think you are listening to?? HIGH RES means nothing if the Source has been compromised.   Your never going to find the best recordings streaming for titles prior to the turn of the century.  You spend so much time stressing over your gear and what amp to pair with your speakers, cables etc....but then completely DROP THE BALL and cant be bothered to listen to the best sound possible of your favorite recordings.  In my book thats doing yourself a grave injustice. Convenience + Quality is rarely  synonymous and it sure isnt in this hobby but hey believe what you want. Your paying for your own ignorance/false beliefs based on no factual foundation.
You didnt give any data on the streaming setup or settings. Tidal, for example, has three levels of quality.  The playback is critical. So you just said, "i have a convertible, its faster than my son's sedan, therefore convertibles are faster".
Um, maybe.
you might read my crazy long posts in reply to someone;s questions re: streaming recently.