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?


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.
I have over 40 years in Audio as well as owning a Audio store 
I have owned pretty much 90% of most designs out there .
a cd was great in its day ,but today Waay outdated .
a disc wobbles even a small amount ,is magnified and error correction needs to work on correction error correction .
It’s ok for CDs thst are out of print , I burned mine to a hard drive 
DB Poweramp is a great way to accurately copy your discs to hard drive . The key is getting everythung done correctly with great streaming . I just purchased a Bricasti  M3 very good buy having both in the same chassis with optional Roon 
Ethernet card ,before connecting Ethernet cable ,BTW I use 
certified cat6 cables made by Beldon used in top studios blue jeans cables sell it very good cost effective Ethernet , and 
Uptone audio, Ether regen ,which totally makes a New clean digital signal right before it goes into the streamer . Use very high quality power cords , dedicated line I use a 4 wire dual ground 
one common, the other insulated,isolated ground , awg10 ,
20 amp dedicated circuits are  essential, Gold plated  Copper AC outlets . It sounds like a lot but done over time , you can hear the difference with a very good dac, and high quality streamer any short cuts your audio will suffer ,it sounds very natural and better then using a usb cable for sure and superior to cd ,clear and pure.

I've worked hard collecting my beautiful classical cd's, All top quality performances, rare recordings,,,and have zero interest in streaming.
Sorry wish I could give you a   solid opinion,, I've read here and there, streaming is not anything special.
I need a  physical cd in my hands to  connect with the music. 
Streaming is too impersonal,  somehow the  music would lose touch with my soul.
SWallowed by  the high tech thingy.

New to this argument and i know it can be done losses so what are people talking about when they refer to the “version” of the title that streaming services use vs the red book cd?   Yes it’s compressed but if it’s lossless what does that matter?  But if it’s true the version the streaming service STARTS with is compressed poorly then garbage in garbage out.  Just curious if that is true, was true in the past, and why people thinks it’s true.