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?


Interestingly, the CDs I mentioned above, are all at least 15-20 years old and more.
Yes and the later the re-issues the more they get compressed as I’ve shown. And do you think the streaming/download companies are going to search for the used earlier harder to find releases?? (no I don’t think so)

28 years difference of the same thing and what happens to it the younger it is

Cheers George
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,
I have worked for 10 years as software developer on making CD test disc equipment, that is for example for CD pressing plants and CD drive manufacturers.

Not many has used the physical Red book or the different orange books, for implementing measurements parameters that verifies the wording in those from Sony and Philips.
So that drive manufacturers can make sure that they can play a disc that meets the standard. And that CD manufacturers can make sure that they make discs that fulfill the requirements/standard. In those books.

A CD drive and a CD disc use many techniques to ensure that the data is error free. Will not bore you with all of the technical details. One small example, there is in the red book standard that do not allowed there to be ANY  un-correctable errors at all.
That parameter is called in the industry for "E32". It must be 0 otherwise it is out of specification.

What happens when a drive can't correct a error (that is all happening BEFORE entering the DAC) on a scratched/bad CD disc and get E32.
It puts out a error and stops reading/playing the disc.

In other words there is not a single bit that is in error from the drive that is going to the DAC. All data is fine and correct. And if the data is not guaranteed to be OK then you don't get anything. (100% correct or nothing.)

So I don't know where the horrible and completely flawed, misinformation in the quote is coming from!
I’ve kept my CDs. Starting to find out it was more than just too many very heavy boxes to deal with, but the actual treasure they once occupied in my mind. 
I was always led to believe that if an e32 was had (cannot read bit) 1 or 0, then whatever was read before was subsituted for the unread bit?.

Cheers George 
I ripped all my original CD’s years ago and stored them as FLAC files on a local NAS drive, with backup!
I have a £2000 Lyngdorf CD2 CD player and a £2500 Bricasti M5 Streamer. Playing the Coax output of the Bricasti and the Coax digital output of the CD2 into the same DAC results in the streamed version of the CD compared to the original CD sounding better. So I have better sound from my original CD’s that are now in storage, I have instant access to them all and I have no ugly walls of shelving stuffed with CD’s. I also stream from Qobuz for finding new music and listen to Internet radio with the same fantastic sound quality.
The reason it’s so good is the quality of the Ethernet network components. Ethernet Cables, RFI filters, precision switches are all critical to achieve this, unfortunately it’s not cheap to do it right.