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?


Again, many recordings on Qobuz sound great. Still very enjoyable ... No need to throw the baby out with the bath water in terms of enjoying the streaming format. Nothing is perfect in this world ...
Exactly. There have always been poorly made LPs and CDs, and now we have poorly made digital files. But the best of any of those formats can still offer exceptional sound.

Finding the best (highest fidelity) version of any particular recording has always been a bit of a hit-or-miss proposition. The only thing that’s changed is that now - sometimes - the best version of a recording is what’s available from a streaming service such as Qobuz.
Post removed 
All I can say is that I have tried streaming from three different providers and I am not impressed. It is digital and theoretically is should be just as good as playing your own file but it is most definitely not. It sounds like they are playing MP3 files even when they are supposed to be streaming 44.1/16. 
I cancelled all my subscriptions. There are many places I can sample new music. I also love flipping through albums even on the internet.
It takes effort, learning and attention to the details to get great sound out of streaming. It is more involved than a turntable to be frank. How the streaming signal gets to your streamer is perhaps even more important than the streamer. The streamer is also important and the software used to play music is critical. Eliminating noise in the signal is everything in digital streaming.
It will cost you money, time and effort. It’s easy to get sound out of a streaming front end, however more difficult to get great sound.
I have learned this over the past 2 years. Achieving great SQ streaming requires getting educated on SOTA innovation in this space and incorporating it. 
It takes effort, learning and attention to the details to get great sound out of streaming ... How the streaming signal gets to your streamer is perhaps even more important than the streamer.
That’s probably true. And if you’re suffering from a bad neighborhood network (such as having many high-bandwidth users on a single cable Internet node, or connections in your neighborhood that are dirty or wet) you’re sure to have some data loss when you’re streaming audio - and that’s before the signal ever gets to your router and switch.