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
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. 
grannyring
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.


It’s simple streamers/downloaders ask the companies for it, the provenance (cat.no. issue history) of the music you want, and force the issue

It’s the only way to stop getting the "compressed issues", is for the streaming/download companies to give the provenance of anything you want to get, and if it’s the compressed issue (like these), just don’t get it.
Go look for the non compressed issues or get the uncompressed CD instead if there one.
https://dr.loudness-war.info/album/list?artist=Traveling+Wilburys&album=Traveling+Wilburys

https://dr.loudness-war.info/album/list?artist=Crosby%2C+Stills+%26+Nash&album=Crosby%2C+Stills+...

https://dr.loudness-war.info/album/list?artist=Stevie+Nicks&album=Bella+Donna

https://dr.loudness-war.info/album/list?artist=Bruce+Springsteen&album=Born+To+Run


For those that want to hear the difference (real time) of the same thing compressed vs uncompressed
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Gmex_4hreQ&ab_channel=MattMayfieldMusic
And it’s 10 x worse on your hi-end system, and I see it being the death knell of hi-end audio as we know it

Cheers George

georgehifi
It’s simple streamers/downloaders ask the companies for it, the provenance (cat.no. issue history) of the music you want, and force the issue. It’s the only way to fix getting the "compressed issues", is for the streaming/download companies to give the provenance of anything you want to get, and if it’s the compressed issue (like these), don’t get it.
I agree that it would be nice for streaming services to provide more detail on the provenance of their tracks, but whaddya expect for $12.49/month?


but whaddya expect for $12.49/month?

Trouble is it is/going to take over from CD no doubt, and if it becomes the only way of getting music, the hi-end will be Audiogon, and so will talk/maybe the owning of very hi-end equipment, because it suits cars, ipod, walkmans etc far better.
Cheers George