Did you notice....

That even great quality streamer streaming great hi-rez digital format cannot outperform cheap CD-player playing red-book CD or it's only my 'illusion'?


I'm with @sns -- years ago I spent several weeks comparing, back-to-back, synced and level-matched, CDs against my local rips of the same material.  I was never able to tell a difference.  Then, about three years ago, I added a Qobuz subscription to the mix and ran the same type of comparison again between my material against the same songs on Qobuz with the same results.   

But, as with any piece of equipment in this hobby, different people reach different conclusions.  I like the way my setup sounds and enjoy having 80 million tracks at my fingertips along with the items in my collection that are no longer commercially available (or never were.)  Other people are chasing a different experience. More power to them! 

It's not always true, of course, but on average I continue to get my best fidelity via Qobuz. Sure, my Sony CD/SACD player sometimes outperforms it and so does my SOTA/Alphason/Hana rig. But all three are pleasing as hell for me. At this point in my musical listening existence it's simply a matter of what piece of music I want to listen to.

Streaming can exceed CD, file, or even vinyl at many cost levels. It is a question of components in your system.

My streaming has equaled Red Book and often exceeded where higher resolution is available for a couple years. I use a wall wart wifi repeater to feed my streamers. You don’t need to make investments as high as my stems to achieve this. But you need to make careful thoughtful purchases… just like in all aspects of high end audio.



The best sound I've experienced has been with BluRay and DVD audio discs, which  supposedly undergo no compression..... Ringo's bass drum/toms on Sgt. Pepper are a good example.

I'm not holding my breath for more BluRay/DVD releases because the production costs are enormous.