CD is better. My kit: Aurender to MSB DAC. MSB TRANSPORT to MSB DAC. STREAMING OPTIMIZED WITH UPTONE ETHERREGEN SWITCH , AUDIOQUEST Diamond USB , AUDIOQUEST Jitterbug . Power cables all exactly the same ;Transparent Audio Reference. Cd is easier on the brain and holographic.
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I’m curious why would you have an Audioquest jitterbug and an Audioquest diamond usb cable in the chain between your Aurender and your MSB dac? Do you have the pro usb msb interface? Unless you have an Aurender that only outputs USB then why wouldnt you compare a burned music file from the aurender fed through AES/EBU to your MSB dac? The reason I ask is I have done the same experiment and there is little discernable difference between the sound quality with the Aurender sounding slightly better, which I assumed was its caching advantage over a transport only. The usb output of even the most basic Aurender when fed into even the base usb input of a MSB discrete dac would not be positively influenced by the Audioquest Jitterbug.
Maybe a tad off the subject but relevant I think. I Don't stream but have been playing some MQA CD's on my Esoteric K-03xd which supports MQA. They sound stunning far superior to standard CD and better than most SACD'S I have. I fequently hear from those that stream MQA coded files from TIDAL, Qbuz et al that MQA is nothing to write home about. Based on this variation on your scenario I would say there is merit to your observation.
@audioman58 Too much work to get streaming to sound as good as my CD playback.
Also, unless one downloads the music, one is at the mercy of TIdal or Qobuz from deleting music one may want to hear.
Next, only about 15% of streamed files are truly hi-rez. The rest are CD quality or worse, of unknown mastering providence.
One of my friends keep their CDs but only play them ripped via EAC to thumbdrives into computers/Berkeley/Meridian Ultradac in a $500,000 system.
I use a high end DAC and transport. After acquiring the Synergistic Research Atmosphere X Eurphoria digital cable, I enjoy my 7,000 CDs as much as my 28,000 LPs. I find 50's & 60's jazz CDs often sound as good or better than the LPs. Classical also can sound great. Unfortunately, rock and pop from the 70's on generally don't (bad digital mastering/compression/noise filtering, etc). The latter is the case for most streamed files as well. Occasionally, an entire series of CDs sound dreadful for those reasons (RCA/BMG remastered mono opera recordings from 10 years ago are compressed, bass shy, shrill, etc). They are no better streamed, only the early versions from the 80s sound like the LPs.
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