Access to full resolution music libraries online is priceless.
@erik_squires agree. But it is so hard to give a whole album a thorough listening. Even a whole song sometimes. Especially with company.
I used to put a vinyl on and only get up to flip it. Haha.
But the question remains, should I buy CDs for sound quality. Or audibly, is Ultra HD from Amazon at least as good?
“should I buy CDs for sound quality. Or audibly, is Ultra HD from Amazon at least as good.”
As long as implementation of your streaming setup is good, I would go all in with streaming. I am currently subscribing to Tidal and Qobuz and they both offer exemplary sound quality. I’ve dropped Amazon Ultra HD after the trial period due to cumbersome interface and limited content in high resolution when compared with Qobuz.
PS: I get the espresso machine analogy....I got Breville espresso machine as X’mas gift from my wife. So far I am loving the ‘routine’ and guess how many trips to Starbucks since X’mas....zero 😊
I play CDs and also stream. IMO, the only downside with streaming as far as SQ is that we are at the mercy of the streaming service which digital version is offered. Recent remasters are what is mostly found in the streaming libraries. In the rock genre, an early CD release without heavy compression sounds superior to a remastered version. Some of these early masterings are offered by the services, but they are few and far between.
When I heard the result of some remastered CDs during the Loudness Wars I set out to find the best versions of my favorite artists. In every case a first or early pressing had superior sound.
So for me, I love streaming for the deep catalogues and convenience. But, if I’m doing some critical listening I’ll play the best quality CD.
With that said, streaming quality varies widely upon the components being used. Also the connectivity; wifi, bluetooth, or hardwire.
I am a recent Roon/Qobuz user streaming via MacMini to a Schiit Yggdrasil DAC. My CD source is an Esoteric UX-3Pi.
IMO, streaming 16/44 sounds the same as listening to a CD. No difference...except I don’t hear my CD player whirling. LOL.
However, as always, results are dependent on the comparative quality of playback equipment within one’s system.
High resolution content via streaming is awesome.
I’ve used both Tidal and Qobuz (I prefer and went with Qobuz for $15/month) and have no problem with sound quality. Plus, the access to such a vast music library has exposed me to hundreds of tracks and albums I likely would’ve never otherwise heard resulting in me enjoying listening to music at an entirely new and higher level. I was a recent streaming convert and now rarely play CDs and don’t miss them in the least. Totally agree with others you need a good streamer, DAC, etc. to get the most out of the experience. Just do it!
+1 @soix I too use Qobuz a lot and have hardly reached for my CD shelves. Most CDs I have ripped to FLAC and copied over to a WD disk. That disk I connect to Bluesound Node2i which until recently was my network streamer and DAC; now it is only a transport as I use the new RME ADI-2 DAC FS as my DAC (running optical cable from Node2i to the DAC). This solution is only about $1,600. I enjoy a lot of music I wouldn’t have otherwise known. New music is published every Friday, plus multiple interesting playlists exist which teach me about artists I never knew. If you are into Jazz, you can browse the ECM catalogue and find pretty much everything on Qobuz. Enjoy!