CD vs Streaming


I am learning every day and a lot thanks to this forum and you who contribute.

Next for me is to understand whether a good streaming set up is superior to a CD or inferior.

(In audible terms, not scientific.)

I am streaming Amazon.

Here is their description - I quote...

""What audio quality does Amazon Music HD support?

Amazon Music HD offers lossless audio in two quality ranges: HD and Ultra HD.

HD tracks are 16-bit audio, with a minimum sample rate of 44.1 kHz (16/44.1 is also referred to as CD-quality), and an average bitrate of 850 kbps. Ultra HD tracks have a bit depth of 24 bits, with sample rates ranging from 44.1 kHz up to 192 kHz, and an average bitrate of 3730 kbps.""

So I wonder aside from the feeling of ownership and ritual. (I love the owning of a cd collection and/or vinyl. I love the ritual of setting an album up. I get it.)

But sometimes I don't want to "grind the coffee beans, heat up my exresso machine for 10 minutes, froth the milk. :)) I just want a ☕.

Forgive the analogy.

So CD or Stream?

Have an awsome day,


@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?
I wish I could tell you, but while I may buy CD's, I stream everything. I don't have a CD spinner anymore, just a couple of hundred gigabytes of disk storage, and remote players. :)

I'm sure it depends on the implementation of streaming or disc playing, but if equal the ability to sit with an iPad or equivalent and select the music you want to hear is an amazing treat.  I use Roon with Qobuz and Tidal -- Amazon isn't yet listed as a Roon service.

“should I buy CDs for sound quality. Or audibly, is Ultra HD from Amazon at least as good.”

+1, dbphd,

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’ 😊
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.

Post removed 
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!
Thank you all for chiming in.

I will continue preparing and drinking coffee in my ritualistic manner and go all-in for streaming.


+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!