Playing CDs sounds better than Qobuz — dammit

I’ve built a decent HeadFi rig over the past few months and am quite happy with it streaming Qobuz as a source via my iPad/iPhone.  I recently brought my CD player into the rig as there are some reference CDs I need that aren’t available on Qobuz.  Well, I made the mistake of playing some CDs and compared them to Qobuz, and in every case the CD sounds better — specifically a quieter background and more transparency overall.  I’ve got good cables from the dongle out of my iPad to the USB cable that runs to my DAC for streaming, so let’s leave cables out of the discussion for now because I think this goes deeper than that.  Needless to say I’m pretty disappointed right now because I’ve enjoyed not spinning discs over the past year or so and certainly don’t wanna go back to buying CDs again.  Ugh.

So, what I’m thinking is that streaming over WiFi through my iDevices may be the bottleneck.  IF that’s the case and I need to up my streaming game, what would be the cheapest way to go to overcome the bottleneck?  My thought is going hardwired (which I can do) to something like an iFi Stream or maybe a ProJect Streambox, but just wondering if that’d get it done?  Something else?  I need something pre-made and won’t wrestle with doing a Raspberry Pi with hats, etc. as I have no patience for configuring/troubleshooting tech.  Thanks for any advice/thoughts. 


Make sure you are comparing apples/apples ie the same cd release. Many popular CDs have various remastered releases over the years and streaming services tend to lean towards newer releases which also tend to be mastered louder. Also possible the streaming service does other processing that changes the sound But I cannot cite specific known examples. I would not assume it’s something on your end making the difference necessarily. Do you rip and stream your own CDs? Try that and compare for something more controlled to compare. 

Not long ago someone reported his ratings as follows:


10= LP 

9.0= Downloaded files

8.5= CD rebook

7.0=Streamed Hi-res.

Streamed music is getting better every year.

The insane advantages of streaming make it an 

unavoidable destination. 

Go Stream Go!!

PS: Roon is said to actually degrade the SQ as compared to

some proprietary software provided by individual manufacturers.

This makes sense to me as a homogenization must result in a step 

down in SQ. Not to say I don't use Roon as i do.

Depends totally on the equipment. When I streamed from my Mac, I thought CD sounded better, at least on red book. When I replaced the computer, streaming sounded better, using the same DAC.

Quobuz is way better than CD in my system, but that only came about with correct implementation and filtering of the wired Ethernet network.

Of course a cd sounds better! Your music is being derived straight from a physical media rather than over some internet connection. Plus the cd is more pure and direct, as the cd player or transport is hard wired right to your preamp. Hi res is over rated, at some point no one can tell the difference between it and a hi quality well recorded cd.