Sound quality issues streaming from Tidal vs CD

I am hoping someone familiar with streaming from Tidal might be able to help.

I have recently installed the Pro-Ject Streambox S2 Ultra, which is a small Raspberry Pi based network bridge. I connect this to my router via ethernet cable and to my Vitus DAC (which is part of the CD player) via USB. My CD player obviously outputs through the same DAC.

The sound quality from CD is so much better than the sound quality from Tidal (I am a Tidal Hifi subscriber).

So my questions are:

1. Is this just a feature of streaming via the internet, it simply is not as good as a good quality CD transport?
2. Or is it an issue with the Pro-Ject - would something like the Autralic Aries G2 (also a network bridge with no DAC) which costs 6 times the price of the Pro-Ject, improve the Tidal stream?
3. Or is it the fact that the USB cable I am using is an entry-level £10 cable?
4. Or is it Tidal? - would Qobuz sound better?

Any advice or knowledge would be welcome.

As an audio distributor I learn a ton of knowledge by listening to my clients. The best piece of digital advice that was given to us by one of our clients is to look at digital like a piece of pie. If you have an average USB cable, you are missing 1/8 of the pie and there are a ton of average USB cables. If you are using average blue Cat 5 router cable, you are picking up noise thru that cable and missing another 1/8 of the pie. If you are NOT hardwired to your router, you are missing another 1/8 of the pie. If you are using an average server you are missing 1/4 of the pie. When you start to add the whole amount of digital signal missing, it becomes oblivious why the streaming service is not as good as your CD player but if you solve the weak links than Tidal can sound very good. We have directly A/B tested 76 different digital front ends as of May 2019 and we have found that the server was the most important part of setting up a digital system properly, followed by the dac but most people focus on the dac first. The proper cables are also super important and hardwired, in our opinion, solves a lot of problems.


"Tidal told me the master quality had to be done from pc."

Not true. I stream Masters MQA content from my mobile device all the time.

thanks for your considered reply. One thing I don’t understand: in my chain (router to Pro-Ject Streambox to DAC) which is the server?

It looks like your Pro-Ject Streambox acts as the streamer but I have zero personal experience with this device. If you are looking at music servers at the $1000 price point than I would recommend you contact Andrew at Small Green Computers and chat with him about an Ultra Rendu with an upgraded power supply. Excellent product and to get better you need to spend a lot more.

Most of the servers we A/B tested were $3000 and up. The exception was the Sonore products, which are very good sounding.


Is a streamer the same as a server?

i was thinking of demoing an AURALiC Aries G2 - are there others you can recommend to replace the Pro-ject?
I do not need a hard drive nor a DAC.