Streaming vs. CD


Is the digital signal of a server like Tidal of higher quality than that of a CD?
7c67ab18 c2ce 4b45 9523 fc4a71684ce0rvpiano
Depends on the source on the server.  If the streamed content is of higher resolution than CD "red book" standard, then the quality will be "better".

As any number of threads in these forums about the pros or cons of high resolution will testify, words like "better" or "worse" are more than a little subjective.  Perhaps "different" is more appropriate...

Happy listening.
I should have qualified streaming not including hi-res files.
streaming services like Qobuz offer three levels of audio quality:

-  MP3 320 KBPS (compressed like Spotify)
-  FLAC 16-BIT / 44.1 KHZ (this is CD quality)
-  FLAC 24-BIT UP TO 192 KHZ (hi-res, better than CD)
They offter the same SQ and enoyment. I will buy the CD I think is I like the most. The rest will all rely on Tidal or Qobuz streaming. Saving shelf space and constantly get the new release update. Modern recording quality is much than before. So I can enjoy the HiRes (at least 96khz/24bit). It cost you only $20/month. Well worth it.
to be honest, my ears can’t really tell the difference in a blind test between my SSD library of CD's connected to my Lumin streamer or the sound from Tidal and I’m not talking their MQA stuff. I will try Qobuz sometime this year, many have said their catalogue needs to catch up to Tidal’s offerings, and Tidal's offerings suit me just fine.
I use Tidal and I cannot tell the difference.  I hard wired my modem using CAD6 cable to my Apple TV hard wired CAD6 up the back of my receiver.  I wonder if I would hear a noticeable difference if I used a Blue Note to stream?
I find that getting to 24 bits makes a big difference to me although the higher bit rates don't seem to matter as much. I find CD quality to be dried out.
Tidal HiFi with MQA is better than any CD on my system. I stream via a LUMIN D1 for the last 4 years. CDs and albums cannot compete.

happy listening!
I stream on my bedroom system via Tidal using a a Node2 into a Benchmark DAC3. I also play cd rips off a NAS drive. To me, the ripped files sound better than the Tidal stream, MQA included. I’m wondering if something is wrong with my Node2 settings. Or???
peters,

You certainly seem to have some pretty hot gear.

A well recorded CD wil knock the u no what of a stream sound.
And better yet, it will always play once inserted.

I am dumping my Roon Nucleus. What a cluster!! Product, Service, support  they both tanked it.
In a couple years if new players move and do it right
I may return. For now it simply unreliable, 3rd level sound.
Antipodes DX3 server/Roon core into Metrum Ambre Roon endpoint then Metrum Adagio DAC, etc....
Usually hear no significant difference between ripped/stored CDs and (non-MQA) Tidal streaming but when I do, Tidal is almost always better sounding.  Either sound better to me than a CD player.  Would rather see Tidal adopt a hi-res format (even at a higher price), or for Qobuz to expand selections equal to Tidal, than to have to pay for a second streaming service so sticking with Tidal for now to get the best selection of the music I listen to.  Whatever they don’t have, I can rip and store on the DX.
I have spent some time getting Qobuz and Tidal to sound as good as my high-end CD transport.  To start with CD was much better.  Now there is nothing in it.

 It took some time and each of these changes made an improvement:
- turning WiFi and Bluetooth off on the streamer 
- using shortest possible usb cable from streamer to DAC
- trying different usb cables - some did sound different. 
- introducing a Cisco network switch between the router and the streamer
- changing the Ethernet cable from Cat 5 to Cat 7 from router to switch and switch to streamer
- locating the network switch as close to the streamer so that the cable length is reduced in this section of the set up. 

Each improved the SQ.  

three_easy_payments
382 posts
06-11-2019 1:15pm
streaming services like Qobuz offer three levels of audio quality:

- MP3 320 KBPS (compressed like Spotify)
- FLAC 16-BIT / 44.1 KHZ (this is CD quality)
- FLAC 24-BIT UP TO 192 KHZ (hi-res, better than CD)

.
...........................................................

I'm an old dog, have stayed away from streaming, so I 'know nothing'. my friend, another old dog, loves streaming.

a few questions:

1. what is the source of these oversampled 24 bit files?

2. if not 24 bit 192khz master, isn't it 44 boosted for a marketing numbers game?

3. I have many regular and SACD versions of music, i.e. Oscar Peterson, created from higher rez masters. ... My focused listening conclusion is the difference is not the signal but the lower noise floor, especially quiet passages. (an argument can be made that it is an unnatural quiet). Is this lower noise floor what people are reacting to?
@elliotbnew I suggest you contact Qobuz or look at their website perhaps to gain more info as I don't exactly know the answer to your questions. A quick look at their website indicated the following:

We do the preliminary work with recording studios, in partnership with record labels and film studios, to obtain 24-Bit Hi-Res files with an identical sound to that of the engineer’s studio master

good advice. 24 bit originals makes sense. I will gather some knowledge now.
Post removed 
I find that streaming my own music over my wifi system is fantastic. Better than my transport by far! I have yet to commit to a service, but I am headed that way. I am able to get great quality over my "mesh" network up to 24/192. I hard wire my Raspberry Pi based streamer to my Orbi satellite.  Then into my DSpeaker X4. I may upgrade to Blue Sound soon. Just to see if it is better, but I doubt it.
I have an Aurrender streamer hardwired to my router and hooked up to a PS Audio  DirectStream Dac with the latest software upgrade(big improvement). My transport is a  2 belt  drive CEC TLN2 up-sampling transport  hooked up to the same PS Audio Dac.  (Even though I do not have a MQA decoder, the Tidal  MQA  files sound consistently better than non MQA  files, although some of the non MQA files on Tidal can sound very good without  MQA.) 
But the issue at hand is CD vs. Tidal and in general, CD sounds better than streaming at least thru my system. I will say, however, in some circumstances, I have found some of the higher res MQA files to better CD in sound quality. So I have found it really comes down to software. If everything on Tidal was a MQA excellent recording one wouldn't need CD  but that simply isn't the case. So both have their places in a system.  I am listening thru a tube preamp with a separate power supply, a Luxman low power tube amp and reasonably efficient Focal speakers. 
I stream Tidal Hifi with my bluesound  node2 to Mytek Brooklyn DAC with the Mytek doing the MQA decoding. It sounds great to my ear, CD quality or better. The big plus is the vast amount of music you can access and the ability to make playlists
In my system, I generally prefer the sound quality of CD's over Tidal CD, Tidal MQA or Qobuz. I admit that I do usually listen to Tidal through my Aurender N10 since it is so simple to use and I don't need to get up and switch CD's. Streaming is usually good enough for me but CD's and SACD's win when I am being critical.
The original recording techniques/room/gear makes at least as much difference as the bit/sample rate. I've heard some 16/44.1 releases that sounded phenomenal, and some 24/192 that were merely good. Of course a well engineered master streamed at 24/192 will probably sound better than a CD.
CDs are far from dead. What is dying is computer audio as streaming has taken over.
https://twitteringmachines.com/computer-audio-is-dead-and-streaming-has-killed-it/
As long as there are CDs and LPs to play, they will stick around for the foreseeable future.

All the best,
Nonoise
What is dying is computer audio as streaming has taken over.


Darn it, I didn't get the memo about this!  Or maybe "computer audio" is something different than what I consider computer audio.  I spend a lot of time at my computer(s) and have two full systems with integrateds, DACs, and headphone amps at both.  Most of the music I listen to on the computers is streamed through Qobuz or Tidal, which I think sounds great.  Oh, both systems also have a turntable in them.  And speakers.