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In my system, into my DAC, streaming sounds better than CDs ripped to flac on my hard drive.
And for $20/month, I can play about 90% of the albums that have ever been recorded.
In case the internet breaks, I still have all my ripped CDs. But as long as those tubes are flowing, I'll take a stream, please.
Its mostly about easy access to music. It can also be about top notch sound but does not have to be. Same true about records, CDs, whatever.
CD or streaming can both be top notch if done well/right. Same true with vinyl.
It is probably easier these days for most people to have a chance at getting top notch sound at an affordable price using streaming. Also streaming offers many user experience focused features that many will find beneficial in addition to the sound quality. Of course some will not...
So combine cost, good sound quality and a myriad of value added features available and its easy to see why this is where things are and will continue to go.
There are no sonic differences between cd's and red book 16/44 streams as from Tidal or Qobuz (provided the same DAC is used, of course). The difference is the convenience and the access. The latter in particular is something I value greatly. Suddenly you have access to a very large proportion of all music ever recorded.
Streaming allows you to access more music than you could ever possibly own. If set up properly, sound quality is not an issue. There are issues regarding how people can sort through and digest extremely large collections. Most algorithms are based on "if someone listened to X artist, what else did they listen to". Most people find that very helpful, but some don't.
Not all "streaming" works the same way. Spotify (various resolutions, not yet high res, sometimes CD quality) and Tidal (higher resolution, usually CD quality or better, more limited catalog) are subscription "streaming" services. They do not use physical CDs, of course.
Then there are local hard drive devices (network attached storage) for music storage. Music files from NAS devices can be played using "streaming" hardware ("streamers"). Again, no physical CD media, but the files are stored locally on the NAS or similar devices.
The latter approach is the one I use currently, and it allows one to avoid keeping track of physical media (CDs) while accessing all of the stored CD albums via tablet or phone touchscreen app. VERY convenient, and in my system sounds at least as good as a CD player (i.e., physical media player).
Good comments by @goheelz regarding streaming thru a subscription service and also by way of a home server or drive.
Now I have a question for all those who subscribe to Tidal, Spotify, etc; what happens to the music in your library or playlists when you don't pay your monthly bill, or if you cancel the the service?
Since this type of streaming is interactive, do you lose all your saved tracks?
@lowrider57 The music on your library has nothing to do with a streaming service it's stored on your hard drive or NAS or whatever. If you stop the streaming service you would lose your favorites or playlists you put together on the service account. Your own music would be intact. I hope that makes sense.
@jond , you answered my question. I was only referring to the service account. I have a hard drive with wav and aiff files, although they are not networked.
So, streaming from a service is really leasing the music; you never get to own it. Is there any way to transfer a song (file) from the streamer to your hard drive?
I've let my Tidal Subscription laps when i'm away (sometimes for months, Navy) and when I re-sub all my stuff is still there as it was before. I have not listened to a CD since I started with Tidal/Roon why bother. most times I think of a CD and first look on Tidal if its there I don't even bother getting out the CD as its either the same sampling rate as red book or better and most times there is multiple versions of the same CD's but various remasters etc.
I personally feel disc spinners are dead tech.
When Vinyl is out selling CD's time to move on. I've been putting my CD's on a hard drive as well so they are also accessible with tidal/roon.
Lastly CD's are plastic and plastics are a huge bane on out planet and ecosystem (I've seen the floating islands of plastic in the oceans) so any time we can move away from making more its a good thing imo.
Oh and yes you can transfer songs from Tidal to your drive. I've never used this so maybe someone else can chime in here. I use tidal in my home system and have the app on my phone so I have it in portable mode this is where storing the files on your drive comes in so you can dl them using wifi and not use your data.
I stream for pre purchase of CDs, SACD's and for convenience of listening to music I would not necessarily purchase. In addition to my computer streamer with the audioquest Firefly, my amazon Dot is great as a streamer to my Bluetooth speakers. I can get Instant back round music for just about any genre. Love it all!
@glennewdick, thanks for answering my questions.
The fact that you don't lose your playlists is a great feature. It's making me think I should stop burning CDs thru my computer.
Previously I didn't think streaming was for me because as I stated earlier, you're only renting the songs. So now I know better.
Didn't mean to hijack the thread, many thanks.
Think about streaming like this…. You head out to your fav CD & LP retailer and grabbing a buggy, you just start loading it up with discs and records. No matter who, or which. Roll it over to a corner of the room and begin spinning them all one by one on your private end point…. And you still won’t be approaching the catalog size streaming can provide you. nor will it approach the flexibility for playback, skipping from one artist to some other, or one genre to another instantly.
Then, ya gotta put ‘em all back or buy them later.
What appears to be an immense library at the CD store is actually not nearly as large as is what can arrive from having a couple subscriptions to ‘streaming’ services, as the store has double, triple and quadruple redundancy amongst its inventory, so the actual number of individual albums is less than what is physically there in sheer numbers.
I’d offer one acquire more than merely one straming service, even if the streaming quality is not CD or above, purely for variety sake.
Hearing new music often stimulates me to purchase this or that album for my own library which I’ll rip to a NAS, and or load onto what ever device when traveling.
Streaming has made burning complilations a thing of the past, unless its as a gift.
In fact, many folks now are more savvy with personal confusers so I’ll merely paste files onto thumb drives and forgoe the burning process entirely.
Data backups today belong on HDDs. Possibly high density BR discs. Depending. Almost entirely for images and documents, not audio or video media archiving. Except for personal libraries inventories where the exact format or content can not be acquired readily otherwise.
It truly is a Brave New World, Mr. Huxley.
Having the world of music at my fingertips is not something I need. I don't listen to most of what's available anyway. My tastes run radically different from what's offered by streaming services. To be honest, internet radio holds more interest to me than any streaming service and I only listen to it while at my computer, if then.
If I like something, I'll buy it. Sometime in the future, I may consider installing all my music on a server with a built in DAC and listen that way. But then, that's me. 😄
All the best,
Streaming is about having access to millions of albums in all genres that you can listen to for what at this time is pocket change.
It makes you much more adventurous in your listening habits. No need to stick with the tried and true. You can find a lot of really good albums that you never would have heard if you had to buy them before listening to them. If you like an album so much that you don’t want to take a chance on ever being without it, you can buy the cd, vinyl or download. You don’t end up with a pile of cds that you don’t want but can only sell for pocket change.
On radio you can hear one song from an album. With streaming you can listen to the whole album anytime you want. If there are tracks you don’t like, you can make a playlist of the ones you do like and save it. Then you can add tracks to that playlist from other albums that fit the feeling. You can save single tracks if you only like one track from an album and there are a lot of those.
Streaming offers many advantages for the music lover.
I understand what you all are saying about streaming having the access to millions of of songs and artists at your fingertips. Im kinda old school with my music. I mostly listen to and love classic rock. Some pop from the 60s 70s and 80s. To me the music of today and the artists suck. I compare it to the movies that come out today. To me they really suck. I am old school with movies too. You cant compare the music, the older movies with them today. Like the classic actors of yesterday to the classic artists from yesterday . If thats really all streaming is about then its really not for me. At first i thought steaming was a higher quality of music compared to cd playback. But its really more about convenience. If i like something i would rather just buy it on cd. And they are mine to keep.Not renting songs. That is just my opinion and what works for me. Now if the sound quality was second to none compared to cd playback that could be a different story.
I’m pretty sure there’s lots of classic rock on the streaming services that you haven’t heard, OP, and there’s a lot of music being made today that’s really good, that a classic rock lover would enjoy. Tidal let’s you stream free for 30 days sometimes longer. What have you got to lose? And if you already knew you didn’t want to try streaming, no matter what, why ask the question?
What I like about streaming is as many here have mentioned, the access to literally millions of albums. I like to read through the music forum here and get ideas for new music. For example, one band that seems popular from the classic rock era, tattoedtrackman, is Camel. I'm not really familiar with them yet I have access to their music and can listen to different albums without having to purchase them. This is a great way to explore new music options conveniently at my fingertips.
I'm not sure what the OP means by "purpose" of streaming, but one obvious advantage of streaming is that it gives younger music fans immediate access to vast amounts of music that would have otherwise taken them large amounts of money and years of time to accumulate. Back in the 60s I would have loved to have had a multi thousand album collection of rock and pop records for $10. WOW!
If i like something i would rather just buy it on cd. And they are mine to keep.Not renting songs.The beauty is there are more choices for everyone. But it's a subscription service - a model which is being adopted by many internet/software services. Back in the day I never thought of it as "renting" a newspaper because there was a new one coming tomorrow. Except this is better because you can keep your songs tracked at your finger tips.
I have physical media and now its all stored. I went throught the ripping, acquiring, curating and storage media anxiety stage. Now I figure I'm free of that part and have more time to enjoy the music. More choices for everyone, it's awesome!
The OP states he likes classic rock which can be found on all the major streaming services. But I listen to mainly Classical, a genre which these services are lacking. So, what's a boy to do?
I'd like to get away from the ripping and downloading process to my Mac, with the USB cable running across the floor to my DAC for playback.
Primephonic looks good for streaming classical, but to also listen to rock I would need to subscribe to two services.
Does anybody have a solution to my dilemma? I have a large CD collection and ripped files, but so far it doesn't seem like streaming offers what I'm looking for.
Although I've been listening to my ripped CDs for many years, I now love listening to Tidal as well. Now I don't have to buy new CDs if I don't want to (with the one problem that building a Tidal library is nowhere near as convenient in terms of organizing the library as you can get with other apps for a ripped library. This is why I'll probably move from my current squeeze-box based server to try Roon).
A MAJOR benefit I've found is that I can sample so many different artists work on Tidal. One of the best ways of doing so is in my current iPeng music streaming app, which has setting like Apple's "genius" which monitors what I'm listning to and suggests other songs I may like. Tidal is integrated, so if I've just listened to one song in my own CD library, often there will be songs listed available from Tidal right after it, of similar music or artists. And most often I really like what I hear. Often enough I'll start off with the intention of listening to my own ripped CDs, but end up drifting away for the night through the Tidal suggestions and really discovering some amazing music. Then I save the ones I like to my favorites.
I simply cannot get enough!!!! I’m streaming via tidal and room and I’m on a musical oddessey every single day- Quite honestly, I can’t wait to get to my office to fire up the hifi- As a kid in the 80s I had tons of albums and cds, and I still do- and high end gear to play them on. I just have no time or desire to go that route any longer when a daily audio acid trip is available on line streaming cd quality stuff. I can span Pantera to YO YO Ma in the same day- I’m listening to stuff I would never have found otherwise. I’m not much of a religious guy but when I first got into Pandora it was like a gift from god because real cool tunes and genres I had never heard would just flow into my world- unfortunately Pandora sound quality doesn’t cut it in my office system but none the less, streaming is just where it’s at for me- Between my hifi set up and Netflix/you tube etc, I’m ready to blow up my cable box and just stew my life in cool rock and roll stuff-
Stream on my wayward son.......