Weird question. Why would any "subset" sound better through a CD player ?
Perhaps that was poorly worded.
Are there a substantial number of well recorded performances recorded on CD which can’t be found via streaming services, or where the streaming version is sonically inferior to the CD?
I'm considering the purchase of the PS Audio SACD I2s transport which is on sale for $3999.00. I'm thinking that I can rip my CDs, never listen to my SACD and save the $3999.00 + $1k I2s cable and additional Timber Nation Tiger Maple shelving/stand. That said, saving has not been part of the equation where the saved money negatively impacts the listening experience.
I can't say one way or the other as I don't stream but there are plenty of reviewers out there who've expressed a preference for CDs over streaming. One reviewer finally found one streamer that bested his CD and stored files but it cost north of $15K just to be incrementally better. I could live without that, quite easily.
One thing overlooked is all the time, money, blood, sweat and tears it can take to assemble a fine streaming set up. Mastering that, how could anyone say it's not as good as playing a CD?
It's like some backyard garage mechanic who can keep his car in proper working order thinking he's a master mechanic. You always see their cars ending up on jack stands in their driveways.
All the best,
Unless you have a large number of rare CDs the answer to this is probably no, but there will be albums that you won’t find on your streaming service.
Technology continues to improve rapidly in both the CD and streaming formats. Which one will eventually sound best is hard to know. Streaming has the advantage of hi-res formats (96/24, 192/24 at present). CD is always going to be 44.1/16.
The great advantage of streaming is that you have access to millions of albums. I love being able to find great music I’ve never heard of. Most of the apps you use to control your streamer suggest new artists based on what you’ve already listened to. I use roon (subscription required) for this and I love it.
Streaming is the future. It already provides about 85% of revenues to the music labels. CD could make a comeback but there’s no guarantee of that.
No, but the ones that I have — probably around 20 CDs or so — are quite special and I need to have a way to play them.
I'd never go back to cd's, and I have well over 2.5K of them. I've found streaming superior to cd's, and this in earlier days of streaming to which I've since made further upgrades. Last two transports I used were Mark Levinson #37 and modded PS Audio Perfectwave memory. Add the nearly limitless availability of music via streaming, slam dunk for streaming IMO. With $4k you're well on your way to very nice streaming setup.
All the time doing research and trying different devices is extremely interesting to me, complexity is fun, I understand this may not be for everyone. And as Cleeds mentioned it doesn't have to be difficult, very nice setup can be assembled via tried and trued methods involving minimal complexity.
I'm a huge advocate for streaming, can't put into words how much my listening experience has improved since streaming. Not just sound quality, but also the ability to choose with just a few presses of buttons music to fit your particular mood at that particular moment! My listening session ebb and flow, stream of consciousness takes over.
All I did was add the iFi Zen Stream (with upgraded power supply), linked it to my WiFi and that’s all it took. As others said, it doesn’t need to be that hard at all.
@vonhelmholtz Just curious if you’re using the upgraded iFi power supply for the Zen?
I added the iFi iPower Elite. This was a major improvement. Next I added a Shunyata system power conditioner and this improved all aspects of my system. When the Holo DAC arrives I’ll isolate the Zen Stream ethernet input by using two media converters and fiber optic cable. I will then decide if I want the AirLens.
I just ordered an external cd/dvd drive and will rip my CDs to my NUC server. Contributor's remarks above made the move to a transport less of a priority for me.
@soix have you considered ripping those to a hard drive or NAS that you can locally stream? I find this better sounding than most transports. Just use a laptop and drive, good software like XLD rip them once and then play those CDs via network using your streaming software...
I have 1000s of soundboard concert recordings that aren't on the streaming services, so this is an important part of my streaming setup and many here do similar for various reasons. Cheers,
The important thing is the music.I listen to Classical exclusively and I can actually find a CD on my shelves in most instances than I can find it from a commercial streaming service or even after I've ripped it to a HD. Streaming from Qobuz can also sound quite good but I give nod to my CDs, ripped to a HD or direct replay. And I have a ton of SACDs and Blu Rays and am able to extract the DSD layer from the former with my Oppo/Bryston DAC combination.
My streaming usually sounds better than CDs, or the same if in the same resolution. But Qobuz has half a million high resolution albums. I would take the money you were going to invest in a CD player and upgrade your streamer… or DAC… or preamp. Whatever your weakest link is. I am giving away all my CDs.
With a good streamer and DAC streaming can match or exceed the quality of vinyl.
Also. Once streaming is at a real audiophile level, and with millions of albums at your disposal… at least for me, the focus changed from laser focus on the very best recordings of a very few artists to a vastly expanding array of recordings and genera of music… something not sounding good… move on. There are thousands of incredibly well recorded, high resolution albums available. I also found all sorts of albums I did not know about from artists I love… no extra charge.
The more thoughtfully applied funds dedicated to as few components in your system the better it will sound… the more captivating, musical and rewarding. I recommend concentrate on the essential components. CDs are simply computer files on a optical disk… as opposed to located on a disk drive, server, or streamed. Don’t waste money on a optical disk reader and DAC in a box.
The reason is obvious and it’s totally worth it. Look towards Japanese issued CDs. The library is huge with a lot of rare masterpieces. The quality is amazing. Also it’s good investment. Recently i was looking for Japanese Sony issue of “The Wall” album and I couldn’t buy it lower than $50. Couple years ago the price was around 30. German staff also could be very good, a specially Hybrid multichannel 2+2+2 recording. Try labels like Dabringhaus und Grimm. The SQ is truly amazing.
I think everyone should have a nice DAC and streamer. Great way to listen to an absurd amount of great music. If you do have a nice DAC then adding a Cambridge CD transport for $600-$700 is not a big deal. I do have some titles that are not streamed or not streaming on the services I use. Also, There are different recordings or presses if you like of the same album. I just ordered a used 20th anniversary edition of Pink Floyd DSOTM. I heard it is supposed to be good. Just another way to enjoy the music that might not be out there. Maybe your Cd/ Setup sounds different because of the player or the cables that are connected. I have a really nice DAC/ Streamer but that doesn’t let me play Tommy Who or Paul Simon in 5 channel surround off of the SACD player. Just another avenue to enjoy this great hobby.
Understanding that sometimes price may not be an issue, $4,000 seems like a lot of money.
I get these insane expenditures on analog gear because it’s the nature of the beast.
A $1,000 cable. Hmmmm….
Others may be able to provide cogent arguments to the contrary, but I have a hard time seeing a commensurate increase in sound quality from a good DAC/streaming setup to a $5k CD setup.
Seems like, as you noted, ripping your CDs and rockin’ the DAC/streaming setup would be totally fair.
@tylermunns I did too until I actually got my dedicated streamer up and running. My streaming quality now far surpasses that of playing CDs. Not even close.
SQ better than CD in high res flac files. ‘Or the same if in the same resolution.”per @ghdprentice Some refute this. Each to their own.
And there’s the equivalent of surfing the web but with music on steroids.
With streaming, artists (but a comparatively few) get paid fractions of what they get from physical sales. That alone keeps me from going into streaming.
Also I find a well-mastered CD sounds well enough. It may be an unpopular opinion here but for me at least there is a line I‘m happy with not crossing. There‘s always better, so I prefer to listen to a sound that already is great and focus on the music itself.
@cey +1: it is a joy to have a nice collection of LPs and CDs and being able to select at leisure something to listen to! Streaming is to music as is reading a book on a screen! I'd rather hold and read a physical book.
I took these past few 'stay at home' years to upgrade, bit by bit, until main/office/garage-shop systems were all upgraded.
Began with wanting a long tonearm. Led to a TT with 3 tonearms, proper mono listening for the first time, and essentially all vinyl.
However, I own a heck of a lot of CDs and SACDs, and I started a quest for a better sounding SACD/CD player.
I went thru 9 different players until I settled on my Sony xa5400es
I went thru a re-discovery process, opposite of vinyl re-discovery, it put new life in all my existing CDs and I am buying used CDs occassionally without hesitation. after R2R tape, vinyl is preferred, but my CDs sound better than ever!
@vonhelmholtz Why not invest in a proper high resolution file server instead? Do you already have the CDs that you want to be playing through a transport? If not, you will still have to find and buy them. Most high resolution albums, even DSD versions from a SACD are available for purchase for download to local storage from HDTracks, 7digital, or other services. A proper high resolution server will have no spinning parts, hence less vibration, with lower noise through a quality internal LPS, SSD storage and file caching, and improved isolation from non-digital signals. You will get a bit further with your money this route, as chances are you would invest in a file server down the road anyways once buying, storing, and playing discs becomes too cumbersome.
The NUC you have is a great start but there are much better server solutions that include the features I list above, and the sound quality will be a huge step forward with them as a result. Happy to chat options with you over PM.
A few notes from my experience.
I have ripped my collection of 4000+ CDs to uncompressed FLAC (I still have all my CDs). I can't hear much if any difference between the original CD played through my PSA PerfectWave transport and PW MKII DAC vs. the FLAC. When I compare the same version on Qobuz I get the same result. They sound virtually identical to me. I'm playing Qobuz and my FLACs through my Asus ROG laptop hooked up to my DAC with USB. Couldn't be simpler.
If you have a significant number of HDCDs then you will need a player or DAC that can decode them. If you rip them with dB Poweramp it has the ability to decode them and make a 20 bit file that recovers the additional dynamic range. On a few titles I have compared my ripped FLAC with the disc itself using my Krell CD250 and I think the disc may sound a little bit better than the FLAC. One thing I can say for sure is that an HDCD sounds better played through an HDCD capable player vs. a Red Book player. I go out of my way to collect titles that have this format. Part of the reason I think HDCDs generally sound good is because the studio had to use Pacific Microsonics converters which were the best available at the time.
I haven't compared my SACDs to their hi res counterparts on Qobuz. One of these days I'll try a few to see how they stack up.
My 2cents: Streaming is great and only getting better as you go up the food chain. Having said that, actually owning music on CD or vinyl means no lawyer, record label, or even the artist themselves can take it away from you.
even a modest cd player can sound fantastic…. and cds are available for cheap at thrift stores- i’ve scored a lot of cool stuff for $1 or $2 at Goodwill and Salvation Army and garage sales, stuff i might not have thought of, so it’s fun to explore.
myself i have s carefully curated collection on cds organized in folders w original booklets and whatnot- collected over several decades, and like physical books it’s cool to flip through and browse etc.
streaming supplements my cd collection… and for background like a shuffled Pandora or whatever stream …
also note : buying the occasional cd new, whether it’s a classic or a new release, does help support the artist, young or old
Shazam! Some people here get it. You don't have to give up cd's just because you stream, you rip the cd's to local files, don't need a transport. I found cd rips sound quality superior to cd over transport at time I was transitioning, final nail in cd playing coffin.
Take the funds allocated to cd transport, put into streaming setup. Streaming is the future, fewer and fewer recordings will be released on cd format over time.