Streaming vs CD’s - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 15 Old 08-19-2019, 07:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Streaming vs CD’s

I have been enjoying my new home theater system since May. 5.1.4 with Anthem 1120 receiver and Paradigm 85F and 55C for fronts and Paradigm surrounds for rear with Sonance for ceiling. I have Paradigm Defiance X-15 for sub. I bought a Bluesound Node 2i with system and enjoyed streaming from Tidal and listening to my CD’s which have been converted to flac and transferred to a network drive. I later switched from Tidal to Qobuz. Yesterday for the first time I played a CD through my Panasonic 4K 820. I was really amazed. The music really sounded analog as opposed to a more bright sound that I get through streaming. The quality of the bass is great.
Anyone have this experience of liking CD’s more than streaming?
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post #2 of 15 Old 08-19-2019, 11:46 PM
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Can happen, especially of the music gets remastered for streaming. That's why there is no one true master of something - you often get mastering a for radio, CD, iTunes, vinyl and other streaming media. Each has different requirements and may have the music levels adjusted for their service or medium.
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post #3 of 15 Old 08-20-2019, 07:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bokap View Post
I have been enjoying my new home theater system since May. 5.1.4 with Anthem 1120 receiver and Paradigm 85F and 55C for fronts and Paradigm surrounds for rear with Sonance for ceiling. I have Paradigm Defiance X-15 for sub. I bought a Bluesound Node 2i with system and enjoyed streaming from Tidal and listening to my CD’s which have been converted to flac and transferred to a network drive. I later switched from Tidal to Qobuz. Yesterday for the first time I played a CD through my Panasonic 4K 820. I was really amazed. The music really sounded analog as opposed to a more bright sound that I get through streaming. The quality of the bass is great.
Anyone have this experience of liking CD’s more than streaming?

I had, on occasions, noticed (relatively minor) differences between Tidal's "CD Quality" and my own CDs of the same song. It was very infrequent and, on the rare occassion that I did notice a difference, almost always very minor in extent. I mostly thought it was just that Tidal maybe bumped the gain up, even if just a hair... back when I had Tidal, I used to go looking for songs/tracks that parts of the internet were saying Tidal had "watermarked" and I couldn't always hear it, but I did on a few occassions... the one back then that I remember the most vividly was Yuja Wang's Sonatas & Etudes as a good example.


I've had Qobuz for about 8 months now and I can't recall noting a difference between my CDs and their service once, FWIW....
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post #4 of 15 Old 08-20-2019, 07:49 AM
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Ahhh-

Religion
Politics
Stream vs physical Media

The 3 things you shouldn't talk about in social settings

Having commented on streaming vs discs (DVD/BD/UHD BD) for video in several threads here over the years, guess its time to chime in re: stream vs discs for audio.

For convenience, it is tough to beat audio stream services like Amazon (lossy currently, plan to offer lossless sometime) or Qobuz (good reports from local picky audiophiles).

However, if you do the math tracking your listening time/month vs the cost of lossless services like Tidal/Qobuz, it's probably lower cost to buy used CD's and rip to flac and store on an SD card (phone) or SSD/2.5" HD for your car, plus home NAS of course.

In the past year or so, CD's have been 5/dollar (20 cents each!) at Salvation Army around SE MI! Yes, selection is random and conditon may be iffy, but I've picked up hundreds in the past couple years.
Filled out a large collection of Telarc/Naxos/Blue Note/etc orchestral/soundtrack/jazz/vocalist recordings this way. Lots of classic rock/pop/folk too.

Even at the current price of 50 cents-dollar at thrift, 25 cents or so at yard sales, that's a lot of lossless listening for low cost. Resell what you don't like/want later via Discogs/ebay/classifieds/trade in local mom & pop music store, often at a profit, sometimes significant for OOP/rare/niche finds.

Scored many SACD's, BluRay and DVD concerts for similar costs- no differentiation at thrift.

Even at ebay/used Amazon prices with shipping, the math still works out re: listening time vs cost of ownership.

Oh wait, with streaming you don't have ownership

The other issue with streamed audio is provenance- how can you verify the bits are lossless (transcoded from lossy at some time in the past? Or somewhere along the path from provider to your device?
Perhaps provider is unaware), or what actual master the provider used? US, European, Japanese master tape? Who knows

Even if today the streamed bits are verified from a known master and not processed to harm the lossless audio, next month/year it may not be with new owners, changing license agreements, etc.

The "Happy medium" I came up with- pay $8/month for a large lossy library (Amazon Music with Prime) for convenience, listening in car (cell data, downloaded to phone), exercising, new release album auditions, etc, then followup with a disc purchase (CD/SACD/BD Audio/concert video disc) if I like it for the lossless.

$5-$10/month is my justifiable limit for music stream services. Used disc media for any amount higher.
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Last edited by Rgb; 08-20-2019 at 10:48 AM.
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post #5 of 15 Old 08-20-2019, 08:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bokap View Post
I have been enjoying my new home theater system since May. 5.1.4 with Anthem 1120 receiver and Paradigm 85F and 55C for fronts and Paradigm surrounds for rear with Sonance for ceiling. I have Paradigm Defiance X-15 for sub. I bought a Bluesound Node 2i with system and enjoyed streaming from Tidal and listening to my CD’s which have been converted to flac and transferred to a network drive. I later switched from Tidal to Qobuz. Yesterday for the first time I played a CD through my Panasonic 4K 820. I was really amazed. The music really sounded analog as opposed to a more bright sound that I get through streaming. The quality of the bass is great.
Anyone have this experience of liking CD’s more than streaming?
Still need to audition my recently acquired Panny 820

Were you listening via analog or digital (coax/optical/HDMI) outputs?
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post #6 of 15 Old 08-20-2019, 08:16 AM
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YeahBUT,
You have a surround sound system, why bother with POS, poor old stereo at all?
Get and play bul ray concerts, SACDs, Blu ray audio, DVD Audio, Pure Audio blu ray discs,
Why have hamburger when you can have steak?
Then you will REALLY hear the difference, you already are, but with surround music you will be in tall cotton.
God Bless,
Wayne
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post #7 of 15 Old 08-20-2019, 08:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rgb View Post
Still need to audition my recently acquired Panny 820

Were you listening via analog or digital (coax/optical/HDMI) outputs?
My Bluesound is connected with optical cable. The Panasonic is connected via hdmi
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post #8 of 15 Old 08-20-2019, 08:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rgb View Post

For convenience, it is tough to beat audio stream services like Amazon (lossy currently, plan to offer lossless sometime) or Qobuz (good reports from local picky audiophiles).

This is true. But it's not the ONLY thing that's true... It's "convenient discovery". It's how I figure out what I want to buy next... I keep various "AIWTB" (albums I want to buy) playlists on streaming services I use...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Rgb View Post

Oh wait, with streaming you don't have ownership

Another "bonus" to ownership, for me at least, and I know it might sound silly to some, but I genuinely like having access to "all the information" that comes with the file when I "own" it and rip it rather than stream it... I like to see the waveform. I like the info about average loudness, peak loudness, dynamic range, etc. It gives me visual confirmation of what I think I'm hearing/enjoying about certain songs. I like it. TIFWIW.





Quote:
Originally Posted by Rgb View Post

The "Happy medium" I came up with- pay $8/month for a large lossy library (Amazon Music with Prime) for convenience, listening in car (cell data, downloaded to phone), exercising, new release album auditions, etc, then followup with a disc purchase (CD/SACD/BD Audio/concert video disc) if I like it for the lossless.

$5-$10/month is my justifiable limit for music stream services. Used disc media for any amount higher.

+1. I do similar (but with different services for streaming).
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post #9 of 15 Old 08-20-2019, 10:39 AM
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re: disc ownership

Similar to audiophiles and their vinyl (I do vinyl, too), I like handling the physical media and viewing the case/cover, and reading the booklets, which can have substantial info/stories/history/artwork, even for CD's.

re: Provenance

As an example, I am an avid 70's rock/Prog Rock fan- Yes, Rush, Genesis, Floyd, ELP, Moody Blues, etc.

I would consider myself a Genesis "Expert", collecting the albums/CD's since the Long Box days of the 80's. But only in recent years did I discover the "preferred" CD pressings (among Genesis/Prog/audiophile fanatics) of the CD album releases- the original mid 80's UK Charisma releases. Apparently, these have a "Straight" digital capture/dub from the Charisma master tapes, ie no EQ or level adjustments, equivalent to just playing the Master tape and pressing "record" on the digital recorder, then sending the recorded wav to the CD master. Other versions/pressings were made from tapes with applied varied EQ or processing, or mistakenly used masters EQ'd for cassette or vinyl.

No way to know this unless you have golden ears or do the research among the fanatics of the artists that interest you.

Do you think stream services will do this research and/or document it and/or make it available to subscribers?

Too OCD for you? Then why are you (no one in particular) paying for lossless streams in the first place if these details (and sound differences) don't matter to you- just go lossy!

Last edited by Rgb; 08-21-2019 at 02:57 PM.
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post #10 of 15 Old 08-21-2019, 03:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bokap View Post
My Bluesound is connected with optical cable. The Panasonic is connected via hdmi
The Audio only HDMI or Video+Audio HDMI?
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post #11 of 15 Old 08-21-2019, 03:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rgb View Post
The Audio only HDMI or Video+Audio HDMI?
DVD player is hooked up via HDMI
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post #12 of 15 Old 08-21-2019, 03:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bokap View Post
DVD player is hooked up via HDMI

THe Panasonic UB820 has 2 HDMI outputs



Which one did you listen to?
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post #13 of 15 Old 08-21-2019, 07:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rgb View Post
THe Panasonic UB820 has 2 HDMI outputs



Which one did you listen to?
My dealer hooked it up, I’m pretty sure used audio/video

Last edited by bokap; 08-21-2019 at 07:45 PM. Reason: Wrong info
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post #14 of 15 Old 08-24-2019, 12:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bokap View Post
I have been enjoying my new home theater system since May. 5.1.4 with Anthem 1120 receiver and Paradigm 85F and 55C for fronts and Paradigm surrounds for rear with Sonance for ceiling. I have Paradigm Defiance X-15 for sub. I bought a Bluesound Node 2i with system and enjoyed streaming from Tidal and listening to my CD’s which have been converted to flac and transferred to a network drive. I later switched from Tidal to Qobuz. Yesterday for the first time I played a CD through my Panasonic 4K 820. I was really amazed. The music really sounded analog as opposed to a more bright sound that I get through streaming. The quality of the bass is great.
Anyone have this experience of liking CD’s more than streaming?
Depends on the CD, some are wow and some are ughhh.., Vinyl was the same way. Streaming the same way. Not all streaming should sound bright, not all does. It's good to have more than one source.
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post #15 of 15 Old 08-26-2019, 01:39 PM
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Hey Bokap,

I don't know if it's been mentioned here but I've been noticing that the rips for TIDAL's catalog tend to be the most recent "remastered" reissue of particular albums, the result of which tends to be poorer dynamic range overall.

If you're my age or close to it, it's likely that, like me, many CDs in your collection are earlier issues that weren't brickwalled and have a much nicer, more natural sound stage with higher dynamic range. Of course comparisons between DACs (CD player vs. streaming device/DLNA receiver) could be done, but when we're talking about TIDAL I'd venture to say this accounts for the bulk of my subjective preference of CDs over their catalog. I'm not joking: much of TIDAL's rips really sound terrible.
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