CD's/SACDs vs Server and Streamer

Dec 20, 2014
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#1
I have been reading this forum, and have noticed a trend that straight off a CD player sounds better than downloaded into a hardrive or streaming.

The thing is bits are bits.

So what's the deal? Its it that the hard storage has to go through more networks to deliver the sound? hence whilst bit for bit perfect it may be, but there is more processing?

I get the purported issue with streaming - ie buffering/compression etc etc etc

I am a total luddite, and would not mind help on this. I say this as I am thinking about using a computer as a music storage/server
 
May 30, 2016
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#2
@Loheswaran Simply put distortion is the enemy to quality sound.

When you deal with computer networks and add more complexity in your audio system. The more distortion can occur.

It doesn't get more direct and simply then physical media such as a CD.

Look at the great effort members here and other forums go to improve their computer audio setup.

File playback is more convenient without a doubt.

But, audio performance its subjective and system dependent of course.
 
Dec 20, 2014
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#3
@Loheswaran Simply put distortion is the enemy to quality sound.

When you deal with computer networks and add more complexity in your audio system. The more distortion can occur.

It doesn't get more direct and simply then physical media such as a CD.

Look at the great effort members here and other forums go to improve their computer audio setup.

File playback is more convenient without a doubt.

But, audio performance its subjective and system dependent of course.
Thanks - so I wasn't too 'off track' about the complexity of storage adulterating a signal. Just so damn odd...

I've never bought CD so I had a cheapo Phillips .I then had to sell some Nordost cables, found a place that would trade them for a CD player, so I bought a Cayin with a tube output - not expensive - but it is just exceptionally full and musical - changed my perception of CD - but it also has a USB input for computers/servers.

I might just stream music to check out albums, then buy on CD if I like it - if I love I will buy on vinyl :)
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
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#4
i'd say the introduction of the SGM Extreme server, streaming services such as Qobuz, and the evolution of fiber networking, is pushing files and streaming beyond discs. and throw in higher rez that discs just can't manage.

disc listening had a long 20 year head start, files and streaming are just hitting their stride.
 
Dec 20, 2014
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#5
i'd say the introduction of the SGM Extreme server, streaming services such as Qobuz, and the evolution of fiber networking, is pushing files and streaming beyond discs. and throw in higher rez that discs just can't manage.

disc listening had a long 20 year head start, files and streaming are just hitting their stride.
LOL - trust you mike

I do need to move with the times, but I'm just getting to that annoying decision point - TBH two young kids really does make you think about how to best spend ur time and money - going off topic - but I did a trial with Tidal and just loved the fact that virtually anything I could name I could get - which means I just get to listen to more music - with diminishing space and time that is simply brilliant - and yes I know that Tidal is the devils spawn in the eyes of Ayre - but I'm not interested in an ideological argument.
 

asiufy

Member Sponsor
Jul 8, 2011
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San Diego, CA
almaaudio.com
#6
I might just stream music to check out albums, then buy on CD if I like it - if I love I will buy on vinyl :)
This is exactly what I do :)
With CDs, you know exactly which version/mastering/remastering you'll be playing. With streaming services, not so much, so it's always a crap shoot. Often they'll sound the same, and very rarely I'll have a CD that sounds worse than the services.

cheers,
Alex
 
May 30, 2010
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Portugal
#7
(...) With CDs, you know exactly which version/mastering/remastering you'll be playing. With streaming services, not so much, so it's always a crap shoot. Often they'll sound the same, and very rarely I'll have a CD that sounds worse than the services.

cheers,
Alex
You are touching a point that bothers me - the quality of downloads and streaming. With physical media we were assured we were getting the original product and could be assured we got a bit exact version of it - the perfect media forever. But we do not have any objective factor for measuring the accuracy of streaming or downloads, or a way to check which version we are listening. I have many HiRez files and I have no way of checking the origin of some of them - unfortunately I did not keep a record of of their acquisition.
 

Al M.

VIP/Donor
Sep 10, 2013
4,581
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Greater Boston
#8
I do need to move with the times
That seems to be a common sentiment. Yet I don't think I need to move with the times, I am only concerned with sound quality. My experience suggests that a computer audio solution that would satisfy my demands on sound quality would be rather expensive (I am thinking about a top level Baetis server, for example). I decided to put my money elsewhere in the system, and to continue spinning physical CDs. This also avoids all the work and hassle of having to transfer everything to file, even though once it's done, the result certainly is convenient. I am happy with my decision.

I do use (low quality) streaming to check out new music and recordings, which I then may or may not buy on CD. In terms of sound quality, I don't consider streaming a substitute for a physical CD, or ripping a physical CD to file, also for reasons mentioned by others here.
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
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#9
i think one has to commit lots of resources and energy to clearly surpass disc listening at it's best; particularly if you like and mostly use a disc culture. and maybe have a vinyl focus too.

there are many levels of discs, files and streaming.......and reasons to stay or change.

personally i find files and streaming as the perfect compliment to my analog enjoyment and that it fits my listening perfectly. but that's just me.
 

bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
11,688
1,480
113
London
#10
CDs are useful in analog set ups, files are not

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sujay

Member Sponsor
May 5, 2012
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Singapore
#11
i'd say the introduction of the SGM Extreme server, streaming services such as Qobuz, and the evolution of fiber networking, is pushing files and streaming beyond discs. and throw in higher rez that discs just can't manage.

disc listening had a long 20 year head start, files and streaming are just hitting their stride.
agree! In fact with the changes I made ie move from MacBook to Sonic Transporter and Bryston BDP-2 to Lumin u1, has upped the ante substantially. Haven’t gone the fiber optic route yet but I am told that is another level up.
 

Bodhi

Well-Known Member
Apr 20, 2014
888
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Melbourne, Australia
#13
As Mike said, there are high end transport/dac combo's & higher bit rate audiophile cd's such as DXD, Ultra HDCD, SHM SACD etc which can mix it with the best servers. Personally i'd like to own both as I still enjoy buying cd's and interacting with the physical media. I think that interaction and 'routine' is part of the enjoyment of playing an album for me, similarl to spinning vinyl. Plus with downloaded albums you dont get the liner notes, booklets & artwork you get with many cd and vinlyl pressings. But when you can't be bothered getting out of your seat, or for background listening streamed music is perfect.
 
May 30, 2010
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#14
i think one has to commit lots of resources and energy to clearly surpass disc listening at it's best; particularly if you like and mostly use a disc culture. and maybe have a vinyl focus too.

there are many levels of discs, files and streaming.......and reasons to stay or change.

personally i find files and streaming as the perfect compliment to my analog enjoyment and that it fits my listening perfectly. but that's just me.
Mike,
Do you have experience with the top MSB disc spinner solution in your system?
 

spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
8,820
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E. England
#15
I'm loving the look of the JMF universal disc transport from France, a cool €50k. This is the one I'd love a direct A/B v Taiko Extreme.
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
7,708
834
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#16
Mike,
Do you have experience with the top MSB disc spinner solution in your system?
not yet; but it could happen at some point. i have heard it in 2 rooms at shows.
 

asiufy

Member Sponsor
Jul 8, 2011
3,270
312
83
San Diego, CA
almaaudio.com
#17
Had the Auralic Aries with Tidal Hi Rez. Cancelled Tidal and returned / sold everything else within two days after trial.
I'd blame it on Auralic first, Tidal second.
 
#18
I have had a very different experience with my music and what I have spent to get my music in a convenient place to use it. I first had a computer built to do what I wanted and it crashed.
I ordered a sonic transporter from Little Green computer with a 10 TB hard drive. I have a big library of CD's that were ripped from my collection as well as my WBF banned friends discs and a lot of selected High Res downloads from a variety of sources. This library has grown to over 8 TB.The Sonic transporter cost around 2k and I am using a renderer since my DAC at this time is not a Roon endpoint. That however is due to end this month or next. I use this system at all the shows and in my showroom. I bought it because its small and transportable but also because it simple to use and the results in my system are terrific. Most folks have issues with a computer because the computer is doing a multitude of other things at the same time as being a music server. The piece I use does absolutely nothing other than being a server. It is a pleasure to use and I get great sound running through my CH Precision C1 mono DAC, Clock and X-1 supplies ( 3).
 
Likes: ngamountains
May 30, 2010
15,435
668
113
Portugal
#19
I'm loving the look of the JMF universal disc transport from France, a cool €50k. This is the one I'd love a direct A/B v Taiko Extreme.
Why? IMHO you can not compare servers, you compare servers + DAC. The Metronome Kalista sounds great in their DACs and a few others, such as the Kondo KSL, but on the Vivaldi DAC the Vivaldi transport eclipses it .

One nice thing about having a matched transport/ DAC is that in principle you are listening to the DAC as its designer wanted it to sound.
 
Likes: CKKeung

spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
8,820
962
113
E. England
#20
Sure Francisco. Who's up for comparing TotalDac, Ares Cerat and MSB dacs thru the Extreme versus thru the JMF transport?

The JMF plays EVERY format incl Blu Ray Audio and Blue Ray Pure. I'vr got a few Blu Ray Audio discs I'd love to hear thru the JMF. Totally taken by it's battleship build too.
 

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