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CD Player vs Streamer

12oner

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2020
58
11
45
Hi all,

Hope everyone is well.

Apologies in advance if this is a noob question but, since steaming platforms can now support lossless, CD quality, what is the benefit of a CD player over a streamer? I have this perception that a CD player should sound better (all those analog lovers out there) but is that infact the case? Say you bought a streamer and a CD player of the same value, would there be any clear sonic difference? Obviously the streamer seems a little better in terms of practically, but the advantage of a CD player isn't immediately that clear to me.

Any advise is appreciated.

Thanks
 

nopiano

Well-known member
Feb 15, 2009
365
227
19,270
I think it’s a similar point to why own a turntable. I have more CDs than anything else, and I’m certainly not going waste hours of my life ripping them all. Besides, they have a nostalgia value, and liner notes.

Streaming is great, and now forms the majority of my listening, but I still want to play CDs. And if you like to own your music, CDs are way cheaper than LPs, not to mention more dependable.

Were I starting today, I think I’d be reluctant to buy a CD player, unless I liked collecting charity shop CDs.
 

12th Monkey

Well-known member
Aug 31, 2015
767
481
11,270
I have around a thousand CDs, and frequently pick by having a good, old-fashioned browse. There are things I would probably not think to listen to again if I didn't have the CDs out. And I do like to collect, music, films, books etc.

But if I were younger and starting from scratch, I doubt I'd do it this way.
 
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millennia_one

Well-known member
Sep 1, 2014
432
176
11,070
There are things I would probably not think to listen to again if I didn't have the CDs out.
Then one could argue that CD/album didn't really make much of impact! I stream a lot and pretty much remember the albums I love, if you have roon the liner notes are there, also and think they're on a tidal also. The album are also easier to find as you have the whole cover to look at rather than just the spine.

So really a none argument IMO (just playing devil's advocate here)
 

DCarmi

Well-known member
Nov 15, 2019
63
43
570
There is something nice about owning a physical copy. Mostly I use CDs and LPs when I want to actively "listen" to music. That said, streaming is:
  • convenient as you can build playlists and just have them run in the background (great when working from home)
  • easier to discover new music, you probably would not pick up from a shop etc
  • not that much poorer in quality on a mid-range system (because I work upstairs, I mostly stream using my second system, a little Denon DM41 via chromecast).
My physical collection has hardly increased in size, in the past 2 or 3 years, maybe 5 or 6 a year on average. If I were starting out, my physical collection would be much smaller.
 

TomC

Well-known member
Jan 10, 2017
25
4
4,545
First I had a system with a CD, after that I gave up the CD, i.e. sporadically used it in other systems. My primary source was a network player. In the end, I ended up with a CD that is also a network player. I think I will stay here ...
 
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12th Monkey

Well-known member
Aug 31, 2015
767
481
11,270
Then one could argue that CD/album didn't really make much of impact! I stream a lot and pretty much remember the albums I love, if you have roon the liner notes are there, also and think they're on a tidal also. The album are also easier to find as you have the whole cover to look at rather than just the spine.

So really a none argument IMO (just playing devil's advocate here)
The thing is it's often a single track, though the spine argument is exactly how it seems to me too.

I guess as well that if you have already bought them, paying to be able to listen to them on another platform seems somewhat daft!
 
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12oner

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2020
58
11
45
I have around a thousand CDs, and frequently pick by having a good, old-fashioned browse. There are things I would probably not think to listen to again if I didn't have the CDs out. And I do like to collect, music, films, books etc.

But if I were younger and starting from scratch, I doubt I'd do it this way.
Yes, I do feel that having CD as a source means your probably more considerate in your choice of what you play. Can I ask, do you feel either is superior in terms of the quality of sound? Thanks
 
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12oner

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2020
58
11
45
There is something nice about owning a physical copy. Mostly I use CDs and LPs when I want to actively "listen" to music. That said, streaming is:
  • convenient as you can build playlists and just have them run in the background (great when working from home)
  • easier to discover new music, you probably would not pick up from a shop etc
  • not that much poorer in quality on a mid-range system (because I work upstairs, I mostly stream using my second system, a little Denon DM41 via chromecast).
My physical collection has hardly increased in size, in the past 2 or 3 years, maybe 5 or 6 a year on average. If I were starting out, my physical collection would be much smaller.
Hi, thanks for your reply, you say 'not much poorer in quality' what are your grounds for this? I'm trying to establish whether a cd player has any components which would mean it should sound superior to a streamer of the same price. Do you know if this is the case? Would you say the difference in sound is more subjective that objective?

Most of the other replies here seem to suggest that physical media is the only benefit to having a cd player.

Thanks!
 

plus 1

Well-known member
Dec 5, 2019
988
172
570
Yes, I do feel that having CD as a source means your probably more considerate in your choice of what you play. Can I ask, do you feel either is superior in terms of the quality of sound? Thanks
i was wondering too. is streaming "better" sound quality than playing cd's or is it just "different" ?
 

manicm

Well-known member
May 1, 2008
645
89
18,970
I don’t necessarily play CDs, but I’m still buying them. I prefer something physical, especially anniversary/special editions of albums I never owned. And it also means I can rip for the car.
 
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djh1697

Well-known member
Nov 27, 2008
49
3
18,545
My CD collection is no longer played on a CD player, I got rid of it, a Naim CD5X, cira 10 years ago. I do have a few hundred CD's. I have ripped a lot to a NAS drive and copied to a Roon server, using dBpoweramp to make accurate rips.

I play them back via Roon, converting the 44/16 FLAC file to DSD, very enjoyable listening. Roon maybe expensive, but it works and integrates very well with my system. My turntable still has the edge though!!!!

I have two sources these days, a Pink Triangle turntable, and a March DAC connected to my Roon server via USB. The former beats the latter in most respects.

Two small but recent upgrades include Titan mains cables https://titanaudio.co.uk/pages/titan-audio-styx-cable
The excellent value for money Kudos KS1 speaker cable, which leaves Naim Naca5 sounding 2d, and lacking a soundstage!
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
Apr 28, 2008
1,669
117
19,870
I think it’s a similar point to why own a turntable. I have more CDs than anything else, and I’m certainly not going waste hours of my life ripping them all. Besides, they have a nostalgia value, and liner notes.

Streaming is great, and now forms the majority of my listening, but I still want to play CDs. And if you like to own your music, CDs are way cheaper than LPs, not to mention more dependable.

Were I starting today, I think I’d be reluctant to buy a CD player, unless I liked collecting charity shop CDs.
I don't believe it's similar to having a turntable. Very different entities. However, as streamers and CDs are both digital it comes down to personal choice: Clutter of CDs or not.

I think a well appointed CDP is as good as any price compatible streamer.

Agreed, though, if I started over again I wouldn't bother with CDs or vinyl... streamer and active speakers would be my first port of call.
 

Wil

Well-known member
May 8, 2020
105
43
120
Hi all,

Hope everyone is well.

Apologies in advance if this is a noob question but, since steaming platforms can now support lossless, CD quality, what is the benefit of a CD player over a streamer? I have this perception that a CD player should sound better (all those analog lovers out there) but is that infact the case? Say you bought a streamer and a CD player of the same value, would there be any clear sonic difference? Obviously the streamer seems a little better in terms of practically, but the advantage of a CD player isn't immediately that clear to me.

Any advise is appreciated.

Thanks
Have you already considered the following lists?

It's a starting point to forming a personalised understanding… present day products.
 

DCarmi

Well-known member
Nov 15, 2019
63
43
570
Hi, thanks for your reply, you say 'not much poorer in quality' what are your grounds for this? I'm trying to establish whether a cd player has any components which would mean it should sound superior to a streamer of the same price. Do you know if this is the case? Would you say the difference in sound is more subjective that objective?

Most of the other replies here seem to suggest that physical media is the only benefit to having a cd player.

Thanks!
My grounds are personal. I find CD sounds better at close listening but streaming is perfectly acceptable to me and to be fair the medium I use most.

In an ideal world, I'd have both and have both.
 
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12oner

Well-known member
Jun 16, 2020
58
11
45
Comparing a CD with a list price of £2k+ with a bluetooth spotify connection (even if it piggybacks the CD's DAC) is not comparing like for like.
Right! I'm sure it isn't. I was really after info on sonic differences between a CD player and streamer of the same price.
 

Adam W.

Well-known member
Aug 19, 2020
70
37
70
My grounds are personal. I find CD sounds better at close listening but streaming is perfectly acceptable to me and to be fair the medium I use most.

In an ideal world, I'd have both and have both.
I agree. I really enjoy using and listening to my Cambridge CXN as it's extremely convenient and sounds very good (Qobuz, etc). It gives me instant access to a huge amount of music.

I just feel that my CD transport (Cambridge CXC) sounds a little better.

I don't regret buying the CXN or the CXC.
 

DIB

Well-known member
May 21, 2009
139
12
18,595
I still enjoy the thrill of buying a CD and waiting for the postman to arrive. The first play is always on my CD player, then I rip it to a FLAC file on my NAS and normally stream it then. If I'm in the mood then I'll pick a handful of CDs to take to work and play through the day in my van.

So basically my CD player does not see as much action as it used to but I still wouldn't be without one. My current player, Rotel CD14, is about as high up the CD ladder as I would go though now.
 

DCarmi

Well-known member
Nov 15, 2019
63
43
570
I still enjoy the thrill of buying a CD and waiting for the postman to arrive. The first play is always on my CD player, then I rip it to a FLAC file on my NAS and normally stream it then. If I'm in the mood then I'll pick a handful of CDs to take to work and play through the day in my van.

So basically my CD player does not see as much action as it used to but I still wouldn't be without one. My current player, Rotel CD14, is about as high up the CD ladder as I would go though now.
I am old enough to remember the joy of visiting a series record shops to leaf through the LP covers looking for a bargain or artwork which took my fancy. Waiting patiently for the person looking through section E-F to finish and getting irritated when the person who has finished A-B starts to invades your territory. Happy days!
 
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