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CD Player vs Streamer

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newlash09

Well-known member
Aug 28, 2015
219
44
10,820
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
I recently had a home audition of a lumin T1. And I compared streamed tidal from the same vs CD playback of the same tracks on a esoteric k-01 sacd player. To my ears I couldn't make out a difference.
 

newlash09

Well-known member
Aug 28, 2015
219
44
10,820
Wow, the Lumin is that good, huh?
Yes sir...the lumin is very good as a streamer cum dac. Apparently it has a very good apple app. But being an android user, I didn't like the app interface. In fact I much preferred the bluesound as well as the music cast app to it.

By the way , the lumin I tried was a previous gen T1. Apparently the latest T2 is much better as claimed by reviews. Dacs seem to be getting better and better with every passing day. And there is always the flavour of the season, as it presently is with the denafrips dac's :D
 

Longchops

Well-known member
Oct 15, 2020
137
54
170
Not used tidal before, but I can definitely tell the difference between a CD and streaming using a platform like spotify, I think their highest output is 320k. I listen to a lot of techno and streaming makes the hi hats sound different, the lower the bit rate the more tinny they sounds, once you hear it its hard to ignore

Its also heavily normalised on default as well, I found it made the volume control more like an on/off switch before I turned that off

A brand new streamer with a brand new DAC and a CD quality 44.1khz stream should sound much better than an older CD player in theory (data glitches aside) although I find a lot of music I personally want to listen to simply isn't available to stream on any platform so I'm not quite ready to ditch the CDs myself....
 

Davywhizz

Active member
Sep 30, 2020
18
5
25
I ripped our 850 CDs as a Coronavirus lockdown project, but can now play back any tracks from any albums in any order, make playlists and back ups...all at original CD audio quality. I also do streaming, but always at CD quality as a minimum. Thus, for me, neither is better, sound-wise. If I find a new album I like through exploring streaming I might buy the CD, but this happens less and less as there seems to be no logic to it , I don't feel the need to own something to listen to it. That said, I do understand and remember very well the deep joy of buying new vinyl albums when I was a young lad, and proudly carrying them round at school, as we all loaned them to each other . We still have a lot of vinyl, but rarely use the hifi turntable as the digital options are just too easy.
 

myrrhman

Well-known member
Apr 24, 2020
61
31
70
As others have said, in theory a CD source and stored 16/44 rip of said CD should in theory sound the same when played through the same DAC.
However, there are several advantages of stored files and hi-res streams. Hi-res can be a significant advantage - personally 24/88 or 24/96 sounds tonally richer for me, more 'analogue', particularly for high quality classical recordings like ECM New Series.
For me though the main thing is that I've never found CDs all that robust - maybe I just didn't look after them as well as my LPs, maybe a better transport than my 30yo Mission CD player would help, but once you have a file successfully and accurately ripped (using something like dB PowerAmp or Exact Audio Copy) you aren't going to have issues of jumping, sticking or just refusing to play a track. Just be sure to keep a backup...
For sure they are cheap to collect now, but I've never been a fan of those nasty plastic jewel cases with easily breakable hinges. Very happy my collection is banished to the attic and now resides on an external SSD drive. I still listen to my ripped CDs, and will continue to buy files of hi-res classical music from time to time, but for everything else a combination of Tidal hifi for music discovery and casual listening, and LPs for my favourite music fulfils my needs.
 

record_spot

Well-known member
May 30, 2015
69
28
10,570
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
If you're into finding the best sounding recordings, you're on a lottery with the streaming services. Finding the right mastering of a CD means at some point needing access to physical media. My reason for not giving up on my CD player any time soon.
 

Longchops

Well-known member
Oct 15, 2020
137
54
170
To put it simply if you put the 1s and 0s through the same DAC you will get the same sound.
As long as they were the same 1s and 0s, but would that really happen 100% of the time?

A CD player could surely present that binary to the DAC in a much simpler fashion than a Streamer. Which would suggest it would also more reliable too, as there's much less stuff to go wrong with it, so surely that would make it better
 

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