Just bought a streamer and I don't understand why my HiFi is now sounding so good

FMIB

Active member
Dec 3, 2021
23
16
25
I am troubled!
I always thought my HiFi was pretty good. Basically it consists of the following, Michell Orbe(dynavertor 10x5) Phasemation EA-200 phono stage, Roksan Caspian 2 CD, Parasound JC2 preamp, Usher R1.5 power amp and Usher Dancer Mini 2 speakers. I would say that both the vinyl and CD are pretty close in sound, vinyl having an edge, but recently I have been starting to question if the sound was all it should be considering the equipment. I started to look at the speakers, and plugged in some old Quad 11L's just to confirm there was nothing wrong with the speakers. The Ushers were for sure so much better.
To divert my mind off the subject I decided to invest in a streamer, which would finally give me a radio and access to numerous albums via a subscription to Tidal HiFi. I went for the recommended Cambridge CXN V2 and to be honest was blown away by the difference in sound. Its a completely different sound, almost like the low end and high end frequencies had suddenly been added, detail as well. Hard for me to really put it into words, but the music is now so much more dynamic, especially at the low end and my speakers are really singing.
I just don't understand the reason for this as I was expecting a sound that was not as good as either my CD or Vinyl.

Does anyone one here have any idea what is going on here?
 

Tinman1952

Well-known member
May 19, 2021
1,268
716
1,570
I am troubled!
I always thought my HiFi was pretty good. Basically it consists of the following, Michell Orbe(dynavertor 10x5) Phasemation EA-200 phono stage, Roksan Caspian 2 CD, Parasound JC2 preamp, Usher R1.5 power amp and Usher Dancer Mini 2 speakers. I would say that both the vinyl and CD are pretty close in sound, vinyl having an edge, but recently I have been starting to question if the sound was all it should be considering the equipment. I started to look at the speakers, and plugged in some old Quad 11L's just to confirm there was nothing wrong with the speakers. The Ushers were for sure so much better.
To divert my mind off the subject I decided to invest in a streamer, which would finally give me a radio and access to numerous albums via a subscription to Tidal HiFi. I went for the recommended Cambridge CXN V2 and to be honest was blown away by the difference in sound. Its a completely different sound, almost like the low end and high end frequencies had suddenly been added, detail as well. Hard for me to really put it into words, but the music is now so much more dynamic, especially at the low end and my speakers are really singing.
I just don't understand the reason for this as I was expecting a sound that was not as good as either my CD or Vinyl.

Does anyone one here have any idea what is going on here?
Welcome to the 21st century! 😁 No secret, just that digital audio today is better than any previous playback system. Many love vinyl but in my opinion that is a combination of nostalgia and the love of highly engineered products for what is really 19th century technology... not sound quality!
Enjoy the music! 👍
 

FMIB

Active member
Dec 3, 2021
23
16
25
Welcome to the 21st century! 😁 No secret, just that digital audio today is better than any previous playback system. Many love vinyl but in my opinion that is a combination of nostalgia and the love of highly engineered products for what is really 19th century technology... not sound quality!
Enjoy the music! 👍
I don't buy its a 21st century thing. Tidal quality is said to be CD quality which does not explain the significant sound difference I hear between this and what is supposed to be a highly ranked CD player playing the same track. I have not read much that suggests streaming is better than CD's, most people appearing to prefer the CD sound quality. Not knocking it, enjoying what I am hearing, just trying to understand why such a difference.
 
D

Deleted member 108165

Guest
Maybe more to do with your ears liking the sound more than previous playback methods? Give it a few weeks and see if you still enjoy it, or your ears start to bleed.
 

rainsoothe

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2012
813
372
19,270
I am troubled!
I always thought my HiFi was pretty good. Basically it consists of the following, Michell Orbe(dynavertor 10x5) Phasemation EA-200 phono stage, Roksan Caspian 2 CD, Parasound JC2 preamp, Usher R1.5 power amp and Usher Dancer Mini 2 speakers. I would say that both the vinyl and CD are pretty close in sound, vinyl having an edge, but recently I have been starting to question if the sound was all it should be considering the equipment. I started to look at the speakers, and plugged in some old Quad 11L's just to confirm there was nothing wrong with the speakers. The Ushers were for sure so much better.
To divert my mind off the subject I decided to invest in a streamer, which would finally give me a radio and access to numerous albums via a subscription to Tidal HiFi. I went for the recommended Cambridge CXN V2 and to be honest was blown away by the difference in sound. Its a completely different sound, almost like the low end and high end frequencies had suddenly been added, detail as well. Hard for me to really put it into words, but the music is now so much more dynamic, especially at the low end and my speakers are really singing.
I just don't understand the reason for this as I was expecting a sound that was not as good as either my CD or Vinyl.

Does anyone one here have any idea what is going on here?
Hi. From what you describe, it's not necessarily the streaming itself, but the presentation of the DAC in the Cambridge Audio you like. To test if this is the case, if your CD player has a digital out, try connecting it to one of the CXN's digital inputs and have the CXN do the decoding and your CDP just do the CD reading - it should sound the same as the streaming, or very, very similar. As for the TT setup, it can also be a toneram/cart/phono prem mismatch, and you can probably obtain a presentation similar to the CXN if you feel you want to.
 
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FMIB

Active member
Dec 3, 2021
23
16
25
Hi. From what you describe, it's not necessarily the streaming itself, but the presentation of the DAC in the Cambridge Audio you like. To test if this is the case, if your CD player has a digital out, try connecting it to one of the CXN's digital inputs and have the CXN do the decoding and your CDP just do the CD reading - it should sound the same as the streaming, or very, very similar. As for the TT setup, it can also be a toneram/cart/phono prem mismatch, and you can probably obtain a presentation similar to the CXN if you feel you want to.
Thank you, that was what I was thinking. I will plan to test the digital out of the Roksan Caspian and connect to the CXN's DAC to see if that is significantly different.
I have a modified Rega Planar 3(speed control, plinth, bearing and sub -platter with a Nagaota MP200 that I use to compare back to back with the Orbe and still think the Orbe sounds better, but its so very close.
 
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amormusic

Well-known member
Feb 24, 2016
365
249
11,270
Congrats on the CXN, they're great.

However, if you've only just bought it you get a 14 day return option... If you can afford to spend the extra couple hundred and take it back and instead buy/upgrade to the big bro 851N, which is superior in sound quality. That will really bake your noodle.

Congrats on your purchase.

PS I've owned both. My 851N is staying put and going nowhere and is one of the best things I've ever bought.
 

nopiano

Well-known member
The Roksan Caspian is a pretty good CD player that I spent several hours listening to when I last changed speakers. I’m surprised that the Cambridge sounds so good to you, and I wonder if it’s simply a bit louder. It’s easy to be fooled by that alone - no, really, it is! Modern sources rarely stick closely to the original 2 volts maximum that came with the arrival of CD. Several DACs, such as Chord, default to 3 volts. That’s quite unnecessary and can only be designed to impress in a demo.

Anyway, you’ve already considered and had suggested to try the Roksan via your CXN. Let us know!
 

Tinman1952

Well-known member
May 19, 2021
1,268
716
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I don't buy its a 21st century thing. Tidal quality is said to be CD quality which does not explain the significant sound difference I hear between this and what is supposed to be a highly ranked CD player playing the same track. I have not read much that suggests streaming is better than CD's, most people appearing to prefer the CD sound quality. Not knocking it, enjoying what I am hearing, just trying to understand why such a difference.
Well when I said 'digital audio today' I was not simply referring to the source file quality. The technical performance, the developments in the quality of the internal components: high precision clocks, DAC technology, power supplies etc has improved markedly in recent years. You can buy a DAC for a couple of hundred pounds today which would have cost thousands just a few years ago to get the same performance. Similarly with streamers...the designs have improved markedly.
A CD is just a 'packaging system'. It contains the same digital PCM file as you would stream but on a device which is read optically. This can and does sound excellent but it is susceptible to read errors as this has to happen in 'real time' during playback and the format has built in error correction which can affect sound quality. Digital streamers can 'buffer' the digital audio to ensure error free playback and even upsample (like Cambridge does) .
Well it seems you can hear the difference....enjoy!
 

Pedro2

Well-known member
Nov 29, 2010
59
17
18,545
I am troubled!
I always thought my HiFi was pretty good. Basically it consists of the following, Michell Orbe(dynavertor 10x5) Phasemation EA-200 phono stage, Roksan Caspian 2 CD, Parasound JC2 preamp, Usher R1.5 power amp and Usher Dancer Mini 2 speakers. I would say that both the vinyl and CD are pretty close in sound, vinyl having an edge, but recently I have been starting to question if the sound was all it should be considering the equipment. I started to look at the speakers, and plugged in some old Quad 11L's just to confirm there was nothing wrong with the speakers. The Ushers were for sure so much better.
To divert my mind off the subject I decided to invest in a streamer, which would finally give me a radio and access to numerous albums via a subscription to Tidal HiFi. I went for the recommended Cambridge CXN V2 and to be honest was blown away by the difference in sound. Its a completely different sound, almost like the low end and high end frequencies had suddenly been added, detail as well. Hard for me to really put it into words, but the music is now so much more dynamic, especially at the low end and my speakers are really singing.
I just don't understand the reason for this as I was expecting a sound that was not as good as either my CD or Vinyl.

Does anyone one here have any idea what is going on here?
Linn stopped making CD players several years ago- they decided that their new dac/streamers were superior.
 
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abacus

Well-known member
Sep 24, 2008
764
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19,270
You can have a top notch streamer and a top notch CD player but the same track can sound quite different, not because of the technology used but because the original was mastered differently for the different formats. (The same applies to vinyl which is mastered differently to streaming and CD formats)
If you want to hear CDs at their best then convert them on a computer to FLAC (Or ALAC if you are in the Apple eco system) as the computer will do multiple reads to make sure it has the information 100% correct (No need to rely on error correction software) before conversion.

Bill
 

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