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Ratbob

Old school vs Streaming

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Sorry this is a tad long.

At 66 years old I’m still using CD for any serious listening (ok, maybe it should be vinyl but my collection and hardware went in the 80’s yep in Australia vinyl had the full funeral service and cremation) Good on you lot for bringing it back, a consumer driven revival is rare.

Don’t laugh too much but as a part of moving into the future I have compiled some playlists onto MP3 CDs and even a USB at the highest resolution level, seems ok for background but I see a lot of you folks are into “streaming” kit.

So questions are, 

Should I ditch my CDs and set up a system that downloads music as I want it ?

Will it sound as good as CD?

I can’t see there’s any garrantee the music I want will always be available, some already isn’t. So do you Streamers still run CD and/or vinyl ? If so I may as well stick with my CDs. 

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

 

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I do have streamer, CD and vinyl in my 2 channel system.  I would say it's really feel good to select music from the ipad and huge music library.   It let me to listen more more type of music then before, and I really enjoy it.  If you want to let your streaming system as good as your CD...it's really depends on how much would you invest (Steamer/ DAC/ Cable)...

 

Hope can answer your question 😃

 


 

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I have had it all. While I do love to pop on some vinyl and sit and have a beer, I've since gone into the digital realm. I still have CD's. I've ripped them in FLAC format to my NAS (network attached storage) and I now use Roon (absolutely LOVE this app) 

I have a touchscreen monitor where the 'stereo' is (mainly for the wife) and I can control it from my phone/tablet. 

So a tiny HP PC connected to my DAC that plays my library and I can also stream Tidal (and spotify mainly for parties) 

I did an A/B comparison from my CD player and ripped FLAC file and to be honest I couldn't hear the difference. After all it's just 1' and 0's right ;)

So my CD collection is an archive now days. I'll buy a CD and rip it in put it into storage. I only buy now days if I like the artist, as I just add the album via Tidal into Roon. 

I listen to more music now than I did with CD/vinyl. 

If you were close by I'd say come and have a listen and see. 

Hope this helps somewhat. But happy to answer any questions you might have 

 

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20 hours ago, Ratbob said:

So questions are, 

Should I ditch my CDs and set up a system that downloads music as I want it ?

Will it sound as good as CD?

For some people, the physical experience of loading a CD is important.

 

Some people claim CDs sound better and have invested in expensive CD players or transports.  Others, like myself who have ripped the CDs and play off a NAS or local storage, think it is better without the disc spinner.  Streaming off the internet is convenient but not as good SQ.

 

There is no one right answer. At the end of the day, if you are happy with CDs, why change? 

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20 hours ago, Ratbob said:

Should I ditch my CDs and set up a system that downloads music as I want it ?

Will it sound as good as CD?

Rip your CDs to flac files. Store on a USB drive or NAS (make/keep a backup copy too).

Yes, they'll sound as good as your CDs.

 

Then decide what streamer you want to use to play them.

Most streamers will have other avenues to enjoy music too, web radio, Spotify, Tidal, Qobuz, etc.

That way you get to own and play all your CD music (and future online purchases), as well as access popular streaming services to find and enjoy new music.

 

I'm using an inexpensive Raspberry Pi and DAC hat combination to do all that.

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Posted (edited)

Moved to streaming a few years back and eventually sold my CD transport. If I want to listen to a CD I rip it and that adds it to my streaming collection with all its convenience. Rather than going through each CD one by one I just rip a CD if I happen to want to listen to it. My streamed music sounds better than even expensive CD transports ever sounded in my setup.

Edited by Ittaku

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Ratbob the most important questionS you need to ask Are......

 

How IT savvy are you as far as setting the hardware up

Do you want to spend the money on the hardware required
Can you rip CD’s and Tag them correctly.

 

if the answer to any of those is no or maybe then stick with CD’s.

 

Regards Cazzesman

 

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We need to be careful because the term streaming is ambiguous. It is used to describe both: a) streaming your own digital files from a local hard drive or server and b) streaming from an online music service (Spotify/Tidal/Apple, etc). Increasingly streaming devices will do both, but they are quite different approaches so it helps to be clear about what you are considering.

 

In your opening post you talk about there being no guarantee the music you like will always be available, so I assume you are talking about b). Many of the responses are talking about a).

 

As @Snoopy8 says there is no one right answer.

 

Also there's no reason you can't explore a) and/or b) and retain our CDs and CD player. 

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66 eh - a mere pup...

 

I gave away my TTs and LPs (some 40 years ago and the remnants recently).  Didn't like the platform even way back when.

 

I have copied all of my CDs to removable USB hard disks (+ 2 image copies) in FLAC format (AIFF, ALAC, WAV, FLAC - doesn't matter as they are lossless).  Can recreate a physical CD from them if need be.  CDs ripped in these formats to file are the same as the CD. 

 

Nothing wrong with the CD format - it is the mastering that matters most.

 

My disks are really back-up only since I still only play the CD.  Not interested in streaming, particularly from the net as we have no NBN and are unlikely to get it in my lifetime. Impossible for me to stream CD quality from the outside world, so why bother.  I spent 30 years in IT but even so streaming is simply not attractive.  And there is no way that I will buy a mobile phone just so that I can navigate a menu structure on a streamer box just to play an album.  [Yes I am one of the few people never to have had a mobile].  So...

 

No need to stream just because you can.  Press "open", insert CD, press "play" is hard to beat.

 

Old school and very happy in my little rut.

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@Ratbob I sold my extensive CD collection a few years ago and do have some regrets. 
I moved to computer audio which was good, but ultimately I found it added too much complexity to get good quality sound which was as good, actually better than I experienced with CD. 

I stuck with it for a few years and then decided to go with a dedicated Streamer, a Bluesound Node 2i and wow, so much easier and sound quality is good, as good as CD. 
What the streamer has done is provide so much more music for me to enjoy.

I’m streaming High resolution radio, TIDAL and Spotify as well as accessing my entire CD Library uncompressed on a 4 Terabyte Hard Drive that plugs straight into the Node 2i.

 

I have multiple sources now - CD, Turntable, Streamer and FM Tuner and use them all, but the main source for me is the Node 2i as it opens up so many choices in the enjoyment of music.

 

 

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42 minutes ago, aechmea said:

Old school and very happy in my little rut.

It's not a rut, you're simply ploughing your own furrow.

There's never been a better time to add more to a cd collection.

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My CD player is marginally better SQ than my separate dac but I rarely play a CD.  I still try and buy the CD of an album but rip it to my NAS and then it gets filed away. 

 

I still prefer a local copy of the music so only use Tidal or Qobuz when I can't find the CD or download a copy from somewhere, or waiting for the CD to arrive. 

 

Computer audio is only as complicated as you want to make it.

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23 hours ago, Ratbob said:

Sorry this is a tad long.

At 66 years old I’m still using CD for any serious listening (ok, maybe it should be vinyl but my collection and hardware went in the 80’s yep in Australia vinyl had the full funeral service and cremation) Good on you lot for bringing it back, a consumer driven revival is rare.

Don’t laugh too much but as a part of moving into the future I have compiled some playlists onto MP3 CDs and even a USB at the highest resolution level, seems ok for background but I see a lot of you folks are into “streaming” kit.

So questions are, 

Should I ditch my CDs and set up a system that downloads music as I want it ?

Will it sound as good as CD?

I can’t see there’s any garrantee the music I want will always be available, some already isn’t. So do you Streamers still run CD and/or vinyl ? If so I may as well stick with my CDs. 

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

 

if you do transition from CD to streamer it probably will take some time to adjust  and getting rid off your CD player straight away would be a bad idea.

You really need to have both to figure out which one you prefer.

 

Is streaming better than CD in terms of sound quality? low bit rate streaming on line is a little worse off but the ease of having all music there makes up for it.  

Downloading and storing high res files is better than CDs .

 

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It depends on how you listen to hifi music, how good your system is to show the difference, if fine detail and sound quality is more important than having something that’s 90-95% as good, can you actually tell the difference, convenience levels and space savings.

 

The music steaming with a simple $300-1000 streamer on something like 40 million song library collection Spotify (320 kbs quality 90-95% audible quality of CD) account for $15 monthly subscription (compared to buying 6 CDs with 60 odd new songs) is in itself a no brainer really. Even if one has a decent 10,000 song CD collection (converted to PC drive or not) and LP collection it still doesn’t compare for choice and variety.

 

But it doesn’t have to be one or the other. Introduce yourself slowly by getting a stream DAC whatever, sit with it for some months and decide if you like it alongside the CD player when you feel like it.

 

Other streaming services like Tidal at $25 monthly account gets you theoretically equal to CD quality sound if you want to upgrade later.

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Keep your  cdp , but for the hell of it add a streaming setup.

In both instances your replay will be dependent on your source and dac.

Btw I love both (ok all three, vinyl as well).

Only you can tell about each ones worth once you try. Actually try both subscription and ripping your own CDs .

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I listen to CD, and a little vinyl, only.  I have like many contemplated adding a computer/streaming based option because, well, everyone's doing it, aren't they?

The facts as I see it:

1) It won't sound better than CD 

2)It is much more complex to set up, involving the almost inevitable computer issues.  Depends how tech-savvy you are how much of an issue this is.

4)You do have access to unlimitless music.  You can also zoom it around the house.

5) Being computer based your gear will probably be obsolete in a few years as new software/technology becomes available.  

My advice: don't change just because you anticipate problems.  Change when you actually need or want to.  I am sticking with my CDs for now.

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3 minutes ago, RoHo said:

5) Being computer based your gear will probably be obsolete in a few years as new software/technology becomes available. 

This is the least of your worries in fact, as it's exactly the opposite situation, unlike buying a dedicated streamer. The software will work on whatever PC you're on, and you will upgrade your PC/laptop in the future. Commoditising the hardware that runs the software actually dissociates you from being tied to whatever hardware you use, and the hardware capable of running streaming software can be had from as little as $40 today. Real PCs outgrew the power required to do this decades ago, it was just a matter of software catching up.

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13 minutes ago, Ittaku said:

This is the least of your worries in fact, as it's exactly the opposite situation, unlike buying a dedicated streamer. The software will work on whatever PC you're on, and you will upgrade your PC/laptop in the future. Commoditising the hardware that runs the software actually dissociates you from being tied to whatever hardware you use, and the hardware capable of running streaming software can be had from as little as $40 today. Real PCs outgrew the power required to do this decades ago, it was just a matter of software catching up.

What I am realizing is that there are two types of people.  Those, probably yourself,  who have integrated computers/smart devices into their lifestyle and can easily roll a new task into this lifestyle, like music playback.  Then there are those, like me, who will use a computer for a certain task if  that is the best or only way to do the task but it isn't instinctive.  Honestly sometimes I would rather clean the toilet than do something on a computer!  So why would I want to put my music on one? It's probably generational  🙂

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3 minutes ago, RoHo said:

 It's probably generational  🙂

Maybe. I'm 50 so on the cusp I guess?

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1 hour ago, RoHo said:

I listen to CD, and a little vinyl, only.  I have like many contemplated adding a computer/streaming based option because, well, everyone's doing it, aren't they?

The facts as I see it:

1) It won't sound better than CD 

2)It is much more complex to set up, involving the almost inevitable computer issues.  Depends how tech-savvy you are how much of an issue this is.

4)You do have access to unlimitless music.  You can also zoom it around the house.

5) Being computer based your gear will probably be obsolete in a few years as new software/technology becomes available.  

My advice: don't change just because you anticipate problems.  Change when you actually need or want to.  I am sticking with my CDs for now.

I would respectfully disagree on points 1 & 2.  Setting up a quality computer audio setup that rivals CD quality is probably about as difficult as setting up a high-end turntable.  There is a bit of time invested initially in getting it setup right, but after that it’s very easy.  In fact, the real attraction with computer based audio is convenience.

 

Sound quality streaming Tida via Roon on my Antipodes CX is better than CD in most cases, but there is certainly potential for streamed music to sound worse than CD replay.

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Posted (edited)
47 minutes ago, Stereophilus said:

I would respectfully disagree on points 1 & 2.  Setting up a quality computer audio setup that rivals CD quality is probably about as difficult as setting up a high-end turntable.  There is a bit of time invested initially in getting it setup right, but after that it’s very easy.  In fact, the real attraction with computer based audio is convenience.

 

Sound quality streaming Tida via Roon on my Antipodes CX is better than CD in most cases, but there is certainly potential for streamed music to sound worse than CD replay.

I probably don't deserve respect, but I will take it!

The "convenience" thing is interesting. I find playing a CD absolutely convenient - put in CD, press play.

I also get it that if you get used to the way music can be presented using  streaming  -  favourites, playlists, different zones etc then trying to replicate that using "hard copy" music would be tedious.  So I would respectfully disagree that computer music is inherently more convenient 🙂  It depends what you want to do.

Edited by RoHo

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Posted (edited)

I don’t do vinyl at all and very rarely play a CD.  Virtually everything I listen to is the playing of a digital file stored somewhere.  The convenience of just pushing play may not be good for me as a human.  The concept of convenience has its positive aspects yet it may not be good for us as humans.  It may be healthier for our brain function to just use vinyl.  There is a human ritual to playing vinyl.  Choose the cover, take the disk and its protective envelope out of the cover, inspect the disk and maybe clean it, place the disk on the platter and the ritual goes on and on.  Another human positive ritual is the reading of a book including just the turning of the page.

 

 

I do not think of playing “my” digital files as involving a computer even though there at least a three present in my system.  My computer skills are limited.  I have not experienced difficulty with the streaming setup and things generally for me are robust.  SNA includes many  members who can advise and step anyone through any difficulties.   The music listening experience is definitely worthwhile despite the lack of ritual.  As well ROON and Tidal enhance my overall listening experience that I would never get with just a CD.

 

John

Edited by Assisi

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2 hours ago, RoHo said:

Then there are those, like me, who will use a computer for a certain task if  that is the best or only way to do the task but it isn't instinctive.  Honestly sometimes I would rather clean the toilet than do something on a computer!  So why would I want to put my music on one? It's probably generational  🙂

So stop "telling people stuff" about streamers/computers then....  Your 4 points each lie somewhere between plain wrong, and mildly misleading.   🤣

 

That being said... I would agree that is someone is happy with CDs / CDP (why wouldn't they be) .... then why change?!  :) 

 

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format agnostic here... LP, CD, sacd, dvd-a, blu-ray, uhd blu-ray :D and oh yeah streaming too whether off hdd or web....

 

for personal enjoyment though its hard to beat disc and that goes right across LP, CD, sacd, dvd-a, blu-ray, uhd blu-ray and be it audio or video....

 

I agree with the article below which coincidently just popped up.... cry baby cry

https://www.carltonaudiovisual.com.au/news/cry-baby-cry/

 

 

there is indeed something about analog... and quite coincidently it was me walking into that store some 20? years ago and hearing this wonderfull sound  on a quite humble system and asking gosh what is that ? turned out it was an artist on vinyl and system was some stand mount pmc speakers and rega deck...ended up getting that deck... and rediscovering vinyl... all those records we had put away with the dawn of cd....

 

have been rediscovering vinyl ever since...

 

if there is one music format that engages beyond any other its vinyl.... even my format agnostic system where can play from all sources I notice when folk come over its pretty much vinyl all the way...adn this is without any prompting...

 

I notice its not an age thing either... with my daughter it seems vinyl is what will catch her attention ...she can listen to stuff off laptop or iPad or what ever all day but talking about putting some music on its a record....

 

theres is something here...there is no doubt about it ....it might be old school but its also new school....when comes to music...

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Posted (edited)

Rather than turn this into another vinyl v's cd/streamer debate which frankly gets pretty old pretty quick I thought I'd address the OP's original question.

I don't have at TT but recognise vinyl still has a place in this world, and I'm happy for those who enjoy the "process" of playing a record the sound that it brings.

I ripped my CD collection some time ago and stored it on a NAS as FLAC files and later and subscribed to TIDAL, SPOTIFY and ROON (for a period).

My listening is now pretty much all TIDAL/SPOTIFY.  There are two main reasons -

 

1.  I'm lazy.  I can sit for hours and control the whole set up with an iPad.  I can access album art, credits, lyrics etc just as I would if I had the CD in my hand (a glass of red in the other).

2.  Because of the features of Tidal and Spotify and Roon I can explore musical genre and artists I would never have dreamed of before.   Just tap the screen and I'm in a different musical space.  It's a journey of discovery and a pleasant one.  I'm often amazed at the sheer talent of musicians, vocalists and production engineers who are largely unknown (to me at least).  Of course I can revisit my classics taking it a track at a time or the whole album as the mood takes me.

 

As for the sound quality aspect of "streaming", I can't tell the difference between CD, CD stored on NAS and CD via Tidal.  Spotify is a different matter.

 

Today setting up a streaming platform is pretty easy, no special computer skills are required.  However a solid internet connection would be advised.

 

I'd highly recommend streaming, the question is, as always, how much $$$ are you prepared to spend for the convenience and the journey?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Mpr_65

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