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Does Expert Music Streamer Outrun CD Player?

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  • Does Expert Music Streamer Outrun CD Player?

    I think this is a very good, yet controversial topic to discuss, firstly, don’t get me wrong, I adore CD music as well, I solely would like to throw a thread to make discussion, that’s it.

    Let’s look at this thing “ objectively “, normally CD players got sampling rate at 44.1KHz/16bit for PCM data, music streamers nowadays got sampling rate at 192KHz/24bit or higher for PCM or DSD data(so-called “ Hi-Res “ audio), so given the sampling rate comparison, it seems that a music streamer literally serves better sound quality than a CD player, right?

    However, if that’s a damn fact, how come still lots of people out there fighting for which is better for music playing, so CD player does have its audio merits, shorter data transmission path, connect to a DAC then to speakers, easy and fun, but as mentioned, Hi-Res audio got higher sampling rate, which indicates that it’s got more music details, more music data stored, so it’s understandable one should gear up more equipment to play this music data through a music streamer properly.

    As one might wonder, why bother making listing to music such a complex job, fairly good point, lets’ do some simple pros and cons then.

    *CD Music*

    Pros: Easy to apply, and serves fair sound quality, immersive and loveable.

    Cons: One CD can’t serve many songs, lacking flexibility and convenience, due to lowers sampling rate, some music detail might be ignored.

    *Streaming Music*

    Pros: Versatile choices, easy to obtain, listening to different genres to fit different mood in seconds, more details and dynamics.

    Cons: Somewhat difficult to understand how to play it “ right “, too many gears to equip, certainly cost higher than a CD system (if you are a extreme audiophile).

    Generally speaking, I don’t actually see which conquers which lol, everyone has his/her own taste, no? if you like it easy and “ less technological “, CD would be adequate indeed; if you like it challenging and “ more audiophile-like “, streaming music is your pal.

    For me, Vinyl is a whole other level, people adore its quintessential spirit, it’s gonna last forever as long as people still treasure this divine audio essence, but it’s just too expensive and way harder to get the desired one lol…

    Personally speaking, as a dude in his early 30’s, I’ve been in love with CD music for sure, it’s classic, it’s cool, it’s the ancestor of digital music, but as the innovative technology keeps cornering me with its appealing convenience, I failed to be loyal to my CD soul… I stated to adopt streaming audio system 3 years ago, yes, at first it was hard to understand what the heck is going with all the “ new stuff “, such as music server, network switch, linear power supply, even the audio cable for network and power connections, let along the audio operating app, I was like, oh man I don’t think I’ll be able to learn all this shxt, but my curiosity of the freaking “ Hi-Fi “ and “ Hi-Red “ drove me to learn and try, well, you reap what you sow, after 1 year, I finally geared up my own audio system…

    Was it perfect? Hell no. Was it lousy? It’s alright, Was it worth learning? YES, so now I can write this article, no? lol…

    Anyways, I do enjoy listening to music via a streamer, it’s damn convenient and versatile with the whole different streaming services, but, I still listen to CD music every now and then, it’s still got its spirit actually, cuz some music does actually perform better via CD player, it’s classic, it’s lovable, so does expert music streamer outrun CD player, my answer is 70% YES, 30% NO!

    Care to leave a comment and let me know what you think about it?

  • #2
    I will say this. A high to stellar quality CD playback chain will smoke a budget to mid quality hires playback setup. I have a good Sony SACD changer and my CD setup will smoke it with the equivalent Redbook version. On the PCM front, my laptop can play high-res natively up to 24/192 through my main system. But if I take that hires file and downsample it to 16/44 and burn it to CDR/RW, the resulting product will sound better played by my CD setup than the original hires file on my laptop.
    Last edited by Audioraven; 09-19-2021, 02:01 AM.


    • #3
      It is 100% based upon the time and effort put into either. I could make one or the other smoke the other.
      I believe its an impossible comparison. You can always step up the quality and attention to detail of either format and get performance gains. One could be on a bad platform, have a less than ideal cable, poor electrical quality, bad media, limited quality source player. The list goes on.

      In the end, what floats your boat? Do you want to handle a disc and read a jacket. Do you want to stare at a computer screen and do the same.

      I did not include playlist as I have not heard streaming match media stored in the hard drive yet. Taiko people say its very close. If they have spent extraordinary detail with powering the modem, router and switch.

      And like it or not, I have heard files shared with me. Rips from the exact same disc to a hard drive. One done on a home computer, the other on a purpose built server with ripping software. Lets just say both perfect rips yet bits are not always bits. They sound different. Hmmmmm.
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