Opinion on High End Streaming Quality vs Compact Discs

However it is always great and fun reading about
bunny man Al Aangen…to hear about Al’s adventures
with his system, and bunny proofing his gear…

Best wishes y’all


So, to clarify… were you playing the DISC itself or a ripped version of the disc?

I’ve thought about replying to this thread for a while, as I recently bought and re-sold a Jay’s CD2-MK3 transport because I could NOT hear the difference between my Pi + Pi2AES + HQPlayer setup into my Denafrips Pontus II DAC via AES/EBU and the Jay’s into the Pontus via I2S. (Luxman L509X and Harbeth 30.2 XD’s complete the chain.)

Truth be told, I think the Pi sounded more analog, more natural, but maybe it was because it took a bunch of tries to get the right settings on the Pontus for the I2S connection from the Jay’s, and it kept sounding weird and grainy (and digital?) to me.

I stream via Qobuz/Roon, and I have a lot of ripped CDs that I play through Roon also. Sounds wonderful. With no audible difference, I just couldn’t justify the hassle of the CD player (as my player isn’t accessible by line of sight to control volume/tracks etc…).

Anyway it was liberating, not feeling like I needed to be using a CD transport in this system.

I still play records, but dropping the needle from an SME 3009 on a mid-60’s Thorens is some tea-ceremony zen that I can get behind.



Read young man read for crying out loud…

Best wishes


Was just clarifying because the thread was asking about the sound difference between streaming/files vs playing the CD itself, and you mentioned how great the Little Silver Disc sounded.

Sorry for the inconvenience! :+1:


No inconvenience my friend …

Whether I play the “little silver discs” from my Oppo 205 or
from the same album ripped to thumb drive…and then fed
to my DS dac…the music sounds great… provided the
silver disc was good in the first place.

If the music source (little silver disc) didn’t have the sq initially
then the ripped version would not have the sq either…
My thinking .0002…

Best wishes

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Well I also initially thought same way. Then I had a home demo of NDX 2.

The dac of NDX-2 itself is also of very high quality, different signature sound though compared to DS Sr. Tad heavy on bass side (which I like for certain kind of music) - but still reasonably balanced and foot tapping.

What I realized after a demo for a week that with NDX2 + DS Sr I have options to have 2 kinds of sound qualities depending on music type. If I use only NDX 2 then the sound is more suitable for punchy Rock/PoP type of music (but not edgy at all). On the other hand, NDX-2 providing digital output to DS Sr is more suitable for classic/vocal/older Jazz numbers.

To get different signatures of sound like this today from one Product, today only option in the market is using something from DCS where the entry level Bartok itself is at 18K USD. There one can change the filter to change the sound signature either based on DSD or PCM. With this NDX-2 + DS Sr combo I get the same functionality at much lower cost and with higher flexibility. And NDX-2 as a streamer is very very versatile solution supporting most of the media formats, servers, protocol, streaming (no MQA though).

I would say worth listening if u can arrange for a home demo.


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That’s an interesting take which I appreciate as I had not considered that. Thanks for sharing your experience. I live on a lonely island in the middle of the pacific where there are not stocking dealers of product much less the ability to demo anything. YouTube and forums are my new best friends.

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On another thread, they talk about streaming music having a “watermark” that degrades the music. Has anyone heard this, and is it a degradation of the music? If this is true, I think my plan would be to use streaming to find new music I like then buy it on silver disc. Thoughts?

My approach, exactly.

My preferred method of “serious listening” is either with files I have ripped (mostly) or downloaded (not too many) via my iMac and JRiver Media Center or CDs and SACDs spun up on my PSA DMP player. I use the PSA DS Sr. DAC in both instances (Bridge II DAC input for networked/stored files and I2S input for CDs/SACDs).

I have a lifetime subscription to Roon and currently subscribe to both Qobuz and Tidal (may drop one of these in the near future), but I tend use Roon and the accompanying streaming services for background music and exploring for new stuff. “Roon Radio” is a really great feature, in my opinion.

I get a lot of inspiration here in this community regarding new music and its really great to be able to hop on Roon, look up mentioned or recommended artists/music and explore. If I find something I love, it goes on the “to be purchased someday” list.

As I have mentioned here on more than one occasion, Roon and this forum, along with the high performance I get from the DS DAC, has led me to buy more music in the last 3 years or so than I had in the previous 3 decades.

I don’t know anything about “watermarks” on content streamed from the internet but I know that, on balance, I tend to prefer (in terms of great performances of well-recorded music) files stored on my iMac and NAS, rendered via JRMC over the the other alternatives at my disposal. I2S and the DMP have closed the gap enough that when I want to sit down and listen to an entire recording of something I own on CD or SACD, I most often take the time to fire up the DMP and spin the disc rather than streaming the file.



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I am not sure if I could hear “watermark” from streaming, but I always felt the SQ from streaming is inferior to CDs playing from PST. Not only that, but I also downloaded Qobuz purchases (my preference is AIFF files) and stored them in the interior SSD of my music server. They sound better than the same albums streaming from Qobuz also.

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This is consistent with my overall preference for “stored” files over those streamed from the internet. How are you playing those Qobuz-purchased AIFF files?

The Euphony Summus 2 has a I2S connection to the DS, so the files stored in its SSD (or exterior SSD w/ USB connection) can play directly using their Stylus OS (I do not use Roon). Stylus is easy to use and organizes files/Qobuz/Tidal well. But I never tried Roon so I do not know how they compare.

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I found the thread where i read about watermarks. Qobuz in the USA - #367 by rudy-radelic. Has anyone looked into this? I’m going to now to satisfy my curiosity.

I suspect there is some form of signal processing present in certain software/signal chains of various rendering/library management software that is perceptible (“not in a good way”) in some instances. (And/or maybe there is some credence to this “watermark” thing?)

My best guess as to why some stuff just sounds better.

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It looks like I was reading 2019-2020 posts. After doing an internet search, there was a huge outcry regarding the water marks. It appears, most have been removed
But there are companies currently offering water marks for personal use uploading your music so as to “protect it” Sorry for any confusion.

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I just saw a video online the other day about DRM and audio watermarks. It played a short piece of music with and without so you could hear the difference, and it was stark. Problem is, I don’t recall where I saw it! :grimacing:

On the other hand, I’ve never heard a comparable effect on any digital music I’ve ever played, regardless of source.

Lets not forget that SACDs are encrypted (a sort of DRM) so it can be done w/o hurting the SQ. I dont think streaming is doing that at all. If someone can capture a stream and save it, I think the sheer amount of effort that is needed they dont care to try and stop. In the end what ever anyone does to protect people find a way around. its been that way with every media they have come up with.

Back to the topic on hand, I think this really depends on your streamer and network. Ever since I went optical media with Sonore I have not looked back. People With Aurender and Grimm etc. see the same thing. Its just as good. The argument of what is the file they are using as the source is always present, but in many cases its higher res than the red book. I for one will continue to pay for streaming and have only bought SACDs since I started.

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Okay, don’t hate me…

I use the Innuos Zen MK3 for both jobs, streaming and local file replay. Streaming always suffered until I took care of the Ethernet cable providing the stream, and the power cable. The power cable I assume did a better job of sinking EMI/RFI out of the Zen than did it’s predecessor, but the Ethernet cable really caught up the gap between the two.
I had the Innuos PheonixNET at home for a week and now I have to save for one, dammit. Everything matters.

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Hate you? I will join you instead. The power cord, power supply, ethernet, HDMI (I2S) and even the power cord for the modem all contribute to the streaming SQ in my setup. The only difference is I use a Euphony Summus 2 server, plus a SoTM Cat.7 Isolator. That combination alone is not enough as I found out.

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May I ask what the rest of the system consists of?