Disc music vs streaming

C

corneileous

Junior Audioholic
Most can't but really depends on stream, they're definitely not created equally over all the various services/streams out there. For some even a 192kbps stream won't set off their hearing alarms. There are ways to test your ability easily enough if really interested where you can try to hear where differences lay with the various possibilities. Generally streaming music is moving towards cd quality as a basic quality level altho Spotify is dragging heels but they have a very good 320kbps service in any case.....
Hmm. I think the last time I played a CD was almost 15 years ago. Ever since my ex wife at the time got an iPod then got her another one and gave the old one to me, iTunes has been my go-to ever since with no complaints at all. Every CD I ripped was on the best quality I could select and all the “online sources” were the bigger files for better audio quality. I’ve long-since replaced a lot of those tracks with newer versions but even fast forward to present time; my songs sound just fine and I didn’t even have any idea about apple’s lossless technology. I almost turned it on but besides from their warning of the significant increase in data consumption, I figured, why? I doubt it. I have a killer system in my pickup and I couldn’t imagine that lossless stuff sounding that much better.


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lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
Hmm. I think the last time I played a CD was almost 15 years ago. Ever since my ex wife at the time got an iPod then got her another one and gave the old one to me, iTunes has been my go-to ever since with no complaints at all. Every CD I ripped was on the best quality I could select and all the “online sources” were the bigger files for better audio quality. I’ve long-since replaced a lot of those tracks with newer versions but even fast forward to present time; my songs sound just fine and I didn’t even have any idea about apple’s lossless technology. I almost turned it on but besides from their warning of the significant increase in data consumption, I figured, why? I doubt it. I have a killer system in my pickup and I couldn’t imagine that lossless stuff sounding that much better.


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The apple 256kbps AAC is a good codec.
 
S

sterling shoote

Audioholic Field Marshall
I think Apple Music is just awesome, its had that status with me from its introduction, long before Apple Music's recent introduction of Lossless, Hi-Res, and Spatial Audio streaming; thus, the only discs I typically buy these days are 5.1 SACDs. I enjoy Apple Music via Airport Express to a Parasound P6, I enjoy it via Airplay to a Marantz NR 1200, and I enjoy it via usb to an OPPO-205 outputting to a Sony TA-P9000ES Preamp. Very soon I will be enjoying Apple Music's Spatial Audio from Apple TV to my OPPO. These means to Apple Music sound similar whether I am accessing Apple Music from iPhone, or my laptop computers. Of course, the laptops running iTunes app do not stream Lossless or Spatial Audio yet but AAC still sounds pretty much indistinguishable from "CD quality". At any rate, overall, Apple Music satisfies for sound, price, music selection, downloading/streaming ease, navigation to music, and convenience. So far it has brought me everything I've desired from virtually everything recorded in the history of recorded music, at home and on the road.
 
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S

sterling shoote

Audioholic Field Marshall
I have a bunch of DVD-AUDIO music and it's all insanely awesome. I have one SACD because I just never had that format before buying my Sony 4k player. I have the Fire Straits SACD and it's also insanely amazing. It sounds just gorgeous. I really wish these formats had taken off.

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Your Dire Straits SACD is in my opinion the best demonstration of 5.1 multi-channel music out there. Now, you may not need to wish that SACD had taken off. It did take off and is still flying. Both Amazon and Acoustic Sounds have hundreds of offerings yet Apple Music's delivery of Dolby ATMOS will bring us much more surround music in popular genres. It's very exciting, because once you've heard well mixed surround sound going back to stereo is like going back to a Coke gone flat, no fizz.
 
H

Hetfield

Audioholic Samurai
Your Dire Straits SACD is in my opinion the best demonstration of 5.1 multi-channel music out there. Now, you may not need to wish that SACD had taken off. It did take off and is still flying. Both Amazon and Acoustic Sounds have hundreds of offerings yet Apple Music's delivery of Dolby ATMOS will bring us much more surround music in popular genres. It's very exciting, because once you've heard well mixed surround sound going back to stereo is like going back to a Coke gone flat, no fizz.
It sounds wow amazing, I agree. Now on the flip side I kept seeing this Tears for fear SACD that I wanted and it was not cheap, I want to say north of 40 bucks. I did not read much about it and figured it was multi-channel but it was SACD stereo. I mean what a joke, and I actually returned it. I rarely return stuff but I was so annoyed and looking forward to hearing Tears for fear in DSD multi-channel glory. Oh was I annoyed.

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S

sterling shoote

Audioholic Field Marshall
It sounds wow amazing, I agree. Now on the flip side I kept seeing this Tears for fear SACD that I wanted and it was not cheap, I want to say north of 40 bucks. I did not read much about it and figured it was multi-channel but it was SACD stereo. I mean what a joke, and I actually returned it. I rarely return stuff but I was so annoyed and looking forward to hearing Tears for fear in DSD multi-channel glory. Oh was I annoyed.

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I too have had recent disappointments. First, a few weeks ago I received a 5.1 Dark Side Of The Moon SACD. It had been on back order for 3 years. The mix is so illogical it literal made me so nauseous that I needed to run to the toilet to vomit. Another recent purchase is a 5.1 of Hotel California. The sound stage is like listening to something out of phase, again a big disappointment.
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
Being a senior citizen, I have always been somewhat skeptical of the sound quality with streamed music. Yes, I know it is convenient and all that but I have always felt that there was a significant difference in sound quality between the two formats. Furthermore, I only use steamed music at home if I don't have the equivalent CD; outdoors, only while out walking through my mobile and Spotify Premium. I find any music to be quite distracting while driving and so avoid it.

The other day I decided to put my theory to test. I played the first 4 songs from Fleetwood Mac's album Rumours through Spotify Premium at home on my Cambridge Audio sound system and then did the same with the DVD-Audio of the album without altering the audio settings. The difference was amazing in favour of the disc.
I think the quality difference is due to re-mastering, unless both are re-mastered exactly the way, that is the contents are identical except for compression vs lossless. If it is the latter, and you have exceptional hearing, then you would likely hear a difference. Still, if it is as you described "amazing in favour of....." then I think the two tracks you heard were re-mastered differently.

It is very hard to tell the difference between 320 kbps and 24bit/96kHz for that kind of music contents, it would be much easier for contents like the 1812 overture, Symphonie fantastique etc.
 
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BMXTRIX

BMXTRIX

Audioholic Warlord
There is zero difference between streaming music and physical media...

As long as there is no actual difference.

The idea that people have that streaming is inferior is well justified because streaming often has lossy compression which is applied to the original source material. But, this is changing (slowly) as the pipelines for data continue to open up wider and wider and wider.

A CD sends music along a 1,411 Kb/s. That can be cut in half using lossless compression techniques, but doesn't touch the solid quality that a 128kb/s MP3 can deliver in your home through generic speakers, or outside, or in your car as your driving down the road with the windows open. But, the 128kb/s MP3 has really given way to significantly higher quality streams... and lossless. Those recordings which are 1:1 versions of the original CD.

That's the only true fair comparison when you are doing so. You also have to consider the playback device itself as that can come into play to some degree.

I think if I was using a halfway decent CD player, I would want to put it up against a halfway decent streaming device... not the output of my phone. So, something like a Bluesound Node 2 or similar.

Then, the source material has to be lossless, and what I am comparing it to has to be the similar lossless variant.

Unless you are receiving the same DVD-A audio from a streamed source, then you are comparing apples to elephants. It's just inherently different. But, with a CD compared to a lossless stream, things should truly be indistinduishable.

Of course, you can also store your physical media locally on hard drives and push them as streams without losing a thing.
 
T

Trebdp83

Audioholic Samurai
Never heard “Hotel California” on SACD. I have the DVD-AUDIO and love it.:D Another thing to consider when streaming compressed audio is the receiver itself. Using streaming apps, some will apply compressed music “Enhancer” or “Optimizer” by default. These sound like s#%t. Turn them off! I know some hate the idea of music being sent from a phone but a newer iPhone supporting Airplay 2 is no slouch. It sends 16/44.1 audio over wifi. Now, Apple Music has Hi-Res and Spatial Audio(atmos) tracks as well as lossless. They all get sent over Airplay 2 at 16/44.1 and it sounds great. DTS Play-Fi is another interesting app I like that bundles services and supports hi-res. They recently made some interesting improvements to their setup.
 
H

Hetfield

Audioholic Samurai
Never heard “Hotel California” on SACD. I have the DVD-AUDIO and love it.:D Another thing to consider when streaming compressed audio is the receiver itself. Using streaming apps, some will apply compressed music “Enhancer” or “Optimizer” by default. These sound like s#%t. Turn them off! I know some hate the idea of music being sent from a phone but a newer iPhone supporting Airplay 2 is no slouch. It sends 16/44.1 audio over wifi. Now, Apple Music has Hi-Res and Spatial Audio(atmos) tracks as well as lossless. They all get sent over Airplay 2 at 16/44.1 and it sounds great. DTS Play-Fi is another interesting app I like that bundles services and supports hi-res. They recently made some interesting improvements to their setup.
Yeah I have the DVD-Audio hotel California and it sounds incredible.

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S

snakeeyes

Audioholic Ninja
When I’m buying SACD or DVD-Audio it’s because I want to have multichannel. I am unsure why they even make 2 channel SACDs…. Of course some multichannel arrangements are better than others. :)

I do think that for me, Apple Music Lossless is a significant improvement over Apple Music’s prior service which was very similar in quality to Deezer and Spotify. Apple keeping it at $10/mo for lossless and also including Atmos too is a great deal. Most music I’m looking for I can find on Apple Lossless.
 
H

Hetfield

Audioholic Samurai
When I’m buying SACD or DVD-Audio it’s because I want to have multichannel. I am unsure why they even make 2 channel SACDs…. Of course some multichannel arrangements are better than others. :)

I do think that for me, Apple Music Lossless is a significant improvement over Apple Music’s prior service which was very similar in quality to Deezer and Spotify. Apple keeping it at $10/mo for lossless and also including Atmos too is a great deal. Most music I’m looking for I can find on Apple Lossless.
I agree, no point in 2 channel SACD or DVD-Audio..

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lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
I love the multich SACD of Dark Side of the Moon (but like Wish You Were Here more); the Fleetwood Mac Rumours didn't knock my socks off as I had hoped but is listenable and the Eagles Hotel California I think just reflects the recording itself but also didn't knock my socks off (just got that one, held off for years due over exposure back in the day to the incessant radio play it had). I believe all are based on the DVD-A mixes, but would enjoy seeing if I can asceertain a significant difference with the actual DVD-A but damn those tend to be more expensive than I like.....
 
J

JengaHit

Audioholic
I listen to streaming via Amazon Music HD. I listen to everything from rock to classical, but I'm most picky about classical and opera recordings. When Amazon works well I honestly can't tell the difference between my CD and the HD stream of the same recording.

But that's the key: when Amazon works well. I get frustrated when I often hear "clicks" or drop outs during a stream. Or when a stream buffers. Or when it takes forever just to load a stream. Most of these problems happen with classical works which are much longer than pop or rock songs. That's why I still buy CDs and hold on to my physical library.

Are these problems specific to Amazon Music HD? I have high-quality internet access and the latest wifi router (5-mos old) from Comcast. Don't have this many buffering or drop-out problems with video streams. Wonder if some of the other streaming services offer more reliable streams.
 
H

Hetfield

Audioholic Samurai
Well I can say now after using Tidal for a week or 2 and have used Amazon music HD for years now that Amazon music Ultra music sounds better by a good margin. Whether it's Tidal Hifi or Master Amazon Ultra music sounds better. I thought that would not be the case but in my opinion it is.
I do not listen in 2 channel, I always or 99.9% of the time let Dolby surround do it's thing so take that into consideration.

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T

Trebdp83

Audioholic Samurai
Had a great time the other day with the Yamaha and Qobuz. But, I’ve since switched back to the Onkyo.:D
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J

JengaHit

Audioholic
What is the device used for streaming music?
My LG V50 ThinQ phone. It has a good ESS Dac.

Edit: Forgot, also my laptop, using an external Cambridge DacMagic DAC. And Samsung and Fire tablets.
 
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