Just started streaming

Dear Community
I’d like to get your feedback, suggestions, etc. on your user habits with regards to streaming. I am very late to the party on this, only recently getting a system that has he tech. to achieve a good streaming capability. I had stuck to simply listening to my ripped CDs which are a huge improvement over my CD player. I have just taken a Qobuz free trial and was blown away by the listening experience having never hear so-called hi-res before. I have looked at many threads on this forum (and other streaming service reviews) which has helped a great deal in answering some of my initial uncertainties, but equally confirmed what a massively complex and variable environment this is. The one thing I guess we can all agree on is that having the best source material delivered into your system is the most important thing before we do all the other fettling we love so much :slight_smile:

I also agree with many of you that you cannot draw simple conclusions as to which format is better as there is no telling what the provenance of what you’re actually listening to vs any other source you may already own and are familiar with.

One of my initial reactions has been “would I ever buy a CD again” and “do I really need to keep all my existing CDs (assuming they are on a streaming service)”?

I would appreciate it if you could share your thoughts on these matters so I can see if I’ve missed something:

  1. Do you still buy CDs even if the file is available for streaming?
  2. Why would one buy the hi-res file if it’s always there for you to stream? (I’m assuming the service remains available forever, and that there in no SQ reason for possessing the file for local playback, and that I only have one system to listen to that file).
  3. If Qobuz doesn’t have an album in hi-res have you found that other services do have it, i.e. are there other places I should look (apart from Tidal)? It seems that more recent recordings are available in hi-res but back catalogues are sporadically being filled, or not at all.
  4. If you did buy a file what format would you plump for e.g FLAC or WAV or …?
  5. Are you wary of these services in that once they’ve got you hooked (and you rely on their files and have your playlists, favourites, etc all organised just how you like it) they may up the costs or worse still, disappear?
  6. Have you gone for streaming to such an extent that you have got rid of your CDs and even your player?

Many thanks for sharing your experiences. I am loving the streaming experience so far and recognise that not all hi-res files sound better than what I already have and that there will always be technical glitches! (I have described my system set-up on various other threads that I have initiated).

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Hello Simon. Welcome to the community and I hope that you enjoy your time here.

Anybody new to digital replay should familiarise themselves with:

One of the truest and most amusing comments about ripping CDs is that year one is spent ripping. Year two is spent ripping them all again when you realise that you did it wrong the first time.

You raise a number of points and I will try a compressed answer.

The answer is that nobody knows which, if any, streaming services will still be in existence in , say, five years time. Also the ownership of sound recordings is continually changing and there is no guarantee that any given streaming service may be able to secure rights in the future. My advice is if a piece of music is special then buy hard copy or download it to add to your own permanent collection. BTW, the top tier of Qobuz subscriptions allows significant discounts on many downloads.

Hi-res files can be a problem as many ( especially in the pop or rock genre) are simply upsampled versions of e.g. 16/44.1 originals. Don’t be misled just by the numbers. Not all will sound better than a straightforward CD. If streaming always sounds better than CD then you need to get a better CD player IMO.

What to buy depends on the provenance of the recording and research pays off here. WAV or FLAC? It depends. I would not recommend trying to download a box set with WAV as the size of the file may cause the download to corrupt. WAV can sound better to some but, as always, the replay equipment may have importance. I used to hear an improvement with WAV over FLAC but using a Vivaldi cannot now make a preference.

Most of my CDs are now ripped ( using dbpoweramp) and now live in my loft. BTW use a “rip it once” method ensuring that all of the metadata is correct and in place. Otherwise you will face unexpected frustrations in the future.


Many thanks for your reply. You have addressed many of my queries and raised a whole load more :grin:

Please let me reply in turn:

  1. Many thanks for the Well-Tempered Computer link; I shall read this thoroughly.
  2. Great point about ownership of the file and longevity of the provision from the/any service. One reason for asking about the reason to download was to decide whether to go with Qobuz’s Sublime service, which if I downloaded 10 files a year say, would work out better value. I don’t know the marketing/sales model for hi-res, but like you may be, I have been frustrated in the past when I buy a CD and then the same album is re-released with more tracks, better quality, etc. I think I’mon my 3rd version of some CDs. Could the same happen with hi-res files? If Tidal paid more to a studio/recording label, could they buy the distribution rights from someone else, or even get a better quality version? I don’t know what the hi-res file actually represents; is it the actual quality that the original recording was made, for example, in which case there shouldn’t be better versions around.
  3. Which leads to your point about “the numbers”. I read about this in another thread on this forum, but I thought that if it were that easy for someone to upsample a CD quality file and re-sell it as hi-res, then why wouldn’t all/more albums be available in hi-res, as it would be quick & cheap to do, and give a service great leverage in being able to advertise more hi-res than anyone else. And I agree that not all hi-res sounds better than the DC-quality (ripped) version. It’s amazing what the addition of 8 bits of data can do without increasing the sample rate in some cases; doubling, etc. the sample rate seems to really make a difference from my limited listening.
  4. You make an interesting point about CD sounding better than streaming; I assume you mean the physical disc, as you mention buying a better CD player. I have a Mark Levinson 31.5 which has been fully refurbished by the last-standing Madrigal service engineer in the UK! I’m sure there are better CD transports but I’m not in a position to audition them, and I really like the convenience of Mosaic and using a truly flexible music serving UI (I still love & use the iPod Classic and iTunes for total convenience).
  5. In terms of which format to buy, the only disadvantage of WAV is that it doesn’t support metadata, e.g. artwork, and like you, I have tried most formats and can’t discern any SQ advantage, and so would probably buy FLAC, which more players can digest.
  6. Good point about “ripping once”. I use my iMac/iTunes, having tried several other apps. I couldn’t hear any difference and iTunes was better (far from perfect) for handling the metadata; upon a tip from this forum I used Tag Editor to correct the files and now have everything just right in Mosaic :slight_smile:
    Again, as with upgrading my CD player, if I go the whole way down the streaming/download route, there is little point in me having anymore to do with playing or ripping CDs, which makes life a bit simpler and gives more time for actually listening to and discovering more music.

Thanks again for your valuable input; I’m more inclined now to subscribe to Qobuz Sublime and try some downloads.

Hi Simon,

Unfortunately your Scarlatti DAC is not Roon Tested or Roon Ready, otherwise I would highly recommend trying Roon.

It really makes my streaming experience complete, by integrating my ripped CDs with my Tidal and Qobuz content. It makes comparing different versions of the albums easy, as well as discovering new music according to your taste.


No more CDs, sold all of them. Only streaming and sometimes, for the fun and a bit of nostalgia, LPs.

Qobuz and Tidal…I had to keep Tidal for my sons…Qobuz family does not allow the family to use it outside the country you bought the abonment. I am located in Belgium, one son is in Paris, the other to Stockholm…Only Tidal allows the family to use it everywhere…for all the rest I do prefer Qobuz.

I ripped all my cds some years ago, but most of the time I play Qobuz instead of my files on a Nas. More and more music is re-issued High Res, not only new stuff.

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Thanks Erno and Chris for your input; lots more for me to think about for the future. Going slightly off topic, your and Pete’s points do come back to a few questions I raised in other threads but went un-responded:

  1. I have used my iMac with XLD (largely based on Accurip) for some ripping, but the tag management was terrible as loads of info. was lost or screwed up. In the 100 or so rips, I didn’t get any errors so I reverted to iTunes and keeping everything in Apple Lossless format. There is such a lot made about “rippers” and I have received misleading/unfounded comments on my procedure above. From a SW/App. point of view, I can se the benefit of something telling you the stats of the rip process and even doing cross-checks to ensure you have a consistent result, but I can’t see that iTunes, for example, would do a bad rip and generate duff data. All my CDs are in A1 condition and I have yet to hear a ripped file that has any imperfections. Then from the HW point of view, all the machine has to do is spin and read the CD accurately and not impart any noise/debris on to the data. Again, I wouldn’t have thought an iMac would do this, but what HW has been proven to do it better? Thus convenience/UI, etc. aside, is there any evidence that shows using HW + SW X gives a noticeable improvement over other solutions?

  2. As for serving the data to your HiFi, a dCS Network Bridge in my case, again there are 100s of options and many discussed on this forum. Again I’m using my iMac connected via Ethernet to my home LAN into which my NB is connected. It’s very easy to configure MinimServer to point to the files I want to see on Mosaic. I don’t have anything else running on my iMac when I’m listening and all Apps are off so the processor has only one main job to do; it sits quietly in the background. Would I really benefit from any other set-up?

Sorry to go on a bit but I’ve not heard comparable systems to mine and don’t have the opportunity to experiment. I live in the far NW of England and we’re poorly served by any high-end HiFi dealers, and any willing to do home demos etc.


To your point 2)
It is a fine setup. You can simplify it when using Mosaic if you skip local files and go for 100% streaming.
You can do a little bit better with dedicated audiophiles servers/NAS…but not sure how much better ?
In my case I use a Qnap silent NAS, I did not want any file server with noisy fan. A fan running noisy while I listen to music is the worst setup I would imagine :laughing:

In a nutshell: Streaming is the future, everything else is just legacy.

I ripped all my CDs several years ago with db Poweramp. I now have them on a Melco N1Z which I found to be a significant upgrade from my previous storage device, a QNAP NAS. I’ve sold all my CDs.

I use Qobuz to stream which I prefer over all others, although I keep Spotify for easy sharing of music I like with friends and family but not for ‘proper’ listening.

These days I rarely play from my ripped cd files and generally stream my music from Qobuz unless I want to make an ‘event’ of putting on some analogue music, in which case I buy and play high end audiophile vinyl from the likes of Acoustic Sounds and Blue Note Tone Poets.

Just a note for anyone else reading - if you rip a CD then you sell that CD then you cannot claim that your ripping the disc is “fair use” any longer.




is giving them away ok ? :slight_smile:

Nope - once you no longer own/have the CD then you can no longer claim that having a ripped copy of it is “fair use”.

Not standing in judgement here, just pointing out the way it is as a number of people over the years ripped their CD collections and then sold them.



in principle it is the same as someone buying second hand vinyl and CD’s, musicians will not make any money from them anymore

The issue isn’t whether the musicians make money from the item any longer though … the issue is that the CD / vinyl is copyright and you don’t own the copyright.

Even if you own the CD / vinyl then making a copy of it is technically illegal but you would be able to claim “fair use” if an entity decided to try to take it further and you’d pretty much definitely get away with that but if you then give away or sell the CD / vinyl then you’d have a very hard time claiming that your ripped copy that you still had was fair use.


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I understand the copyright, but in my opinion the second hand market for vinyl/CD’s is just as much a grey area.

I am afraid it is not. In most countries the initial sale causes what is rechniclally known as the exhaustion of the copyright in distribution ( or sale) which means that you can sell the hard copy second hand. However thecopyright in making a copy exists fot the entire period of copyright ( 50 or 75 years).

So you can only make a copy of your purchased discs for your own digital library because the tecord companies have decided not to prosecute in such cases. It remains illegal nevertheless thpugh.


There’s no grey area on second hand CDs or vinyl though - think of it as transferring your licence to play it - your licence to play that music is (effectively) the record or CD so if you pass it on (whether for money or for free) you also pass on your license to play it.

It’s just “naughty” if you keep a copy when you no longer have the “license”.


I understand the technical part of copyright, but logically the second hand market does nothing for the performers, same as making a copy.

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Not at all … selling an album on that you have bought and that not making anything for the original artist has no legal standing - it’s like selling on a car or any other item - but making a copy of an album that you have bought and then selling it on is a violation of copyright - there is no link between the two.

You’re making a link between “well if I sell on an album it doesn’t make the artist any more money” and “if I copy an album it doesn’t make the artist any more money” and making a presumption that they’re both the same but legally they’re not…


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You get my point, if you don’t look at the legality, both are not a great outcome for the performers, that’s all I wanted to say.