Hi I use Melodishop for allot of my flac downloads … they are pretty good - and cheap … typically about £2 for a flac download … if I am really serious about the flac … I might go and buy an ebay / amazon CD and rip it in flac uncompressed format.
CD or Hi-Res? I think it just depends on the mastering, not the format. As HH says, there are some simply stunning Hi-Res albums and remastered oldies.
And as for complexity: it’s simply that streaming opens up a number of additional possibilities. No one is forced to explore them.
At that price, they surely are NOT legit. Not licensed. There have been a number of sites that illegitimately sell mp3 downloads at that price, and re-format them as flac and sell them as well. But they are flac versions of lossy files. Back 15 years ago, these sites were mostly based in Russia and claimed that Russian copyright law did not make what they did illegal. They were wrong, and in any event the artists and real labels see nothing of the money you spend on that site.
I didn’t know Melodishop – thanks for drawing my attention to this one. I wanted to check their offering, but unfortunately “maintenance work” makes their website currently inaccessible. Does Melodishop offer HiRes?
Maybe “maintenance work” actually means closing down – making a runner…
Yep just checked it - never seen that before … I have been using it for around 5 years … they offer MP3 up to 320 and also flac… I always get flac.
Blimy …they are unlicensed … I will stop using them
Most of the music I buy nowadays is older stuff from several years ago plus. I buy a lot pre used as it makes no sense not to, £3 now seems expensive for a CD! Even if I had a streamer I would still continue to buy like this as I think (my own view) that a download with zero manufacture costs should be cheaper than a CD. How often is a new (condition new not latest release) CD more than £5 these days anyway?!! Buy the CD on Amazon for £5 and get an autorip version for free vs an mp3 download at £10… Something is wrong with the system imo. For most people here they will be buying CD or HiRes downloads at much more money. Bandwidth is almost for free these days so there is no reason a HiRes download should be so expensive. More expensive yes but not as expensive as they are.
The music industry makes money from every download sold. They make zero money from every second hand CD sold. One would think that pricing more sensibly would generate more revenue but I am sure someone else has done this exercise and deemed the current model correct. Most likely somewhat ruled by Apple and their iTunes store.
Not to me, I’m afraid.
I do sort of understand how you feel, because the ritual of playing an LP on my Michell Orbe turntable or playing my 10" Pioneer RT-909 reel to reel tape deck, or my old Revox B77 before that is one that gives me great pleasure. Despite this though, most of my listening is done these days using one of my music streaming systems with Roon as my interface! Sounds absolutely fantastic, just an absolute pleasure to use and in each of my systems virtually 100% reliable.
I really would hate to go back to the days of playing CDs in a conventional CD player, never mind cassettes which I never took to at all, and even though I love occasional jaunts with my turntable and 600 to 700 odd LPs that I have retained I really wouldn’t want to go back to the era of LPs either.
As HH stated above, it’s not really complicated at all and for most people extremely reliable once set up.
As I am sure many before me have stated, in respect of music replay we really have never had it so good - in almost every conceivable way.
However, to answer the original question of CD Sound vs Hi-Res, in my experience and using my audio systems, Hi-Res files can sometimes sound subtly better than equivalent 16bit versions (when identical master sources are available). However, in my view the benefits are indeed quite subtle. They do not (to my ears anyway) present themselves as “a veil opening on the music” or as “the sudden appearance of extra detail that just wasn’t there before”, but rather as a quite difficult to categorise sense of “naturalness” or “lack of listening fatigue”.
Whenever I buy a hi-res album these days (usually a download from Qobuz) I normally pay the extra for a hi-res version if one is available even though I’m not entirely confident the difference will be worth the additional money. Nowadays though, with the integration of Roon and Tidal in my systems, the need to purchase albums to store on my local NAS is diminishing. When I play an album on any of my systems via Roon, I really don’t care if the album source is on my NAS or on Tidal’s streaming service. The difference in sound quality these days (possible Roon has something to do with this) really is minimal.
I totally get what you and others are saying Hmack, and if it works for you then we are all happy! I just find so much of life has become ‘throw away and disposable’ including listening to music. Streaming feels like this to me. Owning physical media and the contraptions to play them on feels more ‘grounded’ to me. The process is part of the pleasure, and my records still sound better (to me) than any digital source I have heard.
As you say, we are spoiled for choice.
As documented in detail in the old forum, when I first go into streaming I did some tests.
I took one of my oldest and most loved CDs and did the following:
- Ripped in Windows Media Player to WAV.
- Ripped in EAC to WAV
- Bought a hi-res version
So what was the result? The hi-res was the best. The EAC rip was a very close second, and the Windows Media rip a fairly dull sounding third.
So in this test, how you rip seemed to make far more difference than whether the source was a hi-res download or not. But why? It went against a firm bits are bits philosophy. So investigating more I discovered that software like Media Player, iTunes etc, rip in “burst mode”. It’s fast for the impatient masses and the speed makes it more tolerant to scratches because at those speeds, scratches cannot lead the laser to track away so easily. EAC, on the other hand can be configured to rip in secure mode which is much slower, and may in fact simply fail to get a proper read on a scratched disc - and no matter how careful you are, if you have lugged a CD collection through 10 moves in 20 years, happens.
Well what difference was this making? This is going back before my registration on even the old forum so the raw results are no longer with me. But I wrote a program to strip off the RIFF header of the WAVE files and compare 4 byte chunks (one 16 bit sample I assumed but any chunk would have been good enough for the experiment) and get a ratio of how many differed. Now it was tiny. 0.000 something, but the average would have been a hundred or so deviant samples per second. So this explained clearly why I was getting sonically different results.
Not all discs fared as bad. Some on Media Player that were new were perfect matches to the EAC ones that also matched the AccurateRip database. Generally these were newer. And a later test where I replaced a LG DVD drive on the computer with a fairly expensive Pioneer BRD, gave far more consistent results between different software rippers.
But to me, the conclusion was clear, all things being equal (i.e. the master), there is more to be lost from subpar ripping software/drives than there is from going hi-res to a bit perfect CD rip.
And since hardly anything I want is available on hi-res (maybe 2 out of 100 purchases), using decent software or a dedicated ripper is well worth it. And it totally makes sense as red-book data is not stored in files. It’s all time offsets and physical spaced grooves between tracks. In that respect, the layout of data on a CD has a lot more in common with tracks on vinyl than computer files.
If they do, it’ll be the same lossy mp3’s upsampled. Again, at that price, they are NOT legit, NOT licensed, and you are NOT getting what you pay for.
I am a sucker for box sets, how can you enjoy the Bach/Mozart box sets from DG if you don’t own a CD player… they are collectible items, I collect CDs and also listen them as well:(
I also use streaming for new material, discovery
Err by buying the box set; ripping it; and playing on a streamer. I bought 8 box sets last year, listen to them on my NDX and the box set is on my shelf. What’s the issue?
I’d agree that the SACD format is pretty impressive, having recently acquired an Oppo player, mainly in order to start getting into SACD versions of albums I already have, plus being able to access the audio on loads of dvd’s / Blu-ray Discs.
Here’s the thing though … I had one of these “what if”, (OK, bored) moments this morning and stuck a CD into the Oppo, to compare with the same album ripped to WAV by/in my HDX.
Now whether it’s benefitting from playing through my system, or whether the Oppo is simply a great player, it sounds surprisingly good, though I think I’ll pass on dragging all my ripped CD’s out of the loft!
Paraphrasing Simon, no longer just the analog TT and the digital CD. A new paradigm, the analog TT, digital CD, and digital streaming depending on music availability and mood!
The Holly Trinity:
LP 12~ beautiful snap, crackle, pop
CD555 ~ the golden middle minus da pop
ND555 ~ out performs the CD in certain areas
PS. Whatever it’s called, Nas, Streaming!
Its sure is convenient, but sometimes the inconvenience of the TT & CD is exactly what we are looking for!
Your Money May Be Long, But Life Is Short!
Enjoy Your Music/Moment, The Why!!!
Ripping 1000cds, classical box set is a hassle and buying cds without cd player is sort of funny…
I am old school, will always keep my CD player as always kept a Turntable 20 years ago when the hype was only on ebay but this does not mean that I will not use a streamer as well, not the best one but an ok one as the technology is fast
There are two questions embedded in the original question: 1) does streaming from a locally stored file sound better or worse than CD, and 2) when streaming from locally stored music files does a hi res version sound better or worse than a 16/44 version.
The answer to question 1 is that istreaming has the potential to sound bette because it will not have read errors nor error correction algorithms interpolating the data to fill gaps, and does not need the initial decoding of the data as read from the embedded pits on the spinning CD. If CD streaming doesn’t sound at least as good as CD then quite simply the choice of streaming player/DAC is not optimum (or conceivably you might like the effect you like the artefacts that can arise from CD play).
As for question 2, it seems not uncommon for files made available for download, including hi res, to be mastered differently from those released on CD, with the result that hi res can sound worse than CD if the mastering isn’t as good (is less to your taste). And it seems unclear as to whether there is certainty that a hi res copy will sound better than a 16/44 version, though there does seem to be a consensus that the hi res just has an edge, with descriptions like more ‘air’.
Given the mastering question you cannot simply compare hi res with direct CD and form a conclusion as to which is the better medium, though of course you might be able to decide on the balance of listening experience which one gives a sound you personally prefer.
Are we to infer from that that one enjoys “having a poo” but detests the ritual of wiping one’s bottom?
It must have been terrible for our parents who’d never heard of CDs, let alone streaming, whose only choice was to put on an LP… and who had no decent toilet paper either. How could they possibly enjoy music?
The’ritual’ of putting on a CD was only ever a poor shadow of putting on an LP, with its infinitely better physical album cover and sleeve notes, and greater need for care handling. But for music, the sound quality of streaming has the potential - and actuality with the right player, to sound better than either, and for me at least that is more important. Add to that the convenience, minimalist storage, and ease of backup against loss, and the ritual is easily forgotten…