CD5X better than streaming?

Does my CD5X really sound better than streaming platform’s, in my case TIDAL (trial). I’ve completed a number of comparisons CD to stream of the same CD, where I seem to come away with the impression streaming magnifies everything but seems to just throw it at you (headphone or speaker), bright, pounding and fatiguing. Perhaps steaming the music is a “remaster”, even if that’s not stated. I’ve never really been a fan of much that’s “remastered”, when a revised CD was produced, preferring the original as I remember it.
Have other experience of this, or are my ears just getting old.

Steaming is via NDX through Netgear switch to router.



Tidal through an NDX isn’t as good as local streaming from a NAS with the files transcoded to WAV (or stored as WAV).

I had a CD5XS and as much as I liked it there was no point in keeping it.


Guinnless, that reassuring. I was steaming previously via NAS (ZoneRipper), and while perhaps not the latest tech it did sound better than streaming.

To my ears Tidal on the 1st gen streamers didn’t sound bad, especially on later firmware, but it never seemed quite as good as locally streamed material such as CD rips. Of course you are right that different masters will vary, but I suspect that is not the reason here as I think there is a consistent difference between local vs. Tidal.

Thanks Chris, I’ll be looking at rips going forward.
Strangely I received an email from TIDAL this morning, stating my subscription is cancelled due to failed payment - I’d only signed up to the 30 day free trail, and frustratingly only 7 days in :flushed: I’ve emailed them back, but using TIDAL could be short lived anyway ………

It may be a nasty spam . I received the same and I have not Tidal subscription actually.
Check through official Tidal site.

Yes thanks, TIDAL stopped working this morning so I’ve contacted them via their own site contact form - no links clicked on the email

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Did you listened to the equal records? There is no difference when the records are equal.
However, the streaming service requires substantial amount of time to adopt their fuctions. Just wait a couple of months using Tidal from time to time and try to compare once again.
I’ve found that the most of discomfort comes from ui, playlists, different versions of the same track and etc. Other words first couple of months Tidal made me exhausted, anxios and annoyed. So, no pleasure as a consequence.

Of course there is. The OP was comparing a CD player with a streamer so completely different hardware. While his description of the NDX is entirely different to my experience of it, you cannot expect it to sound the same as a different source altogether.

Where I could I ensured same CD I have and on Tidal, however some of my older CD’s don’t appear on Tidal or have different artwork so I assume it’s a remaster. Where they are exactly the same I have to agree with Chris there is a difference, for me however not in a good way. Playing rips through the NDX is just fine, and for me better than Tidal streaming.

Chris, what are the possible reasons why the CD-as-source might be better than streaming? I could imagine that CD sounds worse, because you’re pulling the data off the disc afresh each time you play it, and errors can occur, whereas the streamed data should be bit-perfect. Once the data hits the DAC, wouldn’t the playback be identical, assuming both sources generate bit-perfect data? Or does the processor mess around with streamed data in a way that it doesn’t with data from a CD?
This is a genuine question, by the way. I’m not trying to be a smart-alec, but I can’t think of a mechanism by which CD would be better than streamed data. Unless, of course, streaming services do not always deliver bit perfect data (could be possible, I suppose).


What if you connect your CD5X to NDX? Just to make sure which DAC you prefer.

My CD5x has only analogue out - no digital. Was there a later modification for this CDP?

Same here, no digital out I’m afraid just analogue. Don’t think there was ever any change to this

Indeed, I’m not familiar with these devices. So, how do you know, what you hear

  • the difference between records
  • difference between DAC
  • emotional bias ?

I think digital out was introduced in the CD5XS.


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Thanks for the update Roger, I wasn’t aware. Mine dates to 2005 and is the x only variant, no digital but still a fantastic performer

If there is no digital out, you are not comparing CD vs. streaming, but you are comparing the sound of the whole units including their DACs and analog stages, which can sound differently without a doubt.