Too much time on my hands, so have been obsessively comparing streams with CD and vinyl.
Let’s leave vinyl out of it for now.
I have an ancient, but recently re-capped, CDS2 running against my toe-in-the-water Cambridge Audio CXN V2 streamer/dac. I am streaming; Qobuz, Tidal and my own careful rips from CD all via ethernet with nice switches.
Now here’s the thing, carefully matching the volume, the CDS sounds better in every case, even against higher-res files. Fuller, less brittle, but still plenty of detail, just better.
So the highly rated budget Cambridge clearly has failings, probably the switch-mode power supply vs the CDPS behemoth.
So how much do I have to spend to better the ancient CDS? Obviously I’m considering an NDX2, but would be seriously miffed if I bought one and it didn’t beat the CD.
Interestingly (to me anyway) I also tried a digital out from the CXN v2, bypassing its DAC, into my Focal Arche DAC headphone amp and the CDS was still better (feeding analogue to the Arche).