Local vs internet streaming SQ

I’m finding very little,if any difference in SQ. Using ND555 with a QNAP NAS for local streams and Qobuz largely for internet streams. Comparing the same recordings the best I can.
Perhaps there has been gradual improvement in quality overall with new streaming platforms and several firmware updates.
Are we reaching parity. Other thoughts?


I’ve never heard a difference :man_shrugging:

I’m probably not listening right :wink:


Same here, can’t hear a difference between Internet streaming, local streaming, and playing from USB Flash drive


I wonder if @Naim.Marketing and @Stevesky have an opinion on this topic?

I still prefer the SQ from local streams compared to Qobuz (CD quality). I’ve done limited direct comparisons of the same CD (that of course assumes you are listening to the same CD version from each source), and always prefer rips from my UnitiServe.

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If anything, I’d give a slight edge to Qobuz.

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Ripping CDs to your NAS can introduce errors, but the same can be said of Quobuz or Tidal, etc.

So the probability of one being better than the other can depend on which one has fewer errors/corruptions.

I prefer my own local streamed music, maybe some is a leftover from days of playing albums but mainly on my NDX & system, I feel it has a better SQ.
Plus I’m not happy with some aspects of occasional dropouts with web streaming.
That said, I have a portable Roberts radio/streamer on Deezer, it’s damn good, but I don’t expect Naim to take on Deezer as well.

I find that it depends on a number of factors:

  • CD Quality files, same mix - very little if any difference;
  • Time - sometimes SQ from Qobuz is reduced, then I am glad to have my local files;
  • Masters: Many remasters have been mixed to 0db, these are generally poorer than CD IME;
  • Masters: Some CDs were mixed to 0db, little difference between streaming these & the same local;
  • HD files. IF these have full dynamic range I frequently find I prefer these when streaming.

I am sure there are probably other wrinkles!

At least with 2nd gen streamers there never was a plausible reason for why there should be a difference in the first place (same masters assumed yada yada)


My experience too. I’m not usually given to spending lots of time comparing hifi things but recently in adding to a playlist I did have occasion to listen to several tracks streamed locally from my NAS vs the same tracks in CD quality on Qobuz. In all three cases I found local streaming a tad more realistic. The traditional veil lifted, albeit a very thin veil. These were all small acoustic groups where the illusion of being in the room was what I was looking for. Being small classical- oriented labels it’s perhaps also more likely the masters were the same.


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If you rip your CDs, be sure that you use good cd ripping software such as dBpoweramps, its secure ripper will provide addition support against C2 error and detections.

It seems to me that the quality of the stored files is ignored when comparing the two methods of streaming (local vs remote), but this is the most significant factor IMO. It is very unlikely that the audio file gets corrupted once it gets to your home LAN, and in any event if you have a good streamer/DAC, the audio data will be buffered and re-clocked, so the SQ differences must be present in the source files themselves.

Do we know that as a fact? I assume Qobuz would say they’re sending us exactly the same product (file) each time, so what do you think might cause such variations?


Hi Brains,

It is a fact to me and a number of friends. Generally it occurs in the late afternoon/early evenings & weekends. It is not consistent. I could conjecture on reasons, but I won’t.


The only thing I can think of that might make a difference is the number of times a packet may have to be resent until it arrives successfully at the receiver. Multiple resends could conceivably make a difference as the electronics works harder to get the same data. But, in the same way that I’m sceptical about cable directionality, I wouldn’t expect to hear a difference in most cases.

I’d bet this is the internet infrastructure… contention, load, &c.

e.g. Plusnet (ISP) openly prioritise some users. I pay extra on my internet account to get my traffic bumped up the queue.

Sure, this happens but as long as the streamer does not run out of buffered data it would not make a difference anyway. And if it runs out, the music stops. Music codecs don’t have adaptive bitrate like video codecs, which lower the quality if network is slow


Local would seem to be better for the planet.

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One-time downloads certainly. Ripping CDs after manufacturing and shipping them is probably not so obvious and depends on factors like how often you play it. One would have to do the math and it’s probably very difficult to do accurately

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No difference at all. I don’t even bother to store locally.