RedDisk CD Playback Presentation better than streamed WAV file?

I figured the USB would be primitive.

That’s good news that you have your wired setup sorted and
it now sounds as USB direct connect. I can see how the USB
stick helped you set a reference point as to when to stop tweaking
your network.

I’ve thought about it as breaking down cd replay into the sum of its parts. There’s a source of digital data, data processing, and conversion to analog (to be reallllly simplistic).

I don’t see why a “cd player” should inherently be better than a streamer-player. E.g., I don’t see why spinning the disc and reading the data in the same box should be inherently better than providing the data (which we know is bit-perfect) . . . Obviously some cd players sound better than others, and better than some streamer players, but if ultimately it’s due to format alone I’d be surprised.

Countless experts in the High End audio field will tell you that some of the
most natural and realistic sounding gear does not measure very well.
Turntables and Tube Amps are text book examples.

Dan D’agostino formerly of Krell now designs $55,000 mono blocks.
In a youtube video he said: “The best measurement device rarely if ever
sounded the best thing I ever designed, I mean one of the best sounding
amplifiers I ever made was the KSA50 and with .2 % distortion sounded
very musical”

One more example. A 200 Watt/ch Insignia receiver at Best Buy selling for $120
probably measures excellently with low distortion etc etc. Now how good do
you think it sounds side by side next to a $3,695 70W Naim XS? If we go by
measurements the Insignia should sound the same or better right? Of course not:

Clearly we cannot use measurements to prove a component will sound good.
If so, you wouldn’t be on the Naim forum now would you? You’d be enjoying a complete
Insignia based stereo setup from BestBuy that measures really well and sells for about $600.
Let’s leave the measurement talk out of it and get back to “how things sound”.

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Other audio forums have postings where people are hearing differences:
“I also think that my CD’s also sound better when fed to my DAC from
my disk spinner than lossless files streamed from my Windows PC”

I won’t belabor this point any more. I know there are differences.
I am just hoping someone with a CD-5X or CD-X2 sees this post and
has compared their CD Player’s sound quality to ripped WAV files that
are streamed to any or all of these: NDX2, ND5XS2, or Naim DAC.

I either want to get a used CD-5X or go the streamer route.

So not that far really. My preferred Naim dealer is a 3 hour round trip.

Only you can decide for yourself.

My view
Yes, physical CD playback can be better than playback of the WAV version, in a very HighEnd system - that CD player has been optimised to get the very best from the CD disk.
Have heard with a Kalista by Metronome - amazing playback, soundstage etc. It has taken over 20 years of development in transports & DAC technology to be able to this point, as the first Digital audio format. Plus how far LP playback has come during this time, in terms of turntables, arms, cartridges and phono stages.
But then what do you have? A CD player - imagine where we will be with the HiRes formats in the future.

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12 hours round trip is just too far. Plus any sort of traffic or accidents along the way could add 2-4 hours onto that. Your 3 hour round trip I could handle.

yes, the USB device itself can be the source of noise, jitter, timing problems, media problems, etc. So a comparison of USB vs streaming the same file is a test of how good your streaming system is compared to how good your USB playback system is.

Darke Bear spent a lot of time and effort on these 2 formats thru high end Naim systems and concluded that streaming sounds better in his room on his kit.

I think once again we’re talking different as opposed to better.

I’ve heard all the Naim streamers at various demos and no doubt they can sound very impressive. But over the years I’ve become familiar with quite a few CD players and frankly have never understood the antipathy towards the medium. To my ears the Rega Apollo at £600 is mind blowingly good, my previous Arcam Alpha made superb music, and all the Naim players are excellent.

Turning to WAV and streamed/server sourced music generally it seems to me there are so many variables from the storage, file type, wiring etc. I’ve observed the ND555 thread and I’m just struck by the efforts people have gone to to get the most from it whereas when I acquired the CDS3 it was plugged in and the music flowed.

Vive la difference.




Thanks for sharing Linsey…:+1: Rega makes great gear too. I read and hear of
people choosing the current Saturn-R over Naim CD so I know it’s great stuff too.

When you heard the Naim streamers, may I ask if you had the chance to listen to the
Naim CD player equivalents (with or without caps) to see how they differed in sound?
I’m dying to get your impressions how a CD-5XS (or similar Naim CD player) sounded
different/better/worse than equivalently priced naim streaming devices. :+1::+1::+1:

It all depends on how serious you are!
Last time I went speaker auditioning it was a 60 hour journey, incorporating 8-900 miles of driving, a hotel stay, and a return ferry journey with one direction overnight, all carting along my old speakers (60kg apiece) and my amp, at a trio cost of around £400.

But I wouldn’t do the same just to hear something on the off-chance of it being better - I’d have to pretty convinced that the time and cost is going to yield something worthwhile.

Clearly for you it is not worth 12 hours to hear for yourself - and given that the best CD against the best streaming setup is likely to have only small differences, that is understandable. So given the balance of views, why not simply choose on the basis of the numerous other differences between the media, and what best ‘floats your boat’? (E.g storage requirements, ease of browsing, ease of starting the next piece, ease of backup, physical sleeve notes, etc, of which in my opinion CD only scores on the last one - though a poor second compared to vinyl, and as you age it becomes harder to read! I switched to streaming in 2014, and have never regretted it, and indeed have ended up with something that sounds better than I would ever have expected.

ON so it’s a bit further

OK so it’s a bit further than I thought as I was thinking 6 hours round trip. Perhaps an overnight stop, nice meal etc and then you’d be fresh for a demo. Then buy whatever is best to your ears.

I used to have a CD5X and an NDX (and a HDX), running into 82/HiCap/135s into B&W 804S. For me the NDX in this system was more musical than the CD5X, the disc spinner was a lovely little player, but I got both more drive and better high/mid tonality form the NDX. I sold my CD5X and now stream and listen to vinyl. A different listener in a different system could hear the opposite of course. I’d say the CD5X is seriously good value second hand tho’.

Well I’ve never actually heard the CDPs up against the streamers in direct comparison. But I do recall how a few years back I went for a speaker demo and took some CDs which the dealer ripped in WAV and played back through a NDS and I was struck just how really lackluster it was in comparison with my CDS3 which is hardly an aggressive player. Similarly I’ve heard the NDX on numerous occasions and thought it really lacked vitality compared with my old CDX2.

Of course personal preference plays a big part in this. Worth noting that with analogue I prefer the more dynamic Roksan and Avid turntables over the warmer Linn.



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Not sure I get the premise of the question or argument here. You are asking if the Redbook CD standard which is a very specific technical brief, sounds better than the generic practice of streaming?

Redbook defines the optical pickup parameters, deviations and error rate, error correction facility, modulation system and the subcodes so that a CD playback machine is capable of decoding a 2-channel 16 bit linear PCM file sampled at 44,100 Hz - a requirement for a DAC!

In the world of streaming, all the optical stuff in Redbook is extraneous, but the ability to playback a 16 bit linear PCM file sampled at 44,100 Hz on a decent streamer is wonderfully intact - again due to the DAC. Infact the DAC in a Naim streamer will happily play files at
higher bit depth and several times the frequency which clearly gives a Naim streamer an instant up on any Naim CD player.

So given that a DAC is a DAC is a DAC… there is nothing inherently great or better about CD over streaming to my opinion,if anything it’s the ability of the streamer to play all kinds of encodings, bit depths and frequencies that makes it better.

ps… not arguing that different DAC implementations don’t sound different. They clearly do and moreover I believe they are a big part in setting the signature sound of a digital system imho.

Isn’t there a difference between the way digital information is sent between a cdp and streamer ?
Remember reading something about streaming sending the music in packets that then gets buffered, whereas a cdp transport sends the music to the dac on the fly.
With some listeners noticing the streamed buffering taking some of the immediacy out of rhythms.

True that a streamer uses UDP / TCP/IP network protocols to work, which requires buffering to ensure assembled packets come in the correct order, but then it’s up to the DAC for timing and jitter handling correction.

A CD Player also has a buffer, some as large as a 1MB to deal with transport re-reads and error correction and then again, its up to the DAC for timing and jitter handling correction.

Some streamers, or rather renderers, load each track in its entirety into memory before playing, so it is not being streamed across the network while being played, so there is no possible effect from UPnP protocols etc.

Interesting… I also have B&W 804s. B&W does indeed match very well with Naim Gear…
I eventually want to get the 805 D3. They have less bass but they are quicker with more
rhythm than the 804. But you must use the 805 D3 with the B&W stands to get the perfect
height and fit.

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