Roon Playback CD Ripped WAV File Vs Tidal / Qobuz

Need some thoughts & advise.
I picked some tracks from diff CD and converted them to .WAV raw fully lossless & I imported it to Roon and played it.

I also played corresponding versions from Tidal / Qobuz 16/44 from Roon.

Every time I saw the the .WAV version from CD outperformed in sound quality compared to the streamed version.

The .wav file always was better in

  • sound quality
  • separation of instruments
  • bass
  • treble
  • dynamics
  • sound volume level or gain

The equipment setup is the same in both cases and I have a gigabit 1Gbps internet connection speed.
Have other folks experienced and seen this behaviour?
I would appreciate thoughts & comments on this.

People will suggest these are mastering differences, but in case you don’t believe all the different CD you have come from different masters as Tidal / Qobuz and you are willing to do some experiments:

Try compressing the WAV to FLAC with maximum compression (since both Tidal and Qobuz stream FLAC). Play the FLAC and see if you notice any difference - normally people do not expect any difference since the bits (after decompression) are still the same. This removes one of the several differences in your playback chain.

Thanks Peter, interesting are you saying the playback difference can be due to WAV vs FLAC
although both are lossless WAV sounds better than FLAC?

I will try to convert my CD files to FLAC and see if the audio quality matches up.
And yes the songs I selected were from different sources and not from same the album or same master.

No this is not what I said.

The file itself cannot sound different, but in some setup more processing in a computer can result in degradation of the SQ of a directly connected USB DAC.

I try to approach this from a point of eliminating different factors. The differences at least are: possible mastering differences, decompression processing, modem, and local source machine (e.g. NAS), etc.

there are actually 2 differences here.

  • music data on local SSD vs streaming (downloaded from roon core pc connected to a wired router thru gigabit internet)

  • WAV vs FLAC

  • the setup is a roon core that runs a windows nuc (core i5,16gb RAM,256GB boot ssd and 1tb data ssd)

  • streamer is a lumin D2

  • so the only possible eliminations and possibilities are

  • changing wav file to flac

  • either roon core or the streamer likes & processes one of the file format better than others