Streaming vs ripping

Hello guys,

I used CD during many years with a great REGA HiFi player.
Then, I tried many streaming solutions.
Today, I could not be happier than to have both Roon and Tidal to hear (and revisit) my favourites songs.
The good point with streaming is that you have an endless flow of songs to discover.
Roon really helps to jump from one known song to another unknown song having the same DNA.

The point now is: should I rip my CD and manage a local storage ou should I rely on Tidal only?

Do you consider that (HiFi) streaming (when used on a high speed fibre internet connection) delivers the same amount of data quality than ripped cd images?

If yes, could you share some experience and key points?

Thank you
Vincent

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I still buy CDs regularly, but having a TIDAL subscription has changed my approach. I now tend to buy specific masters that are unlikely to show up on a streaming service. For example, Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab reissues, certain XRCDs, originals of albums that have been remastered for earbud listeners, etc.

One approach is to go through your CD collection and only rip discs that you can’t find on TIDAL. Sometimes, even when TIDAL has a match, the release or mastering may be different. Then, you’ll have to decide since “different” is not always better.

Or, it may be easier to just rip all of them and let Roon’s Versions sort things out. I’ve been using dBpoweramp for CD ripping for over a decade and would not consider anything else. Handles metadata well and actually checks the rips for errors via the AccurateRip database.

Regarding sound quality between TIDAL and local files, I hear no difference when masters are the same, but that’s not always obvious or easy to verify. If Roon’s volume leveling reports exactly the same value for one of my rips as the same album on TIDAL (using Album leveling), the masters may be the same. Of course, different masters can sound very different. Which I prefer (local or streaming) depends on the album.

Hope this helps

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Thank you David.
Yes, it helps.
I was considering investing in a Roon Core with or without storage.
My feeling is that I will probably not use (that much) the storage - except for CDs unknown by TIDAL.

By the way, I also really appreciate dBpoweramp - I think I was one of the very first user of this great software. My CDs are ripped since many years now.

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If your cd’s are ripped already, I would not hesitate onemoment and put them on local storage.
Storage is really cheap (andvery gooddealswill be on their way this Friday).
You can always complement with the same albums from a streaming service. But what if your streamingservice has an outage?
What if they only stream in weird, lossy formats?

Dirk

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You can rely on a streaming service only if you accept the idea that from time to time the service will not be available to you (for various reasons).
About sound quality, I also did not notice differences between CD and streaming for the same mastering.
There would be another aspect: the audition of local files requires much less system and network resources, so the probability of problem occurrence is lower.

I have ripped my 1100 CDs to local storage. I assume that a Tidal library is only good as long as Tidal is in business. I also have a Qobuz subscription which allows you to purchase and download music. I have been purchasing and downloading the albums I have in my vinyl collection. If these streaming services go out of business, I will still have the downloaded music in my local library. I too agree that dBpoweramp is an awesome program. It is very user friendly and I do recommend that you purchase the program.

Vincent_L Firstly, welcome to roon! I use Qobuz mostly these days for streaming, but I have used Tidal, and Deezer also. For ripping CD’s I stick with JRiver Media Center, I think they are up to version 27. I really like a mixed system with a vast NAS for local storage, and streaming services for discovering new music. I collect old 78 rpm shellac records that are not easily found and rip them to wav or flac. Things that bother me are pops and buffer overruns while ripping. I have more than once ripped a favorite recording and found a second or two overrun when listening.

I had the same problem before I switched to dBpoweramp for ripping. Integration with the AccurateRip database has helped tremendously to ensure that I have good rips. When there are problems, at least I know and can do something about it while I still have the disc out.

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David_Snyder Thank you for the tip.

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If you are not particular to specific masterings for albums, streaming can be an endgame solution. Like others have said, specific titles cans and do go away without warning for whatever reason. Sometimes they come back. Ripping a CD library can prevent a potential loss of your favorite titles. Do you still buy CDs and/or music or has streaming replaced that portion of your hobby?

I listen to 81% my own ripped CD/hi-res library. I supplement that with Qobuz streaming options added to my Roon library for the vinyl that I don’t have a digital version of. Of course there is a handful of Qobuz albums I don’t own at all, but they are more like “candidates for purchase.” :blush:

I am particular with my masterings, so this approach makes sense to me. I can totally understand those who are less particular and prefer the no-nonsense approach of streaming only.

To each our own

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Hi Michael I am also a dBpoweramp user for many years (and upgraded to the latest version last week) and I also highly recommend it.
I re-ripped my whole library when I first bought it as I was so impressed with how it worked.
Also the conversation tools are amazing and I use these to make a CD version of any hi resolution files I buy for the Sonos and Plex libraries.

Regards

Mike

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Local files sounds better than the streamed ones…at least in my setup…not night and day but a little bit better. If you already have lots of CDs it’s worth to have them merged in your digital library.

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I agree with David_Snyders comment – but would add the following. It all depends on whether or not you have good broadband coverage and/or want to take your music with you. Before Covid-19 I used to spend 2-3 months a year on Safari with very limited access to broadband or frankly any data services and I used those to back up my photos. So I tended to carry no more than 1-2 TB of entertainment media with me (music, audiobooks, tv and film). Same is true when driving across the UK and rest of Europe.
Everything I take is downsampled to 16-bit 44 KHz - there is no point carrying a DAC with me.
It is completely different when I am at home - where I have access to relatively good broadband - you can rip your CDs (I did for years), but then I wonder about the quality of the recording and the file I have access to. Today I look on Tidal and Qobuz to see what the highest res reproduction is I can access as part of my subscription and if it is only 16-44 then I also look on HD Tracks. Overnight I downloaded 6 albums in DSD64 and are playing them via Roon and my Auralic streamer today. Obviously I will need to make a downsampled copy for my iTunes library if I want to take the music with me - this only take moments these days.

Great comment – can I just dig into one area “when masters are the same” - I had understood that mass market CDs are almost always distributed in a 16bit 44 kHz format.
Some remastered or new recordings are issued with larger bit depth and higher sample rates. For example: Apple Digital Masters on iTunes, QuBuz HiRes Audio and of course HDTracks all come in formats with at least 24 bit 96 kHz - my expectation is that the master and the distributed format are at least matched - possibly even the distributed format is downsampled. I just downloaded 6 albums I already owned at far lower resolution in DSD64 or DSD128 from HDTracks and they sound great.
Now to my question – when you Rip CDs to you oversample or sample at the native format and upsample later? AND out of interest what CD transport do you use?

Thank you for the warm welcome.

I was impressed to read all those comments.
I enjoy sharing the same passion with the same views on music.

In consequence, I did a little sum-up with this community work :

Ripping pros:

  • opportunity to focus on specific masters buying that are unlikely to show up on a streaming service (David_Snyder)
  • CD release are sometimes different from streamed services (David_Snyder)
  • rip discs that you can’t find on streamed services (David_Snyder)
  • storage is really cheap (Dirk_De_Taey)
  • streaming service could have outages (Dirk_De_Taey)
  • some steamed albums could be in weird, lossy formats (Dirk_De_Taey )
  • audition of local files requires much less system and network resources (Daniel_Avasilichioae )
  • local hosting of purchased downloaded music (I.e. Qobuz) (Stephen_Horvath)
  • ripping tools are awesome (i.e dBpoweramp, River Media Center)
  • opportunity to a mix system with a vast NAS for local storage, and streaming services for discovering new music (Michael_Hoban)
  • collect old 78 rpm shellac records that are not easily found and rip them (Michael_Hoban)
  • pops and buffer overruns while ripping can be mitigated through AccurateRip function provided by dBpoweramp (David_Snyder )
  • comply with particulars with masterings (Kristofa )
  • will host highest levels of digital signals like DSD128 (Andy_Miller1)

Considering all of this, I will definitely work on a core system with a storage. :+1:

Another pro for your list: streaming services do not guarantee they’ll supply a particular album indefinitely, it all depends on how their contracts with labels change. For instance, a Qobuz album that I had added to my library was dropped by them recently. I then bought a digital download of same from 7digital. I still use Qobuz a lot, but when I really care about an album, I typically buy a digital download version of it.

I don’t think about it - I do both - but streaming is so easy, and sounds so good, I haven’t bought a CD for ages-and-ages and I haven’t bought a download for, er, ages

If I lost access to streaming for some reason, I’d buy those I didn’t have access too (but not via download, hoho) - but perhaps most importantly, I’d only buy those I really liked and therefore missed

If I look at my library of 3000+ ripped CDs - a small percentage are played regularly. On that logic, I probably wouldn’t need to buy that many - not even 80:20 rule -
90:10 I’d hazard

I love streaming. So convenient and seemingly cheaper than buying CDs too. But then… I have a couple of CDs that Qobuz doesn’t have, like music from Woody Hermann‘s Thundering Herd from the late 70‘s and early 80‘s. And then I occasionally bought that odd CD whose music I would not have bothered to listen to while skipping through the ‚new cd section’ from Qobuz but do like it now. In a way I am happy not having to decide between CD and stream 15 years ago.
And, I would no underestimate the need for a working fast internet connection. Not only a trip to a mountain house or a visit to German friends living on the countryside will bring that question back, but may be also sitting in the basement waiting for that catastrophe to pass over that flattened all the DSL infrastructure…

For me it all depends on my mood. If I’m reading, having lunch or dinner or busy doing something I stream music, it’s easy and hands free. Streaming is also easy to discover new music. Most of the time I listen to my ripped library or vinyl. I buy vinyl and cds every couple of weeks, something about having a physical copy.

What has been missed is with local you need a local backup strategy plus an offsite backup.

The file ownership and integrity is yours to own and manage with the ongoing cost.