Streaming vs. Collecting

tmallin

WBF Technical Expert
May 19, 2010
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I think that a lot of the nostalgia for the good old days of record collecting conflates love of music with the love of the hunt for collectables. With today's streaming, there is not so much fun or effort put into the hunt, and the finding doesn't really result in possessing and owning your new found treasure to the exclusion of most others. There are no bragging rights.

I've never been much of a collector. I've always been quite willing to pare down what I have once I find something better. Yes, I collected vintage speakers for awhile, but after a few years or less moved those along to other owners as well; the same is true for other speakers. While I've had love affairs with many speakers, once I move on to new speakers, I also move the old ones on to new owners. I'd toss most of my CD collection were it not for the security of the ultimate back up against a data loss disaster they provide, the murky USA legalities of keeping copies of copyrighted music where you don't own the original disc, and the fact that the CDs in my Stor-a-Disc racks provide useful diffusion for my listening room.

Since I'm not much of a collector, streaming to me is the proverbial sliced bread development. If you are looking for new stuff there are many more efficient ways of finding it than physically driving around to stores. You can look at online reviews on various sellers' websites like Amazon, chat with folks on online forums of like minded individuals, etc. You can draw on a worldwide community of music listeners in other words, not just those few you might happen to meet in a record store. You can use Roon's fantastic GUI to explore new music and the interconnectedness of music recordings in all manner of ways not heretofore practical.

Less personal? Sure, but the quality of the information you get is at least as good if not better. And the quantity of different albums you can browse far exceeds the total number of different records you've ever seen on the shelves of all the record stores you've ever been to in your life.
 

tmallin

WBF Technical Expert
May 19, 2010
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Looking up your system it seems you truly are limited to listening to music you own on discs. I see no reference to FM tuners or any access to internet radio stations or streaming services. But if you are content with your system and available program material, that's what counts. Who am I to argue with you?

However, I would like to point you and other readers to another of my threads dealing with exploring new music here: https://www.whatsbestforum.com/thre...y-your-reference-recordings.32323/post-700771

I will quote a bit of that thread below:

Roon and Streaming vs. Old Ways of Discovering New Music and Personal "Reference" Recordings

Think about it. In the old days you were limited in your discovery of new music and recordings by what you could hear on a few local radio stations, conversations or demos at audio stores or with audio buddies, magazine and online music and equipment reviews, and pig-in-a-poke chances taken by purchasing unknown new material at used record stores. Some people still love this sort of exploration. I just corresponded with someone who said they "just don't like digital streaming of any kind," period.

I don't really understand this view. Granted, a music program heard via digital music streaming might not sound quite as good as playback via the best locally sourced analog LP player, CD player or computer-based music file. But the differences will not be huge and the variety available via streaming far exceeds that available in even the largest private home music collections. Even the largest hard-copy music collections rarely exceed 50,000 albums, with most far smaller. Streaming allows access to 10,000,000 or more albums. And, in most cases, you can directly compare one or more digital versions of any analog programs you hold in high regard against other digital recordings of the same work, making for a more "apples to apples" comparison.

Perhaps some just like the physical fun of the hunt for new recordings. They like finding and traveling to out-of-the-way second-hand record stores and digging around dusty bins of recordings; they like arguing the merits of different versions of a musical work with their audio acquaintances; they like investigating recordings based on mentions and reviews in magazines and online equipment and music reviews. But even if you find all those to be fun, you can still continue to look for music in those ways even if you add digital streaming to your arsenal of methods.

I think such blanket objections to Roon and other digital streaming services often boil down to perceived cost and property rights. A lifetime subscription to Roon currently costs about $700. To really expand your personal library, you should also subscribe to both Qobuz and Tidal, both of which are fully integrated with Roon. The combination of Tidal and Qobuz subscriptions will add as much as $500 a year to the cost of unlimited streaming. Yes, the cost is significant. If your new music budget is limited to what you are currently spending for new music, you'd have to forgo some new music purchases, especially in the first year after you purchase a lifetime subscription to Roon.

I think more important than the expense is the change in property rights which streaming entails. Many music lovers and audiophiles are by nature acquisitive. They want to collect AND OWN both equipment and music recordings. While streaming gives you the right to use and play any and all music within the system with no limits on such playback and no physical wear or chance of other damage to any physical media, all you have is the right to use the music. You don't own, and can't put on display, your acquisitions. If the streaming service should for any reason be discontinued, you stand to lose forever your access rights to those recordings. In contrast, once you purchase music media, you own that copy of the music and can keep it and play it forever, as well as convert the music to other media, allowing you and your loved ones and heirs continued access to the music more or less forever.

But note that you don't forfeit your existing music collection once you start streaming. You can keep your existing collection forever. You can also add to it if your financial resources permit. Thus again streaming is just another method to discover new music and high quality recordings. It is not something which needs to be undertaken to the exclusion of traditional methods of music acquisition.
 
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jeffrey_t

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Jan 29, 2012
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Although my record collection is my prized possession and I would sell my high end system before I’d sell my records, I think streaming is more efficient. And after hearing @KeithR ’s new MSB DAC, I think I could be very happy.
 
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Avidlistener

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Feb 19, 2013
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I can’t remember which post it was but someone did a comparison between streaming the same cut on Qobuz vs. the download version and found the download sounded better. I haven’t personally tried this, but if true this has huge implications for high end systems. When I was using Qobuz on a system while away from home and my collection, I found setting bubbleupnp to uncompress flac to WAV on the fly sounded better, and on my main system, converting my files to WAV sounds better as well.
 

tmallin

WBF Technical Expert
May 19, 2010
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I've compared uncompressed FLAC rips with WAV rips from CDs made via dBPoweramp. The WAV sounded consistently better. Once I heard that, I did not trust any conversion programs. I physically re-ripped each CD in my collection to WAV files and use the WAV files as the local music files for both Roon and MinimServer (for the Lumin App). All the streaming services use FLAC files as far as I know.
 
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thomask

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Dec 9, 2018
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I've compared uncompressed FLAC rips with WAV rips from CDs made via dBPoweramp. The WAV sounded consistently better. Once I heard that, I did not trust any conversion programs. I physically re-ripped each CD in my collection to WAV files and use the WAV files as the local music files for both Roon and MinimServer (for the Lumin App). All the streaming services use FLAC files as far as I know.
I agree with your opinion.

I also had my 2k CD's converted into WAV one by one using Cocktail Audio music server which has CD drive in it.:)
 

thomask

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Dec 9, 2018
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But I am still keeping all of my CD collections.

I am a collector who never throw away.;) not just CD's but also various IC, speaker cables.

Also I have around 200 pairs of Nos tubes.

That may be the reason that I may have to live in my current house of 5100 sqft with elevator for my life to have enough storage space.
 

Audire

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Jan 19, 2019
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Qobuz has been removing albums from my playlists - 9 in the last month. I’m keeping and ripping all my CDs and now adding vinyl to my collection.

I’m unsure if the the present companies like Qobuz and Tidal will survive the future. And when the monopoly Amazon (does not meet the FTC definition of a monopoly, but …) finally takes over streaming IMO we can expect much higher prices than we have now. At that point IMO it won’t be worth it anymore ….
 
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rando

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Sep 22, 2019
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Qobuz has been removing albums from my playlists - 9 in the last month.

Background activity deciding what tracks/albums have current streaming availability is very fluid. Music rights are seeing considerable trade and bunching between corporate entities. Outside the US the pie slices a little differently is my understanding.

For a few dollars a month a lot is on offer. It can be exciting and frustrating how quickly music enters and exits streaming. No doubt this adds a few more sales than might ruminated over otherwise. Adapting some part of your listening habits towards constant searching avoids maintaining lists altogether!

I can’t remember which post it was but someone did a comparison between streaming the same cut on Qobuz vs. the download version and found the download sounded better.

This is a function of hardware, software, and networking. Believably some sound is better than others using the same source. Doubt you'll have to look very hard to figure out who here on WBF is actively working to respond to consumer desires for streaming quality.
 
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Audire

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Jan 19, 2019
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Background activity deciding what tracks/albums have current streaming availability is very fluid. Music rights are seeing considerable trade and bunching between corporate entities. Outside the US the pie slices a little differently is my understanding.

For a few dollars a month a lot is on offer. It can be exciting and frustrating how quickly music enters and exits streaming. No doubt this adds a few more sales than might ruminated over otherwise. Adapting some part of your listening habits towards constant searching avoids maintaining lists altogether!



This is a function of hardware, software, and networking. Believably some sound is better than others using the same source. Doubt you'll have to look very hard to figure out who here on WBF is actively working to respond to consumer desires for streaming quality.

When it comes to music I do very little looking for new music. I like certain groups, singers, etc. and that is who I stick with. I do however wonder out on occasion and listen to someone else. But that is rare. If they cut the music I enjoy too much then I will just use the libraries I’m building. Honestly, I could be perfectly content just with my CDs. There’s enough variety in there to keep me listening for a lifetime.
 

Mikem53

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Oct 1, 2020
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I do both.. I collect CD's and stream.. When I find something new on streaming, I will buy the CD and RIP it to my collection and catalog the CD.
Streaming is great for sampling new tunes. I also like the playlists that are created for random listening, Found quite a few new artists
that way..
 

Addicted to hifi

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Sep 8, 2020
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I do both.. I collect CD's and stream.. When I find something new on streaming, I will buy the CD and RIP it to my collection and catalog the CD.
Streaming is great for sampling new tunes. I also like the playlists that are created for random listening, Found quite a few new artists
that way..
This is a great idea to collect and stream.
 

Avidlistener

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Feb 19, 2013
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This is a function of hardware, software, and networking. Believably some sound is better than others using the same source. Doubt you'll have to look very hard to figure out who here on WBF is actively working to respond to consumer desires for streaming quality.
I have a head scratcher I recently discovered. I have a backup raid (which uses a software raid) of my main raid, which is a hardware raid and the the files sound better off the hardware raid.

The thing is I have Jriver set to play via memory (which on my case is 64gigs) It makes no sense at all, but there is a difference.
 

rando

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Sep 22, 2019
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The thing is I have Jriver set to play via memory (which on my case is 64gigs) It makes no sense at all, but there is a difference.

Hardware RAID is optimized for delivering data and feeding directly into RAM. Sounds like software backup is running on top of that requiring more resource allocation.
 

Avidlistener

Well-Known Member
Feb 19, 2013
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Yes that makes sense, if your saying there is overhead for Softraid (no auto backup is currently running) however what would account for the difference once Jriver caches the song in ram? I can tell it’s happening since there seems to be a delay in playback before each cut. Even though it’s an older Mac at this point, it’s still quite powerful with 6 cores and a top graphics card. It seems like running the raid software would be such an easy task for it. And I thought analog was tweeky, but I’m realizing digital is just as bad or worse.
 

Manos_Bits

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Apr 13, 2014
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I’m a collector of cds and lps and will never move to streaming as I have just about everything I could wish for on lp and cd.
Hi..
I am also Vinyl & CD collector but that does not blocks me from going ahead and get involved into new technology and progress.. Remaining strictly stucked to our physical library impedes us from knowing new music, new styles, new technology.. I have discover much more musical diamonds and lovely music from internet radio stations, much more than the glink-glong bells promoted by my audiophile friends..
 
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Addicted to hifi

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Hi..
I am also Vinyl & CD collector but that does not blocks me from going ahead and get involved into new technology and progress.. Remaining strictly stucked to our physical library impedes us from knowing new music, new styles, new technology.. I have discover much more musical diamonds and lovely music from internet radio stations, much more than the glink-glong bells promoted by my audiophile friends..
It’s a good point you make and one day I might decide to get into streaming.
 
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Kingrex

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Feb 4, 2019
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If I really like it, I seek it out on all formats.

I'm a Tchaikovsky fan. The beauty of classical is there are so many versions to choose from.

Ok, its close to the season. I found a Tbilisi orchestra Nutcracker on streaming that blows away any Philharmonic cd version. I have no CD that challenge it.
But I also have an amazing Dorati/Philips vinyl version I Iove. But OMG, I have a 15 IPS tape from the Russians that just opens up the magic. The Russians really feel Tchaikovsky and interpretat the score better. IMO.

There is no way to say one is better than the other. It comes down to what is the source. Steaming is a wonder in many, many versions can be found. And each orchestra's interpretation, and the recording can make or break the perception.

If your a butt rock fan which hey, I get out the Led or Skynyrd here and there. Well then, your limted on pressings. Or are you???????
 

Addicted to hifi

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I have spend 40 years collecting vinyl and cds to the point I have everything I like.I am not into new music so much and perfer the 60s 70s and 80s music except for new audiophile recordings which I continue to buy.I don’t like the idea of having a computer and flicking thru music all the time.I perfer to go to my collection and pick out what I wanna listen to.simple and easy.
 

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