Anyone had this difference between Internet Radio/Tidal and locally streamed files?

Al M

Novice Member
Hi All,

Just after a few pointers on something that's driving me mad......

When I stream Tidal/Internet Radio, the sound I am getting is how I expect - superb - allowing for the limitations of different file types used by Radio Stations that is. However, when I stream from my NAS (QNAP) I find the music lacking in bass level and detail and the separation and "air" around instruments in the mix is far less. Also IR/Tidal is louder.

I use a Cambridge CXN and the only thing I can think of it's the way the CXN is handling the Internet files or the files themselves/server software on the NAS (Files are FLAC/ALAC). Everything is hard wired via my network switch to the router and NAS, and I have no problems streaming at all, or find any difference between FLAC and ALAC.

The perfect test today was playing the same FLAC album at the same bitrate via Tidal and from the NAS, equalising the volumes for each. Tidal was far better..........

Anyone got any ideas or had this?




Active Member
I have similar issue when streaming from my Cambridge CXU Blu Ray player, music sounds flat and uninteresting (even though it supposed to sound very good) I bought the NODE 3 and stream all my music through that and it now sounds superb, maybe it's something to do with the implementation of the wolfson Dac in the cambridge (think they use the same DAC in the CXU and in the CXN , Sounds even better when I play a CD through my Sony cdp-xb930 qs CD player though.


Active Member
The perfect test today was playing the same FLAC album at the same bitrate via Tidal and from the NAS, equalising the volumes for each. Tidal was far better..........
Yes, but can you be sure that your ripped FLAC and Tidal streams are from the exact same master? It's almost impossible to know with any certainty whether you are comparing like with like even when released versions/dates appear to tally. Also, how does the ripped FLAC sound when compared to the CD from which it originated? Does the CD itself sound similarly lacking? If not then I guess you could try copying the stored FLAC to a USB stick and listening to that to ensure that your NAS/local network isn't influencing the sound but I can't believe this would make any difference.

Al M

Novice Member
Thanks for your responses, but i have cracked it. The problem is due to the way the DAC in the Cambridge is handling the files. I had totally forgotten that my Preamp (Linn AV5103) had digital inputs so a quick hook up later and a good few listening tests, I can not discern any difference between local files and Tidal. They also now sound a great deal better than via the analogue inputs - a very cheap upgrade!!
Also, Internet Radio has been cleaned up greatly with the Bass Boom I was hearing on some stations now being decoded correctly as Bass Drum and Bass Guitar/Synth, albeit with a small increase in bass volume but I suspect that is their processing - the same you get on DAB and FM. So I'm going to leave things as they are for now as I was in the process of looking at a better streamer.


DACs actually only handle audio signals, such as LPCM & DSD, not audio files, such as uncompressed WAV, compressed lossless FLAC, compressed lossy MP3, etc - but I get your point.

In common with the current range of Cambridge Audio's DAC containing devices, the CXN uses the proprietary ATF2 upsampling technology on the audio signal being sent to the DAC. Perhaps the (faulty?) AFT2 in your CXN is overcompensating for the poorer audio decoded from lossy file formats used by the likes of internet radio, so getting it to 'sound better' than the AFT2's processing of the better quality audio decoded from your own lossless FLAC/ALAC files.
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