Not sure if this is in the correct forum subsection but...
With all the gear that I have at my disposal, I did the following:
Muse - Big Freeze (Flac 24/96 rip from the 24/96 CD) --> Laptop --> Foobar Wasapi Event --> Fiio E07K --> IEM
However, when playing the exact same song from youtube using:
Laptop --> Youtube --> Fiio E07K --> IEM
I found that the sound quality, particularly the soundstage, was A LOT cleaner and better than my 'optimal setup'. I understand that the youtube file might have been the highest quality possible. But since the 24/96 CD I ripped from is the best quality available from Muse, how can a youtube file possibly produce sound of a higher quality?!
Could anyone share some possible explanation or advise?