Analog vs digital?


Hi all! My first posting so please be gentle!
I've just had my old Linn LP12 turntable tuned up. It's been over 25 years since its had any attention. 
Nothing replaced just readjusted and I'm blown away by the result. 
It's so much more involving than the digital part of my system. 
Singxer SU-6, Denafrips Terminator. 
The Linn LP12 and  Ekos arm is over 30 years old.
I'm confused! 
Technology seems to be going backwards. Is it all for convenience? 
09c882ab eba8 4a10 aad4 6a9238e1f3ddnzastro
Partially it was but digital can sound fine also. I’m not one of those one or the other guys. Get yourself a new belt and your cartridge may be passed it’s sell by date. You’ll have to determine that. Enjoy. 

Now hopefully this thread won’t jump down the worm hole.
That's a nice hope mijostyn, but you know it will. OP obviously hasn't been around here for very long.
And digital is Ace; and Aces beat Kings. :)
Just playing with you Edward... XO, John
I used to think the same until I learned more about digital and put more into it.  My enjoyment is now equal with a nod to digital for convenience.   These days I think of the DAC (with the Singxer) as the phono pre and everything before the USB input as the TT and cartridge.  So I would ask what do you have going into the Singxer?

As analog playback became more and more sophisticated we were often amazed at just how much information was actually contained in those old grooves.  So too with digital, it turns out to be really remarkable to see what is actually contained in those old zeros and ones!
For convenience, a proper digital rig is it. 

Replace that Linn/cartridge  with something more current along with appropriate phonostage, forget it....The LP is still king.

Cash outlay however for that rig will be far more $$$
Dear @ebm  @tablejockey  : "  Analog is king. "

Could be but where or what are your foundation/facts for that statement other that " I like it more "?

I own over 6-7K LPs and own over 18 tonearms, 150+ cartridges and several TTs. I listened too the digital alternative.

Thank's in advance,

Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,
R.
I went to the dark side (digital) 20 years ago, and it definitely has improved greatly. I have a dear friend, my audiophile mentor, who is still a devout vinyl guy and we go round and round about it. His system ($50K, Vandersteen Quatro CTs, Ayre amp, AR Ref preamp, good table) sounds great, but it also would with a really good CD player (e.g., Audio Note, Bryston, Ayon, Esoteric) and a great DAC (like Schiit, Berkeley, Benchmark etc).

I’m sure there are more like me who have some A.D.D. or just aren’t inclined to be the fiddlers that vinyl requires. I want to just listen to music rather than clean records, adjust turntables, grit my teeth at pops and crackles on records, and constantly get out of the chair to restart a song or record when I’ve daydreamed or just want to listen to a song or record 2-4 times in a row (I do that often). I’ve made my peace with the subjective "inferiority" of the sound of digital. In a perfect world, and if I was a fiddler, I would have both but can’t afford it.

My system is much more modest and it still makes me very happy (new Vandersteen 2CE Signature IIIs, Audio Alchemy DDP-1 DAC/preamp, Rega CD player... searching for the right streamer now).

And now, I’m into streaming Tidal and am in heaven. I go down the rabbit hole for hours discovering new music and don’t have to leave the chair if I don’t want to.

Horses for courses!
I own over 6-7K LPs

Raul, that's impressive! And a lot of storage room! How do you catalog them? With less than 1000 CDs I find remembering what I have and organizing them to be a pain.
No, technology is not going backwards. Digital sound is steadily improving and many prefer it to analog.

If you enjoy your turntable more, that’s great. Enjoy!

You have been in audio long enough to know that what you are doing here is trying to start an argument, an old one that's been done a million times. I don’t know why you want to do that, but I wish you would find a better way to entertain yourself. We get into enough heated debates without people coming here and purposely trying to start them. If you don’t have anything worthwhile to contribute, please just lurk until you do.

Let me give you a couple of suggestions. How about naming your thread:

I love my LP 12!
or:
Serviced my TT and I’m amazed by the improvement!

You don’t have to make this about one thing being better than another.
You have been in audio long enough to know that what you are doing here is to try to start an argument.
A bit harsh, imo. It’s his first post, and it wasn’t strident or trolling. Maybe the topic has been beaten like a rented mule, but that’s not unusual.

"I'd like to have an argument, please."  https://youtu.be/ohDB5gbtaEQ


@nzastro,

"Nothing replaced just readjusted and I'm blown away by the result."

A tune up did all that? Overturned 25 years of your digital v analogue impression?

Good for you. Let's hope it lasts.

As for the so-called improvements in technology, it's a valid point that convenience is a prime mover in its course of direction. 

Who'd want to crank their engines by hand nowadays?  Now, now..
Thanks all for your input. It's much appreciated.

I would love to improve my digital system! 
I thought that my didital system (Singxer SU-6 /Denafrips Terminator) should of outperformed my old analogue TT and it has outperform my TT until the TT was tuned up (adjusted springs/suspension, 
tone arm/cartridge readjustment, cleaned electrical contacts and tightend all the screws. No new parts. 

So my dilemma is how can I improve my digital system? 
I'm suffering on going health issues so it's tough getting up to change records. 
At the moment I'm using a tablet streaming Tidal Masters etc and using i2s between SU-6 and Terminator and balanced XLR cables between termi and prototype valve preamp. 

Also need a reasonably priced dedicated basic streamer/storage unit (no included dac or amp). 

Living in New Zealand we seem to be very limited with availability of reasonably priced gear. 
Guess we pay for being so isolated. 

Problem is having health issues limits my income. 

Any ideas on how to improve my digital system on a budget would be much appreciated. 

Best wishes to you all. Keep safe n well. Thanks for your input.
Cheers! Tony. 


Oh, almost forgot. 
Thank you Patrick for the argument link https://youtu.be/ohDB5gbtaEQ
I really enjoy Monty Python too. 
Cheers! 
There was a nice Steve G. video recently about this. Essentially, he pointed out how hard it is to compare cuts (different masters, A/D processes, etc.). In many cases, he liked vinyl better but in some cases, the streamed or cd was preferable. He's a "both/and" guy. 

While I have no intention to return to vinyl, there's something so intentional about taking care of records, playing them, one at a time, preserving the "concept" behind the arrangement of songs and even the whole album. Above and beyond the sonic qualities, there's a depth of investment by the listener that pays tribute to the experience intended by the artist. Too often, I sit down to stream an album, and wind up just jumping from track to track or artist to artist. In the moment, it feels like freedom, but it can leave me feeling fragmented. Sort of like watching a movie over a week rather than all at once.
nzastro  - I'd LOVE to move to NZ and help you get sorted out! It's getting too crazy here in America. Sadly, I don't have enough money. Woe is me.
Thanks. 

What's happening in USA is BIG news here and we are all hoping things get sorted out sooner than later. 

My condolences to all whom have lost loved ones to covid. 

Wishing you all the very best. 


Welcome NZastro.
I too have an old Linn, although its my "3rd string" table.  And yet, i am firmly in the other camp - almost always prefer my digital ( and have among my DAC choices, a Denefrips, and not as expensive as yours).
That said i attribute much of my preference to the sorry state of most records.  Let's put aside specialty audiophile releases - i buy for music. And when i compare apples-to-apples CD (well, CD ripped FLAC to Roon....) to LP, the CD almost always wins. Why?  The album has so many flaws. Wear from too many playings in college. Crap pressings.  Poor mastering/mixing (often improved in remasters BTW), on and on.  great records can sound fantastic.
But great CDs too can sound fantastic. Oddy, many of my best are actually 50-years old 3-channel recordings done on stuff like Studer A-77s or custom-built rigs like Bob Fine made for Mercury LP.  Those are truly music with nearly none of the digital side effects. Ditto many old Verve and Blue Note stuff.
Apples to Apples i have compared myriad rock records and 99% of the time prefer the CD.  Years back that was not true.
If i was always playing some pristine, small-batch LPs - i might well prefer vinyl. But alas I don't, and like won't, unless many performers are coming back from the grave or some label decides that tiny markets are their thing. (oh, and I'm also not **re-** buying 100s of records at $40/ea either).
The fact that you have rediscovered how great analog *can* be is wonderful. Celebrate it. But if your LP12 truly beats your terminator on true apples to apples, i think you may have some issues in your digital playback. I cannot imagine what since i have no magic cables and no tweeks, just really well set up equipment, custom power supplies, proper impedance matching, blah blah.
I have always maintained that the recording determines the quality; next mastering, and all the stuff we agonize over comes in a distannt 3rd --> 10th.  You cannot make a bad recording sound good, and a  really great one is enjoyable over a Bluetooth speaker.
G
Once you take the time to appreciate the look and feel of a vinyl sleeve with the large pics and album info, you can't go digital. Music on any medium is more than just sound. Analog on vinyl is the full package. CDs are half way ok, count me out on anything streamed. Just me.
Choose the system that makes a piano sound like it is made from wood and the strings are hit with a felt pad.  If it sounds the least bit electronic  you know  you going down the wrong path!!!!

Enjoy the ride
Tom
Analog for chilled out, catching a buzz, smile on your face listening. Digital for convenience, adhd, going from 1 song to the next listening. Both have their place in the enjoyment of music. But for me, analog is the best. I just can’t beat my VPI. It’s so involving. Glad you’ve revisited your lp12.
A classic, great table. 
I used to think the same until I learned more about digital and put more into it. My enjoyment is now equal with a nod to digital for convenience.
+1
I always thought vinyl was by far the best sound I’d heard before I spent the time and money finding the ’right’ digital setup for me. I purchased my first turntable in 1968 in Vietnam of all places. Since them I have had quite a few. I jumped on the CD bandwagon and stayed on it for a very long time.

A several years ago, I started building a dedicated listening room and went through several combinations of pre amps, DACs, power amps, and phone pre amps. Each digital "upgrade" was an improvement, but my vinyl rig always sounded much better.

Currently, I have a Technics SL-1200G w/ Ortofon Quintet Black cartridge and PS Audio Stellar phono pre amp. My DAC is a PS Audio DirectStream Sr. Pre amp is PS Audio BHK; power amp PS Audio BHK 250; speakers Tannoy DC8Ti.

I am my quite happy with my current setup and don’t foresee changing it. I can listen to it for hours without having to get up (to change a record). At my age, there’s something to be said for that!  My vinyl rig sounds a bit better to me, but I am quite happy with my digital setup.  



Digital belongs with solid state and home theaters. Analog with TT and 2 channel music.  
i don't miss surface noise and tape hiss, not one iota. i have heard the best of both worlds, but prefer the relative sonic purity of good digital. i am not one of those lucky gifted souls who can easily tune out extraneous noise. 
When I stream one of my long playlists through PS Audio DirectStream DAC, the sound is as good as it gets for me (yes, I know it can get better, but there is always something better out there whether it is analog or digital). I can replay them 100 times without worry of hearing any new surface noise. Because when that happened you know you would hear those favorite records less often. 

I will not go back to vinyl anymore, and the best part is my house is a lot cleaner without stacks of records and cleaning accessories. 
Thanks for all the input guys.
Much appreciated.

Have also tried the surround sound for a short time but wasn't happy with the sound. 
Have stuck with two channels even for my home cinema which is now also my music room. 
Adding a couple of subs help with the home cinema. 

Analog system consists of an 18 year old Shelter 901 MC cart, 35 year old Ekos tone ARM, LP12 and Naim Armagedon TT power supply routed through a Project Tubebox DS phono stage. 

Digital is a phone or tablet connected to a Singxer SU-6 via USB connected via I2S to a Terminator dac connected to the fully balanced prototype preamp via XLRs. 

The prototype fully balanced input/output valve preamp feeds a couple of March P451 monoblocks into a pair of recently serviced B&W MK1 matrix 3's. 
Also have a pair of Harbeth SHL5 PLUS 40th anniversary speakers waiting for a pair of stands. 

My foray into digital started a year ago with a preloved Naim V1 dac. 
After replacing the V1 with the Singxer/Terminator combination thought I had a very revealing, detailed, clean sounding system where finally a piano sounded real. 
Was finally a match for my vinyl system till an old retired Linn and Naim dealer friend decided my TT needed a service as it hadn't been serviced for well over 20 years.

Now after a service the good vinyl wins by a rather large margin. 
More presence and reality even the base is acceptable, (digital always has a deeper bass) but the vinyl wins in the musicality/listening experiance.
Don't want to stop listening when I should be going to bed.

Bugger! Now I feel like I have to try n improve the digital streaming.

It's a bummer when you have a fussy personality!

Could a dedicated hard wired (cat6) streamer/storage unit improve the listening experiance? 
As I said earlier I'm new at this digital thing and there's not much help or gear to trial here in NZ so I appeal to those of you that have the experiance. 

Anyway any positive realistic ideas would be much appreciated.

Thanks again for your input.

Cheers! Tony. 
It's like saying who cares about books, I can read them all online with e books. Doing away with book cases, how great is that!
An empty house with just a few electronics around. Count me out of that future. Long live vinyl!
The Regen switch should do it. You would need to read up on the subject if not familiar.

Try the wireworld chroma cat 8 cables.  Very reasonable price. 

Best wishes
listening to analog records, vs. compact discs, vs streaming -- are fundamentally different processes and thus, experiences

you can get a system to sound truly truly excellent playing any of the above media... those who insist on naming one as ’the best’ and putting the others down are totally missing the point - ALL are able to provide tremendous enjoyment and a no-apologies listening experience with the right equipment and content - it just takes know-how, perserverance and $ to achieve it

people get emotional, defensive and protective of what they have personally invested their time effort and money into -- that they have done so does not diminish what others have done in their own, separate directions within the hobby

in pursuing high end audio we are all seeking an experience, a hobby that we get a great deal of joy from - it is a multi faceted experience as it involves technical, monetary, artistic/aethestic elements - but it is narrow-minded, selfish and unbecoming to put down others so you can feel better about what you prefer - like in life more broadly, there are so many paths to happiness and self actualization, there are multiple paths to musical and sonic satisfaction
jjss49,
Excellent post. As you said, there are many paths, and those who prefer analog must realize that it is not only a subjective preference, but probably also an inbuilt sensitivity to certain types of distortion that they hear with digital.
I would liken it to overhead fluorescent lighting. Over the years when I have had to work in an environment that was lighted in this way, I was always keenly aware of the oscillation of the fluorescent tubes. I would ask others if it bothered them, and usually they would say that they didn't even notice it. 
My point is that perceived distortions in in digitally reproduced music may be very real to the ears of some listeners and not to others; and that's OK. 
The Linn LP 12 is still one of the best turntables on the market. You might want to try the wyred for sound 10th anniversary dac, it's the most analog sounding dac that I've ever had in my system.
High speed tape, superb digital, great TT, arm
cart... some of us do it all and appreciate the musical virtues of each... even Fremer might be tumbling to it....

to the OP those Vandersteen are capable of a lot ! You owe yourself a better source than a PC....
You might want to try the wyred for sound 10th anniversary dac, it's the most analog sounding dac that I've ever had in my system.

Way out of my price range but this is something I like to hear about.
@nzastro
Hi Tony, methinks all you need to do to improve your digital to an "I’m enjoying music" level is save up for a reasonably priced "killer" dac (like a little Ideon, or a Benchmark: ¬2.5-3.0 k), add a reclocker (mine was 300) and you’re ready to go.
BTW, your Linn should have good (upper) bass (mine never had good lower bass) -- you might improve on the Pro ject: any used MF or similar should do the trick.
nzastro, if you want to improve your digital for less, get a mac mini and a 2tb or larger hard drive. Load an audio program on it like Pure Music or JRiver and start collecting Hi Res files online. HDTracks and Acoustic Sounds are two of the more popular online stores. 24/96 and 24/192 files are available for most older titles. New music is available in 16/44.1 and sometimes in 24/48. Some older records have gotten remastered for digital and sound fantastic like Led Zeppelin 1. 
No flipping records for me for at least two months. Had my right wrist fused this morning and it is in a long arm cast/splint affair. The block won't wear off until tomorrow afternoon so I am comfortable for now. After that it will be oxycodone, THC and NIN for me. I should be able to come up for air in 4 days. So, I do understand the health issue subject. The computer video runs to the projector so I can pull up the menu from the recliner and scroll through using a trackpad. I can even create playlists if I like.  
No Vinyl, but beggars can't be choosy.

Sorry to hear about your health issues. The secret to a successful life is, learning to have fun in spite of it. Sometimes it gets tough. Oxy, THC and NIN with some KC for good measure. Loud music kills pain!   



























Hi,

I love all the responses saying all formats can give you great sound.

I do want to disagree with Tom asking why are we bringing up this old argument again. It really is an ever changing discussion. I'm a vinyl guy but I am very impressed with how digital has improved, and in the last few months I've listened to more digital than I ever have thanks to more lossless streaming and easier ripping. How many people who now happily listen to digital, a decade ago thought it hurt their ears? In another ten years it will again be a different discussion. Of course, I agree with those who say digital for convenience, vinyl for quality. That is especially true for me. I live in a town of 18,000. My closest record store is the city over an hour away, so if somebody suggests some great music the first thing I do is see if I can find it digitally. And the truly great music that I've listened to over and over and over again may be on vinyl. I think for many of us, the answer to what is the better format is we are listening to a mix now. And that for me is a new answer to an old question. Thank god. It has never been a better time to love music. 
@nzastro,
" Bugger! Now I feel like I have to try n improve the digital streaming.
It's a bummer when you have a fussy personality!
Could a dedicated hard wired (cat6) streamer/storage unit improve the listening experiance?
As I said earlier I'm new at this digital thing and there's not much help or gear to trial here in NZ so I appeal to those of you that have the experiance.
Anyway any positive realistic ideas would be much appreciated"

Each responder will tell you to do it the way they did it.  You have a great start with your Singxer and Denafrips.*  My general recommendation is to get your music into files on a hard disk and not to send them through a phone, Tablet or computer where they are compromised by all the noise and commotion in such devices.  So you won't have to use any de-crapifier.  A network connected digital bridge worked wonders for me,  Music files come from a hard disk (or NAS) into the bridge and go out by USB to the (Singxer for your) DAC.  Control is by a computer program run on any network connected device you have.  I use JRiver on a laptop running the bridge as a DLNA device, plus an android phone.  Any Audioquest USB cable, even the least expensive, can work very well.

*It's evident that some who have written don't know how excellent these units are.


I’m a Digital Man versus being an Analog Kid. But I’ve never had a Vinyl setup as resolving as yours. My Digital rig consists of a PS Audio DirectStream DAC fed into a BAT VK50-SE Preamp. It’s as close to Vinyl as I’ll ever get. I sold all my Vinyl years ago but ripped them 96/24 WAV files for when I’m in the mood to listen to Vinyl.

I too borrowed the Denafrips Terminator and tried it in my system. It's a great DAC but with no 30 day money back or any North American support. I'm out on that. Many things it did equally well as the PS Audio DSSr. but there were things the the DSSr. did better than the Terminator DAC. Also, the PS Audio DAC is way more flexible WRT to inputs and has an LCD Display along with a remote control. The DTerminator has neither.
Ah! Another Linn devotee. I too have an LP12/Valhalla which also got a tune up this year. New belt, cleaned and lubed bearing and a thorough recalibration of the suspension and tone arm. Pop would have been delighted with the result as its performance also improved greatly after the long needed servicing. I do still enjoy the whole vinyl gestalt. I find it more relaxing, more deliberate, than simply dialing up something on my streamer... OTOH when it's Friday evening (cocktail time!) my wife and I do enjoy letting Amazon curate the music and not have to get up to "flip the record". And the sound is perfectly adequate to enjoy a sidecar with and catch up on the week with each other... I believe each have their high points (and disadvantages) but I enjoy the times we live in as audiophiles. Digital gives us the opportunity to explore so much more new music than some of us could afford before and vinyl is enjoying a renaissance of new pressings... Win, win!

Happy listening...
I'm a creature of habit. My analog habit is 57 years old.
My friends $25,000 TT blows away his $500 CD player.  Another friends $5000 CD player certainly sound better than his Grace TT (rebadged Planar 9), Grace 707 arm, and Grace F-9 cartridge, but not by as much as I would have thought.
I had a medium big-buck analog set-up vs early digital. It was absolutely no contest.

I've had a succession of digital systems in desktop audio setup ever since. Over the years digital has definitely gotten better: expecially w/multibit or NOS/multibit DACs, there is far less of the classic digital nasties than before. Also, the purity of tone & timbre have improved IMO, particularly w/multibit/NOS.

But I expect a well setup medium big-buck vinyl system would still handily win in comparison to digital. I'm no longer in a position to test this, but it's what I predict.
I both love digital and analog , but I prefer vynil.
@nzastro just curious about your digital setup what is your source? I googled the  Singer-SU6 and it looks like it's a digital interface not a streamer. So what is your source for streaming?
Your system is more synergistic to the tt 
Hi Jond, 
Guess our time difference is about 19 hours so apologies for the delays. 

At the moment just using a "hemroid" tablet and phone via USB. 
Don't have a dedicated streamer yet. 
Using Tidal high def "master" over WiFi. 
Tablet or phone both show they are playing master or hifi. 
Cheers! Tony. 

THANK YOU ALL! for your inputs. Very much appreciated! 

I'll try a hard drive type server/nas as I too would like to enjoy my digital music more as I also like the convenience of not having to get up to change the record. 
My apologies to those of you that think I was being negative about digital music. 
I'm not at all anti digital, was just wanting advice on how to improve my digital set up as I'm a very newbe in this medium. 
As I said earlier, I've never owned a CD player and don't have any CDs also had a very long break seriously listening to music due to my outdoor interests taking over since having a spinal fusion in 1988.
For many years of pain n suffering prior to 1988 I turned to MUSIC, pain killers n booze to cope. 

Recently have rekindled my pursuit of relaxation using music etc as I'm no longer able to pursue my outdoor interests due to on going health issues. 

Unfortunately I'm one of those fussy bastards that strives for perfection on a tight budget because unfortunately when health issues strike one can't afford what he/she really wants. 

Anyway I should end this post so you all can concentrate on helping others find their nirvana.

Once again, THANK YOU ALL VERY MUCH for your valuable input. 
VERY MUCH APPRECIATED! 

All the very best to you all! 
Keep safe n well, 
Cheers! Tony.