Analog vs. digital

I’ve found that on my system the digital side is more finely etched than the analog side. Both sound great in their own way, but records just don’t sound so finely defined.
What is your experience?


It's interesting that you could take this entire thread, replace vinyl and cds with film and sensors, and post it to any similar photography thread and have it map nearly seamlessly.  Technology and human passions included.

@lldd I have had this same conversation multiple times, love it. Just in the same way where high dynamic range in photography can sometimes enhance the initial impression but does not replicate reality in the most natural way possible. Another example is going to Best Buy to see most of the TVs fighting for attention with their HDR settings. Sometimes they get you to buy the TV but then you realize once you set it up at home, HDR is just so fatiguing. Our eyes are meant to focus on only a few things at a time, and our vision adjusts its depth of field naturally. Looking at HDR imagery for too long presents too much information that just ends up tiring us out.

There are two ways to get improvement.

First would be to get more of the better sound. Say upgrading cables over the white and red variety.

Second would be removing the bad, irritating sounds. Like those little speakers  that boost up the bass with the annoying thump. thump to give the illusion of more bass.

So even if a system does not sound high-end (lots of "good sound") it still can be enjoyable because it doesn't have the "bad sound" to annoy you. Some hi-end you just hear too much bad with the good.

Could one reason that analog sounds better because although it may lack in "if you want to define detail as good sound" it also lacks in "bad sound"?

In an attempt to improve my analog side, I bought a new phono preamp and moving coil cartridge. After break-in the sound improved dramatically. It didn’t, as I expected however, surpass the SQ of my digital side. The best I can say is that on most recordings of the same material, the sound was about equal. The digital has the advantage of being sonically more consistent. Records varied much more in quality, from downright putrid to exceeding anything digital.

But, in general, I have to say in my experience, digital was more of the go-to format. 

It takes a while to evaluate all your components. I would say your values favor digital. The word etched is something I think of in systems focused on details at all costs. While analog can give incredible detail… this is at much higher levels of investment. Typically at your level of investment analog will win on naturalness… musicality… more so than details. Given your tastes, perhaps you would have to go for a much higher level of investment in analog. But, probably not worth it given what you value. My analog end is wonderfully detailed and musical… more detailed than my digital end. However, both digital and analog ends on my system are ~$45K.