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Ok, I have now carried my Studer A77 Revox down from my loft, despite my prolapsis and the thing weighing a ton - and will get back with listening results.
Note my Studer only plays 3,75 and 7,5 ips. It was modded by Lauvland of Doxa to good effect ca 1990, increasing the s/n-level, more like 15 ips is my impression. Does it beat the best digital recordings? We will see. More later.
First test, Studer Revox A77 versus Korg MR1: 0-1.
The Revox recordings sounded boxed-in and faulty in many ways. The faults with the Korg were on another, smaller level. Note that, I didn't have new tapes. I found that older tapes performed worst. Possibly, new tapes and service would make quite a big difference. Yet I have lived with this machine for many years, and beyond these problems, I felt that I did recognize a sound that is inferior to what I hear from the DSD recording.
My vinyl recordings like Grateful Dead Terrapin station sound marvellous through DSD and the Jade otl headphone amp, that also drives my small active pc sony srs z500 speakers. Never got this terrapin / therapy feeling so close before. Jade is very much recommended. The better the equipment, the clearer the superior format advantage (here, standard DSD).
IMO, the first thing we must all accept is not all vinyl LP's are created equal. I have about 500 LP's and though most sound great and ones that I have CD's of the LP's often sounds better. However a lot of vinyl was poorly mastered and if they are used discs may have been poorly handled by previous owner(s). That said in terms of archiving LP's it is all subjective based on need or want along with the archiving gear setup ease of use and other convenience.
My system is modest but IMO quite good in general performance. It may not represent the cutting edge but I have no idea what cutting edge gear sounds like to my ears. I only have my interest in buying and trying good gear I can afford and assembling and/or changing out gear with other gear as I can afford to buy them.
For me I get great archiving by employing any one of my better quality and vintage cassette decks. Of which two of the three are good quality three head decks, JVC DD-VR9 and a Yamaha KX-930 along with a pretty good two head deck from Harman Kardon a CD-191. The JVC and Yamaha offer computer controlled via test tone generator and electronics adjustment to the type of tape I may use. These when switching between source and tape as I record make superb analogue copies of my vinyl discs and even any CD's I may want to archive via analogue. Good quality blank tape (harder to find but one still can) and this really impresses me with my ability to get a good user friendly archives of any vinyl I want to do this too.
I also use a stand alone CD recorder to do some digital archiving of my vinyl (mostly for car playback) and yes my CD recorder is an older piece from Pioneer and is by far not the best CDR out there, it does still make very pleasant CDR's of my vinyl. Ones where I record an LP onto a CDR and then A/B comparison this to a commercially made version, my CDR's of vinyl sound better in most ways.
For me archiving especially onto a good cassette tape is more about the fun of running tape and the hobby of archiving for an easy to use alternative to always having to fire up my vinyl rig. CDR's are most often LP's put on CDR for as I said car playback but in both cases I am pleased with each even if I may be able today to buy a better digital recording setup. One day I may invest in a better CD recording setup but for now I'm ok with what I have.
As for cassettes, my decks make great, near flawless copies off vinyl using a good blank tape and careful setup of the recording deck and even to my ears often make more pleasant copies of any CD that I record onto tape than the CD's often sound themselves.
Lp's not created equal - very much agree! But the better the playback and recording chain, the larger the proportion that sound good or at least acceptable.
There is no single best way to record. This is much a matter of subjective taste, context and so on. I have always been a recording enthusiast, moving from a 1967 Radionette tape recorder to a variety of Tandberg recorders, then a 1970 Revox A77 that i used for many years, Dat recorders in the 90s and sound cards later, to the Korg MR-1 now.
As I wrote above, retrying a couple of vintage Revox tape recorders did not work out, but if good cassette decks do - fine. For most people, I think, hi-res digital will be the best solution today, and like many others, I think dsd is the best-sounding format, compared to hi-res pcm. Blueray etc may change that, but not in the near future, it seems.
Based on my experience with a Cowon D2 and Creative 24/96 external laptop card as well as the Korg mr1, the Korg is a big step up. Even downsampled with Audiogate from dsd to pcm 24/96, the Korg files sounded better than files recorded with Creative 24/96 pcm. Difference was notable even on the Cowon (accepting only up to cd format 16/44).