Can digitizing vinyl match CD?

I'm digitizing some of my vinyl so that it is transportable. I'll keep the LPs, but I just don't want to buy duplicates of the LPs on CD. I have some LPs not released on vinyl. I'll be sampling at either 48 or 96 bps.

Is it possible for digitizing vinyl to match or exceed commercial Red Book CDs?

Is the commercial process of CD production by definition superior to anything I could achieve since the studio master recordings are fewer generations removed from the original than my LPs would be?

Are my CBS Masterworks Series Digitally Remastered LPs already compromised (compared to original analog releases) because they've departed from the analog production cycle?

Or is it only possible to exceed CD quality if price is no object?

Thanks for your thoughts.

My friend has been "ripping" some vinyl to 24/96 using the Alesis
masterdisc. I did compare the high-rez files to vinyl and CDs if possible and
they certainly are getting closer to vinyl.

I think if the LP outclasses the CD there is a good chance your high-rez files
will as well. When downsampling the 24/96 files to 16/44 they do sound a lot
more like CD, loosing some of the information and nuances.

It was a bit of a surprise at first that a digital file made at home could be
better than what is on CD and I never quite believed Michael Fremer when he
claimed this with his Alesis, but I did revise my opinion on this now.
I have been recording some of my vinyl on to my hard drive at 24/96. I find it sounds better than cd quality, but not as good as vinyl. The best ( and unexpected ) part for me is I still get to hear what different cartridges and phono preamps sounded like after I have moved to other equipment.
you're leaving out a huge factor: the quality of the turntable - every improvement you make there will come through on your digitized versions. (and of course the CDP's quality is important too) I've been digitizing my frequently-played LPs using an LP12/ekos/benz set-up and 24/48 recording - and have been amazed how good the results are: definitely better than almost all the commercial CDs - even remasters - that I've compared my copies to. it was immediately apparent when I started to do it, but, just to be sure, I did some A/B comparisons, and my initial impressions were confirmed.
If you are ripping vinyl, and you have the Alesis Masterdisk, set it to record at 24/88.2 This way there will be no algorithm needed to convert to Red Book, but there will be the same advantage of 24/96 in that there will be no brickwall filter used. That's the best way to get the most out of the Alesis, if used for Red Book.

I would do the same on a computer, if the software supports the codec.
A couple years ago I heard Michael Fremer demo some CDs he'd made from his LPs. In his case he had the best LP playback rigs imaginable. The CDs were easily better sounding than commercial ones.

As to ripping to 24/96 or 24/88.2, those sampling rates and word length handily beat redbook. A month ago I was at another hi-fi event and heard both redbook and 24/88.2 hi-rez versions of some recordings. The 24/88.2 rips sound very close to LP--not quite, but close--and they're way more emotive and involving than 16/44.1.

I consider the 24 bits more important than the sampling frequency, at least above 48K. 16 bit only gives you 64K increments of amplitude; 24 bit gives you 16M increments. That difference in amplitude resolution is where musical expression of the artist and the beginnings and ends of notes lives.
I have an upscale front end and seriously would like to look into high rate digital rips of my lps for my second system, etc

enjoy the emotion of vinyl and if I can get most of that back I would be very pleased

threads I've read are confusing
would you recommend a stand alone burner/player
or using a d/a and computer (hard drive or straight burn)

you can pm me if this has been reitereated infinitum

fwiw I use an Apogee Rosetta 200 AD/DAC with a firewire connection to an iMac running Amadeus Pro. Very, very happy with the results at 24/96.
It's not vinyl but jeez it's close.
I am using the Alesis Masterlink and my secret weapon for getting great sounding recordings to CD is using the Wadia 17 Analog to Digital converter. I go record out of my preamp into the Wadia and then XLR digital to the Masterlink. Compared to using the converters in the Masterlink this is a night and day difference. There are newer and probably better units out there than the Wadia. You can't just plug your table into the crap converters in a computer and expect to get great sound.

It is true that the quality of the table, cart, phono stage all determines the sound of the final recording. Even the cables from the preamp affect the recording.
Just to confirm that even using a cheap (not crap) Creative audigy notebook card, I get better music from my vinyl than I do from CD. Even though I have to downsample from 24/96 to 16/44. My main issue, now, is why there are no small players able to play the higher format directly. My Cowon D2 does a good job, but it only handles downsampled (CD-level) formats. Even if this is a bit of work (and hassle), there is no competition, vinyl wins. When you start doing this, you don't want to go back.

It is a bit of a dilemma, though. Ideally, I would like to record in the best way possible, e g using the new Korg with high-speed DSD, supposedly "future proof". Yet the portable player market hasn't even climbed to 24/96 yet; the bigger files will take more space, more time to convert, and so on. I already have a collection of analog tapes, and also DAT tapes, on my loft. I enjoy the 50 albums I have recorded in 24/96. But I don't like the feeling that I may have to do it all over again!
Is it possible for digitizing vinyl to match or exceed commercial Red Book CDs?

Match, no. Exceed, maybe.

The results will sound different than any CD mastering in most cases. Could be better or could be worse or could just be a matter of preference. It will be different though almost without doubt.

It should sound pretty much like the vinyl itself did though if done well.
do any of the high res sacd/dvda players (thinking oppo) play the 24/96 or other higher sampled formats?

can you have a hard drive tied to the system with high res needle drops?
We recorded the Jun Fukamachi "At the Steinway, Take 2" from a Rockport Sirus TT using Digital Audio Denmark converters at 32/352.8 for First Impression Music.
So far, the CD has gotten rave reviews. We did not use any EQ/Compression. We tried to take out the ticks/pops, but even with the best equipment available, it just took too much from the music.
I'd suggest the Korg or Tascam DSD units for this. You can store the files on your computer and be happy as a clam!
I just burned a track on my Masterlink in 24/88.2 (Not CD 24) and it played perfectly in my Esoteric X03 SE.

GREAT tip, Atmasphere. I just finished and didn't do any serious listening, just tested it, but off the bat, it sounded better than 16/44 (as it should). I originally picked up the Masterlink to do compilations of my favirite tunes, for some uninterupted listening. I kind of abandoned that when I got the Squeezebox/Benchmark but now I'll go back to the compilations.
...which leads me to a question.

Any benefit burning a redbood CD on the Masterlink to 24/88.2? Being the original source material is 16/44.1, is it that if it isn't already there, it won't make a difference?
"Any benefit burning a redbood CD on the Masterlink to 24/88.2? Being the original source material is 16/44.1, is it that if it isn't already there, it won't make a difference?"

I would say no benefit. Adds overhead of larger files with no benefit.
I would stick with the higher sampling rates. Go for 96k or 176.4Khz. they do sound better than 44.1 and 48k.
You did not mention how you were going to do this, but there are several options;
1. use a high res sound card like the audiophile 192

2. purchase stand alone hi res recorder like the Tascam DV-RA1000HD.

Instead of limiting yourself to the CD bit rate, why not spend 20 bucks and download DVD-A solo from Cirlinca? Then you could take your hi res digital LP tracks and burn them to a DVD-R as a high res. DVD-Audio disc which will sound way better than any CD would.

If you want oversampling, then I would store the files at the native resolution because this is the most compact form to store in without loss, and then rely on a good oversampling DAC to do the oversampling constructively during playback.
Anyone know of a decent little player for running etc that can play 24/96?

My computer is a Mac G4 with an M-Audio Audiophile 24/96.
I can record at better than Redbook but since I tend to save everything in Apple Lossless, I don't know if that codec can save high bit rate recordings.

My Nakamichi CD player won't play DVD's. My DVD player might be able to, but I don't have it integrated into my audio system.

The Korg DSD recorders, especially the MR-1, are becoming very reasonably priced (300 usd or so), and seem to be a good choice for ripping. Even if - for now - we have to downsample from DSD to PCM (see
If you believe that using anything other than reference level gear (TT, Phono, ADC) will give you anything close to a decently mastered CD, then you must also think that vinyl is at least twice as good as good digital.

When you convert an analogue waveform to digital (and then convert it back to analogue), you are introducing a whole bunch of garbage that degrades the quality. It is almost as bad as converting CD down to 256kbps or lower MP3. There will always be a loss of information. No number of steps or sampling frequency boosts will make up for the gaps in the ADC conversion. Studio mastered CDs, when done correctly, should easily surpass needledrops of even the best TT gear.

You might prefer the needledrop version, but you are likely just enjoying its colors and distortion. The needledrop version cannot possibly have more resolution, detail, and better dynamics. It will have certain frequency responses similar to vinyl though.

I fail to understand how a (decent) studio digital file can be inferior to a consumer digital file of the same piece of music, especially when the source is vinyl (for needledrops) instead of master tape or digital master recordings (for studio CDs).
You write, "I fail to understand how a (decent) studio digital file can be inferior to a consumer digital file of the same piece of music, especially when the source is vinyl (for needledrops) instead of master tape or digital master recordings (for studio CDs)."

That was my thinking when I originally posted the question. A friend of mine was of the opinion that superior results were possible on high-end gear. I figured that the studio master tapes would, by definition, produce a superior product. The one argument that made some sense to me pivots on what you mention in your post. You say, "Studio mastered CDs, when done correctly, should easily surpass needledrops..." I think the operative statement is "when done correctly". I have no idea what goes into producing a commercial CD, but apparently a lot depends on the audio engineer at the helm and the budget of the studio.

I'm pretty certain my budget home system won't match a commercial CD, but my efforts so far have allowed me to make very listenable digital files for my iPOD.