I've owned and collected both. But didn't buy my first CD until the fall of '91. And my first player until the summer of '92! I wasn't impressed with CD playback quality until then! And I heard the first CD player available in America in '83 - the Hitachi vertical loader. Not impressed! After all, I already had near-sota LP playback for years! Which set a pretty high bar for SQ! And still does! So by '92 I had my first of many players and I started buying many CD's (mostly used!). But I remained faithful to my LP collection - and to this day still prefer it over digital playback!
Being a music lover, I have to have both. There are so many fabulous recordings that have only been released on LP and have never seen the light of day on CD. Conversely, so much great music has only been available on CD. To not enjoy both would be to cut myself off from an essential portion of our rich recorded musical heritage.
Ill let the audiophile types argue over which sounds better.
I’m a hair-shirt, dyed in the wool vinyl guy. When vinyl was declared dead, I bought bags and bags of old records, cut outs and the like everywhere I went. (I travelled a lot for business back then). I did not like the sound of the CD when it was introduced. But, I’ve gradually warmed to it for several reasons, including access to music for which original pressings are now unobtanium (and no good reissue exists), records that were only released on CD and because that format is now dying, you can find stuff for nothing- sometimes very good masterings. By contrast, a lot of older vinyl is way over priced and inaccurately graded.
I’m just starting to assemble a digital front end in my main system for the first time. (Sure, I’ve had systems in the house and car that used CD, but I didn’t regard it as highly fidelous). Now, even without spending what I did to assemble a top notch analog front end, I am getting very good sound from many silver discs. I guess I’m an obsoletist.
I’ve lived through all the arguments over the years, and despite the fact that I write about vinyl (and seek out old good LP pressings), digital has a place in my world now.
I’m also having great fun learning about it. All the issues associated with digital playback are things I’ve basically ignored, so I’m on a steep learning curve and enjoy the research.
One thing I did find pretty quickly- big differences in different "pressings" probably due to mastering.
Enjoy what you can while you can-life is too short, and there’s lot’s out there to experience and enjoy.
What advantage CDs used to have in dynamic range which really was their BIG SELLING POINT has been squandered by overly eager compression lo these past twenty years. And while CDs generally don’t exhibit the tape hiss as much as LPs one has to wonder if some of the music has disappeared along with the tape hiss. For those who think DDD CDs sound musical good luck with that. But even I have to admit some CDs sound really good. If a CDs gets the dynamic range and polarity right I’m down.
phomchick makes what seems to me a good point. I was happy when CD players hit the market in 1982. I was tired of records developing ticks and pops. I have not bought a record in over 35 years. But that raises a question that I would like to ask all my colleagues here who do spin vinyl...has the noisy record problem of ticks and pops gotten better through the years? What do you think of today's modern turntables, cartridges, and record cleaning devices?
Sold my TT and vinyl record collection 34 years ago and went full into CDs. Very happy at the time, then in 2017 I decided it was time to get back into vinyl (Michell GyroDec, SME IV, Clearaudio Maestro Ebony V2, McIntosh C50, McIntosh MC275 mk VI and Gale GS401A speakers), see my previous post on this system (https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/second-system-that-sounds-and-looks-spectacular-i-am-there ). To cut a long story short, I am absolutely thrilled to be back into vinyl and having fun with HiFi all over again, as if I was back in my teens and starting the HiFi journey afresh (I am now fast approaching 64). Which format sounds better? They can both sound wonderful/spectacular; just different. Analog definitely does not sound like digital and vice versa; I personally love both formats. However, must admit the process of taking an LP out of the sleeve, placing it on the TT and queuing up the arm is definitely enticing to me. Whereas placing a CD in the player is pretty boring.
As a side issue, the best audio system I have ever heard was a Magico Q7 and Solution electronics system playing regular Red Book CDs at Chatttelin Audio in The Hague ( https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/2c-hifi-epiphany-worlds-best-system ). Never have I heard a system remotely as good as this, and demonstrated using regular CDs!
I had vinyl from 79' to 83' then happily went to CDs and have never looked back. I have listened to many systems with both formats and agree, with most people in this post, that both can sound amazing. Over the past two years I have migrated to almost entirely listening to streaming music from Spotify. So much easier that even playing a CD and you have virtuly anything ever recorded with a few keystrocks.
LP's by preference. I could not abide digital until I finished my new preamp, and now digital comes through an RC low-pass filter (Vishay resistors and styrene caps). Now CD's are listenable, even pleasurable, especially for the new performances unobtainable on vinyl.
Scorpio, the answer is a resounding, "Yes, it's better." Better source (air bearings) better phono (Atmasphere pointed out that only a highly stable circuit works well for vinyl), ultrasonic cleaning, and a far better understanding of set-up. It's not your college system, that's for sure.
geofkait, Back in the day when cd's were being touted as the best thing ever (late 80's), I bought a player & some cd's. I wasn't seeing what the rest of the population was in this format then read somewhere that DDD was where it was at in regard to sound quality. Bought a couple & was even less interested in the format. A few years ago I started getting interested in them again & they are MUCH better now with the newer DAC's & such. The DDD's still suck though. In regard to which format I like better... It depends on the recording. Vinyl has consistently sounded good in my rig. Digital just recently.
We all have examples of each media that are mind blowing and also ones that truly suck.
And just sometimes its all down to my mood. A CD can give me an hour or so before I have to move my backside, streaming well I can just loaf in my sofa all night, so.....
But like tonight, I am flipping vinyl right now and loving it, playing some rare birds that just sound glorious but they are from an earlier age than CD or streaming.
I like both. As a Teenager I argued with my Mom over the CD vs Vinyl debate and over time let go of most of my record collection. Now, I’m thoroughly enjoying searching for records had as a kid, records I always wanted but never had, finding old ‘50’s and early ‘60’s Elvis albums, Original Grateful Dead Albums, 80’s Metal and so on. However I guess I differ in one aspect, I actually love the pop, hiss, and crackle of a well played or older album. Obviously not to the point where it overwhelms the music or skips etc. Over the weekend, I cleaned a bunch of recent purchases and a few records of my Mom’s that my Dad had given me. I cleaned and played her original copies of The Rolling Stones Out of Their Heads, and Between the Buttons. They are both well played, in what would be callled Good or maybe barely Very Good condition. To me, they sounded great! Every pop, tick, crackle on there having been earned in spades over the decades yet they still sounded strong and clear. I imagined my Mom as a Teenager in High School in 1965-67 spinning these herself and felt that connection to her through these old, beat up albums. To me, that’s part of the beauty of the Vinyl resurgence and preserving our musical history even if it’s not on a pristine record. CD’s obviously have their place as well, there’s some great music that was and still is only available on CD. Many of the Grateful Dead’s archival releases are only on CD, one of my all time favorite releases from one of my favorite bands, Widespread Panic’s ‘Til The Medicine Takes only available on CD so I like a balance of both.
My system is: Parasound Halo A21 Amp, Parasound Halo P5 Pre-Amp, Pro-Ject Debut Carbon TT, Integra 6 Disc CD player, Goldenear Triton 5 Speakers, Two JL Audio Dominion D108 Subs, Cabling made by Schmitt Custom Audio Cables with Interconnects constructed with Vintage Western Electric wire from the 40’s and 50’s
I have equivalent systems Spectral cdp (and a BelCanto PL1) vs VPI HRX rim drive with Lyra Atlas as my main cartridge. Vinyl almost always sounds more natural and real than digital. But cds, sacds and dacs have improved greatly over the last 15 years and on rare occasions, if it's digitally recorded (and what's not these days), the digital version will sound slightly better. As most of my favorite music is on vinyl, I will be a vinyl fan until the end.
I love them both, I dont have a decent turntable right now, but I kept my records and I have many that are still in the shrink wrap. I just dont have the time or space right now. I sold my Rega P3 a few years ago and will most likely get another someday but digital is so good now. I use my NAD M51 DAC for everything but FM and with good material the sound is amazing ...... I would have to spend $$$ on a turntable and cartridge to outperform my digital playback.
It's my understanding ALL vinyl is manufactured from a digital imprint. Essentially a CD. I didn't buy my first CD player and discs until Dec 92. Over 10 years from when they came out. 4 years later I put my turntable in the garage. Got rid of my LP's that had been replaced w/CD's. I own 2 LP's. The Beatles White Album because I found one with 2(!!) sets of photos and posters and a copy of Jon Anderson's Animation because he lost the master tapes and I want to make sure I at least have a copy someway. I have 2 systems I listen to. One is a 77 Marantz and the other is a 79 Soundcraftsman. With those two vintage units I get all the analog sound I love. The Marantz drives a large pair of Yamaha NS200ma. German made with titanium tweeters and mids and carbon fiber woofers and the Soundcraftsman push a pair of Paradigm Studio 60's.
I’ve been recording vinyl to DSD128 for awhile now. That’s the best of both worlds. The process has stimulated me to raise the quality of both analog and digital front ends. It has led to more care and discipline cleaning vinyl, and increased precision of tonearm/cartridge alignment(Lyra Etna with Lofgren B for the majority of records!) It’s been a satisfying re-engagement with LPs accumulated over decades, but rarely played in recent years owing to the convenience and continuous improvement of digital. After those records are in the digital jukebox they will be played more often, and eventually, the physical media will be sold off with no regrets.
PS. 16/44.1 is insufficient for archiving vinyl.
It has really become just a matter of convenience.
Lets face it the consumer that is average joe makes up the vast majority of all media sales, not us hobbyist junkies!
Average Joe has moved right along with tech advances and loves it!
CD is facing the same extinction event that vinyl was say 35 years ago give or take, will it roll over and die ? Of course not just like vinyl has not but make no mistake both cd and vinyl are "zombie" media in consumer speak, they are both "dead" but refuse to actually die!
When average Joe discovered cd he was over the moon, no more replacing styli, cleaning of vinyl, getting up every 20 minutes, setting up the tt ( if they ever did?).
Now they had these shiny little discs that were extremely resilient to light scratches and grubby fingerprints, a lot easier to store and hit play and get an hour or more of music, plus remote controls! And playback in the car! Yes I know the 50,s offered record players as an option in cars thank you.
Then as tech advanced and video tapes were replaced with dvd and bluray average Joe became even happier that their cd could now play in those dvd and bluray machines and hey even less boxes to own!
Now we are at streaming and digital hirez files ( and yes I have skipped over ipods and mp3 files entirely!).
Will these replace cd in the mainstream to average Joe? I think they mostly already have.
Most smartphones now are more than capable of streaming hirez files or Tidal etc to a home audio system or in the car so now average Joe can play high quality music with the one item he would never leave home without anyway, the phone. I will be honest here, the first thing I do on getting into the car is sync to my phone and play via Tidal. No more zipper cases of cds to fumble with any more.
As I said this is all about average Joe the mainstream consumer not the audio junkie! Can you imagine Joe obsessing over whether he should change the VTA if he plays a 180gm record or not?
Lets be real here, we represent a tiny percentile of the consumer market and that is driven by tech and convenience.
And yes this my very humble opinion only and a somewhat cynical take with tongue in cheek before you get all righteous out there! (ps as a clue I DO adjust VTA for 180gm vinyl...lol)
I attended a Keith Jarrett concert at Carnegie Hall during which he launched into an anti-digital, pro-vinyl diatribe. Not sure what prompted it, but he went on and on. Anyway, I only own CDs; and I own many Keith Jarrett CDs. They sound fine to me. And I am sure that he was happy to get his cut of each purchase price.
@cleeds A BIG +1 You are exactly right. I don't even understand what could lead someone to think that one would make LPs from digital sources. Does it ever happen? Sure. Many original content albums were recorded digitally and pressed to vinyl. But the vast majority of historic and from audiophile dedicated production companies recordings are analog all the way. Both source types can sound very good. It is a consequence of the quality of mastering and in the case of LPs, the pressing!
CD's for convenience, but that often degenerates into plain ol' background music for doing chores around the house, entertaining groups of people, etc.
When I really want to listen to music (and have the time to do just that) I'll opt for LP's every time.Having a really good vinyl playback system, along with keeping the stylus and the LP clean is essential. For those who won't (or can't) invest the money and time in a vinyl system - just stick with your CD's. You probably won't be able to tell the difference anyway!
the physical media is only thing of value to me. Everything else (gear) is easily replaced.
imo - Aging audiophiles, not being replaced by millennials, means there will be a plethora of eccentric audiophile gear .....for those looking for such in coming years.
Years ago I got curious about the process and contacted a couple local mastering studios near me that also pressed vinyl. They confirmed that if an artist was doing the vinyl option, and had submitted Hi Res files that were better than CD quality 16/44, i.e. 24/96 and better..... then these Hi Res files were the ones used for the LP.
There's something to be said for both. Symphony, where you listen to hear each instrument, I definitely prefer vinyl. But if I want to hear tracks from multiple artists, I do CD or CD lossless off my desktop. I've ripped a few vinyl albums, and so far haven't been pleased with the sound.
Just my two cents.
Vinyl wins - usually. My vinyl setup is 'very good', my digital medium 'good'. It often depends on the album, production and recording, of course. Some CDs can sound very good indeed (Dr John plays the Duke comes to mind). But usually, SACDs sound better. My digital systems are good enough to hear differences among file formats. Mp3 sounds restriced, CD sounds more OK, 24/96 PCM is better, 24/192 better still, standard DSD a step up, and double DSD is the best I've heard yet - comparing recordings from my vinyl rig, made on a Tascam DA3000. The best sound still comes from vinyl, direct, all else equal, but with double speed DSD it is harder to hear the difference.