classical music source

What source do you prefer? Cd player/hi res download/ipod, vs LP/analog? I need some guidance, don't want to use both.
tough choice

what I did: bought a REGA ISIS valve cdp that also has a direct USB input with handset full features that controls your hi-res file downloads stored on an external hard drive that get decoded through its hi-end internal DAC

= best of both worlds.

also, many more classical music selections on CD readily available = a second reason to invest on a cdp with USB input to its DAC.
I prefer Minnesota Symphony Hall or BAM(Brooklyn Academy of Music).
I listen to classical music primarily from CD sources. The selection of music/performance on CD is enormous, the sound quality is pretty good--many older recordings are nicely remastered and new recordings are quite well recorded (unlike new pop/rock recordings which sound much worse than recordings from 30 to 60 years ago). My CDs have been burned to a server (all in WAV files) for convenience.

I am less enamoured with classical music on LPs--no newer recordings are released on LP, noise tends to be an issue because of the dynamic range of classical music, and I prefer the longer uniterrupted playing of digital material.

I have not paid much attention to high resolution downloads because of the limited selection and because so much of what is out there is of dubious quality (e.g., upsampled CDs being passed off as high-rez). I am waiting till these kinds of issues are sorted out.
Obviously it's not possible to listen to Toscanini/NBC Symphony in today's venues, but for me it's not possible to listen to him on CDs as well.
I agree with Larry's comments. You can always rip CDs later if you want to serve your music up via computer.

Building a worthwhile classical vinyl collection takes real skill IMO, and you miss out on the last 30 years of recordings.
I'm with Larry and Daverz; even though I have a large record collection, excellent turntable and am still buying and listening to classical records. CD's make it easier to listen (once you managed to get realistic sound out of your cd reproduction system (isolation and ac conditioning experimentation is mandatory for this). I often enjoy serious listening while on this forum for example and appreciate not having to "flip the record". But-records do sound wonderful will likely keep their value. I started buying them in about 1963-and I still wish I had every one I ever bought. But I take some satisfaction knowing the friends who 'borrowed' them obviously enjoyed 'em. I made countless cassettes that also disappeared. Back when it was common to record your favorites on a tape you could 'take anywhere'.
For me my classical music source is LPs. I'm pretty lucky that the thrift stores by me have lots of classical music LPs that are really cheap and in very good condition. I also like to listen to Classical music on CDs but mostly LPs.
I like classical on CDs due to the wide selection and for the most part, classical record labels have high standards for quality recordings and CD mastering.

Todays remastering technology has given old classical recordings new life, some having outstanding sonics.
Also when a CD is out of print, it's easy to find a used copy.

As Ptss points out, some thought and tweaks are needed in order to achieve high SQ from a CDP dedicated to classical music reproduction.
I am with most on this thread and depend on CDs for most of my classical listening. I have not have good luck with classical on vinyl. My ayon CD player does a great job. I prefer jazz on vinyl.
With some classical labels, such as 1970's DG, original vinyl issues were pretty poor in terms of sound quality, but the label took advantage of the opportunity to remaster for digital and put out some pretty decent reissues. Other labels, such as EMI, are all over the map in terms of sound quality; some reissues of their great sounding vinyl releases sound like crap, while certain other reissues sound pretty good.

Certain reissue labels, such as Brilliant, make it easy to build a comprehensive collection of a particular composer's works (e.g., the massive complete works of J.S. Bach); one of my favorite Brilliant collections is the complete string quartets of Villa-Lobos (something I probably would not have even looked at, except that Brilliant put together a very cheap and easy to acquire collection). CD's have been such a boon to collectors of both older material as reissues, and to collectors of newer releases (It is far cheaper to make CDs and digital downloads than to press records; given how poorly classical sells these days, almost nothing could be economically released if vinyl were the only medium available).
Larryi-great to mention Brilliant! With them and Naxos lies grea
I'm with jedinite - LP's/analogue all the way i.e. for serious listening.

I have some previously enjoyed albums and some excellent new pressings from various labels.

I also enjoy streaming classical from my iMac - much more convenient.

But there's just something about analogue :-)

I agree that a lot of jazz sounds particularly good on vinyl. As for classical sound quality, both digital and analogue sources can sound very good, with digital having and advantage when it comes to noise (a MUCH bigger issue with classical than any other type of music because of the extremes of dynamics). Where digital has a huge advantage is with availability of content. I only have a few records that have not be reissued in digital form, and many hundreds of CDs that were never issued as vinyl recordings. Moreover, it is easier to find out-of-print CDs than it is to find most old vinyl, and finding vinyl in good condition adds to the difficulty in collecting in this medium.

I don't subscribe to any streaming services, but, I have been pleasantly surprised by the substantial classical catalogues of some of these services; this is a good way to browse for new music.
The knocks on vinyl are true, not many classical works have an obligato for ticks and pops.

That said, a good record on a well-set up TT, something as lowly as a Project Carbon Debut with an acrylic platter, Project speedbox, Ortofon blue replacement stylus for the red or A Nagoka MP-2-300 will sound more realistic than any CD or download at any price.
digital for sure, hi-res downloads when possible. The overwhelming majority of classical hires downloads (that I know of) are true hi-res; natively recorded in 24/96 or better PCM, natively recorded in DSD (like the excellent Channel Classics label) or hi-res PCM or DSD transfers from older analog masters. To me, these sound clearly better than CD's (given equivalent recording and mastering quality). I gave up on LP's a few years ago (right about the time many people were discovering or "re-discovering" them).
Here Here to great sounding classical vinyl when you can find it...My friend
brought over a Moblie Fidelity vinyl recording of Richard Strauss Also Sprach
Zarathustra and we were both stunned at how good it sounded. I don't think I
have a CD that sounds that good.
If one is talking about a kind of shootout for ultimate sound quality, then yes, the very best records that I have do indeed sound better than most, if not all of my digital classical music. But, these extraordinary records are relatively few in number in my collection. Also, a lot of the vinyl reissues of great sounding recordings are of warhorses that I really don't listen to that much. Many of the non-reissued records that sound good are quite difficult to find (e.g., records from the East German label NOVA). From a practical standpoint, aside from audio showcase recordings, digital recordings dominate the universe of decent sounding recordings that can be reasonably procured.
Perhaps where you live makes a difference.
Here in Twin Cities there are MANY places to hunt vinyl and
more classical fans than most American cities. Per-capita probably any American city.
I am happy to buy 10 used records and keep only one or two.
Hi Schuber,

I suppose it largely depends on what kind of records/music one wants to collect and the kind of money one wants to spend. If you are talking about searching for cheap used recordings souced locally, then yes, LPs are the way to go. In almost any city, one can find classical records selling for around $.50 to $1.00. This is a pretty cheap way to build a basic collection. Used CDs can also be found locally in most big cities, but, used CDs sell for a lot more. Of course both can be found on the internet, but, along with shipping cost and the inability to examine the records first, on-line shopping for LPs is not nearly as inexpensive and reliable as local shopping.

But, if one is looking for specific recordings or less common composers and repertoire, and one is willing to spend more, then CD might be the better alternative as far as availability.

As for sound quality, I think both CD and LP sound quality is so highly variable that I would not make any kind of generalization about which will sound better. Particularly when one is considering used records, the sound quality, in terms of noise and possible groove damage, makes it more likely that an average selection will sound not as good as an average used CD (although, as you suggest, LPs are cheap so that one can be happy keeping only a few out of a lot).