The attributes you're describing are really more a function of recording quality than playback technology. With that in mind, I can say that the best recordings I own are all CDs, most notably XRCDs and Cheskys. There were some really great records made in vinyl days, but they're pretty scarce now.
With my Levinson CD player I can esily surpass the performance of all but my best albums. And those only in the sense of "air" and, rarely, in vocal presence.
Of course, sometimes the cd is recorded badly (happened a lot in the early years) and the record wins by default. But now that many old albums have been remastered to CD it is getting to be no contest.
The CD player almost always wins in tonal balance and proper dynamic balance. And bass. Deep bass.
For analog, I use an Audiomeca Romance table/arm with Lyra cart. For CD I use an Audiomeca Mephesto transport and Enkianthus DAC. With decent CD, it is no contest. Soundstage, dynamics, tight bass are almost always better on the CD player. If I didn't have a fairly large vinyl collection with lots of stuff that won't be re-released, I would get rid of the analog stuff.
As with anything, it depends on the products being compared. Go with what you like best. Both formats have their strong points.
Spudco, how do voices compare in your system.
Twl, I'm not asking for recommendations. I'm asking for impressions within THEIR own systems between analog and digital. Thanks everyone so for your thoughts.
My digital with best recordings is getting closer to my analog, but not close enough to make a mistake and at a serious cost.
My redbook digital rig is very good and I enjoy listening to it a lot; my SACD playback is even better. Both of these rigs have substantial advantages in certain areas over my Basis/Graham/Koetsu analog rig, particularly in the areas of bass extension and control and, with SACD, dynamics. But when I want to truly relax, forget about soundstaging, equipment, cables, etc. and get lost in the music, I still turn to vinyl. Can't quantify it, but it's just more involving.
My system may not be a fair comparison, but I prefer digital in most respects. However, my analog rig (VPI HW-19 Jr./RB300) is not really up to my digital source (GamuT CD-1S).
Bomarc has it correct. It's really a function of the mastering job on the medium that you're playing. I had an audio club meeting at my place last June. We played the same albums on CD and on vinyl, then voted. Lots of different ears and opinions. It was about 60% vinyl and 40% digital at the end, with quite a few surprises. All agreed that the recording itself was the most important element.
Basically you can't find the same mastering job on both CD and vinyl for the same album. If you could then some universal truth's probably will come out, like the vinyl seems to be smoother and more liquid, but the digital seems faster and tighter with (possibly) more extension, depending on your cartridge.
Enjoy the hunt,
I agree with Bomarc and Ptmconsulting (okay - Bob). We're at the point where, given decent gear for both anolog and digital playback, the mastering and manufacturing quality of the software is often the larger determinant in terms of ultimate sonic quality (although digital will always enjoy certain inherent advantages in the area of lowest noise).
But as for my own rig, I can't really say. The few recordings I own in both formats yield mixed results for overall superiority, some going one way, some the other. The fact that I play analog much more often than digital has entirely to do with my collection, and nothing to do with audiophile considerations.
What does "better" mean? For me I was always annoyed by LP surface noise and rumble, and the inconvenience of constanly cleaning away dust. Therefore, for me, CD's were an improvement from day one.
Today my digital playback equipment is considerably improved (as is my LP gear) and there is no comparison, audiowise: digital wins. Perhaps if I invested more than $10,000 in LP playback equipment the contest would be closer. But that is not about to happen.
I don't know! My goal is to make my analog and digital rigs sound *closer* to each other--not one better than the other. I am doing more mods to my Technics 1200 and my belt drive transport is in the hands of Dan Wright for a very serious modding job. When everything is set I'll find out how close I got one to the other...
With psychic power and primal intensity,
Are we not considering the trade off between one set of artifices and another and forgetting that the real reference standard in both domains is live acoustical intruments in the air spaces of performing venues?
I did it! My analog is sounding like digital. YES!
Sorry to hear that, Psychic. My condolences... Keep trying, you may still be able to get it right! :-)
Do you guys have duplicate collections or something? If you don't, what does it matter if one format is better than the other, you have to use the format the music is on. On the few records that I have which have been remastered on cd's I have found the LP's sound richer thru the midrange - that could be because of my cartridge or it could be the remastering process. Its not because in any pure sense one format is better than the other, they both have large warts on their noses. I have CD's which sound far better than many of my LP's and the obverse. Previous posters commenting on the differences being created in the studio and/or your selection of components are right on target. I think if many complaining vinylphiles paid as much attention to their CD system and CD selection as they do their LP's and its playback components they might be pleasantly surprised with the result. I saw a post on this subject on AA by a dedicated audiophile who was denegrating digital - he had a 10K analog rig and a Sony CDP - he thought digital sucked becase IT (not his CDP) was bright and harsh! Oh well, back to the music........
Yesterday I phoned Jahaira (José García) after finishing prepping my sytem with Silclear silver paste and I was playing a classic 1978 LP recording of La Sonora Ponceña--a top notch, hardcore salsa band that's been around for thirty years or so. It was sounding so good and crisp that José asked me if I was playing the CD version. I replied that I had found a NM, but warped copy in eBay but that my KAB modded Groovemaster was negociating them warps successfully.
The sound coming out is very low in noise, crisp, with a fast attack speed and well outlined voices & instruments plus excellent dynamics and strong, tight bass and percussion--just like with CDs. Later on I was playing Pat Benatar's Heartbreaker album and then it was very evident how close that sound was to digital.
I did it.
Let's see what Dan Wright does to my belt drive transport. He promised to wow me in every way...
On a more serious note than I indicated to Psychicanimal, but on the same point, I have noticed that as I have improved my analog front end, and as I have listened to more and more of the reissues of classical recordings from the 50s and 60s on vinyl (particularly from Classic Records), the differences between my digital rig and my analog rig have diminished somewhat. The quiet background of digital is being approached by vinyl, as is the bass, but the remastered recordings are beginning to indicate to me that not all the faults of the digital medium are the medium's fault, a good deal of it lies in what's on those tapes. In tonal balance and many other respects, the reissues sound quite similar to their CD counterparts, just a little warmer and with better retrieval of the "tail" and decay of musical notes (something which SACD does even better than vinyl, in my experience, which is one of the rerasons why I'm a fan of SACD). Just an observation; as I said before, I still tend to enjoy vinyl playback a little more, it's my preference for truly relaxing listening.
Hey - How do you get the accent marks and squiggly thing over the "n"?...I don't think my keyboard has that!
(ALT + 160) through (ALT + 168) give you the Spanish symbols.
You forgot ( ALT + 129 ).
Oh, you PC users...when will you ever see the light! On a Mac...ahem, ahem...(option n + n) will give you the "ñ". The letter that follows "n" in the Spanish alphabet. (So we have less software available and (maybe) can't compute "Pi" to the biillionth integer. You all have to depend on Bill Gates!) :>)
Newbee, I don't have a multiple collection but, must confess, that after getting back into analog, I started acquiring special (for me) recordings I had heard only on CD. The LP, in 90% of the albums, was preferable.
Oh, and to answer the question above, it really does depend on the individual CD or LP. Sometimes both sound great and also both sound like crap. It depends on the mastering process, and for the LP, also the quality of the vinyl.
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(Now, if somebody can tell me how to do italics, I'm really in business...)
(I know that "breast-thing" has us all upset but there is medication. It helped me.)
I think your hidden message has something to do with the... "CIA has seen Osama walking in London and Tokyo but could only be 1/2 to 1/4 % sure. Let's bomb both places just to be safe." And I guess the "Yeehaa" is our president agreeing to it.
Am I on the right track, Kimosabe?
My keyboard doesn't write music like Bryan's !
Vvrinc: I think "Yeehaa!" was Howie ('I just latered my candidacy') Dean, not Shrub... :-)
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Since I'm already posting here.
No, my digital is not as good as my analog rig and I have had two dozen players that I purchased or were loaned to me to make the test.
Heck, in the beginning I waited in anticipation for each new "upgrade" to arrive from Sonic Frontiers, Wadia, Theta, Entec, Audio Research, Krell (etc., etc.).
Many of these are excellent, but in the end, model to model much of the differences are a side ways move. Give up something and get something else.
Several players have been sent to me this last few years to audition in hopes I would post a positive Audiogon review.
Admittedly, even the most expensive CD playback systems I've tested were not as expensive as my analog, but I have had several that were more than $10,000.00, one a great deal more than that.
I kept the Sony 9000 ES because it performs very well for only $700.00. It beat two 10K players and one member of my audio group brought a 20K two piece rig for testing one night with six people voting. At the end of the evening he was so disappointed how it fared against the two extremes (cheap "OK" digital) and (vastly superior analog) that it went up for sale here at Audiogon the same week.
That's interesting news, I hope I don't end up making a side ways move from my modified Alpha Dac to an Audio Aero Prima Dac or an Audio Logic, those are my plans within a week to hear.
I really wish I could say that my modest JVC 1050 cd player with Bel Canto DAC 1.1 offers the aliveness and reproduces string instruments in the same manner as the Oracle/SME/Benz Micro but it really doesn't. If I want to really hear a piano, I have to listen to the tt, the digital set-up misses on even the best recordings to my ears. It does other things that are enjoyable but to me is decidely less real sounding even though I listen to it 70% of the time. On the other hand it is much less important now than it was 10 years ago when digital was truly much less enjoyable than it currently is.
Now I have to wait for Dan Wright's work on my digital belt diven "creature on steroids". He promised to WOW! me in every way...
I just don't know how close it will get to my current analog setup--which is sounding real close to digital!
Yesterday I talked to Robert Schult (RSA) and he knew all along what needed to be done to attain what I wanted. He just let me find out on my own and later on corroborate my findings. Far out!
My digital is a lot better than my analog (I think). I'm just going by memory, though, as I haven't listened to my turntable in about 3 years. It's an old Sota Sapphire with a methacrylate mat, Alphason arm and a fairly good Grado cartridge. I remember it sounding pretty good, but without the spooky realism of my current AN front end. I've listened to a couple of good TT's lately (a VPI and a WTT), but I've heard nothing that makes me want to go back to messing around with VTA settings and LP cleaning machines.
I'd rather just choose from among the tens of thousands of new music releases coming out every year on CD, drop the disc into the transport, let the music wash over me and stop worrying about the question.
I have SONY DVP-S9000ES too, and I bought it to be replacement of my old Arcam ALPHA6, unfortunately even SACD layer of hybrid disk sounds disappointing in comparison to CD layer on Arcam of the some disk. My old CDP beats it EASLY. Even my nonaudiophile wife can hear it. Did blind test to her to be sure. She always preferred Arcam to SONY, ALWAYS!
Two years ago (before buying SONY) I have been comparing my Arcam to $2000 CD player (some Audio Research cdp), and there was nothing to compare, 2k$ cdp was just much better.
I have compared it latter to CAL+Theta (3k$ combo) even worse, Arcam sounded miserable. So I have good performing $400 player nothing more. So please tell me what 10k$ CDP's your SONY has beaten?
I really would like to know what companies are selling trash worth $200 for big backs ???
Because my unmoded 9000ES is harsh, uninvolving, utterly unmusical does not stand ground to my Arcam...
I bought it after reading 200 raved review on Audioreview (how it was supposed to beat 5k$ cdp's), and have been deeply disappointed since. Using it as DVD player only now. Just could not listen to it. And do not believe in everything people are saying anymore.
I do not claim the Sony 9000 is a perfect CD player, only that for $700.00 it was pretty darned good and was preferred in listening tests over more expensive players by members of my audio group.
That doesn't mean there may not be a $400.00 player that beats the more expensive players AND my Sony.
The analog was so superior to the visitors 20K digital rig and the Sony, that the differences seemed silly.
Of course all this is relative to what you want and where you want to be. I would practically kill to have digital that would allow me to sell my analog. Imagine picking up CD's at Target when I wanted new music :^)
If you wish to email me privately I will tell you three players that were voted as inferior to the Sony. There were as many as seven people voting in some of these test, at least three are current Audiogon members. I can ask for permission to hand out their email address so you may contact them and confirm if you wish.
Frankly, unless the 10K or 20K player destroys the Sony, (I and my friends believe the opposite is true), I am not willing to part with the cash. Especially when after all is said and done, the 20K player gets killed by my Walker. For me, it's about getting the highest possible performance but not paying for more than I receive.
>I do not claim the Sony 9000 is a perfect CD player, only that for $700.00 it was pretty darned good
and this is a heart of the matter, because even I wanted after buying SONY to have "good" CD/SACD player I just could not hear it, this is what I'm just not able to understand how average player (my Arcam) can beat SONY, and SONY simultaneously can beat expensive players. It is just beyond my comprehension. I wish you had posted on audiogone which players are so overrated that have been excelled by (in my and my wife opinion miserable) SONY.
So if you not wish do it publicly please email me privately.
My full review of SONY on http://www.audioreview.com/DVD+Players/Sony+DVP-S9000ES/PRD_125007_1587crx.aspx Reviews 6 - 10 (Sorlowski)
Email just sent to you. I've listed at least four of the CD / SACD units tested against the Sony.
Sorlowski, a CD/DVD's performance relies *heavily* on the quality of electricity being fed (including power cord) and the tuning system it uses (rack/shelving/cones and/or footers). Electricity and vibration induce jitter. Jitter causes harshness.
Albert's system is very well suited in the power delivery and tuning departments.
If you are not using any power filtration and/or audio grade power cords ( and cones/footers ) I strongly suggest you do so. Your musical presentation will change for the better. I have done this experiment w/ my niece's cheapo DVD player and the music changed from unlistenable to smooth and musical just using some Goldmund cones, an MDF board, Vibrapods, a PS Audio Juice Bar and my Jena Labs cryo'ed PC3 power cord w/ Highwire Wirewrap tuning device. True, all this gear was more expensive than the $99 DVD player--but it proved my point.
With psychic power and primal intensity,
Absolutely right Psychic.
Those who don't work at solving these variables have not achieved maximum performance from their player.
This has always been true of analog and in spite of their convenience, it's required in the digital domain as well.
Yes, I do not use any aftermarket PC, power filtration, cones, footers etc etc. on SONY, neither on Arcam.
You are saying that SONY "on steroids" would beat ARCAM.
Probably you are right. But who knows how good would sound ARCAM "on steroids".
So I believe I had given them equal chance. And I personally believe that it would be better to spend money on good cdp from the beginning, then thousands of dollars on steroids to make listenable "mediocre" player. But this is my subjective opinion not a fact. Fact is that "raw" Arcam beats "raw" SACD SONY in my judgement on my rig in my room. And I do not have any doubts about it.
Once I had put my Arcam on "steroids" (Perpetual technologies P1, P3) difference was not subtle, it was jaw dropping. Difference between SONY and Arcam is only subtle, Arcam warmer, SONY harsher and brighter. But I had to sold P1,P3 they were causing so much interference with my TV, that I could not watch it. For now I do not have dedicated audio-only room. So I know how much improvement I could get with "good" player.
Ever you doubt your rooom? Maybe it needs some treatment. Sometimes, a room has bad echo on high frequency, so a revealing source make it worse. Therefore, a laid-back equippment, CD or amp or AC or speaker...., will save you in that room. SONY is usually on the brighter side, but not terribly bad. If it is very annoying bright sound, maybe room or other equipments add brightness too.
There are quite a few people actually think S9000SE is pretty good on SACD, they may have different gears/room and not "deaf" either. Also try some good SACD please, not 100th time remaster from mother tape recorded 30 years ago.
>Ever you doubt your rooom?
I'm far from claiming that my room is perfect, even good,
But I do not think so that even room with golden dimensions will make SONY sound analog. It lacks body, do not have harmonics of Arcam. Sounds very digital.
>There are quite a few people actually think S9000SE is pretty good on SACD
yes, hundreds of them, this is why I have bough it without audition, and have been disappointed ever since.
>Also try some good SACD please
Is "Various Artists - An Introduction to SACD Chesky Records" good ? I made my tests on this hybrid disk.
Lately I have listen at some dealer to SONY 999ES, the best I could say to him was "mid-hifi".
But I have found very analog sounding "raw" Cary 306. Could not believe the difference! It got to me that not technology CD or SACD, DVD-A but workmanship and brand matters the most.
I really do not see potential in SONY. But maybe it is just me.
Sorkowsi, good power delivery/noise control, tuning and room acoustics treatments are an integral part of a *systems* approach for your entire setup. Unless you do this right, you'll never get to reap the most of your money spent. End of story.
May the Force be with you.
Nope, not yet. But, then again, my SCD-1 is not in the same price league as my Basis Debut V vacuum table/Vector arm/Lyra Titan set up. In most of the things that matter to me -- musicality, clear harmonic structure, scale of soundstage, natural dynamics -- my analogue set up still sounds better to me. I feel the same way when I hear good analogue vs. digital in dealer set-ups, but some digital products sound very good.
I will be auditioning, in my system, the Audionote DAC-4 hooked up to the Sony, and the NAIM CDS3 sometime in the future. Both sound completely different from each other, yet both were fantastic when I've heard them in different systems. Other contenders I would like to audition at home include the Lindemann player (never heard it) and the Aero Capitole SACD player (I like their CD player).