Doesn't seem like you're under attack. It seems more like you're going out of your way to be a digital bully. Now you're trying to rally more people into a non-existent fray.
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What really irks me and caused me to write this topic in the first place is the smug, superior attitude detected when reading many so called "audiophile" postings extolling the virtues of analog gear and their constant put down of digital gear. I agree there is room for both but since analog doesn't allow for multichannel capability, it is useless to me. Like most people, I'm building a home theater system capable of playing both music and movies very well.
Robedk: If they bug you so much, then don't become one of them (on the other side of the fence). This is a natural reaction of course, but get a grip before it happens. My next plan of attack is to add vinyl to a CD based system. The reason for this being that in the LA area (where I live) there are literally thousands and thousands of good LP's available in the local thrift shops for 50 cents to a dollar each. Seeing all of this music and not being able to play it is driving me a little nuts and I have already started purchasing LP's without any method of playing them. The original plan was to just do a CD based system because of space and budget considerations, but in the end it looks like music will win out in our household. In this case, considering the starting budget, the digital will beyond a doubt sound better, but time, money and trial & error will eventually be the equalizer as it usually is in this hobby.
Digital sounds better. All I remember about vinyl is popping,crackling,scratching and skipping. Digital is more convienient,versatile,flexible and ever improving. Besides, it's all about the software. Do they even make albums anymore ? I can't remember the last time I saw any in the store. What is there to listen to anyway (Perry Como,Dean Martin)?
Robedk, when I first started out in this hobby I used to feel as you do. The surface noise of vinyl turned me off, and CDs were so clean and clear-sounding. One day, Mike O'Keefe, then a salesman at my local stereo hangout, asked me to listen to a then high end analog system consisting of a SOTA Star Saphire, SME arm and Monster Alpha Genesis 1000 cartridge. My first reaction was to ask what happened to the surface noise--a good turntable setup will greatly reduce that noise. Next I jumped at the dynamics I was hearing, something I didn't realize from my cheap turntable setup was possible. And I found I could really get lost in the music far more easily than I could with CDs. I wound up buying a Well Tempered TT and have been enjoying vinyl, as well as digital, since. In answer to your questions, yes there are still new releases on vinyl, much of them new rock albums as well as superb reissues of rock, jazz and classical from Classic Records, DCC, Speakers Corner, Testament, King and others. No Perry Como, either, thank goodness. You can get them from mail order and on-line dealers such as Music Direct, Elusive Disc, Analog Productions and others, and there are literally millions available, for a song, at used record shops.
I won't dispute the advantages of digital that you mention, but vinyl has certain advantages as well (check out the many threads at this site), and is likely to be a lot better than you remember it. My advice to you would be to go listen to a well set up turntable as I did and give it a fair listen. If you can't get past the surface noise and ticks, and there are many out there on who cannot, fine, digital is better for you. But you may find, as I did to my surprise, that vinyl's strengths (ease of presentation, warmth, realistic dynamics and the ability to listen at higher volume levels because there is no harshness for high level dynamic swings, among others) are worth investing in a good analog setup to go along with your digital setup. In any event, happy listening!
I have an all digital system. The faults of glare, high frequency grit and lack of 'musicality' (whatEVER) have bothered me for a LONG time. Only with the purchase of the Sony SACD ES777 can I say it's "good enough". I have to say a good analog system is just as good as a good digital system, and may easily be better sounding. Trade the occasional 'pop' or 'click' for the constant glare of poorly mastered CD, and you pretty much have an equal playing field. If I had 8,000 LP's I would hardly need to trade them all in just because some marketing guru states: "CD: perfect sound, forever" (I have no LPs so no turntable etc.)
Robedk: I'm a little confused. Rcprince did a nice job of explaining what he saw as the virtues of vinyl, and described the ways he found to produce a good analog experience. He spent a bit of his time and energy to politely explain to you some benefits of vinyl that you might not have known about, and politely suggested that you try them out to see if they don’t improve the experience for you. Your response to this suggestion was to flatly refuse, and to reject outright the information he provided. Given the thoughtful nature of his post, this doesn’t seem like an appropriately considerate response.
I believe as metaphysics does that you started this thread to pick a fight and rally against analog media. Audio systems are composed of many types of equipment, both digital and analog, and each piece is chosen depending on the listener’s tastes. There is no need to defend one over the other, and you should not be offended by those who think differently than you. Choose what you like and enjoy the music and everyone else will do the same. Personally, however, I think that you're missing out on some great musical experiences by being too narrowly focused.
I'm searching for an analogy (no pun intended), and I keep coming back to Star Trek. Only, instead of holograms, I want to ask about the transporter. Anyone think it will ever be possible to capture the totality of a live being in bits and re-materialize him somewhere else?
Leaving aside the playback system problems, ticks, pops, tracking errors, etc., what does analog recording and playback leave out that was there in the first place?
That's okay, your answer was pretty much what I was expecting. Unfortunately, saying that digital is inferior to analog because it inherently loses much of the original signal is like saying the earth is flat because otherwise people on the other side would fall off--it's theoretically and demonstrably untrue. Unless you're prepared to refute digital sampling theory, I would recommend that you avoid this approach.
Also, I think your Star Trek transporter analogy is flawed, as matter is generally seen as being composed of discrete particles anyway, while a waveform is continuous. I think a better analogy would be that of a camera filming an object in motion, with the number of frames per second analogous to the sampling frequency.
Personally, I do think that digital technology in general is superior to analog in terms of offering the best chance of accurately reproducing the original signal. However I also think that a legitimate case can be made that the current 16-bit/44.1-kHz CD standard may offer room for improvement.
My preference is for a recording/playback system that is as faithful to the original signal as possible. If others prefer a system that adds "warmth," that's fine too, but it's a different preference. In any case, I don't think anything is accomplished by "this technology sounds better than that technology"-type arguments.
I agree Rpell, the arguement regarding which format sounds better is strictly subjective. It's time we got away from comparing the two. That's what got me so upset in the first place.Either format done well can be extremely rewarding.Personally I am very happy with my digital system but am willing to give analog another listen.I hope others will do the same and quit the snipeing.
Robedk, IMO analogue can give you great moments (natural timbres, sense of space) and disappointing moments (bad recording, worse, badly cut LP)...
I agree with Rpell that PCM is weak software by today's standards -- often, in my system (and to my ears), by yesterday's as well. Witness the improved performance of true SACD or DVD-A vs. redbook CD...
But as you commented before, software, other than CD, is not always easy to come by!
Rpell, unless you are an Audiogon staffer, I don't see how you could have expected my response to Sedond's expulsion.
I am, however, the last person who one would ever expect to defend one technology over another. I never defend any position on any technological issue in these discussions, much less analog v. digital. I only listen to old lps on a modest turntable once in a while. I listen almost exclusively now to regular cds on a meridian cdp and am completely satisfied with it.
I really did lose interest in any of this talk because of the Sedond issue, and respond now only because your reply snidely misinterpreted my lack of interest. I won't have anything to say about this or any other subject from now on. (And yes, I know about the apology and reinstatement. This is not a protest, just a lack of interest.)
>...your reply snidely misinterpreted my lack of interest
You seem to have misinterpreted my post, not the other way around. My reply had nothing whatsoever to do with the "Sedond issue"--which I know nothing about--and was simply (and obviously I thought) a response to your answer to my question about digital recording. That you choose to interpret it otherwise is telling.
Umm...it sounds like there are personal issues here that go a bit beyond the discussion of analog vs. digital audio. I might suggest that a private conversation about this may be in order.
Gregm: My understanding of the encoding technology for CD's is that it does theoretically enable a precise extraction of the data from its encoded form, but because of the limitations of digital electronics, its extremely difficult, if not impossible to achieve. The newer formats presumably make attaining this goal easier given the known processing issues with DACs, but do not provide additional source information. Perhaps those folks better acquainted with digital electronics can chime in and correct me here.
Ken, I have no idea who Paulwp is and have never had any discussions with him before. Given his completely unwarranted responses above, I won't be discussing *anything* further with him--in public or private!
I think I generally agree with your understanding of the current CD encoding technology, although I think you might be overstating its limitations. To be fair, there are many who would point out that the limitations in analog encoding/playback are greater.
I think you may be right about the limitations of analog media being somewhat more pronounced than digital. From my understanding however, and from what I've been able to hear, the real differences lie more in the extraction and reproduction of the sound rather than in the recording. Certainly, the potential of digital electronics to reproduce the sound better than analog sources is there. However, my experience has been that the very good analog sources I've listened to (mind you, its always a package with very good amplification and speakers) have provided a more enjoyable listening experience than their digital counterparts. Some of this may be the way LPs are equalized relative to CDs, and my preference may simply lean in that direction. Its hard to say. In my home I don't have an exceptionally high quality vinyl setup, so almost everything I listen to is on CD. Still, when I treat myself to an afternoon of window shopping at the local audio shops, I always end up saying "ahhh" when the platters are spun.
It would be very helpful for me to get a layperson's explanation of differences and advantages of the SACD and DVD-A formats over the standard CD format. Also, if anyone is familiar with the equalization used with LPs (RIAA?), it would be interesting to hear an explanation of how it differs from CD eq.
I agree, it certainly becomes a more complicated issue when trying to compare analog and digital sources, as there are so many other variables involved in the extraction/playback process (unless one has access to the master tapes). Ironically, I think some of the complaints about "digital sound" expressed by many people may be due to the less-than-ideal *analog* circuitry that is/was used in even some high-end digital recording/playback equipment.
Of course I can't say what differences you are hearing in the systems you've listened to, although I don't think the RIAA equalization of LPs is likely to be a factor (if done properly). Perhaps you are reacting to euphonic colorations that are common in vinyl/analog playback systems? I can't say my experience with vinyl has been as positive, but again, we may be listening for different things.