Have you re-visited analog, or did you never leave?

From early 78s through the LP, CD, downloads and more, where do you stand on what you feel sounds the best now?

The cassette and 8-track tapes were a disaster...sonically. In this site being an "audiophile" site, were are your thoughts on the best you/I/we can do sonically in todays world?

My favorite FM station/D.J. plays records, mainly Jazz and great vocals...and with the limitations of FM, it is still one of the best sounds I get from my system.

If you care to share, I would enjoy hearing your quest for "the absolute sound" and where you stand on that quest in our current world? Thanks. I hope you had a safe and happy holiday season.

I have to keep thinking up new ways to tell the tale, because it is by now and if you’ll pardon the expression a bit of a broken record. Being 63 growing up in the 70’s it was all records. Yes some kids had 8-track, and cassette, but even a zit-faced kid could see those were crap. No way my hard earned paper route money was going to anything like that!

In 76 I upgraded to a Technics SL-1700. But, worried about record wear most of my listening was to records dubbed onto my Pioneer RT-707. Or whatever the model was. 10" open reel. This was so good as to be almost indistinguishable with my gear at the time, except for very low level of tape hiss. Records were reserved for special listening sessions, and greatly enjoyed, it was a super-special thing and I still recall the night a friend and I sat rapt with fascination listening to my MoFi Crime of the Century.

After college though, life happened. My precious table went in a box to be kept safe until I was able to move somewhere and set it up like it deserved. By then though CD came out, and was adopted without ever comparing. Looking back its clear now this was an early example of fake news, and I fell for it. (Been making up for it ever since. Ha!)

Flash forward to around 1994, my CD based high end system in my newly built dream of a lifetime listening room is just about finished when respected reviewer Robert Harley says no wait a minute Miller I said turntable. Not CD. Turntable.

Well always being one to test things out on the cheap first I went to the garage, dug out the Technics, and hooked it up. Mother...! Harley’s right! Wife came home. What did you do dear it sounds so good? We both stare in wide wonder how this old beater beats out modern and much more expensive CD. With better interconnect. And power cord. And Cones. Expletives deleted!

One thing led to another, which led to talking with Michael Fremer, which led to a Basis/Graham/Glider/PH3SE. Then for a few years was able to enjoy both. CD is great for convenience, and especially for being able to program tracks. But I’m a listener. I’m the guy for whom its all about sound quality. Superficial stuff like remote control only goes so far. CD never could compete on sound quality.

But wait! There’s more! That was merely the first time I rediscovered vinyl!

Some years ago I was taking pain killers to control chronic back pain and the tinnitus it caused turned me off listening to music. Went several years without ever playing a record. Movies, okay. Music, no way. Got so despondent, made up my mind to just sell the turntable. But first maybe spin just one for old times sake, to say goodbye.

One minute in and its like, What were you thinking!?!?!?! Dang those records sound good! And away we go!

There really is nothing else like it. Probably never will be. As good as it was sounding this year, gave myself a little Christmas present modding it even better. Now 2 weeks later I’m staggered how much better everything sounds. Its a fine rig, but realistically there should be even better out there. I’m a long term thinker/planner and got my eye on that Paul Beckett guy. His Cue, with zero lube and darn near zero play ceramic bearing, direct drive and SOTA-like vibration control design sure looks the business.

Conventional wisdom is diminishing returns. Like you will at some point hit a wall. Not seeing it. To me it feels more like about to walk through a doorway. Anyone still doesn’t have a turntable get one, step into a whole new world.
I was ready to leave analog, in the mid eighties, being fed up with crappy, noisy vinyl, but I couldn’t afford a CD player and CDs.  Then my lps were destroyed in a flood, and the stores were switching to CDs, and no second hand vinyl at that point.  So I bit the bullet and bought a CDP, but could only afford to buy a few CDs a year for many years, until budget CDs came along and my financial situation improved.
  Around 2000 with second hand lp stores popping up I got back into analog.  At first it was fun but I quickly remembered why I hated it in the first place, and by then the recordings that hadn’t been digitalized previously were available in  versions that always bested analog.  Sold off my analog rig, gave away the lps, haven’t looked back
I've been a fan of recorded music since 78s were still sold at the drugstore and AM was the only commercial broadcast audio media.  Thanks to my audiophile, solder-wielding dad, I was also there at the dawns of bona-fide Hi Fidelity and Stereophonic.  Quadraphonic, too!!!

I'll cut to the chase.  As much as I've come to embrace digital in the past 20-30 years, I've never even begun to give up on vinyl.  It never occurred to me to get rid of my shelves & shelves of 33's & 45's.  They sounded fine and continue to sound fine. Why should I embark on the herculean effort to replace them with digital material?  A couple of ticks and pops?  Yes, it didn't hurt that the first digital often sounded pretty bad, but it didn't take especially long for the tech to largely come up to speed.  Now in my golden years (oh, I hate to say that!), I enjoy music from a variety of sources, including getting together with my friends and breaking out the musical instruments.
Still have my first album I bought in 1972 and it plays cleanly. My father and I built Dynakits and I listened to his jazz and classical albums while he taught me to care for them (have his vinyl on my collect now also). In 1978 after my original Rotel DD turntable and my entire system was stolen at college I visited Cambridge MA and was able to buy the pseudo-granite plinth Optonica RP3636 and Signet 5 cartridge to go in a new system. Still have that turntable currently stored in its original box.  My system has progressed significantly since that time and today includes excellent digital but never went away from analogue and it still is the focus of my system.