Help: DSOTM Sounds better on CD than LP

I was listening to Dark Side of the Moon the other day on CD thoroughly enjoying myself when I remembered that I had the LP of this album. I dug through my collection with great anticipation of the joy that I would soon know. I put on the LP and something horrible happened. Gasp…..The soundstage collapsed in on itself and the magic or the album was lost. As you all know CD should never sound better than analog so I am now faced with the dilemma of how to bring balance back to the universe.

I would like to upgrade both my cartridge and phono amp. I am willing to spend up to about $3k for the pair but am willing to move up or down a bit from there based on significant improvements in sound or a lack thereof. The cartridge will be new and the phono will be used. I have thoroughly searched the forum and have a few carts in mind but would like to get some informed opinions from you all on what combination would best suit me.

My current setup is as follows,
Speaker: Thiel 3.6
Amp: Parasound HCA-3500
Pre: Classe Cp-50
Digital: Esoteric X-03
Table: Spacedeck
Arm: Space Arm (The carbon fiber one)
Cartridge: Nottingham Tracer 1
Phono: Grado PH-1

Let me try to give a little description about what performance aspects I am looking for. I have had both tubes and solid state in my system before and I am open to either. I have found that I prefer my music to be coming from a dark abyss rather than from a live silence. My current setup has great tonality and is very listenable but lacks in absolute resolution, detail and staging. I would like more of each of these. It also works great for singe instruments and solos but when the whole band comes in it seems to get confused about where to place the instruments and how to distinguish between them.

Thanks in advance for helping guys.
Check the deadwax, it sounds like you've gto a late, lifeless copy of that LP
Could be the LP as suggested. I would also check your setup. Double check that the platter is level, check your tracking force, If you have an alignment gauge make sure the stylus is sitting in the center of the groove. Then I would adjust your VTA. If set too high the bass is too boomy and the soundstage collapses. If too low, the bass is off and highs are accentuated. Soundstage is again off. So obviously setup and alignment are crucial. Also the table needs to be on something really solidly isolated from the room.

A cartridge has to be "warmed up" before it sounds its best. In my experience, a full record front and back needs to be played before you really hear what the cartridge is capable of.

Your equipment is just fine. That table, arm, cartridge and phono stage should be able to make mince meat out of any digital playback system regardless of price. I highly suspect you have setup/alignment issues or as headsnappin suggested just a bad LP.

I would be in no big hurry to get rid of everything and start spending dough until you have tweaked, isolated, listened and tried different records.
Footsurg is spot on!
Go with reissue lp on prem wax...orig lps often overplayed and dull...sacd hybrid sounds very good though
take some solace. I have the same issue with my DSOTM when compared to their last reissue (with SACD layer).

The vinyl gets me simply back to 1972, when I listened to it first (warts and all). I think the pressing (mine) is about that old --- "So, what do you expect"?
Listen to what J.J. Cale has to say for an answer :-)
PS: If your other vinyl sound fine, there is your answer...
I'll wager your cdp sounds very nice.

I own an Esoteric P70 that feeds a dCS Scarlatti stack (DAC/Upsampler/Clock) that never fails to bring musical enjoyment.

For context, I grew up up wax. "Meet the Beatles" was the first lp my sibs and I bought in 1964. My current analog source is very satisfying: Pickering XSV5000 with new genuine D7500 stylus >> a babied and recently professionally refurbished Dual 701 (tweaked w/ custom hardwood base/plinth suspended on norbornene "unhappy" balls/carbon fiber atop Herbies mats) >> Oyaide PA-2075 RR "POCC A" phono cables >> Bottlehead Eros phono pre. Take it fwiw, but imho this combo concedes little or nothing most now in use.

Perhaps you've hit the steep portion of the "diminishing returns" graph with both your analog and digital sources.

That's a good thing!
>>07-03-09: Axelwahl
The vinyl gets me simply back to 1972<<

That's interesting.

The album wasn't released until March 1973.
I suggest you not spend $3K because of the way one record sounds.

it's the record, not the set up, I listened to Machine Head, which is a slammin' album, many times on CD and finally bought a vinyl version in pristine condition. Well, it looked pristine, no scratches or pops on it, but it sounded DEAD. I was shocked and disappointed. Especially since I spent $40 on the album. It really looked like new.

Today I finally got a new Rhino reissue of this album and guess what?? It's slammin' again. "..I'm a highway star..."

Great album. Also, what really makes this more telling on how good vinyl sounds, is that I am playing it on a 30 yr old table that was not state of the art when it was new, since I am waiting for my new table to get in, and my old one sold too fast.

Still sounds great.
1972 , 1973 close enough !!Anyone else on here tiring of AudioFiel's sharp and over opiniated responses just waiting to pounce on people? I still remember the tiraid about last record preservative. Would anyone else like to see an experiment to prove one of AudioFiels opinions. Have him soak his tongue with Last record preservative and if it leaves his response's dull and lifeless as he claims we all win ! To all my American neighbors have a safe and Happy holiday weekend !!! Cheers
"As you all know CD should never sound better than analog so I am now faced with the dilemma of how to bring balance back to the universe."

I know this to not be the case.

Check out my review of "Days of Future Passed" by The Moody Blues here on a'gon for just one example.
I wouldn't recommend any knee jerk reactions.
Thanks, Yes I also put this up on the asylum to reach a wider audience.

I just don’t know if my analog system is capable of doing what my digital system does. I may need to upgrade to get equivalent performance.
Hi Cadence151
I don't want to spoil it for you, but you seem to be LOOKING for some good, logical upgrade reason, so GO FOR IT! :-)

But maybe, you would not want to use that album if you are done...
We still have not heard yet what some of your other LP vs CD yield -- if the wife is watching you got my vote.

Hey, your system truly SUX, it is in dire, most immediate need of an upgrade! :-)

Now go and enjoy the trip, but don't loose sight of the budget.

Regarding being accurate or musical, don't be fooled into think you have to go for one or the other but not both or that it must cost a fortune to achieve both.
Hi Mapman,
yes, a wise man's advise. I feel you DO have strong a point :-)
PS: what will it be in the end "frightening" or "relaxing"?
To do both, WILL come at a $$$$price!
My current setup ... works great for single instruments and solos but when the whole band comes in it seems to get confused about where to place the instruments and how to distinguish between them.

Are you sure that isn't simply due to the source material? That sounds like it could be the result of the heavy processing and randomly phased mixing that seems to characterize many rock recordings, for instance.

-- Al
I'm going to respond to this simply from a gear perspective, as I used to own the Classe preamp. I've had at least 12 pre's in my system over the last 10 yrs, not counting the units I've auditioned. The Classe lasted less than 1 month.

There's a lot to be said about system synergy & the Classe just didn't work out for me. I'm getting clues from your last paragraph, where you talk about the specific attributes, or rather lack thereof. That's pretty much what I remember about the Classe.
You are a smart man.

I have been debating whether this is due to the source like you said or the system and this trend seems to be consistent on the 4 albums I tried this morning, although they were all Pink Floyd. I'll dig out some others and get back with you.

Good frightening will cost more than good relaxing most likely. Synergy from room to source components will take the OP the furthest regardless of end cost.

Bad frightening can be had easily. The ops digital apparently fits this bill.

If it's not relaxing then it will be frightening in a bad way.

Ive heard the Cambridge be quite relaxing and competent. Frightening in a good way requires adding muscle, power, current etc. via amp and speaker combo without losing the relaxation enabled at the source.


now I have to say: "you are a smart man also..."

I go along with EVERYTHING you just put. But now we are talking multi $$$$bucks. Obviously all a question of budget.
No way to try and get it all sorted by switching only one component --- too bad.

The trick is to identify your weakest link and start from there --- and I don't feel like making that call. (Hardly for myself :-)
As some of you have figured out I have some money burning a hole in my pocket and I am looking for a reason to upgrade my rig. Does anyone have any suggestions on a good cartridge-phono pre combination?
Most times a CDP will beat an LP for soundstage/image from left to right anyway. Separation is much better on a CDP than a phono cart. However a phono set up properly should be it in every other way except maybe dynamic range and then theres not a large enough difference to worry about.

If you are using standard US pressings of Pink Floyd albums, they will sound dull and lifeless. Get ahold of the Japanese Pro-Use edition of DSOTM and see if still sounds lifeless. The UHQR LP is also excellent, but for most prohibitively expensive.
Hey Arnold_layne,
Sounds like you just made MY day :-)
>>> If you are using standard US pressings of Pink Floyd albums, they will sound dull and lifeless<<<

I though it was just the case with SA pressings!
I'm still surprised how many (all?) listeners got so carried away with this in 1973... => (hey Bill, we got that right now, yes!)

PS: But now we have to wait and see if D. comes to tell us it's only a case of non-compliant VTA -...
Cadence 151,

I read your original post with interest since I am also a Nottingham Analogue owner (Hyperspace - Ace Space). I always thought Fletcher was aiming a little low when he sent his tables out the door with a Tracer. I think from the Spacedeck on up, these tables have incredible potential. I'm not certain the stock cartridge is able to exploit that potential.

I am also looking at potential cartridge choices and have been reading with interest about the moving-iron Soundsmith Aida. It seems to combine the best traits of moving coil and moving magnet. It is available in both high and medium compliance and in stereo and mono versions. Since it's not ultra-low output, you don't need a phono pre with a lot of gain or ultra-low noise, which opens up a number of choices in the $1 - $2 K range.

Let me know when you make a final decision on your cart and preamp. I'll be interested to know where you end up.