How does good analog differ from good digital

I was at Music Direct yesterday buying some CDs. I heard Heart's Dreamboat Annie playing on their main system. It sounded really alive, punchy, and engaging. I walked over to hear it better. It turned out that I saw a rather warped record playing on a cool looking turntable called an Avid. They were using a Creek integrated and their new floor standing speakers. I was surprised that I did not hear any background hiss. I have heard their system before with digital but it never sounded this good. I wonder if it was the turntable. The speakers sounded very good but I know from experience that the characteristics listed above were probably were from somewhere else up the chain. It this what good analog offers? How much would one have to spend to get sound at least as good as my Audio Logic 24mxl and Accustic Arts Drive I? Thanks a lot, Brooks
Not a lot. Getting an old Thorens turntable and a decent $300 MC cartridge would probably get you there. You would need a phono stage too, and I highly recommend a decent record cleaning product like Disk Doctor brushes & fluid. Figure $500 or so without the phono stage.

If you are not afraid of putting down more than $1000 you could get a rig that you would not have the urge to upgrade again for quite some time.

Phono stages come in all price ranges and can be the weak link in an inexpensive analogue chain. I would recommend spending the money on both the phono stage and the cartridge unless you're willing to spend upwards of $1000.

Like yourself I never knew analog could sound as good as it does. Because of that I jumped right into vinyl. I listened to a lot of turntable set ups before making a decision on which one to purchase and in turn compared them to many digital sources to make sure I was doing the right thing. In my experience, a turntable/arm/cartridge combo typically performs way above its pricepoint in digital front ends. I prefer the sound of a Rega P25/RB600/Exact over a Sony '777ES (in CD) and also think a Scout/JMW9/Benz Micro smokes an ARC CD3. Granted phono stages play a part in this too but in the case of the Rega vs Sony it was through an Arcam integrated and in the VPI vs ARC it was through an ARC SP16 things could get even better. Drawbacks? Analog is more fussy to set up and requires cleaning/upkeep to sounds its best.

Good luck
it's an excellent recording for popular music first have you heard the CD?
You're going to catch it for that question!

Good vinyl sounds more 'live' than good digital. There are all kinds of superlatives that could be used to describe lots of different improvements over digital, but it all gets rather absurd. You heard how good vinyl sounds in comparison, you need to decide if it's worth the cost.

For under $2000 you can get a lot of very good TT/Arm/Cartridge options. Everyone will have their favorites, you will have to make the choice ultimately but I would suggest buying the one that is easiest to set up.

Good luck.
You might want to check out more details on their setup -- Avid with what tonearm and cartridge? If you liked that system, it could establish a baseline for cost comparisons.

Quite nice systems are available for under $2k as mentioned by Nrchy and even under $1k as per Bob. Very, very nice systems are available for about $5k (e.g., the highly rated Origin Live Resolution system, probably with a Shelter cartridge or very nice VPI or Teres systems). At $10k or under, you can go nuts with extremely nice systems. The best of the best might be in that category or in the "way over $10k" price range, depending on your tastes. There are some good used buys at under $1K that could get you started (e.g., I got my AR turntable with a Linn Basik arm and a cartridge for about $500 or so).

CD's can sound very good on great systems. Lower cost turntables will, in my limited experience, provide you some tradeoffs where you might give up one thing for another -- e.g., bass slam for clearer cymbols. A very nice turntable will be superior to a cd player except in terms of convenience -- provided the record is in good shape. However, many folks (my wife included) do not hear the difference with casual listening (but I really like my cd setup). Any moderately serious listening to a good recording will make the differences obvious. To my ears, they are not so night and day different as to ruin cd forever, but fine analog beats out the cd across the board.

Caveat: My upgraded turntable is an Origin Live Sovereign with their Conquerer tonearm and the Dynavector XV-1s cartridge compared to my digital setup of a California Audio CL-10 feeding the Perpetual Technologies P1-A and Wright modded P3-A DAC's with the custom Wright power supply. The replacement cost of that turntable is about three times the cost of the digital setups. My earlier comparison was to a turntable setup costing about one fifth that of the digital system. I've never done a direct equal dollar comparison.
Thanks guys. I have added the costs for the turntable, the arm, the cartridge, the power cord, and the interconnect. I discovered that if I sold my Audio Logic DAC and added the cost a good vinyl set up that I can have a used Zanden DAC. Now I have a real dilemma. I appreciate the advice very much.
I have MF A3.2 CDP and cheap Pro-Ject 1.2C turntable with Ortofon OM Super 20 cartridge. Usually turntable sounds much better (especially 12"/45-singles).
Of course it depends on quality of media.
I'll probably catch some flack for this in this forum, but I think you're cheating yourself and your system if your primary source isn't a turntable. In my view, the only reason to even have a CD player in a high-end system is for music you can't get on vinyl. Just one man's opinion . . . but do listen to a good vinyl set up before you invest mega-bucks in upgrading your digital front end.
I agree with Bsal and will share some of the flak. I don't understand why audiophiles will go through all they do and spend as much money and time as they do in order to settle for second best, SACD and CD.

I think everyone needs a CD player because of the selection. But vinyl is the cream of the crop.

Last week at the audiosalon, glasgow, I heard a Yorke s7 with a lyra titan cartridge(via all gryphon & proac d100) & compared with mikado CD player (the best I've heard & own). The original LP pressing of 'bridge over troubled water' (analoque mixed & mastered)blew the socks off the new remastered CD version which I had loved for years. After a few seconds I could not listen to the CD - it didn't sound real or 'live' at all.

This analogue source/phono stage sounded about 3 times as good as the CD for 3 times the price. I am buying the analoque set up.
This was my first ever audition of hi-end analoque after 20 yrs in the game & I feel like have wasted 20yrs of listening; however, it is a really good time to get into analogue eg origin live, manley steelhead etc