Yes, I hardly use my cd player after having gone back to analog ......
Once i got a great tube preamp to use as a 'tube buffer' for my digital i am totally satisfied with my Cd playback.
The CD playback is now as good as LP playback.
IMO the only real problem I ever had with digital was the HF edge.
A cheap buffer did not do the job. But the VAC Stadard I got for the job is great.
LPs and CDs ust sound a little different. Neither is bad or perfect.
Wow, Elizabeth! My experience is very similar to yours.
After 20 years of exclusive digital listening, I bought a turntable in early 2007. I was so captivated by the difference that I listened to *no* digital music on my system for the next 8 months. Over time I made various upgrades to improve the LP playback, culminating in early 2011 with a Jolida JD9 phono stage and a JD5T line stage. That Jolida line stage uses a solid state (opamp) gain stage with tube buffering. At that point digital music still didn't compete.
In the meantime I changed my focus in digital music from CD player to iTunes on a MacBook. All rips are Apple Lossless and stored on a portable USB drive. Once the music was sourced from the external drive the music sounded less dynammic and involving. Even the iPod Classic playing the same files into my stereo sounded better. Then I got Audirvana Plus music playback software, and configuring it to buffer the music files in RAM and upsampling in multiples of two improved things quite a bit compared to upsampling everything to 24/96, which is the Apple default. But computer playback still wasn't in the league with LP.
Then a couple weeks ago an audiobuddy stopped by with a real tube line stage he wanted to sell. It even had a tube rectifier and a massive transformer. Price was right, especially for how good this sounded. It made my buffered linestage sound 2-dimensional and a little sparse. What really sold me, however, was how the computer-based music now sounded. It sounded liquid, organic, dynamic, and very musically involving. So buying that linestage was like giving me back a library of about 450 digital recordings that I'd had no inclination to listen to.
I haven't really played any CDs through the new line stage; my CD player is a 7-year-old Sony SACD/CD changer. But the MacBook-sourced music sounds killer. Plus, Audirvana can play back FLAC files, so I now have a few 24/96 files from HDTracks, and these are fully competitive with LP, though they trade away a little nuance for lower noise floor and a more sparkling (but no longer irritating) presentation.
Here's something else that's cool--Apple offers a remote control for MacBooks for $20. That's probably next on my list. I can leave the computer on the table while I operate it from the sweet spot.
The engineering and mastering of the particular recording is by far the most significant variable, IMO, followed by the quality of the particular playback equipment. My LP collection considerably outnumbers my CD collection simply because I got into digital much later, but I enjoy both formats, and I have developed no particular bias between them. I have not yet gotten into computer-based audio.
I would invite those in the anti-digital crowd to try to find, for example, some of the now out-of-print (and highly sought after) classical CD's on the Wilson Audio and Chesky labels, to see how good the medium can sound. Most notably, Hyperion Knight performing Chopin's Piano Sonata No. 3, on Wilson Audio WCD-9129, and Dvorak's "New World Symphony," on Chesky CD31 (recorded in 1962!).
I would defy anyone to listen to those recordings on a good system and still maintain that the CD medium can't provide outstanding sonics. And that is despite the fact that piano music and symphonic music are among the most challenging types of music to record and reproduce with good results.
I was that way with CDs/digital from about 1998-2007. Then one day, a light bulb went off and I figured I must be doing something wrong. So I started a concentrated and past due extensive system upgrade to get my digital sounding as good as my vinyl. The jist of the upgrade ran from ~2008-2010. Only my Triangle monitors and my Denon CD recorder survived. Everything else including wires changed.
So now, after all that work and a bit of expense, I am in digital nirvana!
Few things really good come easy.
I know exactly what you are saying. I came back to records from CDs and have not listened so much to music since I ,well, started listening to CDs in the mid 80's. So much better to me. Seems more natural.
As to what is next, you will put together the best analogue system you can afford, and then you will go back to getting a good digital system together because of all the great music only out in digital. LOL! A lot of good music since 1990. Try to get Charles Lloyd's ECM or Chicago Underground output on vinyl. List is to long for me, but those two pop into my head.
Enjoy the music, anyway you can,
"The engineering and mastering of the particular recording is by far the most significant variable, IMO, followed by the quality of the particular playback equipment."
Definitely true, Almarg. I just received my first Chesky CD and it sounds so natural, very much like analogue. Only problem is they have limited titles.
But getting back to the thread, I do love the sound of vinyl.
My CD collections still far exceed my LPs since I have been buying CDs from 1986 onward and only have been buying LPs for the last few years so I still listen to CDs and actually mainly my music servers for music that I don't have on LPs.
However, after listening to opera on CDs and now on music server, it is very hard to listen to opera on LPs. Far too many breaks at inopportune time. CD is not as bad and music server is perfect. I can listen to the whole opera or at least the whole act without interruptions the way the composer intended. Listening to Wagner on LP is painful.
Music gets interrupted way too often!
However, for most other things, I tend to listen to LP more.
I too was very dissatisfied with CD sound quality yet the convenience for casual listening is hard to resist.
I've since ripped all my CD's to a Mac Mini and on to a Squeezebox Touch then to a Metrum Acoustics Octave NOS DAC. Using Pure Music Audio Engine the results are even more convenience and much easier listening.
My expensive player is seldom used and I would never recommend another player.
Just sold my Wadia 270/27ix. It was a great player and I miss it. Replaced it with Marantz SA-8004 and AppleTV. I listen to 90% vinyl and 10% digital. Of the digital, 75% of iit is streaming files from my Mac.
It is correct, you can replace a top end digital rig with a $1000 one and get the same sound from digital.
Just back from RMAF. If analog is "no contest better," one should predict that the many analog rooms would absolutely dominate on lists of rooms mentioned for "best of show." (Remember, everyone is showing in the same adverse conditions, and there's a range of price points for both digital and analog.)
So does anyone think analog dominates digital "best in show" lists for RMAF and the like?
This is not the impression I get from my reading -- or my listening.
"I do not care how much the CD player costs it sounds like digital to me."
Well, if someone plays off the shelf untreated CDs on players that are not isolated from structural vibration, at a minimum, what do you expect? A rather bland, uninteresting, generic mishmash of different papier mache noises is about it.
I *have* heard a $1K CD/SACD player that was very impressive in sounding dynamic and natural--the Marantz SA8004. However, now that asynchronous USB DACs are available at every price point, I think the more cost-effective--and convenient--solution is to put together a laptop-based server with a 3rd-party software solution (e.g., Audirvana Plus, JRMC, Songbird, or Amarra) that:
o Adjusts the upsampling rate to the source sample rate
o Has "hog mode" to turn off unnecessary background processes
o Enables you to buffer the music file to RAM before decoding
Anybody remember the Genesis Digital Time Lens? That was an $1100 component that provided 512K RAM to buffer the digital data stream before reclocking it to the DAC. Today, for $50 Audirvana Plus enables you to buffer up to 7.9 GB in RAM, turn off the background processes, AND control the up sampling algorithm.
Even without an external DAC, these improvements are significant, and all of them bypass the jitter encoded in many CD pressings plus the jitter that comes from reading the CD. Add an asynchronous USB DAC and you can get high quality jitter-free decoding as well, not to mention all the music server convenience features hosted on a laptop.
FWIW if folks invested as much time and effort in setting up a good digital system as they must do to set up a good vinyl system I think they would be greatly surprised. Both formats can be excellent, but neither is plug and play. Who really cares which is 'better'. I don't. They are not the same and the software except for re-masters is not duplicative. If you can't get quality digital sounds it's not the format it is you.
Besides how can any real music lover ignore music post 1980. I can't!