Interesting analog experience

I while back a bunch of my die hard analog loving buddies and club members came over for a night of music etc .
It happened that I was listening to a CD when they came up the walk way , so I put a record on but left the preamp on the CD input . After about 20 minutes of listening to these good folks tell me how great the sound was and how great analog was the record came to an end but the music continued. I broke it to them that they were enjoying digital sound . I know it was kind of sneaky but seeing there mouths agape and them being speechless was worth the price of my S.M.E. 20/12 table .
The power of suggestion.....
Clearly, these people are just not as smart as us audiophiles.
We know we could never be fooled like that.
Yes, I can certainly understand this occurrance. Digital is now neck and neck with my analog front end, I enjoy them about equally, depending on the recording.

I can appreciate how much enjoyment you must have gotten out of it, though.
This works best if you're spinning John Cage's 4'33". many on these pages know what 4'33" is.... ?

(The performer sits at a piano with hands held just above the keys and waits 4 minutes and 33 seconds...takes a bow and walks offstage. The point is that the audience hears the air conditioner working, the seat squeaking in the 5th row, etc.... its called aliatoric or "chance" music.......the question becomes "can aliatoric music be recorded???) many on these pages know what 4'33" is.... ?

(The performer sits at a piano with hands held just above the keys and waits 4 minutes and 33 seconds...takes a bow and walks offstage. The point is that the audience hears the air conditioner working, the seat squeaking in the 5th row, etc.... its called aliatoric or "chance" music.......the question becomes "can aliatoric music be recorded and played back???)
You might have fooled them into thinking your analogue was quiet and sounding very good. No doubt this is the definition of your digital front end.

But I would hazard a guess that when you actually switched to vinyl and played it for real the difference was readily apparent.
I did the same to a friend that kept knocking my home brew. I switched caps on a few bottles of Oberon. After he consumed what he thought was mine, he said while it decent, it tasted like an amateur attempt. When he tried my beer (which he thought was Bell's brew), he remarked just how wonderful this beer really was, and was not something I could repeat with my tools.

With a smug smile, I agreed and thanked him for the critic. I could not admit the deception.
I think Doug D is saying that the only time you cannot tell the difference between digital and analog is when nothing is playing at all. If I'm incorrect Doug, my apologies.
The best test would be: do what you did on two separate occasions; once with the cd playing and the other time with the LP actually playing. Use a recording of great music that you have on both cd and LP; you have to have a table with food in the room. On each occasion, count how many sit the entire time and listen vs getting up to grab some food.
My cat will only sit on my analog cabinet or speakers when vinyl is playing. Smart cat, some call it a Linnkat.
People visiting are generally polite, and complement the host on the sound even if they are not overly impressed, or try and find something good to say about it. I wouldn't read too much into this! All it tells me is you have very well mannered friends:)
Yes they could hear the difference when we switched to analog but the differences were so minor they were all a bit surprised . It was pretty well an even split as to which each preferred . I often switch back and forth threw an evening of listening but sometimes have to look up to see which I'm hearing .
I'm not an advocate for either format , when I settle in to listen , I try to forget the details and enjoy the music , I only wish more of my audio club members were as open minded .
One of these fellows is still in a snit about the evening . LOL
Most will agree that cd sound has improved greatly over the years, especially in the last few years.

Then note that Michael Fremer reviewed the dcs Vivaldi stack in the current issue of Stereophile and said he didn't miss his vinyl while listening to the Vivaldi (playing digital not cds). Yes the Vivaldi costs $100,000 but Michael's vinyl gear is even more expensive.

Finally, consider that we are about to become the beneficiaries of a major push to make DSD downloads the primary music format.

So while there will always be those who prefer vinyl, I think that anyone who enjoys putting down those who prefer digital sound should get their jollies now, because change is in the air. In the previous sentence I am not referring to people who prefer vinyl but who can understand that others might prefer digital. Also, I will have no criticism for anyone who continues to prefer vinyl no matter how good digital gets. I'm just suggesting that some people should consider becoming a little more open minded.
My Jack Russell Terrier shows no preference for record vs CD. Listens intently to both. Animal sounds are his favorite genre.
Its a well kept secret (from audiophiles) but the rest of the world really thinks they are listening to records too when they play their digital. Some even think they hear tubes!!
Dinster , many of my audio club mates would not be considered well mannered in that way , if they don't like something you'll be told about it and in detail .
A persnickerty bunch really .
I mean, really, can anyone say they honestly like DDD CDs? Especially compared to AAD CDs.
The value of analog v digital isn't measured in 20 minute increments. There's no reason why someone can't enjoy digital more than analog for a particular song, record, group of records. It's really about the long term listening experience. You could have played that digital for another 20 minutes and everyone would have still been praising the sound but asking to go out to the bar. Play the analog for 40 minutes and they would want an hour more. Or with that SME, you'd have a hard time getting them to leave.
Isn't this a double blind test debate, without the double blind (i.e., Tmsorosk knew what format was being presented)?

The results of this experience do not surprise me at all. What does surprise me is that none of the audio club members commented on the absence of pops and clicks.
Unless you treated the CDs, at least to a certain extent, and I hate to say this, but there's a excellent chance your audio buddies are stone deaf.
Tmsorosk, that was diabolical, I applaud you.

Big deal. Did you then play the same music on the turntable after that? If so, what did they say then?
Elinor, I was saying just the opposite (and I believe you misunderstand the nature of 4'33").

As Stringreen noted, an actual performance (or recorded performance) of 4'33" does NOT sound like "nothing". There will typically be audience coughs and sniffles, grunts or hums from the HVAC system, traffic sounds, birdcalls... almost anything. During many performances, the pianist closes the keyboard cover briefly, twice, to signify breaks betweeen movements - which might also be audible. In short, complete silence will not happen unless the performance is by a non-breathing pianist in an anechoic chamber.

That said, any such sounds will almost certainly be lower than the sound of a piano actually being played. For distinguishing between vinyl and CD, such a low signal level would allow us to hear groove rush and tape hiss quite clearly. If one didn't hear these things, one might (should) realize that we're not listening to vinyl.
My cats also react to music being played on vinyl. They never react to music played digitally. It's quite strange!
Stringreen, good question ("Can aliatoric music be recorded?"). One might similarly ask if improvisational music (like live jazz) can be recorded. I suppose the answer is "yes", but that any such recording is only a snapshot in time of one particlar example.

A related question, if Glenn Gould had performed 4'33", would he have hummed along?

It is interesting that it seems many who think digital can sound good generally will recognize that vinyl sounds good as well, but the reverse seems less common, at least in audiophile circles.

I think a lot has to do with initial frame of reference. Those who grew up with good quality analog only (like me) are more prone to find digital to not sound "right". I did not for many years, but have goten over that in recent years in conjunction with some system improvements/upgrades that better enabled me to get the best out of the new technology.

Those who grew up in the digital age mainly might find vinyl to be an alternate technology of interest. Some might even become a convert.

I suppose it has a lot to do with your initial frame of reference. There has always been lots of cases of good and bad recordings, digital or analog, so I'm not sure the format alone accounts for things.

IF you are used to bad digital and good analog comes along I can understand that.

Digital is more pervasive these days, so I think there is more to it than just sound quality when people go the other way, although for an "audiophile" sound quality is always a potential deal breaker.
Tmsorosk, Given your explanation of your audio group's mannerisms....
I suggest that you watch them as they come up your walk, for the next scheduled session, to see that they are not carrying a bucket of tar and some feather pillows!
Good one Isochronism , I have been expecting some sort of retaliation . LOL
One of the good folks still isn't talking to me .

To bad these blokes just can't except what they heard and forget what they think .
Doug...a snapshot of the past, but not aliatoric...