Its not vinyl

I have read 100’s of discussions on the subject of building a streaming digital option for audiophile systems. Everything from the internet connection to the streaming source and then the dac. In my reading through the posts the argument will quickly turn to its not analog, vinyl is better, on the anti streaming side and then on the pro streaming side posters will fed the argument with its almost as good as my phono stage, sounds better than analog. This will even hold true within the dac manufactures and dac owners who will refer to their dac sound as analog sounding or just like phono. I think this is most referenced in the R2R dac category. I started a discussion on the new Gustard R26 which is a discrete R2R ladder dac. Right away I was confronted with “why do you want to spend the money to replace your phono analog end that you already have and sounds great”?  I  Replied with the usual “phono does sound better, even a $30,000 dac will never beat analog and all the other analog vs digital talking points”. Then it hit me that we have been arguing this wrong all this time. The argument should be that the quest in putting together a top notch streaming digital setup is not a quest to beat analog or beat phono. The quest and objective is to achieve a “ less digital sound”. We all know that sharp, bright  razor blades in my bleeding ears sterile digital sound, that will bring in-listener fatigue and quickly want you turning off the music. What I am reiterating here is that the quest the cost and the journey in digital is not to beat analog it is to beat “digital”.


@sgreg1 Interesting twist on a common theme


I think that if you are using both streaming and vinyl as sources it’s not that one needs to sound better than, or as good as, the other. Both just  need to sound good enough so that you listen to them both.

@jond Well said. By definition, they will be different.

I don't understand the conflict. I've got $1K invested in my digital front end vs. $14K in analogue. I'm really happy with both and listen to both equally for different reasons. Sometimes they sound scarily close (as in justifying a $13K delta).

Regardless of the variances in recording/pressing qualities (which are significant), I truly believe that a pure analogue (sine wave) signal resonates more deeply in our human psyche.

The bottom line is that digital can very accurately and cleanly replicate the sound of a human voice or a guitar or a drum, but the natural sine wave is converted to a square wave and back to a sine wave to send to your speakers and something is lost (or added) in translation. 

I guess that's why folks spend $20K on a DAC?

There are some really interesting reason why this is important to us. (Check out a book called "This is Your Brain On Music")

The first time I noticed this was way before I started my "audiophile" journey. 

In the early days of digital, ZZ Top digitized Tres Hombres for CD. If anyone has this on original vinyl, listen to the drums on La Grange, then stream it or play the CD. The drums sound weird.  

Conversely, I believe Dire Straits recorded the first DDD CD, Brothers In Arms, and it sounded amazing back in the day.     


Fascinating conversations about Digital Sound vs Vinyl Sound. 

Its been shown that a Digital recording is an almost perfect capture of the oriiginal but some like the affect that the entire process of vinyl colors the sound due to its limitation but many people prefer this over the original digital presentation.

I read an article where they took the output of a turntable and ran it thru a good A to D converter. They then played that digital recording and everyone thought that it sounded like a vinyl record playing.

Just goes to show that the human ear does not want a perfect copy but one slightly altered by the vinyl process!



thank you for the kind words.

today i had 9 visitors for a 3 hour session. it’s a an audio club about 75 miles away that has visited me before. really nice and knowledgeable group and it was great fun for me. love these sessions. we freely switched back and forth from digital to vinyl, and played all three turntables depending on the music. there was no sense of disappointment if the musical choice happened to be digital. each visitor had multiple turns in the sweet spot and choice of tunes. sure, the vinyl mostly was superior, but the digital was awesome.

in past years once a session moved to vinyl it rarely returned to digital. not any more.

this is the way it can be. and what i wanted from my system. have both digital and vinyl at the tip top level, where i can follow the music wherever it takes me and be fully satisfied.

The only "quest" is to find hardware that is faithful to the music. The rest is gobbledegook.

Just finished listening to the remastered 50th anniversary re issue of Thick As A Brick.  It came in the original British cover of a 12 page newspaper.  Try cramming all that into your CD case.  🤣🤣🤣