More convinced of analog than ever


Wednesday night I went to my local high end shop's "Music Matters" open house, which featured six meticulously set up listening rooms highlighting the best and brightest offerings from Wilson, Transparent, Audio Research, Ayre, Magnepan, Peachtree, B&W, Classe, Rotel, etc., with factory reps to introduce their products and innovations.

There were unmistakable improvements in reproduction of redbook CD, with jitter reduced to near zero, and holographic reproduction of images, soundstages, and the minute signals that indicate instrument resonance and hall ambience.

And yet... and yet... when the demos shifted from redbook to the new downloadable hi-rez digital formats in 24/88.2 and 24/96, there was an unmistakable jump in resolution around the edges of the notes, of sounds swelling, resonating, and decaying, of greater verisimilitude.

But compared to the turntable demos, I'd say the 24-bit digital got me about 80% there, whereas LP playback closed the gap completely. Once the LPs started spinning, there was a collective relaxed "aaaahhh" that went through the audience. It wasn't because of dynamic compression. Far from it, the Ayre prototype turntable was strikingly dynamic with a subterranean noise floor.

The sense of ease and relaxation I attribute to a sudden drop in listener fatigue. The LP-source music had so much more of what makes music musical. We didn't have to work nearly as hard to rectify the ear-brain connection as with even the best of 24-bit digital, which was still significantly better than redbook. The redbook playback always reminded me that I was listening to "hi-fi," even when played through multi-thousand dollar players from ARC and Ayre.

Even my local Brit-oriented Rega/Naim dealer asserts that the latest CD players rival or exceed LP playback.

I say nay.

What say you?
johnnyb53
I haven't had a chance to listen to the newest and greatest, but my RBCD player is no slouch (BAT VK-D5) and though it's fine, and it's a necessity for me to have a CD player, there's no real comparison to vinyl. I play my tt at least 75% of the time.

Saying that, I'm sure that, as you say, advances in CD playback have been made. But I'll probably just stick to what I've got, and have fun with my analogue system(s).
I'm curious with respect to the Ayre prototype table; I know that Ayre has a very strong committment to balanced operation in their electronics. Did the table/tonearm lead happen to utilize a balanced configuration?
I say this is a well worn discussion.

My position remains the same. Playback quality is more dependent on recording quality than it is playback medium.
So how were the presentations? Anything new and interesting? I wish that I lived closer to Seattle (I'm on the "other side of the mountains") so that I could take advantage of the great opportunities afforded the Puget Sound crowd.

Tom
I was also at that event but came away with a different conclusion. I'm all about LPs, but the digital playback was pretty amazing - even the non hi-rez. granted, all the gear was cost-no-object, but both the Ayre and Linn digital gear (the kind that you run off a hard drive) were orders of magnitude better than any digital I've ever heard. normally I'd have dismissed as hype things like the Linn guy saying that their box completely trounced their megabuck CD12, but I recommend you check it out for yourself. (it's insanely expensive too of course)

being an LP guy, I have to say that I'm psyched about the 'next step': use your great-sounding TT to record hi-rez, transfer to a hard drive or DVD disc, then play back through one of these new boxes - you'll be hard-pressed to tell the difference between it and actual LP play, but you'll have all the convenience of hard-drive based music. (and you won't have to replace your kilobuck cartridge every two years either!)

and TVAD is so right. it was pretty sad as far as the actual music they had to use to demo this stuff - pretty much all downloads or specialty stuff (e.g. Linn recordings) you'd never really want to listen to. but if you have a killer LP collection and covet the convenience of digital, it's here.
Tvad, well said.
Yawn. Sure. Hang on ...let me grab some popcorn. Repeat everyone all together
now the mantra.... "Analog is good, no matter how cheap. Digital, no matter
how expensive, is always bad."
Wow, it seems we have a digital crowd here, and to think I was alone! I guess I don't understand the need to choose one over the other, just enjoy your damn music already!
When I first heard about a consumer-available CD player back in 1985 under the Kyocera name I bought it...there were others but the same machine...it was $900 or so. I was so excited at first, but after awhile I too got fatigued.

I don't think it's about digital advancements making equipment sound better...and it's now scary-better because my Kyocera sucked and digital has leap-frogged forward since then.

Today, well engineered analog and digital systems can sound fantastic. Hell, I've got a CD Transport and Processer combo that cost as much as my analog front end. Some say that analog has the edge, while others disagree.

Lets put the sonics aside momentarily. When I listen to vinyl, like Johnyb53 experienced with at the demo, I feel more relaxed and I can keep on listening until my wife starts yelling. I'm happy...my feet are tapping. However, I still get fatigued from digital sources and I find myself putting something else on....then something else again. Why is that?

Okay...maybe it's because you have to get off of your butt and deal with the LP, that makes you keep listening to the end of the album side. Well...I think it's because as humans we're analog...our ear drums vibrate...like the stylus...like the transducer...those glowing tubes are just natural...but not like anything digital. When we're all Cylons that will all change...until then...

If you want to get into the groove...you got to play the groove.
"Yawn. Sure. Hang on ...let me grab some popcorn. Repeat everyone all together
now the mantra.... "Analog is good, no matter how cheap. Digital, no matter
how expensive, is always bad."

To which I respond:

Yawn. Why does this statement not have much credibility coming from someone who has two systems posted with no analog components?

Although I don't listen to CD's much in the house, digital is at least represented in my system (and the car of course), although it's not posted here. I don't really get the defensive nature of the post.

I didn't really see this degenerating to the extent that you've predicted, but perhaps it will now.

02-06-09: Hdm
I'm curious with respect to the Ayre prototype table; I know that Ayre has a
very strong committment to balanced operation in their electronics. Did the
table/tonearm lead happen to utilize a balanced configuration?
It never occurred to me to ask that. I did find out
that the proto was running an Ayre-modified RB300 with different damping
and (I think) internal wiring. It was fitted with a Lyra Skala. Ayre's two main
contributions to the turntable are the arm modification and integration, and a
really nice outboard power supply and speed control. The entire electronic
chain from there including the phono stage was Ayre.

02-06-09: Tvad
Playback quality is more dependent on recording quality than it is playback
medium.
Generally I agree. On this particular night,
however, the system setups were heavily slanted toward digital. There were 6
demo rooms and only one had a turntable, and that was a prototype, and
nothing as impressive as what the store carries (SME 30, for example). The
digital demos all had very high quality recordings, some dubbed from master
tapes and several that were bit-for-bit server-based 24/96 renditions of live
recordings. These were stunning and dynamic in many ways, and as I said,
the 24/88 and 24/96 recordings were more realistic and musically involving
(to me) than the redbook. I heard redbook CDs played by the top offerings
from Audio Research and Ayre. I didn't hear the Linn room, but I'd heard
SACDs on a Linn just 2 years ago at the same store.

OTOH, the LPs we heard were almost desultory by comparison. No direct-to-
discs, no MoFi LPs, several recordings from the '50s. One was just a $10
Original Jazz Classics reissue of Miles Davis'
"Workin'."

02-06-09: Tketcham
So how were the presentations? Anything new and interesting?
Oh, yeah! Magnepan had a prototype speaker setup
that just slayed! They have a small floor-standing woofer that uses the 20.1
bass technology. It only goes down to about 40 Hz, but the quality is very
high and has great slam and clarity. The amazing thing is that the panel has a
response up to around 7kHz, so integration with the satellites is very natural
and fairly simple. The satellites were about 10"x12" panels that
were like miniature 3.6's. With an iTunes-based server feeding a Peachtree
Audio integrated/DAC pushing several external amps, this rig produced the
most realistic-sounding drums I've ever heard on an audio system. I'm a
drummer. In fact, I'm sitting 5 feet from my vintage Slingerland/Avedis
Zildjian drum set as I type this.

Ayre had the turntable I already mentioned, and I heard the Wilson MAXX 3's,
which sounded wonderful pushed by big ARC amps, and come much closer to
the Alexandria series 2 than the previous version.

02-06-09: Musicslug
I was also at that event but came away with a different conclusion. I'm all
about LPs, but the digital playback was pretty amazing - even the non hi-rez.
granted, all the gear was cost-no-object, but both the Ayre and Linn digital
gear (the kind that you run off a hard drive) were orders of magnitude better
than any digital I've ever heard.
I agree with your
digital assessment--it's the best-sounding digital I've probably ever heard,
especially the server-based 24/88 and 24/96 sources feeding the
ARC/Wilson and Ayre/Magnepan/JL systems. But when all was said and done,
as good as digital has gotten (and its ability to retrieve ambience and
resonance ) I still felt more at ease and enjoyed the music more when the LPs
were playing.

02-07-09: Shadorne
Yawn. Sure. Hang on ...let me grab some popcorn. Repeat everyone all
together
now the mantra.... "Analog is good, no matter how cheap. Digital, no
matter
how expensive, is always bad."
Never said that,
never meant to imply that. Audio reproduction is always imperfect and people
will invariably prefer digital or analog depending on what are the most
subjectively significant factors in sound quality. I don't want to like LPs more.
I listened to digital exclusively for 20 years. LPs are a hassle in so many ways.
But if I'm honest with myself about how I feel when I listen to music, I prefer
the sound of LP playback.

There will come a time when digital equals or exceeds analog in every way,
but for me it's not quite there yet. I'm wondering if it'll take 30 bits to satisfy
me, or maybe 26. 26 would be a four-fold increase in amplitude resolution
over 24-bit.
I have a pretty decent digital rig (Esoteric X03 SE) and enjoy random playlists through the Squeezebox/Benchmark DAC - it is a treat to just hear hours of great music without getting up-and it does sound awesome, but there is just something extra special about vinyl. No big expensive turn table (VPI Jr, modded, w/Benz Glider & decent phono stage) BUT vinyl is just more involving. I have some great CD (and SACD) recordings which do narrow the gap, but once you put an LP on and cue it up, it's just...better. I love my CD/SB and do play alot but when I want to hear a great musical presentation, it's vinyl. It's a pain, and takes time to clean a disc, and you need to check set up at times but there is a real diference.

I fought getting a CD player for years and then ws given a Yamaha CD player - I remember buying CD's of all my vinyl - now I am looking for vinyl of all my CD's.

I will agree that an inexpensive (ok, cheap) TT (the mainstream garbage people think are turn tables-complete with USB output) won't rival an expensive CD player--but a properly set up decent turntable with a good cartridge/phono stage will easilly rival a multi-thousand dollar CD rig. Hey, there's a ton of posts touting the Oppo CD player - if it makes you happy, go for it, but has anyone actually compared the Oppo to a CD rig costing a few grand more? The key is "properly set up TT". It's not just plug and play. Spend some time and get it right and it's...magical.
I wonder when this debate will finally die? I am guessing soon.

Digital is getting better almost every year. Not to say analogue has not got better too, but at this rate analogue will be confined to the history books quite soon with only the most stubborn of old audiophiles staying with it.

Name anyone under the age of 25 who is interested in a TT. The ipod generation will laugh at you with your room full of LPs or think it quaint.
And while the analogue brigade will laugh at the ipod generation they wont be laughing for long. Its called progress. All this stuff will trickle down into 1 chip that costs nothing and has staggering sound quality. Downloads will be uncompressed at the sample rate it was recorded at. None of the dithering to 44.1k and so on.

We have reached a point where sonically all the analogue colorations you like can be modeled anyway in the digital domain. The latest offerings in the pro world are amazing. The control is precise and totally transparent.

I dont understand why it seems you are either for digital or analogue. Who cares? If it sounds good it sounds good.

Of course I understand toys for the boys, but surely we all want music to be played back with the highest possible life like quality, with no hassles, and on demand. The rest is BS and posturing.
Never said that, never meant to imply that.

Then I suggest you re-read your initial post starting from the title "More convinced of Analog than ever" with its description of how you heard the latest best possible digital has to offer and found it wanting and fatiguing.

But if I'm honest with myself about how I feel when I listen to music, I prefer the sound of LP playback.

At least be honest with yourself about what you imply in your own statements.
I am convinced that analog hangs in there for basically two reasons. First, it can sound amazingly good in a best case scenario when everything in the system is properly addressed. Secondly, analog can 'look awesome' with these over-the-top turntables, J-Corders, record cleaners, etc. I suppose I should also add that audiophiles may have large collections of LPs and Reel tapes. Bottom line though is the question of overall absolute performance being on the analog or digital side?? My experience is that DIGITAL IS BEST because of the fact that analog is always fighting a losing war with signal-to-noise. Playing an album degrades it some no matter what the circumstanes. Same thing for reel tape or any other analog storage medium. Age, dust, humidity, light, human touch; you name it and it takes it's toll on analog. Not so with Digital where the thousandth playing is basically as good as the first. And the first can be essentially equal or better than that of analog at the starting point short of master tapes and direct-to-disk LPs and a penchant for spending your inheritance on a dying technology.
02-07-09: Chadeffect
I wonder when this debate will finally die? I am guessing soon.

Digital is getting better almost every year... at this rate analogue will be
confined to the history books quite soon with only the most stubborn of old
audiophiles staying with it.

02-07-09: Shadorne
Then I suggest you re-read your initial post starting from the title
"More convinced of Analog than ever" with its description of how
you heard the latest best possible digital has to offer and found it wanting
and fatiguing.

02-07-09: Brauser
I am convinced that analog hangs in there for ... two reasons. First, it can
sound amazingly good in a best case scenario when everything in the system
is properly addressed. Secondly, analog can 'look awesome' with these over-
the-top turntables, J-Corders, record cleaners, etc. I suppose I should also
add that audiophiles may have large collections of LPs and Reel tapes. Bottom
line though is the question of overall absolute performance being on the
analog or digital side?? My experience is that DIGITAL IS
BEST...
I posted this in the Analog forum because I
was relating a subjective experience to like-minded individuals. So why are
digiphiles responding with such vehemence--to set the rest of us straight?

What's your point, really? It's subjective. Sound reproduction is imperfect and
we all respond in our own ways to the parts of the reproduction that are
significant to us. My experiences do not fit the oversimplified amateur
psychology theories expressed here. As I said before, I listened to digital
exclusively for 20 years. I had no big LP collection to protect as I'd lost it in a
flood 30 years ago. My "impressive rig" is a Technics DD
turntable. All the wiping and cleaning and dusting and prepping, and jumping
up every 20 minutes to change sides is counter to my personality. But I do it
for one reason: a lot of digital-sourced music sets my teeth on edge and LPs
don't. The one exception in my house is ALC-encoded CDs played on my
iPod Touch. Those don't irritate me, but they still don't match the way I
respond to LP.
02-07-09: Johnnyb53
I posted this in the Analog forum because I was relating a subjective experience to like-minded individuals. So why are digiphiles responding with such vehemence--to set the rest of us straight?

Generally, new topics just appear lumped together in a list.

As a result, I believe people just respond to the topic without paying any attention to the particular forum into which a topic is posted.
I think it's the snobbish tone of your original post that caused any defensiveness.

There are probably more great sounding digital rigs out there than great sounding vinyl rigs even if the absolute best rigs are vinyl. It seems that Lp lovers have to frequently remind us that their preferred format is the best. People just get tired of hearing it. No offense intended, but you asked.
Personally, I fail to see anything remotely resembling "snobbish tone" in the original post.
I agree that this subject has been debated here (and elsewhere) ad nauseum however I had an experience recently that may be worth sharing.

I had the opportunity to compare two different analogue front ends in the same system as a way of seeing which I might prefer as an upgrade to my current rig. Both were based on the Linn LP12. One system was a full out Linn front end--an LP12 with the most recent upgrades, an Achiva cartridge and a Linn Linto phonostage. The other was a Linn/Naim setup--an LP12/Armageddon without the Keel (but the other upgrades favored by Naim) an ARO tonearm and a Lyra Titan i cartridge driving the new Naim phonostage (I forget the name of it). All this fed Naim amp and preamp which drove a pair of Wilson Sophia II's. While my main purpose in arranging the demo was to compare the two tables (I preferred the Naim centric one) I did bring CD and LP copies of one title to see, after deciding which analogue front end I liked best, how IT would compare to a good digital front end (in this case a CDX2 without an XPS). I had owned a CDX2 for a while and so was familiar with the sound. The recording was the MFSL version of AKUS "So Long So Wrong" on LP and the standard Redbook CD of the same title. So, after listening to the two tables for about an hour we ran the Naim centric analogue front end against the CDX2 and what I found was very interesting....

The CDX2 easily held it's own against the vinyl rig. Which did I prefer? Well, both. The digital sounded better in all the ways you might expect and the analogue was better where that medium is typically strong. I could easily see how someone might prefer the sound of the digital setup or visa versa depending on what they value in sound reproduction.

Now, I understand that there are many, many variables involved here but without getting too caught up in the details it seems to me that if a 6K CD player can compete with a 20K analogue front end digital can't be all bad. In fact, this experience ended up really opening my eyes to the potential of digital playback having spent the last 15 years squarely with the "vinyl rules" squad. My next purchase ended up being a new SACD/CD player, not a turntable (an Esoteric X-03SE) and, due to other system changes, have been without phono capability since the holidays. Do I miss my LP's? Sure. But I am getting really good sound from my digital setup and don't feel any rush to get my turntable back in business. If anything, I realize that I am going to have to save some serious coin to upgrade my analogue set up so that it won't be embarrassed by my CD player. Yeah, vinyl is great but I have found that really good sound can be had with digital sources and probably at a comparatively lower price point than a compareable analogue rig.
Hmmm. I wouldn't call Johnnyb's post snobbish either, however, these threads that seem to pit one format vs. the other are inherently contentious. I'm with Tvad in that I think it all depends on the recording as to what medium is better.

In the real world (playing all sorts of music with wildly varying sonic qualities) both can be very satisfying or disappointing. Ultimate sound quality doesn't much matter to me, playing only the best quality recordings would severely limit my music choices to the point I would no longer care about listening to my system. And so, I could care less about which format is superior.

I must admit I don't see anything in Johnnyb's post that disses digital in general, he is simply describing that evening's listening session.

And yes, I've sometimes felt very defensive about criticizing my analog sound and defending my digital sound, I feel I've been belittled by some analog fans. A tone of unbelievability has entered some of the threads I've initiated complaining about the sound of my analog rig. Some posts call into question my ability to set up a vinyl rig, stating there must be some obvious thing I'm totally missing, and then going into a diatribe about how vinyl just blows digital away. Please check my virtual system before dissing my setup abilities. I know some mean well, but others are insulting in their simplistic posts. I think some analog gurus have to extole the virtues of vinyl and trash digital in a manner way beyond the pale.

Having said that, I don't feel Johnnyb is trashing digital, however, Shadorne has some valid points in his post. Generalizations are always going to cause contentiousness, the digital vs. analog argument should be much more specific, comparing recordings rather than mediums.
I agree with Chadeffect, there's no stoppimg progress and the age of vinyl will probably be remembered as a bizarre form of musical reproduction to be forgotten.

For those of you who want the highest possible life like quality, no hassles, and on demand, I suggest that you get off the vinyl bandwagon even if you think for right now that it has a slight edge over digital. Why?

You're slowing down the progress of digital. Manufacturer's are throwing much of their R&D at analog, building turntables like never before...they're even saying that now is the Golden Age of Vinyl.

We've become the underground resistance against the advancement of digital fullfillment...and I've already had to wait a quarter century without satisfaction!

For the rest of us...who enjoy flipping over vinyl and may have a different take about quality of life and progress, I'll tell you that I'm building a new analog front end because that sounds better to me right now...today. It will most likely be my last analog system. While working on my project my daughters 17 and 20 are intrigued. I bought both of them IPods for Christmas and they download and love music. Their music...their world.

I tell my youngest, that you have to wait till one side is over and then get up and flip it to the other side. She says, "I know Dad...hah...hah." We go out to lunch in her car with her IPod, and she's flipping from one song to the next and most songs she never gets to the end. She tells me that she only downloads songs that she likes??? I tell her that with an LP, since there's no remote, you're kinda forced to listen to all of the songs. Maybe, the artist intended you to do so, or maybe the songs tell a story.

That evening, I'm listening to my system and she comes home. I say, "check this out," and put on The Guitar Artistry of Charlie Byrd on my old SOTA which I had put away for my new front end but dug out on purpose. We listened to the whole thing...she loved it.

All I know, is since I started with my new front-end project, I'm spending more time with my under 25 daughters. That's not BS.
I'm with Tvad in that I think it all depends on the recording as to what medium is better.

That is my view also.
I have what I consider IMO both top flight digital and top flight analogue. Johnnyb's excitement about the maturing of digital is extremely valid. And there might be a time that such maturity will make the analogue renaissance truly come to a trickle. A native DSD recorded SACd can sound incredible. The problem is these are few and far between. Digital recordings have improved and quite a few CDs can sound good, very good. On the whole analogue playback has better source material than digital. But digital is coming of age and hard drive based playback with fast downloads, cheap storage and phenomenal dacs for a lot less money than just a few years ago are heare with more on the horizon. Now to get the true Hi Rez digital music downloads is the final key. I wonder if anyone will convert old master tapes via a hi resolution media that can be played off of a hard drive?

Yet... great vinyl warms my heart and I listen to it more than digital, even though digital is more convenient. The worst thing for me about vinyl is cleaning LPs. Mind you I hate biasing my tube amps as well.
I didn't see anything snobbish about the original post either. I've been off the Digital Bandwagon for awhile and would assume that the latest and greatest digital would surpass vinyl at this point. I think the original poster's *surprise* that he still prefers vinyl is what registers, and this hardly suggests bias!

The latest digital I've heard is Ondine's SACD of Barber/Poulenc/Saint Saens works--it's fantastic but in the end I felt fatigued as well. What's missing for me in digital--even hi-rez--is a general sense of a "frame" around the music--a "relativity" with the hall which allows one to "own" the sound. Horribly inarticulate description, but best I can do.
I sure am glad when over 25 years ago my New York Audio Labs friends implored me; as the Digital Revolution was sweeping the streets and would be the death knell to analog; to "just buy records" instead of constantly upgrading my already nice system and blowing dollars in the process. I listened and ended up with over a 1,000 new lps of all types of music.

I am also sure glad to know that cd's after all these years are "finally maturing" and the revolution is finally coming to fruition. Took long enough for what was raved about back then. Kind of like Communism, and look where that is.

We are now in the era of diminishing expectations but ease of use. The criteria is not great sound but lots of availability, easy of use and cheap. It is no longer about substance but quantity (and I have gigabytes of MP3's that are great to hear).

With where the music business may be forced to go the "the beloved" CD may perish as well. Caveat emptor.

I hear my iPod, I hear my cd player,

but I listen to my records.

I am engaged.
It takes effort.
It is an art form. You get it or don't.
Want it or don't.
What you put in you get out.
True in all aspects of life.
Can't we all learn to share the same sandbox and play nicely together ? I love music.....some nights it's CD's, other nights it's LP's.....it's all great music through my system. Yes, I must admit that I'm presently spending more hours listening to records than I am listening to CD's, but I still really enjoy both parts of my front end.

I do not stress out over whether Patricia Barber sounds better on CD or Joni MItchell sounds better on LP.....They both sing beautifully through my Vandersteens and keep me quite happy. It's like with wine.....what's better, a great Pinot Noir or a great Cabernet ?? There's no need to argue about it.....done properly, both grapes can make a beautifully balanced wine which will make my palate happy.

So, let's all relax, and enjoy the music. Analog, digital, whatever.....done properly, isn't it simply the music that matters, after all ?
Geez, the OP posted an innocuous (though well scribed) little muse reflecting on his sonic preferences after visiting a retail shop, and all of a sudden he's a "snob", and turntables are valued more for their visual presentation. And, of course, vinyl, in some indefinite future-world, will be 'obsolete'. And this is the 'Analog' site?

Frankly, I've never felt the urge to trek over to 'Digital' and let 'em know what idiots and losers they are. But then, maybe that's just me.
02-07-09: Adam18
Can't we all learn to share the same sandbox and play nicely together?

Unfortunately, no. It's the nature of mankind to war with one another.

Witness world history.
02-06-09: Tketcham
So how were the presentations? Anything new and interesting?
In addition to the things I already mentioned, the front end in the desktop Magnepan room was very interesting. They had an Apple Mac iTunes server and a NanoPod docked in a Wadia iPod docking station. Both of these fed a PeachTree Audio integrated amp to make use of its DAC (it accepts USB) and its line stage. From there the signal was sent out to several outboard power amps to drive the little Maggie panels and floorstanding woofer module.

It was a great way to demonstrate how good an iPod can sound when a specialty DAC does the decoding. The NanoPod was loaded with a combination of 256 Kbs and lossless AIFF files.

I was quite taken by the musicality and resolution of the PeachTree's DAC, and also its linestage. At $1195 the Peachtree is a little gem, especially for a digital-based or digi/analog system with an external phono stage. Very nice unit and I would highly recommend it for a small system where 50 to 80wpc would do.
free recording AND playback? Digital recordings are inherently flawed. Even the best original digital recordings are dithered and filtered, omitting and filling in information of the original analogue soundwave because analogue to digital converters simply cannot capture non-bandlimited soundwaves that are complex like orchestral music. 30 IPS reel to reel never had this inherent problem of excluding spatial and minute information like minor changes frequencies of many instruments and voices.

Take these flawed digital recordings and then convert the digital signal back to analogue, and you have even more information missing, then filtered in by 1s and 0s.

By the way, no DAC in the world is almost without jitter. The Benchmark DAC1 is known to be one of the best at jitter rejection, and its measurements are still over 100ps (nowhere near "jitter-free"). The world-class Linn Klimax measures over 200ps.

Also, for anyone who thinks that the format doesn't matter much, have a listen to the SACD versions of great analogue recordings and then listen to them on vinyl. Use any $10K SACD player and any good $5K TT. If you think that the analogue system isn't more detailed, resolving, and doesn't have better 3-D imaging, and more life-like timbre, then you really should just listen to digital and not bother with this "debate" anymore.

For those of us who primarily listen to music that was originally recorded on master tape, vinyl delivers the best sound quality, period. Those of you who listen to newer recordings that are released simultaneously on digital and vinyl, then the differences will be subtler and will perhaps even favor digital because the original master recording was digital.

I was born in the digital era and never knew a world without computers, but pine for the days gone by when sound was not delivered to our ears in 1s and 0s.
Yesterday we had our annual record LP sales extravaganza here in Eugene, OR and there were a couple hundred people at any given time going for the vinyl in a single Hilton ballroom sized room. People of all ages.

Paid $1 to $15 for some real finds. There were far more people hunting thre vinyl bins than the CDs.

Vinyl will survive, it's now way past the original naysayers bedtime.
nice thread

I have a substantial vinyl front end and a modest but good digital front end. There is too much good music exclusive to each not to have both playback systems.

When I want to really feel the emotion and passion - the analog version and effort getting there is well worth it.

many kids are hip on vinyl, even spinning it on mediocre turntables because they like the sound more

I recall playing lps once and taping them to a Nakamichi in the 80's. The tapes sounded real nice. All my pristine vinyl is now played on a setup with minimal stress on the vinyl

when digital conversion / hard drive systems get affordable I'd be all in for recording my vinyl drops
getting them to high res ipods or a hard drive presentation and possibly taking a few hours off my cartridge. It also would allow me to pass on some of the vinyl that I'm not as attached to

a little too expensive and still under major refining on the digital storage end to get in now. it is evolving and lets hope they don't cut too many corners and still make it affordable for the audiophile

in the mean time I'll happily spin vinyl and people can laugh at me for being antiquated. the nuance and emotion of vinyl is there for the taking
I do not understand why audiophiles would want to "needledrop" their vinyl. Even the studio CD versions of some great master tape recordings are inferior to vinyl, so when you make your own conversion (with consumer-level ADCs) from vinyl to digital, you cannot possibly expect it to be good enough compared to vinyl --unless you have low standards.

A good engineer in a million-dollar studio, with million-dollar ADC and DAC set-ups, cannot match vinyl playback when he converts master tape recordings to CD. An average person "needledropping" vinyl onto digital is just amazingly low-fi.

The CD versions of most recordings should be far superior to "needledropping." After all, the CD versions at least come from the master tapes or second generation digital (or) analogue sources, being fed by the best ADC and DAC gear available.
applebook

I'm assuming digital recording / playback makes a huge jump
and give you the flexibility to have something greater than a docked ipod
I agree with Applebook, when you record your vinyl to digital you are getting digital sound. I happen to like digital sound, as well as vinyl, and so I can be happy listening to both. I would never think of giving up my vinyl, the reason I've kept my 2500 lps from the 70's. I also can't fathom giving up my 7000 cd's, way too much good music. Seems I'm more a music lover than audiophile? Can't digital, analog and music loving all come together, kind of like the unified theory in physics, everything can come together in wonderful perfection!
I'll kick the dead horse just one more time...... Applebook makes some good points. And I am one of those who have yet to hear (in my system) CD's or Sacd's match vinyl for realism, immediacy, transparency, and so on. OTOH my digital front end isn't exactly state of the art (sacdmods dv555es).
None of this means I hate digital, or am a snob, or consider myself more intelligent than the next man.... It just means that I prefer vinyl to digital.
It's an opinion, and I don't need statistics, data, or any other hogwash to back it up. However, I'm warning you, I will be back when I get my Modwright Platimun truth!!! (I've heard waaaaaay too much good stuff about this unit)!
peace, love, and damned good music, Harv.
Both formats are pretty much necessary for most modern audiophiles. Only folks who listen to nothing but oldies can live on vinyl only. I think that CD can sound excellent with correctly matched gear and a quality CD production; SACD is even better, and the future for digital is ridiculously high bit-rate formats on Blu-Ray.

Maybe one day, digital will finally overtake vinyl, but for now, the black plastic platter remains my choice for ultimate fidelity, especially with regards to classic rock, jazz, and classical recordings from the '60s to the early '90s.

The surprising thing for me is that in my experience, even current digital releases sound more detailed and resolving on vinyl than on CD --with comparable digital and TT as sources.
By audiophile standards, very high quality analog to digital converters are fairly cheap, under $3k. Depending upon the quality of the vinyl and the care taken, home vinyl to digital conversions can meet or exceed many commercial CD offerings. This is particularly true if you convert at high sampling/bit depth. The current issue of Stereophile has a detailed article on one such method.
Dear Jhonnyb53: This is a post that I posted many time ago on other thread but I think we can use it ( I still think in the same way about ):

+++++ " Dear Musicaudio: +++++ " I dont own a single record, but I have been curious why so many have kept the LP's alive for so long after the digital revolution ..."+++++

Many people, like me, already own hundreds/thousands of LP's when start the CD technology and we already own our analog system. There are a lot of music that we can't get in other way but LP, it will never a realese in CD's.

These between others ( about quality sound reproduction ) are some of the reasons why still alive the LP.

I don't think that your question: +++++ " Is Digital actually better than Analog? " +++++, could have a precise answer because both mediums are totally different and you can't compare apples with bananas or a car with an airplane: it does not have sens.

Today, both mediums have its own advantages and disadvantages and both can live together in an audio system and we can use it often depending our CD or LP priorities.

95% of the recorded music comes through CD technology and this fact tell us that it does not matters about CD vs LP if we want that music then we have to buy CD and we have to have a decent CDP, no question about.

Now, you don't own a single LP: stay where you are try to make upgrades on your digital audio system ( btw, in your audio system ) and buy every single CD you like. The today 24/192 ( upsampling ) technology makes that we all can enjoy the music through CDP. Of course that if you have the money/time/patience to buy the software and analog hardware then is your call. " +++++

It is unfortunate hat the DVD-A/SACD technology are almost " dead ". IMHO and through my experiences about a native DVDA recording is " something " that aproach/even the analog experience and that could/can surpass it in some way, but is " dead " and we can't do nothing about but to wait till the Blue-Ray technology comes ready to audio.

Anyway if we care about music IMHO we must to own both source rigs and try to enjoy in the best way both formats. From my point of view it is useless trying to ask ( like tread after tread ) which is better.

I enjoy immense the analog experience but I like too the right digital one.
There are a lot of recordings that you can get only in one or the other format then if you want/like it you buy it it does not matters the digital/analog subject, right?

Regards and enjoy the music.
Raul.