My conclusion: mid level $$ analog vs digital

Good morning

I purchased a mid level analog system 6 months ago 
     project classic
     Hana sl
     Musical Surroundings Phenomena II+I’ve compared the analog to my digital 
      Chord Qutest 
      24/192 & Streaming 

and ;

After listening to a bunch of albums and music.

A well recorded album with a well setup analog is tough to beat . The analog has a certain snap to the drums and bass that digital cannot match.  Extremely , quiet and smooth
 The mid level price point and the associated quality is surprising to me 
Do not get me wrong , digital is close , but good albums really can show a difference 

Ive listened, at homes with much better analog setups, and the difference seems to get better 

So, For you guys think to take the analog jump ?

Don’t worry 


@jjss49 ...
“i would venture to say that digital front end will outperform analog at low (1-2k) to middle levels (2-4k) but when you get into really good analog, have it all dialed in (no trivial task) it sounds better but then you are into quite expensive territory at that point - all cases here factoring in the all important phono stage too...”
I agree, at the low end consumer level anything goes... I hadn’t intended on implying anything in the $1K - 1.5 range would conform to this generalization. The question was on mid-level, which to me would start at the least around $2K.
I always consider the Phonostage part of the analog end. It has a very profound effect on the output and cheap ones really sound bad. My examples of comparisons started at $2K simply because you do not get much consistency below that level... and even that is pretty low. There are lots of variables, but I said for compatible and complementary components. I know a person that has put together a system costing over $30K and it simply sounds terrible, both digital and analog. I could do better for $5K or less. So, myself and several other people I know and trust have confirmed this generality, and it is a generality, normally holds... equal investment in a quality analog end and digital end will result in a better sounding analog end. While the ratio has changed radically over time. It used to be an analog end costing a fraction of the cost of the digital end would out preform. Over the last thirty years that ratio has gotten smaller.

I now have the best digital end I have ever heard. It caused me to upgrade my analog end. I thought that finally analog had met it’s match. But, my analog end at about $10k less than my digital end.. but it still bests my digital end. This data point fell right in line with the generalization. I keep thinking the generalization is going to fail but hasn’t yet in my experience and those I know and follow,

Having said all this. I love listening to both, period. Both ends are satisfying, musical detailed and wonderful. But, I have to give the nod to the analog end. I listen to the analog end when I feel like choosing an album, or hearing more deeply into something. I have no noticeable surface noice on 95%+ of my albums. I clean all albums when I buy them and they really never need more than a quick wipe with Last cleaner if the get really dusty... very unusual. As you get up in quality of turntable surface nice just goes away. With a disk washer virtually all pops go way... handling records properly will result in no skips,

Assembling a high end system is challenging. Some people cannot do it. My example of my friend. He has three degrees in science... he is highly analytical. But, is not good with the ambiguity and the nuance of putting a system together. He uses his skill to choose a single component... then another... then another... when put together they sound terrible. He isn’t able to calibrate his tastes and observations to that of reviewers and to remover their prejudices (which they try and show) and then to integrate over the whole system. It is a lot of work, it requires it to be a labor of love. I really love huge unstructured problems... and am good at them, so high-end audio has been really rewarding for me, and really frustrating for my friend of over 50 years.
There are two steak filets. Take one steak...cut out very thin strips along the length of it and put it back together so it looks like a steak again. If you do it very carefully and pat it down just right, you wouldn't even know the difference from a visual or taste perspective  But your tummy will know it had less food.

You can cut even finer strips out (24/192k). But tummy will know...tummy always knows. Trust your tummy. 

This doesn't mean much anymore as nowadays recording studios are mostly digital. Workflow is more flexible and efficient. Especially when more and more artists seem to possess less virtuosity. And time is money.

But as digital closes in, analog will not disappear. It will just become a premium option.

I never left analog. I knew in 1983 that CDs didn’t match LPs. My first listen was to a CD of Alan Parsons Project “Eye In The Sky”. The silence of the CD was stunning. But the SOUND of the LP was just amazing! 

It hasnt ever changed. Analog still outperforms digital every time!

The 1983 comparison was made in a High End boutique. State of the art Conrad Johnson SS and tube amps, Infinity Beta Speakers. 

After that demonstration, I kept my receiver, turntable, cartridge, LPs, and updated speakers and TT and added cartridges. I have streaming, DACs, SACDs, CDs, and none of the digital sources best my analog system. More convenient, yes for digital. But not better.
my experience was that it took lots of $ before my analogue system equaled, then surpassed, the digital side.  

Your experience, of big dollars, to achieve equality for analog was my fear . 
But, Surprisingly , with my hearing and my level of resolution that my system achieves .

I can feel very satisfied, at this level 
What digital & system did you have when you were picking turntables ?

I especially, enjoy older albums recorded using old school tape and few microphones 
The air and ambience is very nice and wide 
Sheffield labs does nice stuff, too