Not wasting my time on new Digital


Well guys, I have disappointing news:

Getting all hyped being a tech guy, tried out a new $9000 top flying Integrated CD player, with the apparently best design and parts including Anagram algorithms and ……..

I don’t know boys, this is my second disappointing experience with new digital gear.
I am not going to mention any manufactures that I have been disappointed with.
I have a very nice system to my ears to name a few products including Sonus Faber (Electa Amator mk1 to be exact) Apogee’s, Audio research and more…….

Decided to try some new sources of course and I was told all sort of things and parts and man oh man, the reviews and well to my ears other than my original Oracle turntable and my newer VPI table, my older DAC’s sound much more musical. WHY? WHY? WHY?

New technology, new ideas, new designs, new engineering and we see to be going behind rather that forward. I still like my original Theta Gen V and even my Bel Canto DAC for a fraction of the cost, even my Micromega DAC hands down.

Anyway are there any other people experience the same thing, by the way I have tried some very serious stuff and out of the pricy gear…meridian and Spectral (Spectral SDR-2000 with no upgrades and still sounds amazing) stays on top of my listing.

Appreciate any input.

Cheers - rapogee
rapogee
I think there are too many "bright ideas" being incorporated into the new units. This is either because of marketing pressures or some belief that new=improved. I believe Peter Qvortrup when he says that the more you mess with a bit stream the worse it sounds. My non-oversampling, tube-output Audio Note DAC with its ancient AD1865N chip sounds better to these tired old ears than anything I've heard, and that includes the Meitner stuff.
Rapogee: are your older DACs using oversampling and/or upsampling? I have found that I don't particularly care for upsampling and that leaves me out of my newer design... Just a thought ;)
Simplify simplify. Get a non oversampler player. Any make will do for starters. I am using the cheap Consonance 120, for the time being. Although it lacks some of the bloom of tube varieties, it played the most realistic piano in the room on my Scinnies so far.
While there are many newer digital rigs I've yet to try, my experiences thus far have been less than satisfactory. I can't say for certain, but I've found much greater bang for the buck in changing out other components. I also don't necessarily agree that it is the new schemes (oversampling, upsampling,etc.) that are the problem, it is the implementation of those schemes that is important.
Digital finished what the transistor started.......
I have listened to a wide sample of over sampling CDPs, and DACs. None do service to the material imbedded on the CD. Even the cheapest AN or Consonance sound far more natural to me.
I think my Counterpoint Dac 10-A and Kinergetics Research transport sound every bit as good as the two $3,000 retail cd players I've owned....circa 1992, a very good year.

Dave
Sorry to hear that. I love my cd player though it's not exactly new. It's a Tube Technology Fusion CD64. It pairs the same dac as the Chord Dac 64 with a discrete tubed analog output stage. It is super analog and I love it, check either it or the Chord Blu/Dac64 combo out for amazing sound. Happy listening!
Muralman, the Consonance 120 has upsampling, doesn't it?
You are right, Drubin. With this particular player, some material sounds first rate, like electronic music, and piano to a lesser degree. The highs have that same edginess that all over/sampling players have. The mids are cardboardy as well. It's these two areas the likes of AN excels. I had to try the CD120. It is a cheap thrill.
Mre2007:

No upsampling on those units, the micromega is a bit-stream design which was always on the warmer side to begin with but dont have quite the resolution of the very best today but it seem to be more enjoyable listening, as far as keeping it simple, its works but not always.....I DID NOT LIKE THE AUDIONOTE DAC! They said its warm like Analog, I disagree for sure, it might be tweeked to sound "warm" but I will not compensate loosing resolution for warm assured. I still do love the Micromega and scary enough, some well made 16 bit X 4 times oversampling units in the past. GO FIGURE!
I am beginning to question whether the added refinement of esoteric digital components adds to my enjoyment of the music. Cutting edge digital products certainly do sound better, i.e. more like live music, but the more refined the digital playback becomes the less I find myself able to simply listen to the music. It's a conundrum.
Even Meridians older stuff for example (500 Transport and 563 DAC combo) for just over a grand today, I do not know how much more information you can squeez out of a cd and that is if you actually need that extra information is another thing, sometimes too much is not that much when you are listening and enjoying. I don’t analyze music any more since I have learnt to listen more as the years have gone by. I still end up going back looking for new LP’s and it shouldn’t be that way today when convenience for software use is vital these days. Well I am glad I am not alone after reading some of your responses.
Very interesting discussion. Makes me want to hear some of this retro stuff.

How does the Channel Islands DAC stack up, does anyone know? Price is sure
right.
It occurs to me that the majority of sweeping conclusions expressed in these threads are drawn upon a very small sampling of in-home listening experiences. I understand your disappointment with two newer digital players, but how does that account for the other 100+ options available in today's marketplace?

This is no different than those who damn all expensive power cords after having tried one or two. Or slam speaker manufacturers for a model they heard ten years earlier. I too have heard a number of players--upsampled and not--that did not produce sound that IMO warranted their high price. On the other hand, I've heard others--older, newer, pricey and not--that sounded amazing. It all depends upon whether or not you're willing to find the right combination, one that works with your other components, your choice of music, your sonic preferences, and with your room...often with no rewarding payoff for 300 hours or more!

It's no small feat to replace one's reference, and neither a high price or a specified technology is any guarantee of successfully making that leap. But I assure you, even this empathetic lover of vinyl has heard some killer digital.
Rapogee, what AN DACs have you tried? Maybe it's my hyper real amps and preamps that compensate for the lack of detail you report. I found a lot more detail in changing out my power amps than I ever did any CDP.

I find tubed non oversampling to be more three dimensional. They excel on spaciousness, and black background. It's the roll off of the extremes that I don't care for.

I know this is off topic, but have any you guys tried bit streaming off the ol' PC?
I know this is off topic, but have any you guys tried bit streaming off the ol' PC?
We are doing that, Vince, using a Squeezebox that reads wirelessly from an external hard drive. The Squeezebox has its own DAC, but we run it to our CDP/DAC, because the sound quality is considerably better. Drubin does the same. I know, because he was my mentor at the Squeezebox Academy.

And now back to our regularly scheduled program. Sorry, Rapogee.
Hmmmmmmmmm
I have had the unit for 3 weeks now and playing daily for long hours so not a short audition before I initiated this topic.

Many units I have had, I had plenty of time not a short 2 day audition, weeks to get comfortable with. I have had the Audio Aero Capitol but the other I just am unable to mention for other reasons.

Muralman1: Well I am comfotable with my amplification, I have 3 systems all in and I have the original Spectral DMC 10 Delta upgrade and DMC 12 with phono and Spectral Power, so I have lots of resolution and speed for sure on one system.

They other maybe but at the same time I am not dishing the sound of CD, I just find the newer units other than Meridian and Spectral (to name a few) many newer stuff is just not quite enjoyable compared to some older stuff.

I agree Boa2 that there are great new digital components, but I am expecting to pay for example $5000 and expect a good jump in digital source imporvement, not 5% better compared to something that came out 10 years ago! Thats hard, I am expecting 10 years of digital engineering imporvement going further ahead much more. Thats all, I feel that there is comming to a point things are slowing down there is so much more white paper talk compared to reality.

I dont know this but I tried this unit next (even the Capitol) compared to my Theta GEN V balanced which is actuall around 10 years old now and for those of you out there who are very familiar with this piece, using a good transport.... I had 4 people over (audiophiles) and all of them prefered the Theta, especially the bottom end, not even close.....try some difficult passages by Stanley Clark and Mark Egan and I was just asking to my self....hmmm well (same experience the newer remastered Fleetwood Mac CD I guess)

Just an opinion
Boa2, no problem.
I ordered one my self - Squeezebox to try. NO MOVING PARTS!
I like that as a transport so.........
One good thing though, this is the only DAC that I will never ever complain about ever but if I do get a second mortgage it will be on top of my list for total musical pleasure but you have to question reality and price ratio. Hopefuly some day

Goldmund Mimesis 20M
I hear ya, Rapogee. Makes a lot of sense. Without naming names, I've heard several $8K+ players that frankly sucked, IMO. I hope you find one that works well for you. I think it's out there. It's just a matter of finding it.

Best of luck!
There are many things overpriced in audio. You guys with mega bucks can afford to play. Us with limited budgets have to make things work first time around. My $1000 cdp offers everything I was looking for, and have zero plans to upgrade. I mean I guess the Audio Aero($5K +) and Jadis ($$$..$$) offers nice upgrades, but I'm happy.
I've come to believe that in this hobby synergy is EVERYTHING.

In my experience, I've heard my Exemplar 2900 sound incredible with some gear, then after "upgrading" to more expensive gear, I've been sorely dissapointed.

Right now I'm using a Cayin A-88T Integrated to drive my Gallo Reference 3.1 speakers. It cost 1/5 of an earlier combo I tried. After taking advice from Boa2 and others I've found a great tube compliment and I have pure magic again in my system.

Lesson learned? It's not necessarily how much money you spend. It's about careful component/cable combinations that yield musical results.
The money factor should never influence your decision in buying. "more it costs must mean the better it is" is non-sense. The only exception to the rule is Jadis, which really doesn't concern many posting members here. Sure yrs ago the higher the price, sometimes the better the unit. But not anymore, this is the new world economy age, where we have access to almosy anything from around the world, via Inet. There are many great deals to be had. Bargains to those who know how to see one.
Just got back from hearing an all Audio Note SET system. There was naturalness, and detail in spades.
That's why I still love my Linn Ikemi! It's sound is less stepped than most cd players out there thus sounding more analog.*>)
Muralman1, you wrote:

"Get a non oversampler player...any make will do...I am using the cheap Consonance 120...it played the most realistic piano in the room on my Scinnies so far...I have listened to a wide sample of oversampling CDPs and DACs...none do service to the material imbedded on the CD...Even the cheapest AN or Consonance sound far more natural to me"
Informed that the Consonance actually was an oversampling player (I'll take Drubin's word on that, I know nothing about it), you then wrote:

"Some material sounds first rate...piano to a lesser degree...The highs have that same edginess that all oversampling players have...the mids are cardboardy as well."
Can you explain how "cardboardy" mids and "edgy" highs yield the "most realistic" piano? Or how this machine can sound "far more natural" than any oversampling player you've heard, yet suddenly suffer from the same flawed highs "that all oversampling players have" once you learn that it *is* an oversampling player? An inordinate fondness for making sweeping catagorical generalizations without basis, perhaps? Or maybe you're agenda-driven?

Rapogee: I too use an older Theta (DSPro Basic IIIa, with a Pearl transport). A few years ago, under the onslaught of propoganda concerning "upsampling", I decided to give a try with something newer to hear what all the fuss was about, but the popular and well-reviewed DAC I got fell well short of the Theta IMO. I didn't assume this meant that all "upsampling" machines sucked of course, but I haven't bothered again since, though like you I occasionally wonder if I'm missing anything, especially since CDs still don't sound as good in many respects as my rather humble vinyl rig.

But I'm not the sort of hardcore audiophile who listens to a lot of different gear, and anyway a bypass test I constructed to help objectively evaluate the two different-sounding DACs showed that in fact, the Theta is essentially getting most things right or very nearly so. My gut feeling is it's probably more the transport than the DAC which could stand some improvement, and that getting the units modded instead may be a more satisfying way to go, although before springing for that I'll probably want to hear at least one well-regarded, newer all-in-one player in the hope of saving rack space (it would need to have digital inputs though).

However, this rising chorus in support of non-oversampling strikes me much as the one for "upsampling" did. Same type of rhetoric, replete with catagorical pronouncements -- another "magic bullet" as it were, to use Sam Tellig's regrettable (that's a polite way of saying stupid) phrase. I don't know if there's anything to it -- I tend to think this would introduce problems as much as avoid them -- but I don't believe in magic in the form of bullets or anything else, and Muralman1 you're not telling us anything to help convince me otherwise.
The better digital gets, the more two channel becomes a problem. If you are not using Prologic II or trifield to listen too two channel CD's you are not getting the best digital has to offer.

I know this will be disagreed with but digital makes 2 channels obsolete. Most of the "problems" with digital, forward highs, overly crisp and thin sound, metallic timbres are not inherent in digital per se. They are result of the greater resolution and signal to noise ratio resulting in completely different requirements for playback from analog LP's. Digital is several magnitudes better than analog in frequencies over 4khz. Much more accurate and phase correct, and when you crush all that ambiant information back into the front sound field the soundstage flattens out, timbre's change, spectral balance is tipped to the highs and the sound can become fatigueing.

You can call what I say ubsurd, but I have owned excellent analog systems for decades, equipment EAR, VPI, Roksan, Sota, SME, Counterpoint, Audible Illusions etc. What is ubsurd is banging your head against the two channel wall as the CD players with higher resolution and proven linear performance gains continue to sound worse, and less "musical" with more information coming off the disc?

That doesn't make sense, does it?

Is digital technology going backwards? hardly. In the proside its moving ahead in leaps and bounds. Maybe its advances are exposing what's backwards in our systems? Should make you wonder why more and more speakers are showing up with tweeters and midranges that spray sound all around the room, diffusing the soundfield. Think about before you spasm into an autopilot response please...

And if your answer is your experience with surround is that it sucks, well I don't doubt your experience was bad. But it doesn't suck, dealers and even manufacturers don't know how to setup their own equipment. This is a problem blocking many many people from realizing a great opportunity for music enjoyment.

One favor please when you consider what I wrote, assume I know how to setup a turntable, a two channel system also. I know that there's always this leap that the 2 channel system is some mystical animal, but its setup is very basic and easy for me. I've never had any trouble doing it.

I know most will assume I just got a denon, def tech system I want to rave about, but this is far from the case. So loan me some credibility for a moment if you would.

thank you
Some speaker systems, amps, preamp, cd players...ect, have a quality thats hard to put into words...many old and new components get this part right.

Vinyl gets this part right and is why it did not die it's predicted death. My old Counterpoint Dac gets this part right to...along with many others, old and new.

The ability of a component to convay "everything" without drawing attention to anything. Nothing rolled of, nothing tipped up, Balance...total integration from top to bottom in such a way that when you campare them to other products you may at first deem the other product better.

Many times the new product has that something "that stands out" as better because it draws your attention to "that something"....not a good sign for long term satisfaction of that product.

A lot of times the components that "get this part right" are the ones that fit the old thread...."Components I sold, that I wish I had not".

Probably, in the right designers hands...newer is better...Don't you think?

Dave
Hello Zaidesman. Sorry about the confusion. I just revved up my system yesterday the first time with the Consonance in play, starting with piano. The highs of a piano are not so high, and the piano is stationary in a single plane. Thus, the very good performance.

It wasn't until I put on some spatial music, like a full orchestra, that the flattening out and unreal over-sampling highs began asserting themselves.

I am going to reinsert my Lambda/Audio Note combo, and compare. I already know what I am going to hear, scary real mids, but gently rolled off in both directions. I want to find a non over-sampler that is more extended.

Still, I am pleasantly surprised at the Crystal CS4396 DAC chip. I would give the builder credit for bringing out the best. It sure beats the Burr Brown chip players I am familiar with, and that's a lot.
D_edwards, I have come to a similar conclusion in the last few days. Many of today's SOTA digital equipment is simply too damn good for the associated system gear, and for our ears. Put a SOTA digital source into a system with SOTA digital amplification and I'll run from the house and go for a bike ride. I'd rather listen to AM talk radio. I'm not sure higher resolution is always the answer to musical enjoyment at home.

However, I have heard state of the art digital that does not have the flaws you mention in your post.
Rapogee: My DAC (Museatex Bitstream) is a bitstream design as well, and like you do your DAC, I enjoy the heck out of it... I have always attributed this to the lack of upsampling, as even the players I have auditioned that have a feature to turn upsampling on or off, I have prefered the off setting tremendously. Just a thought... ;)
Tvad,

Although I don't think we are coming from the same point of view, and records are dead in my mind and simply hanging on to them as a valid current source of music is beating a dead horse no matter how good it was. They are not coming back. But they were the perfect two channel source, their technical defects became strengths with a two channel system. A perfect marriage.

Digitals strengths are made weakness's within the two channel system.

But digital is like putting a aggressive racing suspension on your daily driver. Simply cannot be dealt with in a casual fashion. Audiophiles have been forced to be consumers of high end audio, and are subject to market forces like marketing and show me magazines with revenue building reviews. Where can you get the truth? Not here.

The percieved inferiority of digital has little to do with a bad format, although Redbook CD's should be long gone by now. And please note Any format from Sony should be rejected out of habit anymore by the public. When will we learn?

A 24/96 format is so vastly superior to ANY LP system it simply cannot be dealt with the alchemist trial and error methods of audiophile past. LP's leave a great deal of "play" in the system and it is very forgiving format like a regular street suspension. Digital is 1 and 0's and that means either you have it right or you have it wrong. That's why it is so polarizing. And yes if you're wondering I am implying that people still have very little clue how to build a digital system.

Just like NASCAR, being a good driver (audiophile, music lover) and rolling your car off the pickup for the weekend isn't good enough anymore. The precision of todays system requires more expertise not less. Just like having a racing setup suspension. If you don't anticipate conditions all the time you are more likely to wreck that car than a car with a standard suspension.

Just as the internet has swept in to knock the foundation out from under brick and mortar retail, audiophiles need technical help and REAL information more than ever. As improving your already very good systems can not be done seat of the pants trial and error anymore.

We've got a lot of baby boomers that cannot move on (old new trick) and let me tell you as a gen xer' this vast majority within the audiophile community has slammed the brakes on how we view home systems. Their 10 to 1 voices often overshadow advancements because they are content because unlike 20 something's today the music of their youth was actually released on LP's! No such luck for todays young people.

I see it all the time, I realize most brick & mortars are not setup to give the help audiophiles need (owned by baby-boomers too). But so many regrets with huge audio purchases. Why? Lack of knowledge at the retail level and amongst the internet help and advice. We have a 25 year old technology we assumed would be compatible with how we have done things in the past. I think there is long history of evidence this is not the case.

"is simply too damn good for the associated gear",

It's not too good for your gear, its too good for only having two channels of that gear. If you only have two channels you can't own a SOTA digital system IME & IMO.

I can beat any two channel digital system with a surround system day in and day out. Everything the tube/planar/analog diehard wants can be found playing Cd's back in surround.

Think about it, it's like having an awesome set of TV repair tools (LP system) but you need to fix your car (CD).

Like it or not digital is not going away so we better start addressing it and figuring the setup out, instead of avoiding it and playing aging and decaying records.
There's a number of issues to address here but in short no one component makes for a very dynamic, revealing, involving, and 'lifelike' system. There simply are too many variables involved.

(Although if there ever were a single component that could most drastically affect a system for better or worse I'm of the opinion it is the amplifier.)

For example, if one's system did not include 'proper' line conditioning and/or one's system included speaker cables and ics that induced much time smear(as many do), most always any good or better analog source would sound more pleasing to the ear than any good or better digital source. But some might also consider this scenario as applying a band-aid to cover certain shortcomings.

That said, there are a few digital units that given the right system can match or exceed the performance of potentially any analog.

The APL-modified and Exemplar-modified ucdps certainly come to mind. Of which I am an owner of an APL-3910 and will be putting my unit up for sale shortly (only for business purposes as I'm a dealer).

But to claim after one or two experiences with 'good' digital in a given system along with potential shortcomings in a given system (we all have them) should not be considered enough conclusive evidence that digital is simply inferior.

So let me start with three questions:

1. What, if any, line conditioners are you using?

2. What speaker cables and ics are you using?

3. What amplifiers are you using?

-IMO
It's not too good for your gear, its too good for only having two channels of that gear. If you only have two channels you can't own a SOTA digital system IME & IMO. D_edwards (System | Answers)
You're right. We're not coming from the same viewpoint, but the sentiment is similar.
D_edwards, what your argument boils down to is that, absent analog -- specifically vinyl -- distortions or limitations, stereo material should be played back in multichannel. Whether that's true or not, the alleged perfection of digital is beside the point.
If you're going to start worrying about the velocity of propagation in cabling, you better start looking at the Td ( Time Delay ) through each component. That will be pretty tough though as most manufacturers won't provide this type of spec, probably for good reason. Sean
>
Zaikesman,

I'm not quite sure what your post means,

Are you saying Analog LP's outperform 24 bit digital systems?

Anyway, I'm not sure its important.

If you want a cool experience that won't be a waste of your time. You should come to Baltimore and listen to the system I have posted. Bring some CD's, I'll show you something you haven't heard before, I promise!
D edwards makes an interesting and compelling argument. I wonder what do you think the minimum number of channels is to do digital justice?

I too have been very dissatisfied lately with some pretty expensive digital equipment. Currently I am listening to a NON-OS dac the is proving to be very enjoyable. I gave up on heavy analysis of my system some time ago and am now just looking for some engagment out of my systems' sound. This has lead me to pursue some different technologies (some old, some new).

Interesting thread.
if one accepts the premise that live unamplified music is a valid reference, the experience of listening to live music is binaural.

i don't remember hearing the sound of a piano behind my head when attending a piano recital, in a large hall.

also, what does the representation of timbral accuracy have to do with the number of channels.

it is possible to create realistic timbre with one quad esl.

now, back to the issue of digital. a good source is a good source, whether it is analog or digital.

close your eyes and decide whether a recording of a piano, e.g., sounds like a real piano, to what ever degree.

the source is much more important than the stereo equipment.

there are many decent examples of vintage (pre 1990) digital gear and some examples of decent current digital gear.

the problem with today's high resolution components, is that they expose the flaws of recordings to a greater degree than some of the older components with less resolution.

so pick your poison--euphonic coloration to cover up the sins of many digital recordings, or todays high resolution, less colored digital devices which are more accurate as to revealing what's on a recording.
Ray Kimber's Isomike recordings demonstrate how effective rear channels can be
in delivering the (binaural) experience of listening to live music. Rest assured,
no pianos will play behind you.

Sean, I'm afraid I don't understand your post at all. Can you spoon-feed it to
me?
So, how do quadraphonic analog recordings compare to digital multichannel formats ;)

-The Devil's Advocate
Response to Mr. Tennis; (this is part of that promised email)

MRT"if one accepts the premise that live unamplified music is a valid reference, the experience of listening to live music is binaural."

"This is the classic and somewhat shortsited vision of how a human hears and more importantly how the microphones are setup. The recording happens in a space, that space unless anechoic will reflect and reinforce sound creating a tone, that tone is captured onto the recording. This is inescapable, that somewhat unimportant information is not as damaging to analog sound because it simply doesn't have the S/N ratio and the linear performance, so that medium masks effectively this information. The CD does not mask this information and two channel simply crushes that noise, ambiance and room tone back on top of the soundstage. Think of live recordings where all the people are clapping in a compressed area in front of you. That is not correct, that is simply the standard. Surround expands and sorts this off subject sound and places it properly in a soundfield.

MRT "I don't remember hearing the sound of a piano behind my head when attending a piano recital, in a large hall."

Then you weren't listening, the Piano likely filled the room with sound as if it was poured into the room, Think about it, room likely pulsed with the Piano's output, not that your hearing the primary key strike from behind but you were emmersed in sound....surround sound. Binaural gives us surround sound hearing not two channel hearing.
Think about it.

MRT "also, what does the representation of timbral accuracy have to do with the number of channels."

If there is audible "garbage" (artificial reverb, room tone and information, crowd noise) on the recording like I hear with CD (please note the garbage is not digititis, its simply unavoidable non subject noise collected by the microphones) this when crushed back onto the subject of recording can shift the entire spectral balance of the recording.

MRT "it is possible to create realistic timbre with one quad esl."

Not with a stereo digital recording it is not, one speaker will suffer the same fate as two, even three. You're not addressing the problem and simply creating a "flaw" that does not exist and accepting it as a medium problem, when infact I assert our playabck systems are what's incorrect. This is the point I make, digital is misunderstood.

MRT "now, back to the issue of digital. a good source is a good source, whether it is analog or digital."

So how do determine a good source? what objective repeatable solution do you have so we can all buy good sources? See this is the blindeness that has affected audio and has everyone chassing around with no direction. There is no good digital source for two channels, the better it gets the more the sound moves away from satisfying. We can't keep guessing, too many products, too expensive. We should know, but we don't.

MRT. "close your eyes and decide whether a recording of a piano, e.g., sounds like a real piano, to what ever degree."

The old days were good days when you there was only a few products that could do this. Now many many systems can do this pretty well, you can't run what you've brung anymore. Because room acoustics and component interaction all now matter a great deal. Because we all have great systems by 1980 standards, but its 2007, and to be great takes more than some demo at a store. That information has to translate to the home system.

MRT. "the source is much more important than the stereo equipment."

Which without getting into great detail is why I like surround, because the surround processor is the source where the DtoA happens. Giving me a great deal of control of the final sound. To me speakers are the gate keeper then the source.

MRT. "there are many decent examples of vintage (pre 1990) digital gear and some examples of decent current digital gear."

People don't want to spend $50K on decent

Actually right now except for audiophile brands that edit the sound there are many excellent digital products. People playing records are using a 2nd rate source in a proper setup. There's no argument except we "enjoy" the LP's more for LP's to be considered competition with CD. We need to find the system that allows us to enjoy digital more.

MRT. "The problem with today's high resolution components, is that they expose the flaws of recordings to a greater degree than some of the older components with less resolution."

Yes, but what if we could fix the "flaws" and remove them and turn them into positives? The pro's use awesome equipment too, and if we could minimize the "flaws" why shouldn't we? What if you were to discover that the things creating the perceived "flaws" in your two channel system become coherent waves of ambiant information and instead of hearing the piano in a glary two channel unidirectional presentation you get information that puts the Piano in the room, but not your room, the room it was recrded in. The added weight the surround information (no longer a "flaw")moves the bar for what sounds real and natural!

so pick your poison--euphonic coloration to cover up the sins of many digital recordings, or todays high resolution, less colored digital devices which are more accurate as to revealing what's on a recording.

See that's my focus, it doesn't have to be a "poison". It can be a step forward.
Quadraphonic on 4 track tape like all types of recordings had good, and bad. I've heard some very good Quadraphonic recordings. The limitation of Quad was more at the end user/retail interface and the LP. Which has proven to be a weak surround source.

There is a reason companies invested heavily in Quad sound, there are intrinsic advantages to surround sound and how human respond to it. That research was done in the the 40's 50's.

So I would imagine that the very best Quad recordings would be satisfactory versus todays digital surround like PLII and Trifield. Computing power is beyond the imagination of people just 20 years ago let alone 40.

And this is the key to making surround a viable argument. The technology for it has matured and is available inexpensively. Digital can be edited and manipulated with very little tainting to the original information.

The key to digital is to jump in and embrace all its benefits. EQ, compression, room correction etc. Unlike analog, digital can be manipulated very effectively, because its ones and zeroes. A weakness that becomes a strength.

Now please note that digital can still be improved but the potential is being utilized and improvements are being made as computing power increases and that power becomes cheaper.
The recording happens in a space, that space unless anechoic will reflect and reinforce sound creating a tone, that tone is captured onto the recording. This is inescapable, that somewhat unimportant information is not as damaging to analog sound because it simply doesn't have the S/N ratio and the linear performance, so that medium masks effectively this information. The CD does not mask this information and two channel simply crushes that noise, ambiance and room tone back on top of the soundstage. Think of live recordings where all the people are clapping in a compressed area in front of you. That is not correct, that is simply the standard. Surround expands and sorts this off subject sound and places it properly in a soundfield.
Very thought provoking.
This is pure rubbish, analog, both tape and LP, has greater dynamic range than redbook CD. Sounds can be heard between ten and twenty db beneath the noise floor on analog. Digital media simply throw away all information below the least significant bit, just as redbook CD throws away all information above 20K. Or distortion can be ADDED, yes intentionally ADDED, to help recapture some of the low level information in digital media. In fact, the criticisms of digital routinely center around the inability of the medium to capture the integrity of the original space. Try this analysis before accepting the shibboleths of the audio manufacturers at face value,
http://www.audioholics.com/techtips/specsformats/LPvsCDformats2.php
BTW, I am not making any claims about one medium sounding "better" than the other. And don't get me started on rise time.
Viridian...I have a test CD (put out by Dennon) that has a track with a tone having amplitude of one LSB. It is completely inaudible, although my spectrum analyser, looking at the electrical signal, picks it up so I know it is there. I don't much care what might lie ten to twenty dB lower.

Oh, and that is a 16 bit CD. DVDs are 256 times better.
Viridian...Please explain why I should care about sounds that are ten to twenty dB softer than what is audible.

Unlike many sonic characteristics that are near to the heart of audiophiles, dynamic range is very easy to measure. Have you ever actually done this?
Drubin: What i was saying is that electronic componentry has a higher level of time delay and signal smearing than even just a reasonably well designed piece of cabling. Sean
>