Anyway you could get some of these components together and see what you hear for yourself? That is truly going to be the test.
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Virtually any vinyl system will demonstrate to some extent the difference between analog and digital. The sound difference is not subtle.
As for Bliss well-
I seriously doubt it. That takes a couple of years of frustration first. It will tell you if vinyl is your "Cup O Tea"however. If it is then you will start looking at phono stages and cartridges, Vta, loading etc. After that you wonder about tone arms, bearings,plinths,tweak after tweak,
At some point you will find bliss. Then you get audiophilus Nervosis possibly the inflammatory variant and mess it all up again.
As you can tell from Mechans post,there is a lot more to getting good analog sound than just adding a turntable and throwing on an album.While this may give you a hint,it will no way lead to analog bliss.Diligent maintenance is a must with analog systems if you want to keep them sounding their best.I love analog sound but am too lazy to perform the upkeep so I stick with digital.Just a thought.
6 months ago, out of curiosity I reinvested in vinyl after a 10 year lapse. The differences are not subtle. Last month there was a $75,000.00 turntable sold on Agon but for under 1000 you can put together a respectable analog rig. However it takes some work/maintenance and there is an annoying new set of variables, MM vs MC, SS vs tube phono stage, speed controllers, isolation and other tweeks and more interconnects. Rewards are finding discarded mint records for 25 cents at thrift stores and enjoyable music, but I REALLY miss skipping to the next song with the remote
Bill, what system components are you using now for digital?
My first suggestion is to take your favorite two cd's, then buy the same records, and take them into an audio shop that will let you listen to them ad nauseum, and then decide if you think there is a difference big enough for you to take the plunge.
Once the kids left the roost I decided it was time to listen to the 3,000+ lp's I still owned, and didn't spend as much money on the vinyl rig as the digital one, yet there is a significant difference in many recordings, others not so much.
I'm using a 20+ year old Luxman table that has a good arm on it, and an entry level Graham Slee 2 SE phono preamp along with a Sumiko Pearl cartridge--I've spent more on Cartridges trying to get the sound I like, that's important.
Probably the biggest thing people skip when getting into vinyl is a record cleaner...IT IS CRITICAL, otherwise you've spent money that can't get the most out of the vinyl...even the manual one from Gemalog works great, and isn't that expensive.
When I get done putting the lp's on the hard drive I'll sell you my rig, but that's taking much longer than I ever thought it would.
I currently do not have a system. I have looked at them in the past, and now that my business is starting to give me some returns I'm picking up some of the things I've always wanted but never had the $$$ for. I'd like to get a cd player and a phono to play side by side.
I've been looking around (online) for a while, and it seems like the above components would be a good place to start. I don't have a high quality audio store in my area and so I can't try out a bunch of different stuff to see what I like the best.
I'm open to any and all suggestions, ideas, etc...
Take a look at vintage electronics and more modern hi resolution speakers.
My second system Vintage Yamaha receiver with phono section, Dual turntable, Goldring cart, Triangle Titus 202 speakers, optional sub if you must go full range. The whole system could be had for around $1000 used and produces lovely vinyl sound.
I was in a similar situation to you about ten years ago.
After joining A'goN and buying and selling gear for a few years I realized that just putting together a combination of electronics that I enjoyed was difficult enough, let alone anything to do with the analog world.
It seems like you've done a fair amount of research and have an idea where you'd like to start, so I'd say jump in and see how the water is.
But be prepared to spend more money than you ever imagined, be open-minded [as you already are] and most of all enjoy the journey.
It's possible you wont hear why people still buy and listen to vinyl. I suspect there are many reasons. I've heard excellent digital and analog side by side, e.g. an SACD and 45 RPM of the same recording, and any difference I perceive is less than a just noticeable difference. For me, vinyl is an entertaining toy; playing with the LPs, the complex arm with all its adjustment, and so forth is where it's at. To be sure, there is vast variation within each technology, crapy to great sounding CDs and SACDs, crappy to great sounding vinyl.