"warm" analog vs "lean" digital sound

Hi folks, when comparing my vinyl with digital rig, I'm experiencing a large difference in sound signature. While vinyl replay gives a big, warm and full sound, digital (through CD's) is a bit lean sounding with far less midrange fullness. I know both media have different sound signatures, but the differences are way to much. Between good analog and good digital there should be more similarities than differences in my opinion. With my friend's rig I don't hear these big differences between analog and digital, despite a less "sophisticated" audio gear. How do you explain these differences? Is it because of the phono set up that gives "overblown" midrange? Is it because the digital rig is inherently thin sounding (I have Accuphase DP-90/DC-91 combo)?

Tough question to answer in any meaningful way because there is such diversity in sound quality with each medium itself. Analog is not inherrently warm, full, and round sounding. Digital is not necessarily lean. Rather than to argue the differences let me recount a recent experience resulting from a purchase of a new CDP.

For background I've been using a BAT DK5 and a CAL Alpha/Delta for years. The CAL is absolutely wonderful on closely miked stuff such as vocals and small jazz groups. But with the Delta transport it is soft and rolled in the highs and lows. The BAT is more linear, a bit warm thru the mid range which itself is a bit recessed (in my system). I have an old Oracle/Benz Glider TT/Cartridge set up which I much prefer on those few occasions that I put on a LP. (I primarily listen for music regardless of source). The analog system just seems smoother and more natural to me.

I get my new CDP and plug it in. Etched highs, dry mid range, not too pleasant to listen to. Clearly needs a breakin. So, just for fun 'during the break in process' I connect its digital out to an old CAL Sigma II I had laying about. Now I've known from prior experimenting that transports can make a difference, which I attributed to interconnect, jitter, etc, but.....was I surprised!

With the CAL the music was incredibly dynamic both speed wise and lacking compression (in comparison to anything I have heard in my house), smooth yet very detailed. The bass was absolutely crunching. The highs were very detailed but not etched, and the mid-range warm yet not thick. Hell, I may never listen to the CDP thru its own DAC section (oh, yeh! Actually, its been running now since Friday night and sounding better each day). I actually prefer this new sound to any of my other analog or digital stuff!

This experience has me re-thinking some long held assumptions. The conclusion I have reached is rather humbling. That is, if you haven't heard everything, you really don't know what is possible. Best to keep an open mind. :-)

what is the rest of your system ? (include all cables)
A properly setup CD rig should not sound thin as described. Yes, there is difference in sound reproduction comparing CD and analog playback. The differences, usually to what I hear, are mainly in the area of vocals, timbral and strings. It should not be a matter of lean and thin in CD playback, instead it shall be less truthful or life-like in the areas which I mentioned. I would advise you to look into ways to reduce noise floor in your CD playback. Power conditioner, power cord, very good digital interconnect and interconnect from your DAC to preamp play a more significant role in helping to get your CD playback more enjoyable.