This is not a discussion of whether Digital is better than Analog or vice-versa


Ask almost any recording engineer who worked in a significant professional capacity (serious studio, good equipment), in the years from all analog in the 80's to all digital in the 2000's (and typically earlier), what sounds most like what is coming from the microphone, and they will tell you, without hesitation, digital. It won't be some will say digital, it will be almost all. Don't take my word for it, do the research.  Ask them about tape and they will tell you that every machine had it's "sound".  They were very good, but they still had a "sound".  Vinyl? Not even close.

So why, given the people that most know what the actual recording sounds like say that digital is the most realistic, without question, do so many audiophile "insist" that vinyl is the more "realistic" or "true to the performance".  Those that best know the answer to this question, having listened to that performance live, and then listened to the loops, or recordings, say, without a doubt, digital is the most accurate representation.

This is not a discussion of what is best for listening or what you prefer. I find that I often prefer more popular music on vinyl, but almost always will take classical on digital.

Is this attachment to insisting that vinyl or tape or analog in general is the most "accurate", or "natural" or "true to the performance" holding audiophiles back mentally from enjoying a broader spectrum of recorded music?
audio2design
I read an article where three or four top recording engineers all agreed that high resolution digital sounds more like the microphone feed than does analogue tape.  But, interestingly they all preferred the sound of analogue tape even if it was not as accurate.
Vinyl is nostalgic in the way a Porsche 911 is. You still get noise from a record and press too hard in a turn and that Porsche can come back and bite you. Both are desirable because both harken back to that golden age and some folk like to live there. 

I think it's the same with tubes. I grew up with them back when all TVs had them and my dad would give me and my brother the bad ones and we'd go over to the tester station while he shopped for groceries with my mom. We'd size up the tubes we needed, run them on the tester to make sure, and hand them over to my dad who later on replaced them. People who grew up on that sound have that connection that elicits fond memories, and there's really nothing wrong with that. In fact, tubes don't sound anywhere near what they used to and can sound great. But it's like buying that well made mechanical watch when a quartz gives better accuracy.

The same goes with vinyl as it was the only medium we had for quite some time. Nostalgia can evoke some strong emotions but digital stokes those emotions for me all the time nowadays. 

All the best,
Nonoise
Accuracy vs enjoyment.

I have no dog in this fight.
Forgot to specify air cooled 911. They still make em you know, and the new 911 is, as all that came before, the best modern driver's car there is. Just like vinyl has stayed ahead of digital by constant incremental improvement, so has the rear-engined 911.

This thread by the way, it pretends not to be about whether vinyl sounds better (it does) but tries to say those of us who prefer better sound are mentally limited. We are not. See, once you understand vinyl sounds better, and you want to listen to better music (not just more, but actually better) then you're missing precisely nothing by not wasting time cranking out digits when you could be spinning vinyl.
This is not a discussion of whether Digital is better than Analog or vice- versa

The hell it isn't

The hell it isn't
Yeah, it's doing a great imitation then of being one, because of the OP's opening post!

Cheers George
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Ana-logers are addicted to artifact.  There are certain sounds that vinyl generates that makes them feel warm and fuzzy, just as taking a warm bath makes people feel like they are snug and secure in their mothers womb.  These sounds may be appealing, enjoyable, etc. but they aren’t Music.     I would be the last person to want to deny these people the right to enjoy these sounds.  What drives me crazy is when these people insist that having these sounds as extra sauce on their music is the only true path to musical enjoyment, and that those of us that seek sonic reproduction that skims this sauce out of the recipe are sadly deluded.  It drives me doubly crazy when someone posts “I want a DAC that sounds like vinyl”.  What the F*** for?  If you want to listen to analog, listen to analog, it isn’t that hard to do these days.  Why ask for a DAC that will take pristine sound and deliberately add artifact to it to make it sound like a different, flawed technology?
However, if it is the way that you choose to spend your hard earned cash, so be it—just don’t tell the rest of us that this is the only path to Nirvana
New air cooled 911's...wow..did not know that..please share a link, I am in!
It's all about the vibrations! Sound is a vibration that can be captured either by an analog or a digital process. Playback of an LP by a TT/tonearm/cartridge/phono stage is the final result of a process that started back in 1877 with Edison's cylinders (thank you T.A.E!). And Emile Berliner for the flat disc (which really revolutionized the production/distribution of music in 1899).
The LP = Euphonic Nostalgia! If digital playback required as much tweaking as analog audiophiles would like it more!
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"East is East and West is West - and never the Twain shall meet" - Rudyard Kipling
Adding to larryi's post, a number of years ago I arranged a meeting for the NJ Audio Society where we demonstrated recording chains.  We recorded our NJSO concertmaster Eric Wyrick playing his violin with piano accompaniment simultaneously on (1) an Edison Cylinder, (2) an all analog setup typical of what was used in the 60s and (3) a then-current hi-rez digital setup.  After playback, we asked the audience (which included about 80-90 members of the NJ and NY audio societies) which recording they preferred.  Other than a few for the Edison, .about half preferred the analog and half the digital.  Of the latter group, many of them were amateur or professional recording engineers, and they cited particularly the way it captured the piano's transients.  On the other side, Eric made the observation that he didn't know if it was more accurate, but he far preferred the analog playback, saying that it was the way he wanted his violin and playing to sound.  
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+1, @mahler123

To my ears, it simply comes down to the source of the recording. Both formats, vinyl and digital is capable of sublime musical joy. It’s just a matter of personal preferences based on what I’ve managed to put together. The devil is in the details :-)
Ears and brains are half of the equation.  Eliminate them for the technical win.  Happy day!  You're a robot.  
^^^^ Well, I will take robots over people with a tunnel vision 😂
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I have terrific sounding recordings in both digital and vinyl formats, so I have no basis for saying one is inherently superior to the other.  To me, it primarily comes down to what the recording engineer or mastering engineer does to the recording.  For classical music, many of today's digital recordings sound as good as the best pre-digital recordings.  With popular music, it is much more of a mixed lot--many current recordings sound bad to me, but, that appears to be the current "taste" that the engineers are currying favor.  I don't think engineers are conspiring to produce highly compressed recordings to ruin recordings, they are simply catering to what the artist and the public currently like.  When MP3 was in its heyday, a university professor did a blind test of college aged listeners to determine what they preferred and found that MP3-processed music was preferred over high resolution digital (probably because those listeners had become conditioned to listening to MP3).

When analogue recordings are reissued in digital format, most of the time, I prefer the analogue original.  Is this a matter of analogue superiority, or is it deterioration of the master tape, or is it a different aesthetic of the mastering engineer?  I don't know.  With some classical recordings, such as 1970 DGG recordings, I prefer the digital reissues.  I also generally like the freedom from ticks and pops and no side breaks for digital versions of classical music.  But, with jazz in particular, many original vinyl recordings sound quite a bit better than the digital reissue.

It is somewhat disappointing that the state of the art in recoding has not advanced much, if at all, in 60 years.  Some of the recordings I consider to be among the best come from the late 1950's, and I am talking about stereo recordings, such as Ellington's "Blues in Orbit" and Armstrong's "Satchmo Plays King Oliver," and Brubeck's "Time Out."
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audio2design
This is not a discussion of whether Digital is better than Analog or vice-versa
Actually, that is exactly what it is. Why do you feel the need to pretend otherwise?
Ever notice how members use automotive analogies in these threads to brag about their expensive sports cars? It's fairly frequent.
Anyway, what the OP said is probably true. I use digital, but in truth, if I could afford a very good analog setup, and I had the patience for the cleaning rituals etc., I would have one, because it does sound more pleasing, if not more accurate; and that's what it's about. 
Never owned a Porsche but I drove my girlfriends back in the mid ’80s. She had a 911 Targa. Had a dogleg 2nd to 3rd gear path that needed a Thomas Guide to negotiate. Lost too many RPMs even with double clutching. Way too heavy clutch pedal that separated the metatarsal bones in your foot. Constant, twitchy counter steering needed in medium fast turns.

Once had a hot college girl walk into traffic just to stop me to say "nice car" after I dropped my friend off for classes. It sure got looks but I never saw the appeal. I’d take a new one if someone bought it for me if anyone’s listening.

All the best,
Nonoise
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Because they do it for a living and  we do it out of love .
At least from the acoustic genre I live by , classical,  vinyl  is far better .
I would guess in rock digital might be better. Just a guess since I don't listen to rock .
Ah the old analogue - digital war!

It once raged hard and long but now that it looks like digital is here to stay, fractional hostilities seem to have largely subsided.

In any case, both factions now have a far more serious common enemy (that came in soon after and along with digital), compression.

The loudness wars are far from over.


@schubert ,

"Because they do it for a living and we do it out of love ." 


Good answer. We might say we want a more accurate sound, but who doesn't want a sound they can love?

We may look for both, but when we fail
the heart usually overules the head.

Time and time again.

Doesn't it?
dbphd said:
" No Porsches in the garage anymore, though, just an E55 AMG wagon."

See, they can't resist bragging.

cleeds3,393 posts11-13-2020 9:53am audio2design

This is not a discussion of whether Digital is better than Analog or vice-versa

Actually, that is exactly what it is. Why do you feel the need to pretend otherwise?

 

I am not pretending anything. I am stating conclusively, without a shred of hesitation, that for accuracy, and sounding like the source, the digital is superior, obviously superior, as evidenced by the vast majority of those with the experience to make that call, especially if they have good experience with both high end tape, and more recent (past 2002ish) digital in a higher end studio. There was some dodgy digital stuff in the early years.

 

No, this discussion is meant to be why, when those most able to make the determine of what is most accurate to the source, say that digital absolutely is the most accurate, that so many audiophiles state that vinyl (and tape) is the most accurate. NOT that it sounds better, which is a different question, but that it is the most accurate.

 

Because they insist it is the most accurate, they then go on to make up all kinds of reasons, few actually based on facts (or science) to justify this belief.

 

This thread is about throwing out this notion that "sounds better" = "more accurate". It is about letting go of the claim (for many) that they are trying to "replicate the source accurately". Some are. Most are not. It's about throwing out the myopia that because I think it sounds better, it must be better.

 

In my post I clearly state I have a preference for vinyl for some music, digital for others. I will assume some were so incensed by someone even suggesting digital is more accurate that they never even read that far before jumping onto their keyboard in outrage.

They must be compensating for something roxy54.
Definitely uniformly loud had it's time period. I would say early-mid 90's until into the 2010's.  I would say there is a trend back to more natural dynamic range, but that could be just wishful thinking. Personally I find a lot of the popular music today either angry of elevator music and not a lot in between though the last 3-4 years have been better.

A lot of the early CD releases, well into the 90's, some later, were either not properly mastered and just put out there at the lowest cost, or were made by engineers who either didn't understand how they had to adopt their processes, as well as a healthy dose of those who were just stubborn.  Most remastered materials re-released in the last 15 years on digital is much better than the same material releases before.
larryi2,330 posts11-13-2020 9:22amWith popular music, it is much more of a mixed lot--many current recordings sound bad to me, but, that appears to be the current "taste" that the engineers are currying favor. I don't think engineers are conspiring to produce highly compressed recordings to ruin recordings, they are simply catering to what the artist and the public currently like ...

When analogue recordings are reissued in digital format, most of the time, I prefer the analogue original. Is this a matter of analogue superiority, or is it deterioration of the master tape, or is it a different aesthetic of the mastering engineer? I don't know. With some classical recordings, such as 1970 DGG recordings, I prefer the digital reissues .....  But, with jazz in particular, many original vinyl recordings sound quite a bit better than the digital reissue.

It's not what you don't know that will hurt you, It's what you know for sure that isn't.
@roxy54 , if I had wanted to quote Mark Twain, I would have done it verbatim, but as you so noted I didn't. Enjoy the music
I have heard good digital recordings with a quality R2R  dac Thst sound as good and some ways betterThen vinyl it’s all about the  setup and synergy down to the cables being used ,way to many variables to just make a blank statement .
I don't know about engineers but I know quite a few musicians, some of whom play music for their livings, and they have worst ears for listening to audio systems.

Are human beings analog or digital?
In this age of miracles, and luckily for myself and most all lovers of recorded music, a choice isn’t necessary. I can have it all, or as much as disposable income allows. I agree with the OP’s explanation of not being a troll, the distinction is quite clear, and has implications way, way beyond the scope of listening to great recordings. Happy listening all, and hopefully happy everything else.

Dave
So much of my vinyl was bad that I finally gave it away, but yes:  listening to vinyl of 60s music was much more "like" listening to it in the 60s than digital is.  (But remember: how good were our systems then?  Mine was a Garrard with a ceramic cartridge with one channel played through a Heathkit and the other through a Fender Bandmaster.  Who knows how "the highs rolled off!"  but it sure as hell was loud enough.).  I play CDs exclusively now (through tube integrated) because they are way more convenient.   Better? Worse?  Who knows.  Some vinyl I had was great; some mediocre (you can't have 'audiophile' sound from a recording made in the 30s). But good enough so that sometimes, when I'm trying to have music in the background, I find I have to drop everything and listen.   That's good enough for my ears!
I have both. I listen to analog over 90% of the time.
The end.
"Is this attachment to insisting that vinyl or tape or analog in general is the most "accurate", or "natural", or "true to the performance" holding audiophiles back mentally from enjoying a broader spectrum of recorded music?"

Not necessarily. It could very well be the false belief that something is better just because it is newer.
"Don't take my word for it, do the research."

I did, and...

You are a TROLL.

DeKay
Loved my Porsches, both old and new. The old 944 was 1 of the best handling Porsches (but slow) as well as the Cayman/Boxster in today's environment. 
Back to analog/digital. Most people that prefer vinyl to digital (that I know of or when I look at their systems) have mediocre dacs or digital setups. Fremer is prime example as well as others on agon. You get a very good dac (I mean very good), and you might just sell your analog gear. That's what I did and never have regretted it. I had close to $18,000 in my analog gear/albums and when I got my new dac with Roon, my analog was gone.
I have been down the route of very good reel to reel decks during the pas t few years and sold them both. The otari 5050bl was very nice. IMO, it sounded good at 7.5 ips but much better at 15ips. Too hard to get good tape these days and I wasn't going to spend $400 on a Diana Krall tape.
Beside which camp you are in: analog or digital, you should bring up availability and longevity in your conversation. I listen to new blues and jazz and 90% of the new music didn't make it to vinyl. Some of my old 40 year old records, even cleaned with LAST back then, where more noisy than a good digital. 
@dbphd The Porsche does things other cars will not do.  What does your Rolex do that other watches do not do?  
No, you did not do your research at all. I have worked in or close to the recording industry since the 80’s. I have lost count of the number of recording engineers I have personally interacted with. Almost without fail, and probably today without fail, recording engineers will tell you that digital is the most accurate without question in term of capturing what was coming off the microphone. A quick web search of actual professional recording engineers who worked through this period will substantiate what I am saying. It’s not close.


That you have to resort to an insult tells me everything I need to know about you, and your supposed research.


"Don’t take my word for it, do the research."

I did, and...

You are a TROLL.

DeKay

"The Porsche does things other cars will not do."

Do not keep us in suspense.
tooblue,
I had no idea of who you were quoting, and I don't mind if it wasn't verbatim, but it simply made no sense.
I don't have an opinion on accuracy but for pure enjoyment of sound - analog would be my choice and I don't even have a TT set-up.  We do build a DHT DAC and a phone stage.  It direct comparison of our products, the analog blew away the digital even using a cheap JC Penny (probably made by CEC back in the day) TT with a cheap shure cartridge, it was laughable how good the phono sounded.  Our DHT DAC is reference quality with a 30lb power supply, simply amazing.

Your experience may be different but that is what we all heard.


 
People prefer what they prefer.  Why does it matter what someone likes? It doesn’t. But for some people, if they find out people have a different preference, their response is, “OMG how is that possible? I must enlighten them so they suffer no more”. I don’t care what you prefer. Stop caring about what I prefer. Just enjoy music your way. I’m already doing that. 
Because they do not know any better. The simple fact that physically, audio frequencies can NOT properly EVER be recorded on vinyl, is the proof. That is why RIAA equalization is needed. Doubters, please look it up.

It is IMPOSSIBLE to record the same frequency response & dynamic range of digital on to vinyl. This is as certain as the speed of light.

There will be many here who will argue otherwise. Just forgive them. They do not know basic physics.

Many will SUBJECTIVELY prefer vinyl, that is their choice. But not because it sounds better/accurate.