Turntable got absolutely crushed by CD


Long story short, i've just brought home a VPI classic 1 mounted with a Zu-Denon DL103 on JMW Memorial 10.5 with the appropriate heavier counterweight. Had everything dialed in..perfect azimuth, VTF, overhang, with only a slightly higher than perfect VTA. Levelling checked. All good. 

I did a comparison between the VPI and my Esoteric X03SE and it's not even close. The Esoteric completely crushes the VPI in all regards. The level of treble refinement, air, decay, soundstage depth and width, seperation, tonality, overall coherence is just a simply a league above from what I'm hearing from the VPI. The only area the VPI seems to be better at is bass weight, but not by much. 

I'm honestly quite dumbfounded here. I've always believed that analogue should be superior to digital. I know the Esoteric is a much pricier item but the VPI classic is supposed to be a very good turntable and shouldn't be a slouch either. At this point I feel like I should give up on analogue playback and invest further in digital. 

Has anyone had a similar experience comparing the best of digital to a very good analogue setup?

Equipment:
Esoteric X03SE 
VPI Classic, JMW Memorial 10.5, Zu-DL103
Accuphase C200L
Accuphase P600
AR 90 speakers

Test Record/CD:
Sarah McLachlan - Surfacing (Redbook vs MOV 180g reissue)



chadsort
You are assuming that your CD and LP pressings are equal.  LP Reissues are lots of time inferior to original CD releases.  In any case, you’d be surprised how all over the place the qualities are.  I suggest using a wider range of recordings for comparison.

When you finally get your analog right, there is a satisfaction to be had there that just doesn't come with merely pushing a button. It's an endeavor that is rewarded by the knowledge that with your own hands, and due diligence, you have achieved something that is very worth doing.

You already have a start on a pretty nice vinyl rig. By the way, I find my Zu Denon 103R works best at between 500ohms-1000ohms.

My advice would be to stick with it a bit longer before you give it up. JMHO

Regards,
Dan
Answering your initial question. I am very happy with my Ayon CD35 CD player which has a tubed power supply and and tubed PreAmp. This got me close enough to vinyl on the things that vinyl does well, particularly emotional engagement, and a musical rightness, plus gave me the best of digital - so much so that I gave up my vinyl. The Esoteric, DCS stacks etc. that I heard were exceptionally clean but were missing this engagement for me. I felt that to take vinyl to the same degree of satisfaction would have been a huge investment in time, money and tinkering. Personally for me the case for vinyl was worsened in that most of my hundreds of records were collected starting in college (now I am 68) and were ruined by play on prior equipment, so I would have to start my collection over. Both mediums nowadays have a lot to offer when tuned to your tastes. There are plenty of crappy recordings in both mediums and fortunately many gems as well.
chadsort,

This is to remind you that things sometimes are not what you were told they have to be. The idea of vinyl sounding superior to digital has become something close to religion. You are almost not allowed to say it is not always true.

No matter how we take it, your example emphasizes the fact that digital is way more convenient and user-friendly for people who do not want to chase the sound. You could improve your analog sound by doing all things suggested, rightfully so, by all the posts here. It might move you more and you may find it phenomenal. However, it will take time and money. If it is ever not perfect, you will have many explanations why it is not. You not adjusting it right, capacitors doing something, equipment being mediocre, stylus having 18 extra hours on it, or something along those lines. Conclusion is always "if it does not sound heavenly, something is wrong with your set-up". It is never "well, it is just because that is the way it is with analog". Or you could slip a CD in your player, press "PLAY" and be just fine with not much less bliss.

Having said that, I will put a record on my turntable now. I like it and it is truly inferior to my CD player.