Vinyl vs. CD & HD from A.C.A...


Probably the most favourite subject between audiophiles around the world is the on-going "fight" between analogue and digital. Since the introduction of the CD in 1981 and after some years of the digital predominance, digital seems to have hit the technological roof and analogue is making a strong come back in the last 10 years. Personally all over these years I have made my comparisons with various material and I have concluded them in a paper named Same great music on Vinyl vs. CD....

But some people were telling me that my old Wadia 8/15 pair was technologically outdated and so the comparison was not fair, so I decided to organize in my listening room a blind test between a top digital (whatever that means...) and my analogue gear, with lots of people invited...

See the rest of this very interesting IMHO story here:

- (with lots of pictures and 10 videoclips covering the event).

I hope you enjoy it...
Wow! Great post!!!
Thank you!!!!
Skaloumbakas, I'm so glad that you were honest enough to do what you did.
I've said for years that vinyl is better than digital hands down.
CD or digital which ever you want to call it was gimmick from the start. Designed so that record companies could make more money!! It cost much less to make a cd than an Lp bottom line. It never had to do with so called superior technology, that was the hype that record companies threw out that a lot people who couldn't hear in the first place latched onto.
Here are some things for digital diciples to consider:
(my personal observations)
The knock on digital has always been that it is cold and sterile sounding as well as harsh as opposed to analog which is characterized as warm and natural. While digital has come a long way in improving in those areas, it still has not totally done so.
The other thing that I and others noticed about digital is that it sounds compressed compared to analog. Why is that?
because your're trying to put the same amount of music(or more) from a 12in" disc on a 4 in" disc. and the only way to do that is by compression. Then they increase the dynamic range to play it back but have never been able to put back all that was taken out by compressing,that's why your panel noticed a 2-3db louder difference that analog had over digital. The other thing that compression does is remove noise, which is what you hear as a complaint by most digital fans about analog( the ticks and the pops)but what you also remove with the noise is a lot of the music that was in the recording as well.
So,essentially what you have with digital is quietness/clarity, dynamics and heavy bass or the perception
thereof, which a lot of folks seem to like or been fooled into liking.
What you have with analog is warmth, naturalness, presence, air, timbre and as you have mentioned dynamics, which I will take any day over the other.
Just as and aside, I use live music(recordings and club settings) as my reference when comparing the two formats, not studio recordings only which unfortunately most folks do.
The one question I have for digital diciples is this?
If digital is so much better than the old antiquated analog technology, why is it when you are trying to describe how good a digital player is you use words like warm and analog like? Why are you trying to sound like an old antiquated technology?
Just some of my observations.
Analog and digital sound different and always will.

Comparing them is lame and an exercise in futility.
I have never compared one to another. I own a digital system and am pretty happy with it. But I have heard a very expensive analog gear - Clear Audio+Piega+Nagras and the sound was impressive!! The gear totaled more than $40K.

There surely must be reasons why people prefer analog to digital. I am not denying that or anyone's preference. But I feel that some comparisons may not necessarily be correct.
"Size matters" may not be a correct example. Computers - when they made them first were almost the size of a room or building. Today's desktops and laptops are so small and far more powerful.
People try to say that digital "sounds" like analog, may be because they have been "used" to that sound.
LP's have had much more evolution than CDs. They started way back. From what I have read, the turntables from 50/60s were way different than what technology is being used today.

You may argue that, it has already been mentioned that Sony/Philips accept that CD was not the "audiophile" format. Well these are marketing firms and they really do not care about the consumers. All they care about are their profits. (If they cared about consumers, our hobby would have been more widespread and in it's hey days). When they made the statement about CD, they surely must be eyeing the SACD license and the associated profits. What I am trying to say is that I do not trust someone's statement. What ever sounds good to my ears is good enough for me. Maybe I don't have "golden" ears!!

The biggest factor for me is the "way" we are "used to" as we grow up. Honestly for me, going to the CDP and changing the CD provides more satisfaction rather than browsing on the screen and selecting the MP3 or WAV (or whatever) file. Holding or owning a physical medium is more gratification than a downloaded file. (Isn't it the same case with photographs?) So however much the downloaded files improve in the future, some of us will have a very hard time switching to them. We might find reasons why not to own the music file servers. Disk crashes may be the biggest reason (though it can be avoided). And this I believe is the case between LP and CD. The teens of today will looks at music/files/formats in a different way than what we perceive them.

I feel it really does not make any sense comparing formats. Rather, our community should focus on the recording methods and the pros/cons related to that. Like natural acoustics rather than studios, etc.

Enjoy your music!!
Audiofeil, I don't disagree that they sound different but I think you would agree that if you are trying to choose one over the other or one instead of the other, you have to do some type of comparison!
How do you choose one thing over another, flip a coin?
Roll dice?
I don't think its lame at all. I would think its kinda a cool to listen to 2 different formats and decide for yourself which sounds better. I always compare the cd's i have to their LP counterpart. Part of this hobby to me! I admit that actually some CD;s sound better than LP's & vice a versa, I just prefer the whole LP experience ,taking out the album, reading the liner notes, cleaning it, hearing the light cracks and pops, ect, ect...
Listening to Digital is like having a shower with little Ice cubes
I enjoy good digital and good analog. Therefore I feel a choice is unnecessary.

I own excellent examples of both.

However, it is lame to compare the topologies and expect them to sound similar. They don't and never will. That was point and perhaps not stated clearly.

Now, one might prefer a particular disc over its' vinyl counterpart. That happens albeit infrequently.

If forced to live with only one, it would be sinora to those shiny little frisbees.
Dear Christos: First than all thank you to share with us your overall CDvsLP " project " that speaks in a paramount way who you are like a person and who you are ( and your life passion ) like an audiophile and congratulations too for the great system you own.

It happens ( at least on LP ) that I own every single LP you use on both events but the Les Brown one and I agree with your findings on them, unfortunately I don't have all the CD " twins ".
Anyway your very hard work is really appreciated and a learning one for say the least.

We all know the heavy limitations of the Redbook digital technology and not because is digital but because the standard CD format ( 16/21.2 ) that Sony/Philips choose was the wrong one from the quality performance point of view for us " audiophiles ", they care about profits not quality for a very small part of the market and they achieve what they want, no doubt about. That CD format ( limited frequency range ) makes that the LP one has a high dynamic range than the CD counterpart.
I know that the oversampling ( 24/96+) helps in some way to de Redbook at a level where many of us can enjoy ( some CD samples ) it in almost the same way than LP, btw, I agree totally for what Milpai posted.

I posted several times that both formats can't be compared from the technology point of view each format has and I have to say that today IMHO both formats share more similarity than real differences and IMHO this fact depend more on the quality of the audio system along the quality of the recording on each format that on the format by it self, I think that today we are lucky enough to enjoy both formats!!

Now, if we take the true DVDA 24/96-192 technology ( the SACD too but I prefer the DVDA. ) and we compare in an every thing the same home system the veredict could be 50%-50%, that ( unfortunately ) " dead " digital technology tell us IMHO that the digital technology not only grow up but that can be a great alternative and an alternative not to choose which is better but because both formats has to " live " together due that many recordings exist only in LP format and many recordings too exist only on digital format so: Enjoy both!!!!

Regards and enjoy the music.

PS: Btw, I have a little difference opinion about that the cartridge design are grow up through the years, please if you can read this:

Thank you again.
A re Skaloumbaka idees pou katevazeis.Thirio eisai re,tzimani,leventopedo ,stereofonikakia mou!
Years ago, I had the listening experience with the following CD's (I supose you have heard them...) and not with my current analogue set-up...

I had those records in CD's and when came in my hands the vinyl pressings, I immediately exchanged them with the vinyls... (I do not know how to embed pics...)

They are 16 bit - linear cuts, as I read on the records' cover technical notes... I have an explanation why this is happening... but I would prefer to ask if any other fellow had the same experience with me with digitally remastered LPs...
I also participated at the test and all I can say that in the specific system Analog sounded a lot better than digital which sounded very "soulless" if I could use the word.
I still like both formats though and I think both have a lot to offer.



Dear Christos: It happen that the México Audio Technica owner on those times was/is a close friend of mine and he bring two full Telarc LP collections: one for him and one for me, no CD at all.

Thanks to my friendship with him I not only buy those Telarc LPs but several Audio Technica cartridges some of them that only was on salew inJapan, great times for say the least.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Dear Michael: +++++ " I can say that in the specific system Analog sounded a lot better than digital " +++++

different times but is nice to read that that statement comes from an owner on all digital audio system. This kind of attitude is the one that permit to any one not only grow up but enjoy in a better way the music no matter which kind of source.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Hello Giorgos from Toronto !!!
Hi Hristo
Elpizo na min se ethixa me to parapano sholio mou!Asteievomouna na xereis.Eho dei fotografies me to systyma sou,to video sas sto youtube me oli tin parea ekei,kathos kai to heiropoiito rack pou eftiaxes.Bravo ,emeina katapliktos.Kapote sou eiha grapsei sto ACA.GR ,alla den elava apandisi,pane tora 5 hronia isos.Kai eis anotera se olous ekei stin patrida,kai ego apo Athina eimai.Enjoy the tunes!
Oxi katholou. Antitheta xarhka poly !!!
Skaloumbakas: ACA eftgty eimew tghyuw hjuyterf anotyu!!!!!!

Have a good time.

The knowledge for redbook CD playback is so deep in depth and requires a lot of knowhow to deal with the "invisible/intengible" aspects in the set up causing die-hard analogue people like me that always face problem and cannot get the soul of the music out of it.
I think the money and the efforts I paid for learning a good digital playback is so much more than learning and comparing cartridges, tonearms, tables, phonostages and time for tweaking a Lp playback was just basically a mechanical setting routine.
There is obvious setback in the sound I get for digital playback in the past as compared to analog, which can never be more than just limited to all these findings -- smaller sound staging, lack of 3D and layering of the sound stage, harmonics and trailing edge of strings toward the last few bits seem always be truncated, human vocal, the intensity level of the mid Hi in relation to mid bass and low bass extension is always in trouble when the volume knob is cranked up. When you go from 16bits, 44.1kHz upsampling to 24bits, 192kHz, the mid bass and low bass extension is too much smoothened up, the whole sound stage at the higher mid and hi, though, opened up but the whole sound stage becomes recess. Overall, the mid is badly affected and cannot never be tolerated by someone like me who love and indulge so much time in analog playback. Besides behaving like the rest of the hardworking audiophiles who put a lot of money into power cords, digital interconnects, power conditioners, Quantums, mechincal isolating devices etc., I learnt the differences in digital out to DAC versus audio out from CD player to ADD/upsampler and to DAC. To cut short the whole story, I managed to get the sound of redbook CD playback to the level I love and I can enjoy. Thanks.