Vinyl vs. digital: what am I doing wrong?

I'd like to ask you all for help with my TT setup. I think I've amassed what should be a nice sounding TT setup. However, I don't think that vinyl sounds as good as my CD (e.g., comparing the same album on vinyl vs CD).

What am I doing wrong?

Here's my TT setup:
- Basis 1400 with clamp
- Upgraded power supply
- Rega RB300 tonearm with Incongnito wiring
- Shelter 501MK2
- VPI 16.5 cleaner with AudioIntelligent cleaning products
- Zerodust stylus cleaner
- TT set up by Brooks Berdan

CD player:
- Metronome CD2V Signature

Rest of system:
- Martin Logan SL3
- Cary 805 amp
- Music Reference Amp
- Supratek Chenin preamp with built in MC phono stage

Thanks in advance for your help.

What differences are you hearing? what loading do you have your supratek set to?
First check your TT settings that everything is in order.

If that doesn't work, then get a separate dedicated phonostage, like a Herron/Modwright/Aqvox.
I've been using my own interconnects (Belden RG6 coax) with WBT style connectors. The speaker cables are Canare RS11 biwire, also with WBT style connectors.

I use a Norah Jones album for most of my comparison. The CD version sounds more clear with better imaging. I find myself hearing more with the CD version. The vinyl version sounds a bit flat.

I'm not sure this is important but I'm using the normal version of the vinyl, not the 180g or 200g versions sold in the audiophile stores.

I don't remember the loading setting. I haven't experimented with this yet. I'll have to check when I get from my business trip.

Let me know if I'm leaving anything else out.

I had a local shop in Boston check the TT settings, and everything was calibrated as it should. I also had the EAR 834p phono stage and the Music Reference RM5 preamp

I liked the Supratek the best but I expected the vinyl version to be much, much better than CD. Am my expectations not correct? Should I really be comparing the audiophile vinyl versions instead?
In which areas was CD better than vinyl?
I think you should try all of the kinds of music that you like before you firm up your opinion. Norah's stuff can make you kind of crazy for the exact imaging and piano tone differences on certain songs and they vary sonically by song sonce they weren't all recorded and produced simultaneously in the same environment. Hard not to love most of it, though.
Hello, I have had similar observations concerning cd vs vinyl. My digital front end always sounds good, whereas it takes a very good lp in good condition to better the cd. As was mentioned earlier in the thread, you may have loading not set right. Experimenting and learning, (not necessarily in that order), are what it takes to get vinyl sounding its best. One of the better qualities of vinyl is the degree of involvement necessary for quality listening. Just have fun with it, and settle in for the long haul, it can be a good ride.


Perhaps your expectations are too high, or perhaps you simply like the sound of CDs better. Nothing wrong with that.
Is this a new cartridge?? If yes, you have to wait for (sometimes) 100's of hours before it sounds its best. I have posted this statement before....I have NEVER found anyone to take the time, effort, and interest than I in setting up my matter matter the charge.
What are you doing wrong? Why is it wrong to prefer cd over vinyl? When done right each have their sonic merits.
A couple of years ago, after careful consideration, I sold most of my lp collection as I realized I preferred cd to vinyl. Spinning lps and all that goes with it held no real attraction for me. The decision was the right one as far as I'm concerned.
How good are you LP pressings? Do you have mostly used stuff, or do you have some new 180/200 gram 45 rpm vinyl? There are lots of bad pressings and poorly cared for vinyl out there. If you haven't tried them yet, get one or two really great LP reissues.

You should talk to Brooks or Brian Berdan about your setup. I am sure they can help you find the problem. I think that any properly setup TT will sound better than any digital rigs out there.
Get rid of your Shelter and buy a Benz... That's what it took to get my vinyl rig competitive with my digital.

The Shelter was always too bright in my system no matter what I did -- and my Benz cartridges seem to have a more proportionate and natural midrange. The cartridge was the last think I changed out... and the thing that made all the difference.
I think that any properly setup TT will sound better than any digital rigs out there.
I think the opposite is just as possible.

Personal preference weighs heavily. Who's to say what is right? There are no absolutes.

Your front end should clearly show the advantage of vinyl.

I use the same preamp (different tt,cartridge,tonearm) and a sony scd777es and sony 222 for digital. Our speakers are close, as I use ML ReQuests. Our amps are cut from the same cloth, I use CJ monoblocks.

In almost every case the vinyl is clearly superior. (Some SACDs are superb) Air, separation of instruments, tonal color are more distinct in vinyl. It doesn't take 180 or 200g reissues to show a difference (Although many of them are superb). If you listen to rock, try any Beatles, csny, doors, or Jethro Tull cds to the vinyl. If YOU don't think there is a BIG difference, hell, sell your basis.

This is not only my take but most of the folks that listen to my system. I don't prod or induce a reaction but often get "thats a record" from many.

I am surprised by your findings, that Metronome must be one hell of a redbook player!

Have Fun!
The Shelter/Rega are far from an ideal combination.

That turntable deserves much better.
Just my two cents, I had two records of Norah Jones (Come Away with Me)one in 200gram Classic Records and 180gram Blue Note Record. Both records sounded inferior to the CD version. So if you're judging your vinyl setup against your cd setup using Norah Jones as the source, you're not fully hearing what your vinyl rig can really do. The Norah record versions on my system sounded somewhat flat, distant, too laid back and not as precise in soundstaging, very withdrawn. The CD version is much better in all areas. I have a hunch the recording/masteering of this vinyl was not up to par.

Also, I never felt that one format is superior than the other, it really depends on the recording. Both formats can sound awesome if only each format was mastered/recorded well to begin with. So choose your recordings, not the format.
Wow, interesting indeed.

The vinyl versions of Nora blow away my CDs on my system. (Pro-ject RM10 with Sumiko Blackbird cartridge into a Rowland Continuum 500 amp). I liked the first one so much that I bought everything else I could find by her on vinyl.

I would suspect a mismatch between the cartridge and step-up stage or loading in the phono pre.
I have found about a 75 to 80% in the win column of Vinyl vs. the same CD… That means a few can in fact just be good, and mostly this really depends on the music being played, or how good the pressing on vinyl is that you have… some vinyl are dud's so don't kid yourself, and some CD's are pretty dynamically superior in few cases due to all the time and money went into mastering the CD at the time the piece was recorded and the vinyl was an afterthought. By the way I have pushed systems in the past to be nearly identical sound quality via vinyl or CD, Where they both would do it nearly as well as the other matching up.. Again you are not really comparing the two devices of a Turntable vs. a CD player, but a Recording vs. a Recording, you will have to Expand your Vinyl testing to some other things vs. AUDIOPHILE only recordings and you will most definitely start to find some Vinyl cannot be touched by the cd no matter how many DAConvertors or Transports you put behind some recordings.     
In my system, SACD, DVD-A and vinyl are all usually on the same level and CD lags behind, but is still good enough to be enjoyable, most of the time.

What????? Studio 68...I hear the exact opposite. I have an Ayre C5xe CD player - not a slouch, however the vinyl is warmer, more 3 dimensional, more air, ...just more real. If you didn't hear the vinyl, the CD is wonderful, but I do hear the vinyl. ..check your setup!!
You're probably not doing anything wrong and it looks like you're putting together a very nice system. From your descriptions and pics, and without me knowing more, my suggestions would be: a) in line with Audiofeil's comments (above) - your table deserves, first, a better arm and second you'll get more resolution, air and improved tonality from a higher-end cartridge; and b) though not TT related, your room might benefit from some acoustic treatment. Just some ideas - good luck.

For critical listening, I adjust the stylus tip angle to suit the record. No mention of this was in your post, so that might be something you have overlooked.

I wold also personally confirm that the turn table is level and set up properly. In a time where most people don't know how to run a record player, the person setting up your player might not be able to go beyond basic assembly.

Nothing against the famous name who set up your table. I would generally trust them, after all, I am not famous for Audio distinction and the are , yet in something so critical you must know it is correct. No matter who set up the table, you must understand that it is correctly done, since this is your starting point for all the sound downstream.
The recording on the Norah Jones CD is no slouch. A properly "tuned" turntable should have no problem sounding better than the CD version. I have both the LP and the CD.

Properly setting up a turntable is not a difficult task. Just read the instructions and most people will have no problem doing it. It's the minute infinite tweaking that brings out the best from your rig. Having someone else do it for you might not be the answer. Was it setup in your room or at his place?