You could have perfect bits sampled thousands of times per second....or drag a rock across some plastic?
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Of Course this is MHO Using a Rega Planer 1 w a cheaper Project phono amp.
You answered your own question: change out the cheap phono stage.
So I'm going to put it to the test. Just rebuilt my Pioneer PL 530 TT. Bought a Sutherland Insight PS with upgraded LPS. What cartridge should I use for playing mostly rock and 60's and 70's music? Preamplifier is AR Ls28se, Amp is PL Evo 400, GE Triton Ref speakers. TT because I bought it new in 77. Nostalgic reasons.
Endless roundabout, but I'll weigh in. What's better is what sounds better to you on your system. I have a great analog set up IMO and a pretty large record collection (maybe 2500 LPs or so) and consequently I would say analog, generally speaking. But I also have a fair sized collection of CDs and SACDs and many of the those sound incredible.
As people here and elsewhere have pointed out, it takes lots more money to reach or exceed with analog with what digital can produce at certain price point, but many people (like myself) get so much enjoyment out of analog with high end carts, tonearms and turntables they can pretty easily justify the expenditure.
There are really far too many factors involved to ask so simple a question (which is better?) and come up with a satisfactory answer.
In a short reply speakermaster hit the nail on the head..."the recording quality". Digital can outclass vinyl if compared to a worn out record or a record not representative of the mastering of it at the time. So many selections of LP's out there and many sources to buy them. The process of pressing LP's whether original or replicated is a complex situation.
Digital, however, is not prone to degradation by having a stylus rubbing over the surface multiple times or the collection of dirt/debris on it. It's relatively maintenance free from cleaning and care as compared to vinyl.
So..the original question....which is better? Equipment is paramount for either medium. And, it all depends on what the listener expects to hear as the best sound. In a perfect world where the best equipment and best recordings were to compare the two the analog would probably win out (IMO).
But music tastes widely vary depending on the listener. Both digital and analog can be enhanced by electronics to suit personal preferences. Good question.
Ok so I "invested" in the latest McIntosh MCD85 SACD player to go with my McIntosh MA352 tube hybrid integrated amp (analog inputs only, no digital). The MCD85 offers a 32 bit DAC and is connected with balanced cables. My vinyl is played on a Pro-Ject Classic turntable with an Ortofon 2M Black cart. I'm using the McIntosh MM phono amp in the MA352.
The more I run standard CDs through the Mac the better they sound. Almost as good as vinyl; sometimes just as good. On some material where I have both a vinyl edition and CD version, its very close.
I've found the better the equipment, the more revealing the quality of the source. There are some Jazz CDs that just sound better than Rock vinyl. That said vinyl and CD quality can vary widely depending on how it was mixed or pressed. If I have to rank them overall it's still 1) vinyl, 2) SACD, then 3) CDs, as one might expect. I can also use the MCD85 DAC to convert digital sources like Pandora (via Marantz NA6005 Network Player). Streaming quality is very similar to CD; better if HD version.
I'm thinking that as detailed a digital slice of the analog wave you get with an SACD, its still a slice and not the full analog wave. I'd still like to enjoy my CD collection as well as vinyl, so I'm counting on the MCD85 to deliver on CDs.
One note, since the resurgence of vinyl, CDs have gotten very inexpensive while vinyl keeps getting more and more expensive. SACDs are very difficult to find and run as much if not more than vinyl.
Get it all right, and Analog is the best. Get it wrong, not so much. There is a lot to think about when assembling a good sounding analog rig. Cartridge load/capacitance, azimuth, VTA, SRA, VTF, Alignment....also resonance. Proper isolation of the turntable, the use of proper low capacitance interconnects, the cleanliness of your lp's....proper SUT if using a MC cartridge, the quality of your phono Preamplifier, etc etc etc....whereas with digital, there is far far less to worry about. I'll put up with all the hassle with analog to arrive at a better place ultimately.
What is the make and model of your cartridge?
Shape of stylus, condition of the record, mastering situation, quality of raw vinyl, and how many presses from each child. How clean is the record?OTOH, I just caught a couple hours of some great Bob James on Deezer in high quality without moving from my chair. It’s all good; enjoy the music.
For me, its all in the engineering and mastering. Vinyl can sound better and it does a large part of the time in my system. I have a 10k TT and a TOTL 7k SACD player. I have many titles in both CD and vinyl. So there is not a solid no or yes answer to this. The answer is in a grey area. At the less expensive end a $500 CD player will beat a $500 TT set up a majority of the time. So I'm leaning to Yes digital sounds better because the average listener is not going to spend the cash on a turntable, tonearm, phono preamp, cartridge and a support base and the dedication to keep their records imaculate to bring out the virtues of vinyl that a enthusiastic audiophile would. This argument will never end because there are too many variables. I hope I put some clarity in this subject. Thanks for reading
Sorry for not responding sooner. I have been busy eating and cooking crawfish plus adult activities. My digital front end is Cambridge CX81 w Cambridge CXU with a Western Digital 4 TB MYBOOK. 99% of the songs are in flac. My speakers are REVEL F208's I just find analog has more texture if that makes sense Im going upgrade the phono preamp
I do have a few SACD's Yellow Brick yard and The Stranger Dire Straits.
Digital to me is more convenient. I did have a lower end Decware amp that I used w Tekton Pendragons, I found the amp did not provide enough bass.
I had a few Makers Mark at the time I posted this. I hope I didn't open up old wounds Geaux Tigers