What sounds best: Vinyl or CDs


My system in an introductory level of high end music reproduction, I realize.  I like music, not so much gadgetry so I am content, although I keep tweeking from time to time trying to get better sound.  Martin Logan ESL mains, Def. Tech 800 subs (2),  NAD C375BEE Int. Amp, Project Debut Carton turntable w/Ortofon Red cartridge, Yamaha S300 CD player (with a Rega Apollo R player on order),  Niagara 1000 power conditioner. My question/concern is this:  My CDs sound Sooo much better than my vinyl albums.  My vinyl collection is substantial, from the '60s through the '80s, with all in great condition.  But on my system CDs are more volume sensitive, with more dynamics and depth.  Is this normal or am I missing something in my system?  I had originally thought, "Oh well, they are 40+ years old with 40+ year old recording technology".  But is there more? I have even gone to point of buying the CD if there is a particular vinyl I want to listen to frequently.  Comments?
chipito
IMO with all things being of equal level and optimized for the format used, hands down.......native format wins.  
Dear @chipito: First than all I'm a music lover and as you I own thousands of LP and I really like the analog experiences but today digital sourced experiences hands down analog. 
It's much better !

So, your system experiences are rigth and no trouble with.

Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,
R.


In my system, and you are welcome to go look at it rather than list here, vinyl is so much better than my redbook cd setup that I don't consider listening to anything but analog when critical listening is done, CD listening only for background.
You have not mentioned how much experience you have at setting up your arm/cartridge, or how you went about it. When I returned to vinyl around ten years ago now, I was disappointed at first. In my naivete, I blamed my choice of equipment, when actually, it was mostly caused by my own inability to properly set up said equipment.

Since I am persistent, I eventually honed my cartridge set up ability, now my analog front end is at least on par, and recording dependent, superior to my digital front end. Don't fret too much at this stage, you're just getting started. Make sure all the set up parameters are spot on first, and go from there.

Best of luck, regards,
Dan    
1st, you will never rid your vinyl of Snap, Crackle & Pop tho money & time can reduce other elves causing problems

2nd, at a certain point, the mastering and recording processes will pre-dominate over any increases in system quality (which come at increasing cost per ’unit’ SQ improvement - the law of diminishing returns...), so you need to be careful about what versions of an LP or CD you buy

very early CDs (mid-80s) were not well recorded, and very recent releases may have a lot of compression (masted for gag-tunes)

the CD layer of an SACD may well sound pretty good as more care is often taken for SACDs

I have kept a couple dozen LPs (special recordings, MoFi etc.) and have ripped my 2,000 CDs onto computer using Apple Lossless, so that tells you where I’m at on this

You say that you are a music lover so it really doesn't matter. There are so many performances that were only released on LP and have never been reissued in digital media, and so many CDs that were never available on LP that one needs both formats, irrespective of sound quality to enjoy our rich musical history.

But there are many better record players than yours, if it bothers you that it doesn't match your CD player for sound quality, just upgrade. Or downgrade your CD player and use the saved money to go see live concerts.

You can do much better than an Ortofon Red cart. Your TT is certainly competent enough to reproduce the wonderful sonics of well produced vinyl. It could be that your arm and cartridge need proper setup, but IMHO, a better cartridge would help.

And once the Rega CDP is in your system, digital will sound far better than  your current vinyl setup.
It's much cheaper to get decent sound from a CD player than an analog rig (all things being equal). A badly recorded or mixed album sounds like crap on CD AND vinyl.

You don't mention it, so I'm assuming that you are using the optional  PP375 MC/MM phono module?

From the info posted, I'd say your weak points are your phono stage and cartridge.

I listen to vinyl, CD, SACD, and DSD files to take advantage of the best of all worlds.

My vinyl rig can compete with my SACD/CD player (Esoteric DV-50S) in sound quality but it is 3x as expensive.

I believe that rooms should be set up for vinyl or Digital and it's very hard to set them up perfectly for both. Because of the compression inherent in vinyl it is necessary to adjust the speakers accordingly. Also, you will never eliminate the noise inherent in vinyl. Surface noise is a problem even in the best systems. I listen to vinyl when I don't have the digital form of that recording but the wide dynamic range, silent background and the ability to shape the music digitally, and the convenience make me turn to digital 90% of the time. You have to spend a lot more money for perfectly pressed albums than digital and superb analog equipment is more expensive. Either way, just enjoy the music! 

my opinion used to be different.

i'm listening to the Tilson Thomas-SF Symphony Mahler 5th right now, in 24-96 PCM off my hard drive through the MSB Select II/SGM server right now. on the 5th Movement. had the lights down and was kicking back for the first 4 movements. I'm no Mahler expert or even Classical expert (so no flames about the Tilson Thomas version sucking ).

it's been involving and a satisfying musical experience and kept my attention.

nothing flat or lacking nuance or micro-dynamics about this. lots of action and great separation, space, realism and authority. I listen to lots of classical on the Select II. the Select II and SGM server are both pretty top level kit.

Friday night I had a few serious analog focused guys over and we listened to quite a bit of digital; mostly string quartets, and classical piano. they were quite amazed at the natural, spacious and focused presentation. one of them is a classical composer and music professor. he was especially taken with a redbook Haydn String Quartet and the sound staging and natural tone.

can Lps still be better? sure they can but not by as much as you might think.......but don't blame the digital format for the apparent significant difference between cd and lp, it's the particular digital playback systems that are lacking. my vinyl playback is up there in the higher realm too......but still the digital gets closer.

at the top of the playback food chain, top level digital/redbook/CD's can get fairly close to top level vinyl.......but below that it's a crap shoot. I would say a more modest vinyl investment will generally take you quite a bit farther than a similar digital investment, but there are no real hard and fast rules for it. there are giant killer vinyl set-ups with perfect set up, and giant killer digital too......that flip things around. and then there is always the issue of personal preference.

I have found that Benchmark DAC 3 sounds like the best I ever heard from vinyl without all the limitations of Vinyl (pops, clicks, hiss) - out of the box and with no Singer SU-1 or any other treatments. I was surprised about the not so subtle improvement from the previous gen DAC2 - mostly down to the new Sabre chip I suspect. I am interested if other users of the most recent round of DACs with newer chips are finally satisfied that digital is now the equal of the very best vinyl. Of course not every recording is the best in digital - nor is everything available in digital - so vinyl still should be part of any serious collectors armoury and I did not say digital exceeds the very best vinyl sound - just I feel it is on par.

Oh and Mahler is amazing stuff....my favorite is the interpretation by Benjamin Zander - perhaps not he best recordings but I know Benjamin and he puts everything into his work and has amazing motivational skills in bringing out the best in the entire orchestra.

Ben's book (which he gave me) "The Art of Possibility" is accessible and a great read...




with all due respect; generalizations about ’noise’.....pops, clicks, hiss’ from vinyl are not different than generalizations about digital sounding edgy or flat.

these are not inherent format characteristics, they are artifacts of less than stellar execution of the formats.

my digital is fully natural and analog sounding in a good way.

and except for the lead in and lead out grooves (where you want a bit of noise) and between tracks there are almost never pops, clicks, hiss or noise in my vinyl.

does it take some effort and investment to find great sounding digital and vinyl? of course, but don’t blame the formats for flaws of the gear or set-up.

Mike,

I agree - "very best vinyl" is when it all comes together - pristine wax and a great setup - and I can only comment based on what I have heard which won't be anything close to SOTA vinyl.

Red Hot Chili Peppers usually sounds better on Vinyl because of that harsh edgy sound from digital limiting (compression) done in the Mastering by hot mastering engineers - another example of "equipment not at fault" but misuse of the medium results in a poor quality recording nonetheless.

DAC 3 is a modest investment compared to the effort you have gone to - and not having heard your setup I can only guess it is at another level altogether - both vinyl and digital.

For mere mortals I think it is encouraging that recent DACs are both affordable (Gustard X20 Pro) and really close to the best vinyl....
chipito- your table setup is fine to experience playing a record, but far from a level to ask "what’s better?"

One does need to commit a minimum $ level to reach that point. Where it is, probably can be debated with no conclusion.

This thread starts at a good level$
https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/your-choice-tt-arm-stage-cartridge-5000-budget.

This however, won’t live up to its potential without an equal level support staff-amp/speakers....


Dear @mikelavigne : Certainly you are a reference for me and more than two years ago I remember that you posted something very similar on the digital great source quality:

https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/interesting-project-started-by-michael-fremer/post?postid=126...

The digital technology is in advance almost every single day ( as computers or cell phones. ). It's an explosive alternative as was in its times the analog experience.

In true is imposible for analog competes bis a bis with digital. Analog is full of non-salvable limitations that comes inherent part of the analog experience rigth from the recording process and obviously through all the playback process in each one audio system.

No one of us can't do nothing to modify what's in the recording but only through the whole playback proccess where at least we need to try that every kind of generated/developed distortions been " set-up " at minimum and this is the best we can do. We just can't improve what's in the recording only try that the audio signal be degraded at minimum through the overall playback proccess with both technologies. 

Trade-offs exist always through digital and analog and like you said our each one preferences play an important role in what we like to hear.

Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,
R.

Dear Raul,

thanks for the kind words. that recording I mentioned 2 years ago is now available as a Quad dsd download here;

http://store.acousticsounds.com/a/31898/Ilya_Itin_Debussy

it’s is an outstanding piano recording, no doubt, if you can play Quad dsd files.

as far as distortions and vinyl, I don’t think it’s much different than digital. neither is absolutely perfect. and anyway; numbers never really tell the whole story, maybe they point us to important things but are not the proof. it’s our ears and our feelings.

for the last few years I’ve done lots of investigations as to what is possible with digital playback (both dacs and servers), and I have found my digital answer which does get into the realm of top level vinyl in most aspects of the presentation. the MSB Select II dac combined with the SGM server has been revelatory to me. and it’s that way with every format and resolution. truly a break through type product.

the best vinyl is still better and does go farther down the same road. but not that much better.

best regards,

Mike


Shadorne said,

Oh and Mahler is amazing stuff....my favorite is the interpretation by Benjamin Zander - perhaps not he best recordings but I know Benjamin and he puts everything into his work and has amazing motivational skills in bringing out the best in the entire orchestra.,

I'm listening to Zander's Mahler 6th in dsd on the Select II tonight.

it's really superb. magnificent recording and very lively and sparkling presentation. thanks for the tip. spacious and great separation of all the fireworks.

The point is not how it sounds but how your body reacts to it.
 I've been a serious listener of classical music for over 60 years and during that time have owned about 6K lp's and 3K  CD's .

Long ago I noticed my shoulder area would tighten up after a CD or two
whilst I could listen to LP's for 8 hours straight and remain loose and relaxed . 
Your brain/ body knows whats right and what's not .
Listen to it .
@mikelavigne

I am not a classically trained musician so I really enjoy the narrative that Zander includes on some of his Mahler interpretations. He talks a bit about fourths, fifths and diminished and augmented chords. As a drummer (non musician LOL), I found this very accessible and helpful and it has encouraged me to pursue interval training....maybe there is hope for me to actually understand music in a deeper sense (as to how it is constructed (like a cathedral) rather than just simply enjoy it at a superficial level....)
Thanks for the many meaningful responses.  Yes, this is a very personal and subjective sport with unlimited ($$) variables.  I have, however, decided to add a separate phono preamp, with gain and adjustments to the mix, hoping to bring the vinyl experience up to something more pleasing, in my ears anyway.  At least that is where I will start.

another Mahler sighting.....

last night I was absolutely enjoying (under the spell of) the 2012 192khz/24 bit recording of a Chamber ensemble version of Mahler#4, Trevor Pinnock conducting the Royal Academy of Music Soloist’s Ensemble. I’m not a Mahler or Classical expert, but this one really hits the spot. all the little nuance things that vinyl does are here and it’s all so physically easy on my senses, natural and super intimate and involving. the tone and textures are intoxicating. the room is alive with realism and delight. reach out and touch it holographic presentation.....at least here in the barn.

along with the intimate and subtle are the big macro moments. overall a Chamber Music scale, but moments of shock and awe too.

is this digital? vinyl? it’s certainly something.

http://www.linnrecords.com/recording...onie-no-4.aspx

the Select II/SGM delivers again.....and again. it seems this combo is made for my system. it transcends the concept of formats and just does music.

For me it's about the recording and how it's done. Iggy Pops Brick by Brick on cd sounds better than my original import vinyl because the guitar mix on the vinyl hides the guitar. Same with Pat Benatars Crimes of Passion,the cd is clearer than the vinyl which sounds muddled and  murkey.
I have vinyl which clearly sounds better than their cd counterparts. Like I said depends on how the recording was done.


While CDs are often kind of whimpy sounding they can sound dynamic and detailed. At the same time I frequently feel as if the recording on CD is like the steak in the movie The Fly that was teleported from one pod to the other. When it came out of the second pod it sure looked like it made it OK. It looked like a steak and maybe even smelled like a steak. But when Jeff Goldblum and Gina Davis cooked and ate the steak something must have gone dreadfully wrong because it didn’t taste at all like steak. Not even close. In fact, it was inedible.

There is so much going on with respect to digital recordings vs analog recordings and playback that it takes volumes.

1) if the physical recording is digital instead of analog, then with proper digital playback equipment vs like analog playback equipment, you probably won't hear a difference. 

2) if the recording is analog and then remastered to digital, then that is a different story. 

The real test is at what level does the analog equipment outshine the digital equipment.  I have found that it all comes down to how good the analog equipment is vs the digital equipment.  In my opinion, when you pass a certain price point, the analog equipment will out perform the digital.

I have heard some of the very best digital playback equipment vs some of the very best analog playback equipment and the analog beat the digital.

Again, a lot depends on how the recording was done initially.

Take a recording that was done "correctly" in analog and also record it in digital at the same time.  play the recordings back on high end digital and analog playback equipment properly set up and you will hear the difference.

Again, a lot depends on how the recording was initially done.

I have a pretty good  digital playback system (can always get better) and a pretty good analog playback system (again, can always  get better).  When I want to listen and enjoy, I listen to my digital system. especially when I don't want to be cleaning albums and getting up to change discs.  but, when I want serious listening, well, the analog is the way I go.

Just me, because everyone has their own opinion. 

but, you really have to understand the recording process for the comparison to be fair. 

enjoy

https://youtu.be/g5dCMz4gKLI

Its about the music ~  the medium isn't always a given for availability.
Enjoying it is easy on any medium for those who dig the music,
throw RR into the mix, even that can show up the others.
Still surprised people get bent on this, levity in humour.......
noise such as pops, clicks, etc. is present in vinyl and worse in lower quality vinyl

... and a vinyl recording will get worse as you play it over & over

digital is not subject to those problems
You’re supposed to listen through the pops and clicks. Besides CDs are SO compressed now who really cares? Tape is a natural medium. It breathes.

IMO, it all depends on the recording and on the playback equipment. Since you are just getting started, I would start investing in equipment that would really give your system a boost in SQ. IMO, going from a Yamaha CD player to a rega isn't going to get you ahead. I would invest in a really good quality external dac then hook up a CD player, music server/streamer to it. As for vinyl, get your wallet out. You will need a good phono preamp (much better than using 1 inside a receiver/integrated amp), then a good tt/arm/and cartridge. You see all these reviews comparing vinyl to digital and the reviewer always prefer vinyl. But when you look at their analog equipment, they can have up to $250k in a tt/arm/cartridge/phono preamp, and they compare this setup to a $15k digital setup. It takes quite a bit of $$$$ to build a good analog playback system, much more than building a really good digital system. I propably have 3x more invested in my analog setup (retail prices) compared to my digital equipment and I have vinyl albums that blow away my digital albums and I have cds/dsd albums that sound much better than vinyl. 
1 option when you go analog, you can setup a 2nd arm with a mono cartridge and get superior sound over its equivalent stereo album, if the album was produced originally as mono, not converted, for example, miles Davis kind of blue and the Beatles mono collection.

I’d like to offer my two cents as well. I own an Avid Diva II SP TT with an Audio Technica AT ART-9 MC cart mounted to an SME 309 tonearm setting on a 3" thick maple base with sorbothane feet. I use a Simaudio Moon Neo 310LP phono preamp for the setup. I also own a Bryston BCD-3 CD player. Both pass through a Parasound JC 2 BP preamp and Parasound A21 amp. My speakers are Focal 1028 BEs. In the world of analog, my TT setup is maybe 2.5 stars, my digital is perhaps 4 out of 5 stars. With that out of the way, I’ll say that my low end analog at three times the cost of my CD player does produce better sounding music. My statement strongly depends on the quality of the mastering of the media. The cleanest,most precise vinyl will edge out the very best of my CD collection, by a little bit. The point is, an analog setup will win a shootout with a digital setup most of the time, but there’s a steep price to pay for equipment and proper setup. You could definitely get more out your system with a better cart and preamp that won’t break the bank. A move up the Ortofon MM line to the 2M Black would be an enormous improvement from where you are at. It is probably the best "all purpose" cart I’ve ever owned. The 2M Red to the 2M Black is an honest night to day change  Attach a SEPARATE phono preamp (Graham Slee makes decent stuff that’s MM only) and you’ll have something that will almost certainly put a smile on your face when playing well recorded vinyl.
It all depends on the system(s) you are using and the quality of the recording. Overall, a record should not sound "much worse" than a CD or digital file. In my current set-up I prefer vinyl over CD or SACD. I am sure this is due to the equipment used. I use a Marantz UD7007 for CD and SACD playback and a Denon DP59L with ZYX Fuji cart for Vinyl. In my set-up vinyl often sounds better, but again, it also depends on the recording. To compare, the Marantz is a 700USD device for playback and the Denon / ZYX combo is over 3000USD. I find vinyl more dynamic, alive, and with a better sound stage than CD or SACD in my set. As mentioned in several other posts it is crucial to have your arm and cart set-up properly and have the right cart / arm combo. Best to use a table specific / cart specific protractor for this, or alternatively use a generic protractor. Also, if you should have some budget to up your cart I think it would be worth the effort. Hope this helps in your search for better vinyl playback.
Recently I became aware of the Dynamic Range Database available on line.  Check it out.  Interestingly,  according to this database, the vinyl version always scored highest on the scale of dynamic range over the many CD versions.   Some versions of the same music in CD might match the vinyl's dynamic range, but rarely exceeded the vinyl.  I believe CD compression explains much of the perceived inferiority of this format.  Generally speaking, I believe a typical LP would rarely sound worse than the CD version, but a well engineered CD can come close to matching the LP,  assuming the best playback systems from both formats. This assumes dynamic range is an important criteria for your listening, which for me, more dynamic range = more realistic.

However, on super extreme, well engineered sources, with the very highest dynamic range, and on an unusually capable playback system, I think the story changes, and digital can exceed vinyl and tape.   My professional level system (JBL M2, JBL Sub18, 3 Crown ITech5000HD stereo amps) is capable of super phenomenal  dynamic range (1250 watts to each compression high frequency driver, 1250 watts to each 15" woofer, and 2500 watts to 18" sub) .  Dynamic range capability was this system's major design criteria, and it is frequently used in movie and music production.  I have carefully tuned my listening position using measurement, speaker/sub placement, and acoustical room treatment to handle this extreme dynamic range capability.   When I play the SACD of "Bucky Pizzarelli-Swing Live" by Chesky, which has the highest dynamic range in my collection, and is what I consider a "super" disc, and play it at a generous SPL, the effect is jaw dropping.  I think, how is that even possible.   I don't believe vinyl is technically capable of this super extreme, and considering the base notes being produced in the room, I wonder if you would be hard pressed to  even put the TT in the same room as the speakers. 

Unfortunately, really, really good sources with extreme dynamic range are rare.
It depends on the LP or CD.  There are vinyl recordings that sound awful and ones that sound great.  Same with CD recordings.  Some CD recordings are phenomenal.  Dick Hyman Plays Fats Waller - Direct-To-CD is as close to live as one might ever hear.  Yes it is a CD.

I think where this gets tricky is when you have a CD and a vinyl of the same recording.  If the vinyl is brand new and the best pressing done from the batch - possibly an early pressing you may find the LP sounds better.  However every time you play the vinyl you are shaving some of the fine detail off of it.

Perhaps a better question would be - can you hear the difference between a new vinyl and a digitized recording of that same vinyl.  Using a fancy Benchmark ADC1 A-to-D I "record" my records.  So far I have not had 1 person able to hear the difference between the LP or the Digital file.  And I have a very accurate system - full range electrostatics, Benchmark mono-blocks etc.  

I like to tell people there are different types of playback systems.  One type is the analytical reference system - this is what I have in my studio / playback room.  The other is a performance system - this is what I have in my car - it doesn't actually act as a playback reference it creates its own performance.  So for some things the music actually "sounds better" in my car!  But that is because the car is hiding shortcomings and exaggerating other things.  Sort of the same way a guitar amplifier and speakers are part of the music not a playback component.

So to get back to your question...  If the music you are listening to is only available on an old LP then that is what you have to listen to.  Conversely if only available on CD then there you go.

I have three music sources in my system:
A turntable, a CD player and my computer.

I have three playback systems:
My good one in my studio.
My car.
My iPhone with headphones.

Given the fact that I don't have a turntable in my car or iPhone it reduces the choices down to digital.

 
LP is better but CD can be quite good. Use good gear in both, Modified Linn and different players and Metrum Hex. Movers damaged my Rega 1000 and I am going to use my Jelco until until it is fixed. LP cost more but I have used the Linn up against some good systems [theirs, not mine] and it has stood up well. I haven't put in my Koetsu Red in yet as I have been afraid I would damage it in my present state but I have decided "what the hell". I can;t the it with me"!
LP is better but CD can be quite good. Use good gear in both, Modified Linn and different players and Metrum Hex. Movers damaged my Rega 1000 and I am going to use my Jelco until until it is fixed. LP cost more but I have used the Linn up against some good systems [theirs, not mine] and it has stood up well. I haven't put in my Koetsu Red in yet as I have been afraid I would damage it in my present state but I have decided "what the hell". I can;t the it with me"!
The Linn Superline is great but I am downsizing to Jasmine but havent been able to use it yet. Speakers Spendor and Gamut. Amps CJ 350 and Gamut 2000. Passive pre townsend.
The Linn Superline is great but I am downsizing to Jasmine but havent been able to use it yet. Speakers Spendor and Gamut. Amps CJ 350 and Gamut 2000. Passive pre townsend.
The Linn Superline is great but I am downsizing to Jasmine but havent been able to use it yet. Speakers Spendor and Gamut. Amps CJ 350 and Gamut 2000. Passive pre townsend.
Sorry about the repeats but my mind is not what it was!
Have had brain tumor!
I’ll chime in with my first impression when I read your speakers list. Twin def tech 800’s with ML ESL’s. IMO those subs are no where near fast enough to integrate well with electrostats. They are pretty decent for HT, and maybe even with some loose sounding box speakers, but they can sound very flabby and muddled when used with planars or electrostats. I can guess your ESL panel sounds pretty good with the NAD but even the ML bass section must be a bit behind and doesn’t integrate well with the subs either which just makes matters worse. Just an educated guess as when I was looking for a fast sub with lots of control to work with some Maggie’s a while back I tried the def tech and it just didn’t work at all in my room. With vinyl it just sounded sloppy as hell. Just an fyi.
I have a lot of vinyl that I've collected at thrift stores, garage sales, even record shop over the years. Most of my records cost about a dollar but some I've paid somewhat more. I listen to mostly classical and the cheap ones from thrift stores are often in pristine condition. I have a quite good analog setup: Michel Orbe TT, Graham 1.5 arm, Lyra titan cartridge retipped by Soundsmith, Lehman Decade phono preamp. My best records sound wonderful on my Electrostatic speakers. I have digital remasterings of some of the great recordings that sound good on my better than average but not world class CD player. However, the records sound better (Reiner, Scheherazade, Also Sprach Zarathustra, Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra). I have a lot of records that don't sound very good, not well recorded. Most of my CDs are less awful but still not as good as better records. Since I am a classical musician I listen to the great recordings but also listen to average recordings often because I'm into the music as much or more compared to the audiophile experience. 
When exactly will my vinyl, some I bought in the 60s, start to sound bad?
Dear friends: I think  that all what we posted in this thread in some or other way is " true ", even the post that said: " how your body reacts " that's " true " too.

Now, what we like it or not is always room/system dependent and each one MUSIC/sound priorities and for we can have a nearer idea which medium as a medium is better maybe we have to analize the " motor " or better yet the " factory " where those motors been builded that in our case is the each one recording proccess and the playback one too:

first and main difference between the analog and digital medium resides at the low bass range that's the foundation of MUSIC and where MUSIC " belongs ": while in digital the bass comes in true stereo fashion ( that's the way microphones pick up the signal. ) and recorded in stereo in the analog medium during cutting/mastering process that low bass range comes in monophonic way due to LP limitations.

This first difference is critical due that as in other frequency ranges all bass notes produce overtones/harmonics and these harmonics has clear influence in what we are listening and influence not only in all the bass range but at the mid range too an even at the high frequencies.

From that point of view digital is faithful to the recording while analog can't be. That's why everything the same digital always has the best bass range in any recording.

Digital recording proccess needs only the converters to record those 0 and 1s while the LP needs several steps that makes some signal degradation before the information stays in the LP surface.

With out " seeing " both whole proccess I want to analize 2-3 steps on the analog side:

RIAA eq.: this analog recording step is " fulminant " for the audio signal, terrible for say the least, because we have to think that from 20 hz to 20 khz the audio signal is equalized in between  ( around ) -18 db to +18 db. In reality the RIAA is an equalization curve, a severe one that affects everysingle MUSIC note/harmonics.

Other step is that the equalized audio signal must be recorded/cutted on the vynil material where is alost imposible to be faithful to that " original " equalized audio signal. 

All these severe audio signal degradation does not exist in the digital recording process that's more " direct " than analog.

Exist other degradation issues in the analog process but with those are enough by now.

Playback at each one of us room/system:

digital is extremely easy and more " direct " too, with a lot lesser signal degradation than in analog and when we are taling of " signal degradation " we are talking that we are adding distortions at each of those additional steps.
Digital needs a DAC and is " done ". There is no need of a phono cartridge with all its disadvantages and other additional steps to listen it.

During playback process and before the cartridge we have to " figth "  with every kind of unstabilities in the TT even on speed accuracy, motor noises, damping problems and the like.
Along those comes the LP imperfections as: off center records and the fact that all LP comes with macro and micro waves due that are not totally flat. All those develops additional distortions to the analog playback experiences.

But not all stops there, the worst is forth coming when the stylus tip touch the first recorded groove:

first than all is that for the playback process stays faithful to the recording that stylus tip must be ridding/tracking exactly with the same angle that the grooves where cutted ( this never happens not even in LT tonearms. ) and must rides/follow those grooves adding nothing but the movements that produces those grooves. This is that must mimic the grooves with out any kind of generated vibrations/movements kind of feedback: impossible to achieve it, all the analog playback prcess is added by different kind of distortions and we can´t do nothing at all.

In that stylus tip job exist differences on the problem/distortions levels depending on the stylus tip shape, stylus clean shape, stylus tip damaged level, LP surface clean condition or dust, and very critical the self cartridge tracking abilities. A nigthmare for say the least.

But things go on: that cartridge is mounted in an imperfect item name it: tonearm that generates by it self several kind of different distortion levels some by its feedback and some other because not well damped design and all these affects the audio signal. Additional the audio signal must pass through the tonearm internal wires and cartridge tonearm input/output mafe/female connectors before gone to the phono stage. More distortions generated there.

The worst for the end: signal goes through the phono stage:

at this step begins the real earthwake a full 9.5 Ritcher one when that already and heavy degraded audio signal must pass for the inverse RIAA eq. that never mimic the recorded RIAA eq. due that always exist deviations ( is the phono stage spec in your unit: 20 hz to 20 khz +,- 0.1 db., in the best cases. ).
This second equalization stage destroy per se what left of that audio signal but things goes on because the signal must be amplified almost 10K times ! ! !  before the linepreamp can handle the signal.


So, now just imagine if what we are listening through the LP is better than on digital medium where the signal did not pass through all those " torture " analog steps..

We like analog because for to many years we are accustomed to those very high distortion levels: we are accustom to, our ears/brain takes it as the rigth sound to listen MUSIC when digital is something totally " new " for the brain.

@mikelavigne posts says all because he has an analog reference rig and a digital reference too and even that his brain is accustom to analog he today discerns very well on how good is the digital experience.

As I posted before: superior to the analog when the target is to stay faithful to the recording and this ismy main target. Analog can't even the digital superior medium, it can't because all those technology limitations: to many degradation steps where audio signal must pass that in digital just does not.


Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,
R.













@rauliruegas : your prediction is spot-on, youngsters prefer MP3 sound to whatever else is out there. Makes old f@$&s like me cringe, but its true that young brains cannot take the "torture" of analog. Once this recent fad of LPs and cassettes gets old, digital will rule, I suppose...
As for me, as you said, its too late: I Love the distortions, noise, background hiss off my Keel-ed, Aro-ed Sondek (and Nakamichi deck!) and I play SACDs and CDs only as a background/convenience noise. My digital front-end is at about the same $$ point as LP12 (see my profile) but to my aging ears analog gives something extra (distortions?) which I find "natural".
I wonder if dCS stack would be a revelation for MP3 crowd, or if they find it too "analytical???!!!
It is a hopeless argument but always an interesting discussion. Having myself listened to nothing but analog (vinyl, tape, even a few pre-RIAA shellac 78s) for the first 2/3 or so of my life, I recall that the advent of CDs was a revelation of clarity on familiar remastered recordings. I see no earthly reason to change that opinion today. Any issues I've ever had with CDs have been due to poorly recorded disks, remixes that failed to capture the moment (perhaps due to more competent original mixing) or subpar playback equipment.

It would certainly be fun to hear the exact same performance mastered/pressed purely in analog and mastered/burned purely in digital, and A/B both on perfect playback equipment. Alas, I'm restricted to hearing (e.g.) Van Cliburn recorded on tape long ago and mastered either to vinyl long ago or remastered to CD less long ago. In such comparisons, a good CD (mine is RCA, same as the old vinyl) wins by a mile. The 1961 record is made from good vinyl but alas is no longer virgin or even close. The CD remains 'virgin', as does its ripped image. The practical side of the inequality strongly tilts to digital, as the market has demonstrated. The pure quality question is impossibly subjective. Does a modern digital recording sound better pressed to vinyl through a DAC than downsampled onto a CD? Better yet, does a master tape sound better than an HD digital master of the same performance?

There was a reason we went haywire for Burwen pop/tick removers and sliding-filter dynamic noise reduction devices in the 70s and early 80s, and we used them despite the end product being brutal next to a remastering to CD.
Sevs I’m not too sure that ALL youngsters prefer their MP3s. I was in a bookstore just 2 days ago and there were four 20 somethings thumbing through the new vinyl recordings, as limited as the selection was. Plenty of 180 gram recordings of the rock catalog of yesteryear, maybe a novelty? I didn’t ask but this is certainly not the first time I have observed this.

I’m with Schubert, whatever relaxes you into the music, little else matters.
I think there is a lot of senseless thread-jacking here. OPs question isn't what's better, cd or TT, and it's not "what's wrong with millennials". OP, you're asking what's wrong with your system

The key thing OP says is that the volume is more sensitive and dynamic with the CD player. This tells me that the issue is the phono preamp.

OP, do you have the optional NAD preamp?  If not, there is your problem. You need a preamp for a turntable. If you do have it, then I suspect a mismatch with your cartridge. Other possibility is that you need a new cartridge. 

I see in one of OPs responses that he's getting a preamp, and I think that's the right move. 
@soundermn I am sorry for being the "hijacker" of the thread and Big Thank You for catching me!!! Once again, SORRY!!!! Rega player shall bring another level of quality to OP, thats a solid upgrade! If you have 10k+ of CDs and x100+ LPs (thats me) then be grateful that your CDs sound better!!! Not my case though... Wish I could find a CD player that beats my LP12!! dCS stack????????!!!!!!! Definitely not my Wadia or Naim SDS3

15ips tapes sound best.