Worth pursuing analog sound from digital?

Hi all,

I recently acquired a PS audio Nuwave dac which has eliminated most of the digital harshness compared with my old dac but it's still not as smooth and harsh-free like vinyl. I was wondering if it's worth pursuing that analog sound from digital without spending a fortune and if it's even possible. I know lots of digital lovers will say digital can be as good as vinyl but is it really?   

Showing 15 responses by geoffkait

jaferd OP
Is this laser-reading problem something that has been studied and corroborated? Is this a problem if the data is read from a hard drive or flash drive? im no electronic engineer but can’t they make the laser processor more specific and less sensitive to avoid the misreads?

>>>>The laser-reading problem has been discussed before but usually in regards to tracking and the servo tracking mechanism, which apparently stalls out and becomes ineffective under duress, which is IMHO almost all the time since the CD flutters and vibrates during play for a variety of reasons.

I don’t think much has been done with regards to scattered background with the exception of the Green Pen. I have a product that absorbs infrared (invisible) scattered light, which is the only such product extant. Vibration has obviously been studied more, e.g., vibration isolation and damping discs, etc.
I am not trying to rain on anybody’s parade but the problem with the “DAC makes everything better” theory is that, as I recently opined, the problems are primarily in the laser-read process and caused by not only seismic vibration but mechanical and acoustic vibration’s effects on the CD AND the inherent vibration of the disc itself PLUS the scattered background laser light gets into the photodetector where it’s mistaken for real reflected signal. These problems have existed in CD players ever since they were a gleam in some engineer’s eye. 👁 Once these problems occur there’s no going back, the corrupted data gets transmitted to the DAC, errors and all.
The most critical part of digital playback is ANALOG - the laser reading the data part. AND it’s the part that messes everything up. Ironic, ain’t it? And you can never recover. Boo boo! 😩


Totally agree with your last sentence. Just listen to some of the Rock/Pop groups of the mid seventies. Compression was in (over) abundance back then. Many recording companies were too busy trying to make those recordings sound good over your car speaker.

>>>>>Huh? Compression is a relatively recent phenomenon, the truly egregious compression started in the late 90s and is so bad today that you can see many new recordings and re-issues are “flat-lined” Dynamic Range wise, as shown on the dynamic range database. Also, car speakers have very little to do with why records and CDs are compressed. The mid seventies was actually a period of high dynamic range, as were the eighties and most of the nineties. 
All crap. Lets face it old guys. Digital is way more accurate than analog, you don’t have to deal with noise issues or the 10% harmonic distortion or the needle getting stuck

>>>>Accuracy is a tricky thing. On paper CDs are specified/promoted to have at least 90 dB Signal to Noise Ratio and 90 dB Dynamic Range. Yet on CDs the tape hiss from the original master tape is almost never audible whereas it is on records and cassette. One wonders what else is missing. As for noise and distortion in CD playback it can be reduced significantly with vibration isolation and RFI/EMI countermeasures, etc. So, obviously there is considerable noise and distortion in CD playback to begin with, you’re just used to it, that’s all. So what good is the 90 dB spec?

As for the “theoretical” 90 Dynamic Range the overly compressed CDs these days kind of eliminate that spec for any important or meaning. As for the musicality by comparisons to the same recording on record or cassette the CD in most cases sounds like a poor facsimile in terms of bass articulation, sweetness, air and dynamics.
Der @geoffkait : """ digital generally still sounds thin, unnatural, bloated, bass shy, inarticulate, congealed, zippy, two dimensional, generic, metallic, electronic, like paper mache, bland, hard, piercing, compressed, airless and sour ""

you have a problem too, not digital technology.

>>>>>>When’s the last time you had your ears candled? 🕯

I forgot: Do you know that our brain has a very complicated sampling rate for harmonics that we think we can’t hear?

>>>>>I did not know that. 🤪
So, for CD playback, and I don’t mean to be snooty, everything is broken. A simple comparison of cassette vs CD will confirm.

Broken lines, broken strings,
Broken threads, broken springs,
Broken idols, broken heads,
People sleeping in broken beds
Ain’t no use jiving
Ain’t no use joking
Everything is broken

Broken hands on broken ploughs
Broken treaties, broken vows
Broken pipes, broken tools
People bending broken rules
Hound dog howling, bull frog croaking
Everything is broken

Listening age is an old wives tale.
Sorry, not buyin’ it. Digital is a pale facsimile of what it should be. I don’t even have to compare it to analog. Unless you’re extremely motivated and pugnacious you simply can’t extract all of the data on the CD. No way, Jose! And if you don’t do anything at all the best you can expect is about 50% of what’s actually on the CD. And that’s if you’re lucky. Heck, the humble cassette on a Sony Walkman has more life, sweetness and air than a CD ever thought of having. So give me a break! Yes, I know what you’re thinking, “but my CDs sound fabulous!”
I live in the future where digital has higher resolution than analog, also much higher dynamic range, like it was always promoted to have but never really did. At the same time digital possesses both sweetness and air. And distortion is virtually non-existent. The problems with digital are not in the format per se, they’re in the playback system, i.e., CD player. If only you could hear what I’ve heard with my ears.
How about cutting me a little slack. Even the same system with the same source sounds different in different rooms. Hel-loo! It’s the nature of the beast.
If you can weed through the hyperbole, on a quality system, with a quality source, they should sound the same.

>>>>Isn’t it pretty to think so?  🌸 🌸 🌸
The struggle for analog sound from CDs is at an end. But you must have the means to correct some serious issues now available. These serious flaws that have always been there include butvare not limited to, scattered background light getting into the photodetector, the inherent vibration of the CD itself whilst spinning and the influence of seismic type vibration on CD player performance. You can achieve an analog sound that is more analog than analog. Much higher dynamic range, much better resolution and sweetness and warmth.

An ordinary man man has no means of deliverance.