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?   
jaferd
https://drop.com/buy/massdrop-x-airist-audio-r-2r-dac?mode=shop_open&gclsrc=aw.ds&&utm_s...

Limited to 3 inputs-USB, spdif and toslink. Only single ended outputs. But damn if she doesn’t sound sweet, much more so than my Mytek, PS Audio Stellar and Raleigh RAKK dac. Can’t beat the price either.
3 years ago I would have said "no way!"

Today I feel differently.

Firstly I had a nice analog setup:
Vpi Classic
Benz Micro Cart
Quicksilver Phono Pre
Quicksilver Mid Mono Monblocks with KT88's

The problem I was having after 3 Cart re-builds (and these were not my only carts) was that every time I played a disc I would think in the back of my mind, "this is $5 to play this record". I was obsessed with the wear of the diamond and the time till degradation, and "If the diamond is worn, will I damage my original pressing of Lee Morgan Vol.2?" and twice children of friends would walk up to the cart and pull the cantilever right off. WHY THE HELL WOULD ANYONE DO THIS!?!?!?

Anyway....

I decided to search out digital. I started with demoing several dacs, each one more expensive and better. Then I purchased the PS Audio Direct Stream Junior, which took 46 days 24/7 to break in but it was shockingly worth it. I kept my mono blocks and purchased a new AT7 Tubed Quicksilver Line Pre. I ended up trading up to the Directstream Sr. and another 46 days of breakin.

When I first powered these dacs I felt like crying, they sounded so bad  and then got worse at about 300-500 hrs. At 1000 hrs a switch is thrown and they sound amazing.

Yes Mary, it DOES sound like vinyl. If some one is using digital and it doesn't sound like vinyl, they have other issues: the dac? Using digital Amps or preamps? Something else??

Bottom line, I spent 25 years perfecting vinyl, I know what good vinyl sounds like, and this current system sounds like vinyl. I could and do listen for 6 hours a day with ZERO FATIGUE. I listen while I work every day and then at night when family goes to bed.

I can't speak for the NUwave. Never heard it.

For the guy in the thread that said anyone with $200 can get what digital people search for....wha???? $200? I think not. If you are playing on a $200 table, my system will make you poop your pants.

And for the guy who poked fun at people seeking the analog sound....well duh, analog is nature, what else would people be searching for.

Also....the source material is vitally important, Direct Stream Digital recordings are the way to go. A CD with NOT sound like vinyl even through the DSD Sr.

T
Glad to hear that some have found the magic combo. That's encouraging.
I have two DACs, one is really great - the best digital sound i have have in my system since I don’t know when.

Many years back I had the Mission 775sm ‘table with an Alphason HRS100 and believe it or not an old Stanton MM cartridge (later moved on to a Musical Fidelity M1 table with Dynavector Karat 17d3). The Alphason with cartridge was not even set up that perfectly, but the sound was just amazing, with practically every record I played. The main magic was from an MFA MC Reference, one of three Scott Frankland prototypes and a true masterpiece of hifi. The amps were Audio Research Classic 150 (loved the sound of those amps).

I have not had a digital front end sound anywhere close to as musical as that rig, and it was considerably more noisy than digital. I couldn’t keep out of Savation Army or Goodwill hunting for vinyl treasures. That is how good that sound was. I still have some recordings I made from the vinyl through the lumi. They sound so alive even with the usual vinyl noises.

vinyl as I experienced it brought me so much closer to the music. Sounded so alive, like listening in 3D. Classical and Jazz fugeddaboudit. So much texture, tonal color, scale, separation, Thats my feeling on it. I haven’t owned a vinyl rig in many years, but I do plan to pay a visit to Scott and Colby Walker to get set up.
If you want analog sound, go analog, but you can get better sound with a lot less trouble with digital. Just don’t spend huge $ on a Dac because a cheaper one that sounds better will be available soon as digital is improving rapidly.