Analog and Vinyl: no longer the benchmark
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  1. #1
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    Analog and Vinyl: no longer the benchmark

    Was thinking about this the other day then was reading through the "lossy/lossless" thread here. Some comments by AJ made me give this more thought.

    Look, I'm no audio engineer, and there are many people who could provide scientific evidence or probably just way better anecdotal evidence (guys like AJ, Mike, etc) to either refute or support what I'm proposing. However I think the time's come that the topic gets some discussion, some good old fashioned (like vinyl ; ) heated debate.

    For as long as I've been involved in this hobby, vinyl has held sway as the benchmark to which everything should aspire, ie. digital. And in the early days, with CDs basically sucking for a variety of reasons, this made a lot of sense.

    Today however, with better knowledge of digital music sourcing (mastering etc), production (flac, wav, dsd, hi-res) and re-production (better digital gear, DACs etc), my theory is that vinyl is no longer king of the hill. That the best digital systems produce better sound/experience at home than can the best vinyl. Just a theory, since I've heard neither. However, I've heard what I guess is very good vinyl/analog, and very good digital, and I'd take digital. I hear more detail, superior special queues, more clarity, PRAT, whatever.... it just sounds better to me. Not to mention, flac files don't wear down over time.

    I hope this ends up being somewhat controversial; I think it's time to change this paradigm. Take your seat at the back of the bus vinyl.
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  2. #2
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    Re: Analog and Vinyl: no longer the benchmark

    Quote Originally Posted by jmusica View Post

    Today however, with better knowledge of digital music sourcing (mastering etc), production (flac, wav, dsd, hi-res) and re-production (better digital gear, DACs etc), my theory is that vinyl is no longer king of the hill. That the best digital systems produce better sound/experience at home than can the best vinyl. Just a theory, since I've heard neither. However, I've heard what I guess is very good vinyl/analog, and very good digital, and I'd take digital. I hear more detail, superior special queues, more clarity, PRAT, whatever.... it just sounds better to me. Not to mention, flac files don't wear down over time.
    It's in the presentation and feel of the music that vinyl ruled and many probably feel it still does.

    Digital has been closing the gap in that regard. Personally I could never get over the shortcomings of vinyl so I put up with digital's. My latest digital HW acquisitions have improved digital so much for me I'm selling my vinyl rig.

  3. #3
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    Re: Analog and Vinyl: no longer the benchmark

    In many ways Digital is the new benchmark. But primarily because it's what 99% of people have and use. That is not to say that tape and vinyl aren't better sounding. A benchmark is there to compare to better or worse.
    Jock

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  4. #4
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    Re: Analog and Vinyl: no longer the benchmark

    Tape is king. After that it's a toss-up between vinyl and digital. I have also become of the belief that in order to have the very best vinyl you must have some of the best digital. When you have excellent digital such as I believe I have, you are very quickly shown the shortcomings in your vinyl setup. It becomes very easy to hear any bloat congestion or lack of frequency extension in your vinyl set up when you play the same songs compared against your digital.

    They also just voice a little different. That is really it. They are both extremely Musical and engaging to listen to. Last night I was spinning some Jimmy Buffett. Well actually I should say I was listening to it from my internal drive on my server. However I had been using my record player and listening to Jimmy Buffett albums which was still spinning and I thought was actually playing. I was thinking to myself, my God this is some of the best audio I've ever heard in my life. This is after just returning from Miami and listening to Boulder, Wilson raidho, OMA Etc. Very fine multi hundred-thousand-dollar systems. In my opinion, mine was more musically engaging and enjoyable listen to. It did not have the scale and size of the Boulder Wilson combo but it was more musical. Anyhow I was getting ready to get up and lift the needle after Margaritaville when I realized the needle was up and I was only listening to my digitally stored red book version.

    I used to try and say my digital was better than my vinyl. I now say my digital force me to up the performance of my vinyl. The biggest shortcoming of vinyl is the source albums. But this can also be a shortcoming of digital. All-in-all I find my digital has a little more punch, Clarity, black backgrounds. But source does matter. I had been listening to an old Beethoven record I had. It was like some violin Concerto in D. It has been sounding superb on my record player. I thought how does it compare against my digital. I looked around on Tidal,but could not find the exact album. The exact album as in the same Symphony composer recording studio, you know what I mean. This was just the same song from a completely different album. My record ate that digital recording up. Of course this is one of the only times that has happened. If I take an album such as Cat Stevens, Pink Martini, Tony Bennett, Pink Floyd, and play it against my digital, I find the digital to generally be more satisfying. It plays with more gripping Authority out of my system.

    My system may be tuned slightly soft due to its makeup. It consists of 135 watt Altec Lansing 1570b monoblock amplifiers that have been completely rebuilt by Tom to Tutay. I have a first sound Mark 3s preamp by Emmanuel go. My digital side is a Mojo audio server which I have hot rodded myself with software updates. I use an RT audio Ultra USB Orpheus ex DAC. On the analog side I build a turntable based upon the Vertere SG1 tonearm. I use a Denon cartridge in an aluminum head shell with a soundsmith sapphire cantilever and line contact diamond. My phoneo stage is an Allnic H1201. I have pure audio Trio 10 speakers. I have done extensive mods to the speakers. They have much higher quality capacitors chokes and speaker wire lacing. Actually all my gear is somewhat tweet. I buy the components and spend a lot of time making small adjustments to extract the most from them.

    I think I have a pretty darn nice sounding system. So to summarize, in short my digital is not necessarily better than my analog, it's just different.

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  6. #5
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    Re: Analog and Vinyl: no longer the benchmark

    Finding vinyl recordings is an art. If you get the right vinyl recordings and performances vinyl impossible to beat. I am not into vinyl yet btw, would like to get into it but cost of entry is high.

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    Re: Analog and Vinyl: no longer the benchmark

    Dan

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  10. #7
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    Re: Analog and Vinyl: no longer the benchmark

    Quote Originally Posted by jdandy View Post
    Agree Dan, I guess the next new thread will be cables.
    Chris

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  11. #8
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    Re: Analog and Vinyl: no longer the benchmark

    Quote Originally Posted by bonzo View Post
    If you get the right vinyl recordings and performances vinyl impossible to beat.
    Did you forgot to say IMO, or is your statement a known fact among the knowledgeable elite? ...
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  13. #9
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    Re: Analog and Vinyl: no longer the benchmark

    Quote Originally Posted by CPP View Post
    Agree Dan, I guess the next new thread will be cables.
    How about tonearm wires vs digital cables?

  14. #10
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    Re: Analog and Vinyl: no longer the benchmark

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Smith View Post
    Did you forgot to say IMO, or is your statement a known fact among the knowledgeable elite? ...
    and which "knowledgeable elite" would that be?
    Rob

 

 
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