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Vinyl vs digital

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steve_1979

Well-known member
Jul 14, 2010
231
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18,795
Digital sounds better and if far easier to use (once you have gone through the rigmarole of ripping and tagging your CDs).

Vinyl is a faff which is actually a good thing if you're in the mood to fiddle with things. It also looks much cooler and can sound pretty good too.
 

CnoEvil

New member
Aug 21, 2009
556
8
0
steve_1979 said:
Digital sounds better and if far easier to use (once you have gone through the rigmarole of ripping and tagging your CDs).
Personally, I think that's too simplistic, as cost and mastering have an effect. What is true (imo), is that at a given (half sensible) budget, the digital source is likely to sound better....and to get world class quality from vinyl, is very, very expensive.

...but since music is subjective....."better" usually comes down to preferable. I've heard some albums sound better on Vinyl, while others have sounded better with the digital version . There are some magnificent recordings on 24 bit.
 

Electro

Well-known member
Mar 30, 2011
43
3
18,545
davedotco said:
Electro said:
I would be very wary about trying to build a vinyl system from scratch ( no pun intended ) especially if the reason is for better sound quality.

If the reason is because you like fiddling about and tweaking with bits and pieces and the mechanical beauty of a turntable and cleaning records and searching boot sales for second hand vinyl then go for it .

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SH_tr5Dd-i0

I used to own a quite reasonable turntable based system but I sold the lot and I don't miss it one bit, in fact I would say that spotify 320 on the right equipment is at least the equal if not better sounding.

Imo of course *smile*
One of the primary reasons I ditched my vinyl and my system was due to a change in the way I listened to music. Once out of the business my musical horizons expanded hugely and I quickly became bored with listening to the same music (my 800+ lp collection) over and over again. The change started with my first iPod in the early noughties and was concluded with the arrival of Spotify a few years later.

The choice of music is fabulous, I can ignore the dross that is modern pop and search over 70 years of recordings of great music, going back to a library of even 800+ albums is inconcieveable.

The lossy codec used is, in my view inadequate for a serious 'hi-fi' system, but quite adequate for my musical enjoyment. Should Spotify implement the 'full flac' lossless streaming they seem to be promising, I might even contemplate an upgrade.
I process the spotify 320 kbps digital stream by reclocking it and boosting the output , then I upsample it to 24/192 before D to A conversion and it sounds fantastic. I do the same with all my other digital sources as well.

I hope spotify do eventually offer a lossless service , I would definitely pay the extra so that I could compare it to my processed 320 kbps. .
 

Oldphrt

New member
Oct 21, 2016
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0
newlash09 said:
Hi all,

I just watched a YouTube video of mr. Richard Schram and mr.john curl discussing parasound Amps. And mr.john responded to one query that he never listens to CD's or digital at all. He is a vinyl only guy. And he even didn't consider digital as music.

Now mr.john curl is a legend of sorts in the USA. He almost single handedly shifted an entire generation of Americans from tubed to solid state amplification. And I have always held him in high regard, as does the hifi press.

I had never ever considered vinyl before. I found digital to be convenient. But after watching the video, I feel may be I should give vinyl a shot too. Just to plug my curiosity that iam not missing out on something great.

Would love people's opinions on this, as most folks here have both vinyl and digital. And how they compare or prefer one to the other.

Thanks for your time.
Much as I love vinyl adding an extra mechanical process to a recording can only make it worse. If you have a lage collection of LPs as I have it makes sense to keep it going and carry on playing them, but starting from scratch with new LPs, forget it.
 

Oldphrt

New member
Oct 21, 2016
2
1
0
newlash09 said:
Hi all,

I just watched a YouTube video of mr. Richard Schram and mr.john curl discussing parasound Amps. And mr.john responded to one query that he never listens to CD's or digital at all. He is a vinyl only guy. And he even didn't consider digital as music.

Now mr.john curl is a legend of sorts in the USA. He almost single handedly shifted an entire generation of Americans from tubed to solid state amplification. And I have always held him in high regard, as does the hifi press.

I had never ever considered vinyl before. I found digital to be convenient. But after watching the video, I feel may be I should give vinyl a shot too. Just to plug my curiosity that iam not missing out on something great.

Would love people's opinions on this, as most folks here have both vinyl and digital. And how they compare or prefer one to the other.

Thanks for your time.
Much as I love vinyl adding an extra mechanical process to a recording can only make it worse. If you have a lage collection of LPs as I have it makes sense to keep it going and carry on playing them, but starting from scratch with new LPs, forget it.
 

CnoEvil

New member
Aug 21, 2009
556
8
0
plastic penguin said:
@Cno

You make a lot of good points. To me it isn't just the certain sound vinyl gives: For all its deficiencies, vinyl, or records in particular, is more interesting than a cheap plastic CD and case.

Open up a record and it has sleeve notes, additional info that's not on a CD... and just as important, lyrics you can actually following without the use of a magnifying glass. It's just more theatre.

Of course, that is set against cost, TLC to maintain a recording and storage. All-in-all, IMHO all the extra care is the yields a big payoff.
To me, a TT makes most sense, if it's to keep an old and much loved record collection alive.

As a newbie starting out...it has to be a labour of love.....and commitment.....and not forgetting cost. Though we blokes do love our hobbies and somehow seem to find the money by hook, or by crook.
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
Apr 28, 2008
1,881
230
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@Cno

"To me, a TT makes most sense, if it's to keep a old and much loved record collection alive.

As a newbie starting out...it has to be a labour of love.....and commitment.....and not forgetting cost. Though we blokes do love our hobbies and somehow seem to find the money by hook, or by crook."

Indeed. If someone wants to enter the realms of the black spinny things, they need to do it for the right reasons. If, on the other hand, you just want to impress your mates look elsewhere. It'll be throwing money down the proverbial plughole.

We are probably a similar age (sorry to mention that), and my record collection stems back to circa 1973, so although there's an aspect of the rose-tinted effect, there's still a genuine passion for the format.

IMO, it digs a lot deeper than just "vinyl v digital". I like both, and that won't change.
 

newlash09

Well-known member
Aug 28, 2015
219
45
10,820
Many thanks for your detailed opinions and advise.

Have decided not to try doing vinyl, as it seems to be too expensive a ride. Besides it's difficult to get records where I live, even if I got a TT.

Will stick with the digital setup that iam rigging up now. Nas > streamer > dac > amp > speakers.

Your replies have cleared my thoughts fully on the vinyl vs digital doubts that I had. Will spend the same money on quality digital downloads and enjoy the convenience too....thanks :)
 

nopiano

Well-known member
Feb 15, 2009
611
380
19,270
Oldphrt said:
newlash09 said:
Hi all,

I just watched a YouTube video of mr. Richard Schram and mr.john curl discussing parasound Amps. And mr.john responded to one query that he never listens to CD's or digital at all. He is a vinyl only guy. And he even didn't consider digital as music.

Now mr.john curl is a legend of sorts in the USA. He almost single handedly shifted an entire generation of Americans from tubed to solid state amplification. And I have always held him in high regard, as does the hifi press.

I had never ever considered vinyl before. I found digital to be convenient. But after watching the video, I feel may be I should give vinyl a shot too. Just to plug my curiosity that iam not missing out on something great.

Would love people's opinions on this, as most folks here have both vinyl and digital. And how they compare or prefer one to the other.

Thanks for your time.
Much as I love vinyl adding an extra mechanical process to a recording can only make it worse. If you have a lage collection of LPs as I have it makes sense to keep it going and carry on playing them, but starting from scratch with new LPs, forget it.
I agree with this. I'm sure I'd never start from zero today, but as several others who first bought Hi-Fi in the 70s have said, LP was the core medium. There was no choice. Music at home meant buying records - end of! Sure, there was the radio, and I've listened to thousands of FM broadcasts over the years, but records were the state of the art.

Also, I agree with those who've enjoyed the record sleeves, and the effort required to play an LP in terms of cleaning and set up. When CD arrived we all marvelled at the ease and simplicity, though the discs were about double the price of the LPs of the time. Playing a record is still an event, but I've no burning desire to buy an LP today of a digital remaster recorded in analogue in the 70s or 80s. So I'm still playing my own LPs from forty years ago!

A few days ago I heard seven, yes 7, different cartridges thanks to an Ortofon 'road show'. (I'd probably not compared cartridges on the same system for thirty years!). I'll try to do a write up soon, but suffice to say the best model sounded bloody fantastic, and the fact it was a record not a master tape or digital source seemed irrelevant. It was just great music.

Sadly, I don't think 2017 is the time to start, but clearly all those turntables, cartridges and LPs are going somewhere!
 

Blacksabbath25

Well-known member
Sep 20, 2015
308
85
10,970
I personally like cds and I keep buying cds to me they give very good sound quality on a quality CD player I also airplay of iTunes but like the cd quality better I also own loads of vinyl that I've collected years ago but do not want to wast money on a TT just to get near cd quality i did think about it again about a TT but got put off buy the cost just to get something that give me a quality sound I would have to spend silly money I used to own a TT years ago before it was a fashion statement but it's easier just to stick a cd on and its less fuss .

i am not bashing vinyl it's just the cost involved to get it right
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
20
0
0
Electro said:
davedotco said:
Electro said:
I would be very wary about trying to build a vinyl system from scratch ( no pun intended ) especially if the reason is for better sound quality.

If the reason is because you like fiddling about and tweaking with bits and pieces and the mechanical beauty of a turntable and cleaning records and searching boot sales for second hand vinyl then go for it .

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SH_tr5Dd-i0

I used to own a quite reasonable turntable based system but I sold the lot and I don't miss it one bit, in fact I would say that spotify 320 on the right equipment is at least the equal if not better sounding.

Imo of course *smile*
One of the primary reasons I ditched my vinyl and my system was due to a change in the way I listened to music. Once out of the business my musical horizons expanded hugely and I quickly became bored with listening to the same music (my 800+ lp collection) over and over again. The change started with my first iPod in the early noughties and was concluded with the arrival of Spotify a few years later.

The choice of music is fabulous, I can ignore the dross that is modern pop and search over 70 years of recordings of great music, going back to a library of even 800+ albums is inconcieveable.

The lossy codec used is, in my view inadequate for a serious 'hi-fi' system, but quite adequate for my musical enjoyment. Should Spotify implement the 'full flac' lossless streaming they seem to be promising, I might even contemplate an upgrade.
I process the spotify 320 kbps digital stream by reclocking it and boosting the output , then I upsample it to 24/192 before D to A conversion and it sounds fantastic. I do the same with all my other digital sources as well.

I hope spotify do eventually offer a lossless service , I would definitely pay the extra so that I could compare it to my processed 320 kbps. .
Of course, logic suggests that 'upsampling' in whatever form it takes can not improve on the original but I find illogical results to be commonplace in digital audio. Your digital setup is quite complex, I would love to 'have a play' and see what the various 'processing' stages actually do, except of course that I really don't 'do' hi-fi anymore.

Frankly with all that Electro gear in your setup I would expect fantastic, but I do wonder how much extra would be gained from lossless. The way I listen these days, Premium is entirely adequate though I do wonder, from time to time, just what some reknowned, 'musical' electronics would do. I'm thinking Naim or Linn streamers or maybe a hi-end dac to improve the musical experience, not so much the Hi-fi.
 

steve_1979

Well-known member
Jul 14, 2010
231
7
18,795
CnoEvil said:
steve_1979 said:
Digital sounds better and if far easier to use (once you have gone through the rigmarole of ripping and tagging your CDs).
Personally, I think that's too simplistic, as cost and mastering have an effect. What is true (imo), is that at a given (half sensible) budget, the digital source is likely to sound better....and to get world class quality from vinyl, is very, very expensive.

...but since music is subjective....."better" usually comes down to preferable. I've heard some albums sound better on Vinyl, while others have sounded better with the digital version . There are some magnificent recordings on 24 bit.
I agree. All things being equal though digital is better and cheaper.

IME the part that makes the biggest difference is the different mastering used for each album. A well mastered record will sound better than a badly mastered and dynamically compressed CD version of the same album. If you have the same version of an album on both CD and vinyl they actually sound very similar even in an A/B comparison (at least until you reach it inside of the record where inner grove distortion starts rearing its ugly head).
 

newlash09

Well-known member
Aug 28, 2015
219
45
10,820
to a higher resolution before the D/A conversion seems to be the latest trend now. All highly regarded dac/streamers seem to be doing it. For example Cambridge azur 851N and also the Sony HAP Z1ES. The absolute sound' review of the Sony raved about the improvement in sound quality even with normal bit MP3 files. The upscaling algorithm of the Sony and Cambridge will be different for sure, so each's implementation will sound different on adding the missing bits. But both seem to be delivering good results after the up conversion.
 

CnoEvil

New member
Aug 21, 2009
556
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0
newlash09 said:
Already decided to stay away from vinyl. Will be saving now for a good used streamer aka the Linn DS lineup or something similar
Now you're talking! *dirol*
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
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0
CnoEvil said:
newlash09 said:
Already decided to stay away from vinyl. Will be saving now for a good used streamer aka the Linn DS lineup or something similar
Now you're talking! *dirol*
With Spotify connect finally coming to the Linn platform, the Majik DS is now very much on my radar.

Cno, Have you tried Spotify on your setup yet?
 

Infiniteloop

Well-known member
Jul 23, 2010
51
5
18,545
Cno touched on it and I think it's worth bringing it into the mix:

Valves.

A good Valve Amp can make a huge difference to the 'musicality' of whatever you're listening to. I've found that digital loses some of its sterility through some hot bottles and the end result can be glorious.

If you've never heard a good Valve Amp, I think you owe it to yourself to at least hear one.

The first one I ever heard was at a dealer's showroom. It was playing in the reception area - so obviously not in ideal listening conditions, and it stopped me dead in my tracks. It was doing a magical thing.

It was producing music, not just sound.
 

CnoEvil

New member
Aug 21, 2009
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davedotco said:
Cno, Have you tried Spotify on your setup yet?
'Fraid not. A friend got 6 months free Tidal with his Sneaky DSM, which sounded very good.

Have you heard the Majik?....and if so, in what system and what did you think? If not, I'd like to hear your opinion if you demo it.
 

Al ears

Moderator
davedotco said:
John Curl was my boss for a while back in the 70s and he is an immensly talented guy across a wide range of audio disciplines from the design of the Grateful Dead's legendary concert system to the design of pivotal hi-end hi-fi.

Given his age I am not at all surprised by his preference for vinyl over digital, I know exactly where he was coming from, the best hi-end systems I have ever heard have been vinyl based and my best ever system was conceived as exclusively vinyl.

The only issue, in my mind anyway, is the cost, top end vinyl playback is very expensive and very addictive. Once heard, the more affordable setups become something of a disappointment, I find them largely unlistenable, that so many people enjoy them is, to me, a mystery.

If you are genuinely interested, I urge you to contact a dealer who specialises in vinyl playback and get him ti play you one of his better systems, it will give you an idea of what is possible and, perhaps just as importantly, the costs involved.

About 6-7 years ago I spent some time with an old dealer friend and we spent a lot of time on vinyl systems, at that time we came to the conclusion that the entry level for serious playback was around £1500, our preferred player being the Clearaudio Concept MC at about £1600 excluding phono stage.

Something like that, with, say, a Croft amplifier and suitable speakers would give you a taste of what vinyl can do and in other circumstances I would be tempted myself.
I'd agree with your dealer friends conclusion and wonder what digital Mr. Curl was referring to. If he's talking of old when all you had was MP3 quality files then I can only agree.

The presentation is so different these days and I still use both formats, and others, for my listening pleasure.

The OPs amp already has a very decent phono stage but I wouldn't advise he comes away from digital unless he has sufficient money to throw at the vinyl front-end otherwise he may be disappointed.
 
newlash09 said:
Hi all,

I just watched a YouTube video of mr. Richard Schram and mr.john curl discussing parasound Amps. And mr.john responded to one query that he never listens to CD's or digital at all. He is a vinyl only guy. And he even didn't consider digital as music.

Now mr.john curl is a legend of sorts in the USA. He almost single handedly shifted an entire generation of Americans from tubed to solid state amplification. And I have always held him in high regard, as does the hifi press.

I had never ever considered vinyl before. I found digital to be convenient. But after watching the video, I feel may be I should give vinyl a shot too. Just to plug my curiosity that iam not missing out on something great.

Would love people's opinions on this, as most folks here have both vinyl and digital. And how they compare or prefer one to the other.

Thanks for your time.
I only got half way through this thread, I then gave up. There's a lot of biased information, as well as incorrect information too, and I'm not going to address them here. It's not too hard to see who is pushing their own agenda. It's one thing to point out the caveats of what you're considering getting into, but to try and justify them to you, along a load of other "negatives", is wrong, in my opinion.

My advice - because I'm not going to try and sway you one way or the other - is to book an appointment with a couple of dealers and listen to a few turntables to see if it does anything for you. I say visit a couple of dealers because not all dealers are equal. Some know how to present a good vinyl demo, but I fortunately, some don't.

Personally, I don't mind whether a music lover listens to their music on CD or vinyl - the only caveat I'd raise is for streaming services - some don't have a great catalogue, and the only way you will get a really wide choice is to look at lower quality ones like Napster. Streaming services add albums - sometimes not a whole album (some tracks may not be available), and they also lose some as well, so one of your favourite albums might disappear from your favourites list one day. And if they fold, it's all gone. Whilst streaming services have their place - and I do use some - I'm an advocate for physical formats, which once purchased, will remain in your collection until you decide otherwise, not someone else.
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
20
0
0
davidf said:
newlash09 said:
Hi all,

I just watched a YouTube video of mr. Richard Schram and mr.john curl discussing parasound Amps. And mr.john responded to one query that he never listens to CD's or digital at all. He is a vinyl only guy. And he even didn't consider digital as music.

Now mr.john curl is a legend of sorts in the USA. He almost single handedly shifted an entire generation of Americans from tubed to solid state amplification. And I have always held him in high regard, as does the hifi press.

I had never ever considered vinyl before. I found digital to be convenient. But after watching the video, I feel may be I should give vinyl a shot too. Just to plug my curiosity that iam not missing out on something great.

Would love people's opinions on this, as most folks here have both vinyl and digital. And how they compare or prefer one to the other.

Thanks for your time.
I only got half way through this thread, I then gave up. There's a lot of biased information, as well as incorrect information too, and I'm not going to address them here. It's not too hard to see who is pushing their own agenda. It's one thing to point out the caveats of what you're considering getting into, but to try and justify them to you, along a load of other "negatives", is wrong, in my opinion.

My advice - because I'm not going to try and sway you one way or the other - is to book an appointment with a couple of dealers and listen to a few turntables to see if it does anything for you. I say visit a couple of dealers because not all dealers are equal. Some know how to present a good vinyl demo, but I fortunately, some don't.

Personally, I don't mind whether a music lover listens to their music on CD or vinyl - the only caveat I'd raise is for streaming services - some don't have a great catalogue, and the only way you will get a really wide choice is to look at lower quality ones like Napster. Streaming services add albums - sometimes not a whole album (some tracks may not be available), and they also lose some as well, so one of your favourite albums might disappear from your favourites list one day. And if they fold, it's all gone. Whilst streaming services have their place - and I do use some - I'm an advocate for physical formats, which once purchased, will remain in your collection until you decide otherwise, not someone else.
I find this post somewahat contradictory, you complain about gaps in the catologue with streaming sites whilst advocating building a collection on physical media that will only be a tiny fraction of the music available on major streaming sites...*unknw*

As I have said many times, I am not big on 'favourites', the idea of playing the same recordings over and over again is anathama to me, finding new music (even if it is 50-60 yrs old) to play is what really works for me. This morning was modern jazz (-ish), a band called ADHD and this evening some music from Tim and Jeff Buckley, inspired by a novel written by an ex hi-fi reviewer.

I accept that Spotify, my source of choice, is sub optimal in a hi-fi sense but it is musically very effective on my current setup. I have been contemplating looking for an upgrade that will increase the 'musicality' of the setup, I'm not remotely interested in improving in a hi-fi sense but perhaps a better insight into some of the less obvious music I find myself playing.
 

iMark

Well-known member
May 16, 2008
371
174
19,070
There are many technical reasons why LPs simply cannot be better than CDs or other forms of digital music reproduction. There is a very limited signal to noise ratio, there is surface noise and all sorts of other mechanical problems. LP's deteriote over time.

However, listening to LPs is a nice and tactile experience. We listened to three LPs tonight (Peter Gabriel's So, Steely Dan's Aja and Paul Simon's Graceland) and they sound pretty good on our system. But there are always clicks and pops and of course surface noise. There is no way that someone who likces classical music will buy a new relesase as an LP rather than a CD.

The producers have been messing with the mastering however. Like other peope we own Adele's 25 on LP and the master is much better than the CD. My digital recording of the LP features now in our digital library.

There is however one thing that is great about LPs and that is the cover art. I used to learn so much about who played on an album or who had produced it. Or reading the lyrichs for that matter. Especially with a service like Spotify the artwork is missed.
 
davedotco said:
I find this post somewahat contradictory, you complain about gaps in the catologue with streaming sites whilst advocating building a collection on physical media that will only be a tiny fraction of the music available on major streaming sites...*unknw*
I can't say I agree. With physical media, you purchase albums that you enjoy listening to. If you have a desirable "gap" in your collection, you buy it - and when you buy that album, you get ALL tracks. Would you want access to every single track that any streaming service has to offer? I listen to a lot of music, but I would find myself only listening to a tiny fraction of what any streaming service has to offer.
 

insider9

Well-known member
Sep 20, 2016
854
399
5,270
davidf said:
davedotco said:
 

 

 

I find this post somewahat contradictory, you complain about gaps in the catologue with streaming sites whilst advocating building a collection on physical media that will only be a tiny fraction of the music available on major streaming sites...*unknw*
I can't say I agree. With physical media, you purchase albums that you enjoy listening to. If you have a desirable "gap" in your collection, you buy it - and when you buy that album, you get ALL tracks. Would you want access to every single track that any streaming service has to offer? I listen to a lot of music, but I would find myself only listening to a tiny fraction of what any streaming service has to offer.
... and then a Deluxe edition is released and you're missing out on a couple of tracks not originally on a CD :)

I think a debate analogue vs digital or CD vs streaming is like trying to decide whether it's better to eat chicken with your hands or using a fork and a knife. It's a personal preference and it really doesn't make that much difference (unless you don't eat chicken)

There are unique features about each and every format but I think it's worth to note that whatever format we use we are consumers at the end of the day. We're there to consume. And they will make us do that.

Whether it's a 180g LP, deluxe CD, removing albums/artists from a streaming service, exclusive deals by artists on certain streaming services, MQA, DSD, remasters, hi-res downloads etc. We are there to pay over and over again for the same material whether we get to own it or not.
 

newlash09

Well-known member
Aug 28, 2015
219
45
10,820
Point noted mr.david.

May be it's too early to spill the beans, but I will be in Felixstowe next summer . And thought that I'd go to signals in Ipswich to audition the majik DS. It has been recommended very heavily as a source. And will use it to play from the NAS, and the Yamaha will continue with Bluetooth and streaming services functionality.

Considering that I will save enough for the Linn, had posted this thread to gauge if I should invest in a turntable instead of the Linn streamer.

And most of the advise so far, seems to indicate that I will have to spend more than the Linn, to get equal sound quality with a turn table. And I also am yet to buy my first record. So getting sufficient records will again entail further investment down the road.

So considering the sizeable investment involved, iam tilting in favour of the Linn, as it seems to be a easier way forward. And will save me a lot in way of buying records. That has been my thought process so far. Thanks again all.

:)
 

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