What does it mean when people describe Digital as Sounding like "Analog"? Best term?

What do people really mean by that?

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Mike Lavigne

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#2
different people mean different things. which might relate to their viewpoint on what analog is.

digital sounding like analog in the worst sense can mean a slightly warm tonal balance, rounded transients, and pumped up sound stage.....

or.......in a little better sense......added front to back depth and layering and holographic 'reach out and touch it' presentation.

but in the 'best term' it would be that the digital approaches the continuousness, image weight, tonal density, harmonic and timbral detail, sparkle, flow and energy projection of analog. and that somewhat it crosses over into the realism and suspension of disbelief of analog. that the digital captures more of the the ease and feeling of music and causes that positive physical reaction of real music.
 
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jazdoc

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Aug 7, 2010
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#3
Isn't it funny that no one brags about their analog sounding like great digital? :eek:
 

spiritofmusic

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Jun 13, 2013
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#4
Isn't it funny that no one brags about their analog sounding like great digital? :eek:
Erm, I do Lol.
I'll take my Eera cdp over 70% of tts I've heard, and 99.9% of other digital.
I've used it as the benchmark to measure my analog up against.
The Eera does stuff like piano, cello and snare drum so well, only the £50k tts I've heard truly beat it. So, I've worked really hard to get my analog to try and match the Eera here.
And several years on, things have come on leaps and bounds, w my analog now way more accurate. The great thing is now those aspects that analog beats digital at ie tonal discrimination, timbral accuracy, microdynamics, continuousness/cognitive ease, is even better.
It's like getting my analog to be more linear as per digital, has enhanced what it always slayed digital on.
And now I have more convergence on both mediums, both brilliant and complementary to each other.
 
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PeterA

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#5
Isn't it funny that no one brags about their analog sounding like great digital? :eek:
Some people do describe extremely quiet vinyl as approaching digital in that sense. It’s not clear to me if that is a good thing. I think it’s good if it’s a reduction of surface noise Allowing you to hear more of what’s in the vinyl groove, but I don’t think it’s good if it’s a jet black background silence that sucks along with it the life of the music like a black hole. I think that some TechDAS turntables have been described as being “silent” or as having a digital-like silence.

different people mean different things. which might relate to their viewpoint on what analog is.

digital sounding like analog in the worst sense can mean a slightly warm tonal balance, rounded transients, and pumped up sound stage.....

or.......in a little better sense......added front to back depth and layering and holographic 'reach out and touch it' presentation.

but in the 'best term' it would be that the digital approaches the continuousness, image weight, tonal density, harmonic and timbral detail, sparkle, flow and energy projection of analog. and that somewhat it crosses over into the realism and suspension of disbelief of analog. that the digital captures more of the the ease and feeling of music and causes that positive physical reaction of real music.
If good digital sounds like all of that, why not just refer to it as sounding natural or like real music? Why refer to it as “analog like” just it meets those attributes?
 
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Mike Lavigne

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Some people do describe extremely quiet vinyl as approaching digital in that sense. It’s not clear to me that that is a good thing. I think that some TechDAS turntables have been described as being “silent” or as having a digital-like silence.

If good digital sounds like all of that, why not just refer to it as sounding natural or like real music? We refer to it as “analog like” When it meets those attributes?
agree.
 
May 30, 2010
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#8
What do people really mean by that?
Usually that they managed to make their digital sound like their turntables. People can get used to vinyl sound and want to go on listening to the same recording techniques and performances forever.

Properly used to exploit their best characteristics digital and analog will always sound different. It is great we can have both sounding great.
 
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Joe Whip

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Feb 8, 2014
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#9
Most would like their digital to sound as good as their analog. I think that if you were limited to one word to describe well executed analog, as well as what separates it from most digital playback, that word would be NATURAL.

Regretfully, most digital does not sound natural.
Sorry, I completely disagree.
 
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analogsa

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Apr 15, 2017
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#10
Regretfully, most digital does not sound natural.

Even more regretfully I notice a trend in turntables to imitate digital sound. Quite a few tonarms and in particular cartridges are also guilty. Convergence? User expectations? Not sure, but today there seems to be lots of analogue equipment that sounds neither analogue, nor natural. All imho of course and I would prefer not quoting names as this will only create needless controversy.
 
Apr 11, 2020
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#11
Most would like their digital to sound as good as their analog. I think that if you were limited to one word to describe well executed analog, as well as what separates it from most digital playback, that word would be NATURAL.

Regretfully, most digital does not sound natural.
And this is exactly why I have deliberately not tried to put extra effort into my digital. I can easily realize incremental improvements in my vinyl set up for each dollar spent but I suspect I'd have to get to an inordinate price level to achieve anything close in digital. So I'm resigned to having a decent DAC for streaming, discovering new music, figuring out what vinyl to buy, play background music while I work around the house etc...but my sweat and funds will go squarely into the analog front end followed by everything else OTHER than the digital. It's just where my musical priorities are.

BTW - this is my first post here...been lurking a while....very cool forum and I like how courteous folks are (sans drama) ;-)
 

Al M.

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#12
If good digital sounds like all of that, why not just refer to it as sounding natural or like real music? Why refer to it as “analog like” just it meets those attributes?
Well put. If both analog and digital sound natural, like real music, that's what you want. And the illusion can be achieved on both platforms to an astonishing degree, even though you will never be able to exactly copy the sound of unamplified live music.
 
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Al M.

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#13
Most would like their digital to sound as good as their analog. I think that if you were limited to one word to describe well executed analog, as well as what separates it from most digital playback, that word would be NATURAL.

Regretfully, most digital does not sound natural.
I don't know what "most" means in the context. Some digital does not sound natural, I agree. Some analog doesn't either, even though perhaps in different ways. My digital (see my signature) does sound natural to my ears, no less so than the great analog that I have heard.

I very much enjoy analog, but I don't take it as reference anymore, even though to some extent I may have done so in the past. My reference is unamplified live music.
 
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Mike Lavigne

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#14
Most would like their digital to sound as good as their analog. I think that if you were limited to one word to describe well executed analog, as well as what separates it from most digital playback, that word would be NATURAL.

Regretfully, most digital does not sound natural.
i do find that my digital does mostly sound natural, up to the point where i directly compare it to my analog and listen intently. what i'm saying is that great digital is sufficiently natural sounding at this juncture to scratch my musical itch and satisfy me.

this morning i listened to two large scale classical streaming recordings at 'live levels' and really enjoyed them. head back, dim lights, eyes nearly closed, drumming my fingers and tapping my feet. it was a tasty session.

OTOH last night i played a string quintet on the CS Port tt that blew my mind and i was transported. it was breathtaking. stunning even.

if i had played this morning's digital right after that session last night i'd have been slightly deflated. but i know better.:cool:

there are no losers. only degrees of winning.
 
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FBHIFI

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Dec 21, 2013
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#15
Al- I said most because it’s true. There are a few exceptions. For the first time in 30+ years of exploring the digital world I’ve found a digital rig that does sound natural- to my ears, in my system...

Merging+Nadac, Merging+Power, Merging+XULN Clock.

I‘ve only, honestly, just tolerated digital in the past. You can make it better by upgrading DACs, inserting servers, tweaking till you’re broke and or blue in the face but never getting it to sound satisfying and natural.

I now look forward to my digital days, not think about what to change next to make it sound right and just listen to, and truly enjoy, my digital files.
 

Al M.

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#16
Even more regretfully I notice a trend in turntables to imitate digital sound. Quite a few tonarms and in particular cartridges are also guilty. Convergence? User expectations? Not sure, but today there seems to be lots of analogue equipment that sounds neither analogue, nor natural. All imho of course and I would prefer not quoting names as this will only create needless controversy.
May I ask what you mean by "digital sound"?
 
Apr 11, 2020
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#17
Occasionally I get a bit of treble edge/grain/glare only through digital that I never hear through my analog front end. I've even done several A/B comparisons digital vs vinyl on the same album to confirm it wasn't part of the master. I'm not sure if it's inherent to my Auralic Vega G1 DAC or even cabling. But even beyond the edge the DAC just doesn't present as openly, naturally, 3D, and organically as my vinyl.
 

PeterA

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#18
Well put. If both analog and digital sound natural, like real music, that's what you want. And the illusion can be achieved on both platforms to an astonishing degree, even though you will never be able to exactly copy the sound of unamplified live music.
Al, my comment was based on Mike’s supposition the digital can do that. I have heard digital sound very good in some systems but in those systems that heard both Formats I personally prefer the vinyl as sounding more real and natural. I have not heard Mike’s level of digital. I do not think digital and vinyl sound like. Personally I think really good analog sounds more natural but I have enjoyed tremendously good digital in some systems.
 

Al M.

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#19
Al, my comment was based on Mike’s supposition the digital can do that. I have heard digital sound very good in some systems but in those systems that heard both Formats I personally prefer the vinyl as sounding more real and natural. I have not heard Mike’s level of digital. I do not think digital and vinyl sound like. Personally I think really good analog sounds more natural but I have enjoyed tremendously good digital in some systems.
Peter, as you know, until relatively recently I shared your assessment about the naturalness of sound from both media. Now I am not so certain anymore.

As for analog and digital not sounding alike, this is no surprise. They are different media, and thus aim to approach likeness to the sound of real music from different technical angles. Also, mastering for vinyl is usually somwhat different, see for example the description on these links:

https://www.gottagrooverecords.com/vinyl-mastering/

https://www.izotope.com/en/learn/mastering-for-vinyl-tips-for-digital-mastering-engineers.html

(What is described there is more or less standard fare that has been known for many decades.)
 

RogerD

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#20
If analog is immersive...yes digital can sound like analog. I have yet to hear analog produce low bass like digital. I can get spoiled by aspects of digital....though a good 2nd generation reel to reel tape can peg the meters.

Btw digital does sound natural and the suspension of disbelief can be present to a great degree. Of course system dependent.
 
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