Why, oh why, does vinyl continue to blow away digital?

godofwealth

Well-Known Member
Feb 8, 2022
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It makes no scientific sense. And I am nothing if not a diehard scientist with a PhD in computer science to boot, having spent a large part of my career teaching in one of the world’s greatest PhD programs in CS, and now working at one of the world”s leading software firms in the Bay Area. I’m no technological Luddite. I’ve invested heavily in digital with top solid state and tube DACs.

But each time I play my vinyl on one of my turntables, man oh man, why do I always feel that digital sucks? I’m listening to a garden variety pop album — Fleetwood Mac — on an SME 20/12 table with the V12 arm with a Koetsu Onyx Platinum feeding the ARC Ref 3SE phono stage. The sound is organic, so compelling to listen to that my left brain analytical mind that whispers this is all distortion sounding pleasant is quashed by my right brain saying who cares when it sounds so good?

Am I delusional?
 
It makes no scientific sense. And I am nothing if not a diehard scientist with a PhD in computer science to boot, having spent a large part of my career teaching in one of the world’s greatest PhD programs in CS, and now working at one of the world”s leading software firms in the Bay Area. I’m no technological Luddite. I’ve invested heavily in digital with top solid state and tube DACs.

But each time I play my vinyl on one of my turntables, man oh man, why do I always feel that digital sucks? I’m listening to a garden variety pop album — Fleetwood Mac — on an SME 20/12 table with the V12 arm with a Koetsu Onyx Platinum feeding the ARC Ref 3SE phono stage. The sound is organic, so compelling to listen to that my left brain analytical mind that whispers this is all distortion sounding pleasant is quashed by my right brain saying who cares when it sounds so good?

Am I delusional?

Everyone has different sensibilities and preferences. I don't think there is much of a correlation with delusion on this particular issue.

I personally don't hear vinyl as being more organic or more compelling to listen to than my digital, even though I am routinely exposed to vinyl in friends' systems and very much enjoy it. I also listen to unamplified live music on a regular basis as a reference.

I may have found vinyl more organic or more compelling in the past, but not anymore. Digital has made progress, as has my system in general (for specifics of my digital and my system, see my signature). I thoroughly enjoy my digital and love to listen for hours, and I don't miss the experience of vinyl in my system at all.

But that's just me, who am I to argue with others' subjective experiences and preferences? Conversely, who are others to argue with mine?

I am a scientist too, working since many years at a highly successful biotech company that has enjoyed a rapid growth rate, but I don't see much either how the subjective differences in perception and enjoyment on this issue would be subject to obvious scientific explanation.

There is no point in bashing each other for different subjective sensibilities and preferences.

Of course, you will have many here who will claim superiority of their taste for vinyl and bash those who do not agree with their subjective sensibilities on the basis of golden ears, experience or what have you. But those are just vanity driven ego trips, not to be taken too seriously.

There will also be those who will present shady pseudoscientific explanations of why vinyl is superior, but these are usually derived from a lack of understanding of digital theory ("stairsteps" or what have you).

There will also be some who will claim unquestionable superiority of digital.

I am ready to eat my popcorn.
 
There will also be those who will present shady pseudoscientific explanations of why vinyl is superior, but these are usually derived from a lack of understanding of digital theory ("stairsteps" or what have you).


I am ready to eat my popcorn.
You Are expecting someone say something that is true then, as to why vinyl seems to be better?

So, the human hearing interface has 10 times the calculating power (speed..) of generating what forier transer does in digital. That is equivalent , not the same . But it is said. So no matter how Good digital samples. The expressed math of the tiny bits of ‘sine’ curves that comes out of that - former calculates the Angle IF you will of the sine thas ‘WAS - and it the recreated back when digitizing. Thusly creating sound again. But our brain ‘samples’ about 10 times better than this math - and we can hear the difference.

How and why its able this to is a matter of ongoing Research . But as I understand it what ever math humans use in our brain appears to be superior
So physical recording of wave events (sound)gets closer to the ear than digital does.
Bevause it is believed that math somehow does not account ‘fully’
But it is getting better all the time.

Maybe on day it is so close we cannot tell the difference. However - now , we can - and vinyl , mostly still gets closest to whatever the ear/brain does.

I know - just Words - musings…

pass the butter…
 
There is magic in em grooves
 
It makes no scientific sense.
You certain? Take a listen to Rob Watts talk about all the problems with digital reconstruction filters (various YouTube talks) and how he’s trying to solve them with his products and you cannot help but think, “ah, this is why vinyl sounds so good - it already has *all* the critical information that he, and others in their own way, are trying to reconstruct”. I realise this is an appeal to (Rob’s) authority, but he has some interesting insights and his gear is very well regarded, so perhaps he’s on to something? I personally think so, but could be wrong, of course. Anecdotally, the digital chain also seems extremely susceptible to electrical noise that degrades the output. As you attend to these issues digital does seem to get better and better, but you ultimately still run into the reconstruction issue… and that’s the fatal blow, IMO.
 
the main answer is memory retention - remove it from your digital playback device(s) and the sound shall never be the same again.

the second issue is - need to place the turntable system farther away from the digital playback system, so that all the foul magnetic interferences from all that heavy metallic construction and from the motor won't wreak havoc onto digital playback.
 
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Everyone has different sensibilities and preferences. I don't think there is much of a correlation with delusion on this particular issue.

I personally don't hear vinyl as being more organic or more compelling to listen to than my digital, even though I am routinely exposed to vinyl in friends' systems and very much enjoy it. I also listen to unamplified live music on a regular basis as a reference.

I may have found vinyl more organic or more compelling in the past, but not anymore. Digital has made progress, as has my system in general (for specifics of my digital and my system, see my signature). I thoroughly enjoy my digital and love to listen for hours, and I don't miss the experience of vinyl in my system at all.

But that's just me, who am I to argue with others' subjective experiences and preferences? Conversely, who are others to argue with mine?

I am a scientist too, working since many years at a highly successful biotech company that has enjoyed a rapid growth rate, but I don't see much either how the subjective differences in perception and enjoyment on this issue would be subject to obvious scientific explanation.

There is no point in bashing each other for different subjective sensibilities and preferences.

Of course, you will have many here who will claim superiority of their taste for vinyl and bash those who do not agree with their subjective sensibilities on the basis of golden ears, experience or what have you. But those are just vanity driven ego trips, not to be taken too seriously.

There will also be those who will present shady pseudoscientific explanations of why vinyl is superior, but these are usually derived from a lack of understanding of digital theory ("stairsteps" or what have you).

There will also be some who will claim unquestionable superiority of digital.

I am ready to eat my popcorn.
Listen to you! You’ve frequently attacked me and others who have the audacity to say they don’t like the sound of digital. Your response here is rather tame compared with previous responses (though do dismiss any scientific reasoning as to why analogue sounds better than digital as being “pseudoscientific”).

. I suspect your bias comes from “shit, I have spent so much money on trying to make digital sound as good as analogue that I can’t spend any more. The only way I can live with that is to convince myself and everyone out there that digital can sound better than analogue, and I have achieved it.”
 
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Listen to you! You are usually the first to attack anyone who says personally that analogue sounds better to them than digital.

As usual, you constantly misunderstand my point. I do no such thing.
 
You certain? Take a listen to Rob Watts talk about all the problems with digital reconstruction filters (various YouTube talks) and how he’s trying to solve them with his products and you cannot help but think, “ah, this is why vinyl sounds so good - it already has *all* the critical information that he, and others in their own way, are trying to reconstruct”. I realise this is an appeal to (Rob’s) authority, but he has some interesting insights and his gear is very well regarded, so perhaps he’s on to something? I personally think so, but could be wrong, of course. Anecdotally, the digital chain also seems extremely susceptible to electrical noise that degrades the output. As you attend to these issues digital does seem to get better and better, but you ultimately still run into the reconstruction issue… and that’s the fatal blow, IMO.

Linky?
 
No, I don't like popcorn. It's a figure of speech.
Hi. I definetly prefer digital myself, best. You seem to do too.
And I , as you , know that the math is (to lofty to explain in detalil… HERE..) so lets not do that

Doing is hearing, and that is not theory.
Whatever we like, others might dislike.
Be it our opinion , or insight…

Let not that power detract from the experience of whatever format is best ‘liked and preferref’ by others, I for one do not care IF one thing is better.
I just wanna see enthusiasm and joy for gear/components and music.
And the tech heads among the audiophiles. Make the gear. So of course, all the users of that gear, Are forever gratefull. So am I for you!
Stand on you opinion, fight for it !
That I will honor!
 
I am (...) a diehard scientist with a PhD in computer science
Hi - it will be easy for you to consider the errors in the signal transfer functions. Although all the data is transfered (no doubt about that), any modulation in the timing, phase, &/ or noise will show up after the D to A conversion.
Analogue does not have this problem.

For example, when I addressed the transfer issue using re-clocking & a USB "filter" device, I perceved very significantly improved clarity in the mid-high region - subjectively, more "presence" and resolution -- and tightened bass, i.e. I can hear the cello & double bass harmonics now.
The system hasn't changed; two devices were added to the transfer path between the streamer & the DAC.
Am I delusional?
Isn't it fun to be so, especially if you enjoy it -- and aren't strings are fabulous on a well set-up TT;)
 
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Hopefully the links that @Imperial supplied are useful? Apologies for not including them myself - was obvious I'd get called out on that! *blush*
 
godofwealth, I agree in general with your opening post. However, I do not think digital sucks. I simply think analog sounds more natural. Some contend that digital keeps improving. I just heard a new turntable that made the music on my vinyl sound better too. Despite advances, are our systems sounding any more real?

More curious to me than the analog versus digital debates is that I find the industry in general is moving away from the sound of music. Al M. and I heard some live jazz last night in a very old house built in 1745, just a few blocks from where I live. The experience of listening to those musicians is far removed from that of the modern systems I have heard. The live sound had massive weight/body/warmth and impact. Dynamics and nuance were astonishing. I felt the energy on my body as it expanded around the room. There was mass. There was localization of the musicians, but nothing like the pinpoint imaging that people love to describe.

The highs were NOT extended or bright, not on the trumpet nor on the cymbals the way it is so often presented by the latest systems. Systems make the music sound thin, bright, flat (especially digital streaming), but also electronics, cables, and speakers, not saying anything about the sources. The goal seems to be detail, imaging, extension, low noise, and flat curves rather than the holistic experience one has when listening to live music. Where is the realism with modern hifi?

I think the industry needs to take a step back and assess where it is going. Despite the heroic efforts with research and the development of technologies, and hyperbolic marketing efforts, where is the natural sound? Is the industry really moving toward a more convincing listening experience, analog or digital? That is my question.
 
Hopefylly They Are . @rDin
The vids Are best to see one after the other.
He starts with signal chain, types of powersupply ear brain interaction, types of noise, jittter and then talks about dave. His own dac.

So yes. Chord, the watt philosphy. But amazing amounts of usefull info. In general.

Vid two goes into deeper about types of dacs and implements what was learned from vid one.

By this we can deduce digital, and see what differs say, versus analog or vinyl.

So noiselevel and noisefloor IS the king in digital
Analog, well noise is still present. But differently modulated and thusly makes more sense to the brain. So Even IF vinyl playback is muuuuch less Dynamic than digital. Purely as a storage medium.
His main teaching is that noise must not move with the signal, then we can hear it. Even IF the noise is at-350db down (seen in the digital data…). That is crazy.
In vinyl well. Noise is completely different. And our brain simple decodes it better.

In digital, They Are working on getting this correct as well. They Are close, but not there tet. Our ears say so. That is the sermon
 
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I have heard some of the bigger know audiolhile can get tripped up on are they listening to vinyl or digital on their own systems when they are not operating the equipment. Its easy to claim superiority of a source when your in control. When your blind, it can be an uncomfortable coming to god experience.

Many times, I have experienced vinyl and digital leap frog each other. I have had some real crap vinyl at my house. I have had some decent vinyl at my house. I feel my vinyl is good enough for nyself at the moment. But real vinyl enthusiasts look at my vinyl setup and ask to listen to digital instead. Come on, I only have $17k in my vinyl. A crap setup by all audiophile standards.

Digital folks feel about the same. Whats this Mojo Audio stuff. Where is the Taiko. Where is the Playback/MSB/Lampizator. What junk at my house. Why do I even have a stereo if I'm not going to get serious. Who would even have guests over to listen to a system that cost less than $300k. Why waste someone elses time.

There is no such thing as superiority of sources. There is only attention to detail, tuning and sourcing of quality parts. If you think one or the other sounds better, its because the parts and pieces fell together in a more cohesive form and make for better playback
 
It makes no scientific sense. And I am nothing if not a diehard scientist with a PhD in computer science to boot, having spent a large part of my career teaching in one of the world’s greatest PhD programs in CS, and now working at one of the world”s leading software firms in the Bay Area. I’m no technological Luddite. I’ve invested heavily in digital with top solid state and tube DACs.

But each time I play my vinyl on one of my turntables, man oh man, why do I always feel that digital sucks? I’m listening to a garden variety pop album — Fleetwood Mac — on an SME 20/12 table with the V12 arm with a Koetsu Onyx Platinum feeding the ARC Ref 3SE phono stage. The sound is organic, so compelling to listen to that my left brain analytical mind that whispers this is all distortion sounding pleasant is quashed by my right brain saying who cares when it sounds so good?

Am I delusional?


This is just silly , please wait for the latest digital updates before commenting ..!
 

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