Vinyl vs CD: The Age Old Question
Side A or side B…..that is the question! Or at least it WAS the question before Compact Discs came into the picture. Different formats and different listening experiences; both have now been around for AGES yet the battle rages on!
What do you prefer in your own rig at home?
Vinyl will always have a special place in my heart and home. While it is temperamental, and often requires more effort and expense to implement properly than Digital, in addition to the need to jump up often to change the record, and the considerable software storage space requirement, the end result can be a musical experience that closely approaches the original master recording.
Digital from its inception continues to offer numerous convenience advantages for the enthusiast. An entire music library is now at your fingertips via a music server and chairside remote.
Fortunately, in the last five years, I have experienced a very significant narrowing in the performance gap in favor of vinyl in my system. I attribute the improvements to much better Digital DAC offerings coupled with the availability to source higher resolution music formats on media disks and via download. A computer with a separate DAC has replaced my CD player allowing the music to be played via a buffer directly from RAM memory or alternately the DAC allows for direct playback with no moving trasport via a standard SD card.
Today, I find my Digital as musically satisfying as my Vinyl and certainly more convenient.
Ah the joys of listening to vinyl on a tube amp.Sort of like sitting in front of my fireplace, the pops and crackle , and the heat from the amp
I gave up on vinyl in the 90s despite never selling the 600 LPs i owned. carrying them around from college campuses to the various homes i have owned. about 10yrs ago, i started assembling a high end home stereo. the components changed numerous times until i felt i had gotten it right. i am off the high-fi merry go round! during this process i never gave analog much of a thought.i suppose mostly due to my autos not having a record player. that changed last year when i bought an old used turntable. i wanted to clean and play my LPs before selling them to others while they were “hot”. what i heard sparked my interest enough to think i might be missing out on a lot of musical enjoyment. i purchased a $600 Pro-ject, denon MC and a nice asian phono-pre. none of these were anywhere near the same league as the rest of my system.
what i hear from my LPs is every bit as enjoyable as my far more expensive (10x) digital setup. the sound is remarkably similar according to my family and friends, but us audio nuts always dive deeper into what we are hearing than most. my LP system just cant extract as much of the fine detail i know is there and listen for. what the turntable does for the same music i wont try to describe. there are many audio reviewers who would do a much better job. i will say “organic” as that seems to fit best for what i feel, but that may mean something very different to others.
should i buy an even better analog system to possibly surpass my digital playback? nope! i am equally happy with both. i wouldnt want my digital components to just sit there and gather dust. the investment is too large. i enjoy it too much… which is why we spend so much time and money on our systems in the first place. i am in a happy place where i can listen to both CDs and LPs with a smile on my face. i hope you can join me there.
CD vs Vinyl? Both have their own qualities. CD will certainly measure much better, but vinyl’s distortion is what people like to hear. It’s no different than food: Everything can be measured perfectly, but it’s the subjective taste that matters.