Digital vs Analog - A supposition...

As has been the truth since the advent of digital storage and playback of music, there are those who claim one is better than the other and also quite a few claiming the opposite.

Please allow me to offer a bit of an explanation. Keep in mind, this explanation does not purport to be a scientifically-based one. Rather it is is simply a thought that popped into my head a few nights ago during one of my never-ending basttles with insomnia.

I'm thinking that the vinyl junkies may staunchly defend their method of playback simply because it is what they were weaned on and lived with throughout their formative years. Vinyl sounds more "natural" because its playback characteristics are what they heard from the very beginning and therefore it is their standard of playback quality.

They are attuned to vinyl's various (and well-documented) defects and those defects are part of what comprises the "sound" of vinyl and perfect playback. Therefore, the absence of any of these defects would constitute a deficiency of any competing technology.

Discuss amongst yourselves....

I tend to be of the opinion that analog (of sufficient quality) tends to be at least as good as or better than digital as a rule. HOWEVER, I've come to the conclusion over the years that vinyl (noiseless though it indeed may be under proper circumstances) actually has a somewhat 'colored' sound to it. If you ask me, the ideal format sound quality-wise is likely some sort of high-end reel-to-reel, very expensive and of limited practicality for anyone other than a recording studio perhaps, but probably the best there is...but, short of that, finding more ways for me to make the digital I have sound as good as analog is where I find it's at these days, for my own money.
Well there certainly is one supposition. Another may be that when digital junkies were guaranteed "perfect sound forever" they just blindly believed it. No harm, the world needs sheep too.
What you're saying might be true for some, but I would disagree. Good analog setups are free of what you call the "well documented" defects, just as good digital is free from much of what analog lovers dislike about digital. I was raised on analog, but went totally digital when I re-entered the world of the high end in the early 2000s. I had an excellent CD player in the 10K range that I used for several years and I basically convinced myself that it wasn't going to get better without spending a lot more money. After that, with all the talk about analog, I decided to try a $1000 turntable setup just to see if I would like fooling around with records again. Even that modest analog setup in some ways outperformed my digital rig and I decided that it would be worth it to invest in something better. When I did, I discovered that what I thought were artifacts inherent to vinyl, such as resonances, inner groove mistracking, noise, were gone. Same with digital. When you get something good, the digital signatures are minimized. I had the opportunity to hear a Linn CD12 a bit back and it just knocked my out with its musicality and ability to unravel the layers of music. Unfortunately for me, the really good digital - the stuff that would make me forget analog, is just too expensive.
Sorry . . . disagree. Every person, audiophile or not, who has come to my home and listened to both has preferred vinyl, including those who only listen to, and swear by, digital. This also includes younger people who have never heard vinyl before.

That said, I enjoy listening to all formats. I even like to listen to MP3 through my Squeezebox and DAC, and hi-rez digital downloads are very nice sources and very convenient, but vinyl is far and away, IMHO, the more pleasurable format.
I could hardly wait for a format to replace vinyl. many Lps pressed in the 80s had lots of surface noise and skips on brand new records. The cd format at first was largely disappointing- cold, sterile, harsh (especially cymbals) but welcome as there were reportedly no skips or surface noise.
Many of us were tape junkies also, but very few of us consider that to be the standard. Tape does impart a certain sonic signature as does vinyl and I do enjoy the sound of each format.
Interesting observation, but it occurs to me that if the preferred system of reproduction were locked in at some arbitrary point in a persons life the victrola would have been the reference standard for my parents/grandparents.
first, perception is subjective. i suspect that some audiophiles might prefer digital. it all depends upon the analog setup.

second the best of all possible worlds is the microphone feed.

the closer to the source, the better the sound.
This is really funny. Most "audiophiles" love classic music, or classic jazz or classic blues. Many other styles also. However, my point is that most of the older music was recorded via analog to master tape. Yes, master tape is analog. When re-mastered, they (the recording engineers) used the "master tape" to re-record to digital. So, you are still getting analog first. I have heard wonderful digital recordings and wonderful analog recordings (tape or vinyl). Here is the trick. If you take an original digital recording. i.e. recorded directly to digital master. This could be analog music via mikes to digital recording instruments or straight digital electronic music plugged directly into digital recording equipment, and then take that digital master and re-master it to analog vinyl and then compare them on the same good to great quality sound system, you probably won't hear much difference because it was digitally reoorded in the first place and the inherent sampling issues are present from the start. However, if you take an original analog recorded master from analog tape to vinyl and convert that analog master signal to digital (as is the case for most older classical, jazz or blues music) you most definitely will hear sonic differences. I have done this test so many times in so many venues that I have lost count and not once was the digital reproduction more accurate than the vinyl analog pressing. Now before you all jump on me, please re-read my post. I specifically described the recording medium first. As an Electronics/Electrical Engineer in analog/digital design, I can tell you that digital to digital reproduction has no losses because it goes back and checks the reproduced signal with the original ones and zeros to make sure they match. However, analog to digital reproduction or re-mastering, that error correction simply doesn't and can't exist. Sampling an analog signal to digital will result in inherent signal gaps, because you are sampling. Yes, you can increase the sampling rate, but you still will have gaps. So, logically and truthfully, step back. Something is lost in the digital re-mastered signal from analog. Analog doesn't sample and therefore, there are no gaps. That said, I have also heard some really bad analog recordings. But, this is due to the recording medium used. Bad mikes, bad mixing boards, terrible low quality electronics in the recording chain, etc. I have also heard incredibly awful digital recordings. which could be from the issues I mentioned above and also due to bad equipment, low sampling rates, etc.

Take an original analog recording (analog master to vinyl or master tape) and listen to it. Then listen to the digital re-master from the analog master tape on a decent system and then you are talking. Now some people simply don't care for whatever reason. Some don't want to keep getting up to turn over or change the record. Some don't want to clean and maintain their records. this is really a pain. (Pops and cracks shouldn't exist if you've taken care of your albums in the first place. If you used nails as needles, then oh well..) Some people like the ease of digital playback over vinyl. All are great reasons. Some people simple can't hear the differences. Could be their hearing is off, or their system is not up to snuff, or simply the recordings are so close to each other, they can't tell the difference. For this reason, I addressed how that could be earlier in this post. Either way, in a few more years, some new medium will come out that will blow away these. It will be fun to be there when it happens. Hopefully, I'll be around and my hearing will be adequate.

This is always a fun topic. enjoy
Ncarv . Are both your sources of equal value and have you spent equal time setting up and voicing them? If not your statement is meaningless.