Has anyone been able to define well or measure differences between vinyl and digital?

It’s obvious right? They sound different, and I’m sure they measure differently. Well we know the dynamic range of cd’s is larger than vinyl.

But do we have an agreed description or agreed measurements of the differences between vinyl and digital?

I know this is a hot topic so I am asking not for trouble but for well reasoned and detailed replies, if possible. And courtesy among us. Please.

I’ve always wondered why vinyl sounds more open, airy and transparent in the mid range. And of cd’s and most digital sounds quieter and yet lifeless than compared with vinyl. YMMV of course, I am looking for the reasons, and appreciation of one another’s experience.



... we know the dynamic range of cd’s is larger than vinyl ...

We know that CD has a greater potential dynamic range than LP but in practice, the opposite is often the case.  Just look at the DR database.

LP has much better HF than CD.

We all know where this thread is going, not going to be pretty.


@johnread57 Your post makes the first judgement by stating "vinyl sounds more open, airy and transparent in mid range", and "cd's and most digital sounds quieter and yet lifeless than compared to vinyl".


You do mention, YMMV which is an objective non-judgemental statement. My digital sounds nothing like your description, quite the opposite. My vinyl also is wonderful, no judgements of one vs other for me.


Why always the battle between the two? Very similar need to argue as conservative vs liberal battles, too few willing to state or believe both are capable of entirely satisfying sound quality.


To answer OP question. Based on my fairly long term experience with streaming, I'd suggest jitter is most valuable measurement for digital. Jitter mostly impacts sound stage size, organization, stability and more importantly flow of music, much more natural flow,  I suspect we are far more sensitive to jitter than commonly assumed, even the most miniscule levels are perceived as sense of discomfort, aka digititus. Don't think there is comparable measurement for vinyl, wow and flutter likely closest?

The place it counts is in the micro expression of transients and micro transients and the differences in level and timing between them.

Vinyl does this surprisingly well, as does tube gear.

And horn speakers are good solely in this small area of signal reproduction, having as much as 40% distortion in all other areas of the signal.

The reason this is important, is this is how the ear hears, exclusively. The human ear hears and decodes just those bits, for the very larger part, in how it works.

This is where digital and class d falls apart. Those are the points of greatest distortion, in digital and class D.

thus, to the discerning ear, the one with listening talent and brains (some of it nurture, some of it nature), class D and digital sound like cack.

when we measure the signals and the reproduced signals with engineering weighting, we find the opposite, on paper, as the engineering methodology uses the whole measured signal to discern which is more erroneous.

This means diddly squat to the ear, as the ear only uses the small area where the vast majority of all distortion in audio reproduction --occurs.

This is at odds with the linear minded types, the engineering types as they are just not getting the point, they are not getting the logic, they are not figuring out out, at all.

In science, things are supposed to correlate to the situation at hand. Do you understand the question? Is the measurement relevant to the question at hand? If not, go back to the start and have a go at it again. Even when done, keep questioning the results and facts don’t exist..so that all finalized things can be gone over again and altered according to new results on the complex investigation of it all. That’s science.

Engineering is specifically NOT exploration, engineering is designed for building things that work and use scientific theories turned into scientific law. Law...Which is a falsehood built for the engineering trade and training within it, for linear minds which are principally dogmatic in form and function.

In audio, the measurement and the analysis is wrong, just plain wrong. Too many engineering minds on the job, trying to play it safe and keep things ordered & black and white.

This is why the audiophile conundrum has existed for about 50 years. The ignorance of projection in the pundits that surround the engineering trade and ideals that are involved in the audio world. Interference (engineers from other areas) from outside audio (even more ignorant!!) helps keep the insanity frothing along nicely.

To clarify, an engineer is not trained to commit to the scientific method or invention, they are trained to follow the books, as that is why they are engineers, not scientists who explore and change things as required when required.

If you want to explore in formal sense, go back to school and get trained to see all as theories, which are subject to change from/on new data, tests and proofing, correlation, etc. Get trained as a scientist.

When this mess erupts into fully blown projections in insanity of following the dogmatic rule books of engineering, we end up with things like ASR.

The longer a problem sits unsolved, unresolved.. the more fundamental the error in the formulation of the question.

Thus, the audiophile conundrum is deeper than this surface level stuff that people generally think it is. It’s deep in the minds involved, regarding how they explore reality.

As long as dogmatic minds try to figure out what is wrong in audiophiles vs measurements, without moving to true and proper scientific method...the longer they’ll be spinning around and getting no real correlating clarity in any of it.


If one wants to have a audio forum that actually moves FORWARD, they'd put a post like this into a more even handed and rigorous form and fully fleshed out..and have that post or point be core to being accepted for posting on the given forum (required reading, checkmark required, etc), and the forum set up so that those who ignore it are chastised to some level, etc.

Then the world of audio would be a less augmentative space. Much more comfortable for all.

Find the point of grind and humanely eliminate it in as natural terms/ways as is possible.

Good question. Seems a comparison could occur in the analog output of each to look for small differences that would reveal why there is a sound difference. Same with SS and Tubes, which I think has been done. One think I feel worth mentioning is the selections in the comparison. Comparing two copies reveals the difference between the copies, but I would prefer a comparison of the original to the copies. Advice I received long ago was to listen to live music and then go shopping for gear. For me, the baseline is live voice, or live drums, guitar . . . Then I want to know which recorded source format is closest to the real thing live.