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Is it fair to compare ? Probably not

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

I am sorry if this is not the right forum for a general topic post (feel free to move me). Yet, I have seen people talk about this subject a lot and have my own input based on current experience.

 

So is it fair to compare vinyl vs. digital if those things are not equal? I believe the prevalence here when people compare are those who are comparing higher end digital to lower lend vinyl/analog. My case is just the opposite.

 

I have a Clearaudio Concept turntable, Concept MC cart and Phonomena II phono stage; all tweaked to produce the very best sound. Total cost of approx. $3000. Then add in the high end cables and you are closer to $3400. Not the highest end of course but my setup is definitely in the audiophile realm.

 

I had the chance tonight to do some comparative listening against my new DAC setup (the AUNE T1) with 256kbs files and 192kbps streaming. They sound really good; better than how i was previously just pumping them out through the 3.5mm jack to the main system. What became apparent in my comparison however; is how much better the vinyl versions sounded.

 

Now with the DAC costing $159 and the files not being CD quality, it is probably an unfair comparison. I am sure if the files were in some lossless format and I had a $1000 DAC, the comparison would be much closer. I still find it enjoyable but the very fact of the distinct difference illuminated me to something I think may occur for those who say their vinyl doesn't sound as good.

 

What equipment is being used on the vinyl end and comparatively, how does it equate to the money spent on digital reproduction equipment? Not only might there be a general disparity in quality but there is a real disparity in base costs. By that I mean, a $1000 digital setup with lossless files will be superb whereas for a turntable setup, that is merely hi-fi and not audiophile quality.

 

If one is using a Rega RP3 or Project Debut, something in that range using a $100 MM cart, then the board will be assuredly slanted toward the digital system. Add to that a vinyl quality that was not purchased pristine or is not clean and people complain of pops, crackles and ticks not found in digital.

 

In summary, this thread is not to say one is better than the other. On the contrary, it is merely to point out that when making comparisons, one must take into account disparities of the equipment used. It would be wrong of me to say vinyl is better because I have a $3400 vinyl rig and a $159 digital setup (plus the $200 cable running out of it..lol) just as it is wrong for someone with a superior digital setup to say it is better than vinyl when that vinyl rig is not of the same audiophile level.

 

Thanks for listening...


Edited by arcorob - 12/30/13 at 7:37pm
post #2 of 3

In a sense, it's the same comparing dacs to CDPs. There are a lot of people who never spent close to the same amount on the CDP counterpart. Although I'll still take a dac $ for $ today.

 

Streaming isn't so great for SQ even at CD-16/44 rates, let alone lossy formats. If streaming is the comparison, vinyl will always win even with the lowliest turntable. A lot of vinyl is cut from digital files these days instead of analog transfers, a comparable rate digital file sent through the dac would probably get closer to the fair comparison. 

post #3 of 3
Quote:
Originally Posted by arcorob View Post


I believe the prevalence here when people compare are those who are comparing higher end digital to lower lend vinyl/analog.

Bingo. You've just described the very reason why I stay away from similar discussions; it's like trying to describe to folks living in the tropics what snow feels like. Then, when one considers the source material, the discussion takes on an even more ludicrous slant. Where does one even begin? Better things to do.

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