DAC with "Vinyl Emulator?"

That’s true! But digital seems to get closer with the different options of streamers, DAC‘s, power supplies and cabling inbetween :wink:

It’s why it’s so difficult to discuss vinyl sound. One can as far as possible eliminate the disadvantageous artifacts or optional characteristics or cumulate them. For those who cumulate them, a DSP vinyl setting might be able to simulate this quite well.

The King is dead! Long live the New King!! :grin:


I understand the allure and science of vinyl. There is nothing missing in the signal from end to end. No signal conversion to bits and back. No filling in the digital steps with a digital filter of some sorts. Full perfect resolution. 100 years of improvements. Etc.

With that said I have no interest in vinyl or even CD playback. I must be just plain lazy but I am sticking with the digital signal playback path via network server / streamer from start to finish. The SQ is perfect enough for me and the convenience is unbeatable.
I stopped saying prayers over a turntable 25 years ago FWIW.

Just one old man’s opinion and you know what opinions are like.

What a fun hobby!


It’s rather 100 years of quirks and limitations, strangely and funnily, inspite of all technological progress, still leading to an estimable quality :wink:


To me it’s like the difference between a hand crank start Model A Ford with all manual controls or a new computer controlled Mustang with fully automatic controls (or similar comparisons).
Both are completely acceptable just differences of viewpoint and preferences.

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To me that is just BS. Anymore than the advantages to digital slay vinyl. Now Al probably spent more on a cable than some on their system. I could probably sit in Al’s chair and many of yours as well and be happy with MP3s all day.

Which brings me to a question-

When I am listening to a song, I have no idea where in the ether it comes from. I know bitrate, word length, sample frequency etc so I can kinda tell if I’m getting good “stuff” or not so good. Seems like the reproduction is mostly (not all) system dependent.

Now you vinyl guys don’t pull bits out of the air- you pull it out of a sleeve. Your holding the source in your hands. However when the needle (ok,ok, Stylus) hits the record then there is a cartridge, tonearm, phono pre, maybe another pre, amp, wires and speakers.

Are you hearing that source/pressing or are you hearing the “system”?

By the time it gets to your ears if you (like me) are largely hearing the system (no matter binary or sine wave) Than I’m gonna make me a DSP 3 button today and “spin” some HD tracks with my new fangled emulator and save a lot of expense and boxes.

BTW- the above really is a question, not a challenge. I have not heard a record since I was 20. A lot of you folks are a lot smarter than me on the digital and vinyl side.

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With vinyl one similarly does not know its provenance.

However, most records are sourced from digital; if not the original recording, the source was was converted to digital at some point. That is, with some exceptions, when playing vinyl one is listening to digital.


Thanks Elk. Never even thought of that but makes sense.

So in the old days did someone sing into a Mic and a cutter reproduced those tones on a blank disc?

Earliest recordings were indeed purely physical. Later the development of tape converted physical sound to electronic signals. LPs were cut from turning these signals back to the physical while driving the cutter head.

Now everything is digital at some point, even if originally recorded to tape. Exceptions are direct to disk sessions and some LPs which are sourced from tape and cut directly.


It is all an illusion, and comes down to what your ear favors. Very few recordings sound like a real live in person event. As many have said in the past, it is all in the mix. So pick your favored illusion. Mine is vinyl for the sound, digital when I’m lazy, and streaming for exploring.


Regarding what’s from a digital or digitized source on LP, one fortunately has more chances again to select. There’s enough (at least of reissues) available all analog, very few certainly of new recordings since the late 80’s. That even a vinyl release of a digital source often sounds better than the digital media (as also Paul stated about Octave releases) is another topic.

Of my ~3000 well selected records, probably ~2500 are all analog. Not only because I’m in since the 70s, but also because I also buy second hand selectively. My digital media collection is mich bigger.

Regarding roninaudio’s question:
What we vinyl folks are hearing by comparisons (better I speak of myself) is how much more information is available from an all analog produced record than from its digital equivalent and how more believably it is rendered. Not speaking of tonality differences or welcome colorations etc. here. Could be an original of an opera with its digital reissue or, as I recently compared again, between an Analogue Productions (label) 45 RPM LP with its equivalent SACD release (try anything, no special selection necessary, here even the mastering aspect doesn’t play a role because it’s done at same standard by the same engineer). But certainly the playback gear is also involved and always different.

The thing to notice in my experience is, you’ll usually hear doubts by those who don’t play vinyl at all or very actively or on a high level and decided to go the pure digital route very early and prior to meaningful comparisons, while you’ll hear more or less only pro vinyl votes by those who play vinyl and digital on a high level and really have a meaningful comparison. Those folks are no digital haters, they play both for music availability and convenience reasons.


“while you’ll hear more or less only pro vinyl votes by those who play vinyl and digital on a high level and really have a meaningful comparison. Those folks are no digital haters, they play both for music availability and convenience reasons.”

Great perspective. Thanks

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It might be relevant that we speak of different things. Comparing live feeds vs. comparing two end products. There’s possibly a lot happening between those two scenarios.

And regarding more information in the end product AAA vinyl, if you compared meaningfully and didn’t hear it, we just have to agree to disagree, no problem.

And Geritol, everyday!

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All I am saying is if you sit in my chair and listen to vinyl on my system you won’t be sad.

At the same time if you sit in the same chair and listen to digital you won’t be sad.

It’s a really good chair.


I bet that IS one really good chair Al! Come on down to Colorado and I’ll show you what vinyl is suppose to sound like. It says it right here in the manual!.

All the best Buddy. And say hello to the bunnies…

It would be great to hear your system (and probably a bunch of others on this forum) playing anything. I am going to go to Denver though (and I Hate driving in Denver) and listen to a good vinyl rig. I owe that to myself. Wonder the difference in a spinner vs reel to reel? Hmmm

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That’s exactly what I was trying to get across but your explanation is a lot more informative.Thanks!

I am certain of that!

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I wouldn’t and don’t have a problem liking something imperfect, but as I said, I don’t like it, because it sounds more pleasant, but because it contains more information although it’s imperfect. My vinyl rig doesn’t sound more pleasant than my digital, if anything, it’s rather the opposite.

Regarding the engineers, it also seems to depend, whom you ask. If you’ll ask several of the most famous ones doing digital AND high end analog masterings, they’ll contradict your statement, at least they did so in several interviews…and everyone’s certainly aware of and agrees to the shortcomings of tape. And again it depends if the very first feed or the whole process up to the end product is compared and how.

If you can’t accept that yours is also just an opinion and experience of a different kind than others made, and feel you need to declare it as absolute, I can’t help you.

I certainly agree that digital more faithfully captures what’s recorded in several ways, but seemingly not in others. If you’d compare on very high end rigs the sound coming out of an SACD and an LP, produced in the same way from an analog tape, you’d hear more information and more realistic sound from the LP. If not, you have a different experience or just like something imperfect, too ;-). However it turns out for you, as myself, that you’ll have to live with the fact, that both of us just talk about our personal experience, supported by those professionals who made the same.

It is a thing of agreeing to disagree, if you like it or not. Calling other engineers for support doesn’t help, there are too many of each camp. You’d have to call the pope.

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What specifically is not captured by digital?