I'm at a loss for a topic title

As I’ve arrived at an all PSA flagship rig (except for speakers), I find that the vinyl performance equivalents of my digital tracks sound identical.

As a result, I’m considering letting go of my turntable and phono preamp. But first, I want to inquire about the experience of forum members.

My vinyl components are a new generation Technics GR1210. I use two cartridges, an Ortofon 2M Black and a Lyra Delos MC. Both are correctly installed. My phono preamp is a Pro-ject Tube Box S2 with Bugle Boy NOS tubes.

I have a PS Audio P15 regenerator going into a DSD DAC, then to a BHK Preamp and BHK 250 amp. Interconnects are USB Coffee, XLR Earths and Robin Hood speaker cables into Focals 1038be speakers.

Except for the speakers, are there forum members with a rig equal or comparable to mine? If so, do any of you have quality turntables, cartridges and phono preamps?

If you do, have you tried playing the same performance on vinyl and digital tracks and compare the results?

If there is a turntable, cart and phono preamp combination that exceeds the SQ of the comparable digital tracks I would love to know what it is for a trial. It would help me decide whether to keep or sell my vinyl components.

My experience is both digital and analog can sound very good.

A lot depends on the degree to which one enjoys the cleaning, and other rituals of vinyl.

If I fond them equally compelling I would go with digital; less expensive, easier, greater convenience, etc.

I think we can all predict into which camp many here will fall. :slight_smile:

There is also the storage aspect to consider. Do want to continue to commit the space required to store LPs? or the space occupied by the turntable and phono stage. Do you need the $. If not, why not keep it and enjoy it from time to time.

I would keep track of the number of times you play an LP for the next month before deciding.

I would describe my vinyl rig sound as “different” when compared to my digital rig (very similar to your setup; DS DAC fed from PWT). I love having the option to spin vinyl (many titles you may never see in another format). Anyway, my analog rig is listed below and I’m very pleased with the sonic performance. Would never give it up.

  • Rega RP-10 table
  • Rega Aphelion2 cart
  • PS Audio Stellar Phono Pre

Edit: Also use the BHK Pre
Edit 2: Also have the TT on a wall-mounted shelf (typical suspended wood floor room). Massive -improvement in SQ and elimination of mechanical feedback.


Great question.
Considering my phono gear, which is quite excellent but not crazy expensive, I would say certainly it sounds better than disks. And my disk setup is DMP/DSD.
That said, my turntable, etc are in my stereo closet and have been for a couple years.
I just got sick of the ritual that Elk mentioned. And the sound of disks are so wonderful that I’m not tempted to go back.


I have a much lower spec turntable, the Rega Planar 3 2016 but with upgraded GrooveTracer reference sub platter and a TTPSU. The cartridge is an Ortofon Quintet Black S MC.

IMHO as someone who previously owned a Pro-ject Tube Box S2 with Mullard NOS tubes and Ortofon 2M Blue, that’s very entry level phono stage for the rest of the components, and I’m sure will be limiting the potential of the system.

I myself have a Trichord Dino Mk 3 phono stage which is substantially more resolving than my previous Tube Box S2, to the point it’s quite literally a different experience in detail retrieval.

I would suggest that’s the component that may be holding that system back. I’m certainly no expert on phono stages, so wouldn’t be the one to advise in that area, I took the word of a local dealer for my upgrade and thankfully it rewarded in spades!

I would agree with others that vinyl has a different sound, to me it’s a much warmer, much more inviting and fuller experience, but I’m definitely analogue centric!

But that MC cart you have is a very nice one, that deserves a far more capable phono stage.

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I agree with @SpyderTracks here. I would not consider getting rid of your vinyl playback system until you have had the opportunity to evaluate a higher level phono stage. Having rolled a few, it is one of the most critical components in that chain. My buddy, who’s an analog only, and tube-only audiophile, purchased Darren’s stellar phono pre-amp and was shocked by how good it sounded. But, there are SO many options in this category, like everything else. If you have a budget that you would be willing to spend for a phono stage if it improved your vinyl sound, I’m certain you will get some solid recommendations here.

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I would love some solid recommendations. The PSA is one. What others are comparable in price and performance?

Hey Ps, hope all is well out there in Cali. Although not an apples to apples comparison-I have preformed many A/B tests on with my system/PS Audio Rig.
Turntable-Pro-Ject xtension 10 w/ sbooster power supply
Cart-Nagaoka MP500 mm
My DAC up until recently was an iFi iDSD Pro- fed into my BHK Pre-amp. Most recently, I was listening to Stewart Copeland’s Rumble Fish Soundtrack: I noticed that on my vinyl setup, the drums felt more realistic. For example, in the very beginning of track 1. Copeland begins with a fill on the hi-hat before introducing his kick drum. When listening to that thru digital source it sounded…I would not same “muted”, but almost tame-On the other hand, the vinyl’s expression of the hi-hat fill was more pronounced and lifelike. There have also been examples of Albums to my ears simply sounded more enjoyable thru my DAC. I guess what I am trying to say, if you have the space for vinyl it is certainly worth keeping. BTW-I should be receiving my DS DAC in the next couple of days and will do the same comparisons for sh*ts and giggles.

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I wonder if a usb tt that transcribes vinyl to digital could
“save” otherwise unobtanium out of print music…

Are these types of tts able to convert analogue to digital
with audiophile quality…

Although they don’t come up for sale very often (folks like them), a used Pass Labs XP-15 is a fabulous phono preamp. I would guess $3K used. Mine has been flawlessly reliable.
That said, why not try the new PS Audio? Gets rave reviews.

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if the two sources sound identical, it all comes down to what you like to do.

Do you like the ritual of playing records, and having a visual reminder of your vast library?

Does playing an album on a turntable provide joy in a different way than playing a CD or digital file?

Do you have the space to accommodate all the records?

Do you have someone in your family who would want the collection, or be crushed if you got rid of everything?

The frequently shared New Yorker cartoon about “what drew me to vinyl is the expense and the inconvenience” is very true. We love these things not necessarily because they sound better, or are more nostalgic, or because we have spent a crap ton of money on cleaners and electronics to eliminate pops and clicks. We do it because we love the gear. We love the album covers. We love the smell. We love the deliberate activity of playing records.

I don’t have a huge collection (maybe 750 albums), but I love owning them and playing them. Even though I probably stream or play local digital files 90% of the time.

Long live records, long live books, and long live the manual transmission! :crazy_face:


Curious, what are your digital sources? The vinyl records I’ve A/B’d my Qobuz versions of the same album have shown to have more top end information (hi-hats, cymbals, etc.) and low end smoothness than the Qobuz Hi-Res counterparts. One recent example was Eric Clapton’s Slowhand 35th Anniversary on 180g vinyl.

I knew that one was coming @vee … First: As if nobody knows that there are multiple masters for multiple media made by multiple people on multiple benches. Second there’s your RIAA curve. How precise is it implemented. Third how is your cartridge picking up the different frequencies and where are the tracks located on the album. Fourth: How is your DAC configured and filtered…? In other words: there is no way you can compare the two media without some magic factor that puts all in perspective. Just saying…

As for answering @psalvet 's question: If you need the money to get thru the next lockdown: sell that stuff. Else keep it and play it once in a while and think of the old times that are going to be gone pretty soon…

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That makes sense – in short, you’re saying “it depends on the source and setup.” I agree with that, which is why I asked what his sources are.

My A/B was simplistic, I level matched the sources by ear (adjusted the DSD to sound same level as the Stellar Phono Pre) by switching inputs on the BHK Pre until it sounded as precisely level as my ears could discern. From there, I time synced the playback and listened for details by switching inputs between measures – sometimes within a measure when I thought I heard something different.

My rig description was incomplete. I should have said my digital sources are ripped CDs and hi res streaming Qobuz. My reference music to compare is strictly classical. They are the original mint copies of the Mercury Living Presence and RCA Living Stereo recordings I’ve had since their release.

One earlier comment may help to explain why I hear no differences, namely the phono preamp. Another possibility are the RCA cables used from TT to phono preamp and phono preamp to BHK preamp, which are AQ Earths. I doubt it because they are of the same design as the XLR Earths I use elsewhere but anything is possible.

With a tongue firmly planted on my cheek, I could say that I’m looking for an excuse to avoid getting up and out of my recliner so often, especially after what is sometimes a ridiculously small amount of material on a vinyl side.


Great point…not having to get up and flip the record over…

There are usb tts that can convert analogue to digital
are these usb tts able to render a quality analogue to digital conversion though

This could help get your now “unobtanium” vinyl music onto

thanks for the tip. i tried it but a good A/D converter is quite pricey. ps audio used to make one. i wish they still did.

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