Let me add some philosophy here, as you’re looking to “get into vinyl.”
There are a billion pages/posts/threads on internet forums that have beat this dead horse to death, but generally (GENERALLY!), vinyl will not sound as good as digital. I mean, it’s easier and less expensive to get digital to sound good. Especially with the great DACs and streamers and hi-res services out there.
It can be expensive to get vinyl to sound really good. This we know, and lovingly embrace. Not saying a record can’t sound better than its digital counterpart, because it can. But there are a lot of variables that need to be sorted out to get there.
Turntable, Cartridge, Stylus.
The fine-tuning of all of those parts. (Alignment, balance, weight, anti-skate, compliance between cart and arm, etc…)
The condition – and the pressing – of the record.
The phono stage.
But I think of it this way:
I love record libraries. My dad was in radio back in the day, and my favorite thing was to go to the studio and into the record room and just look at the wall of records and pull something random off the shelf and go into one of the little listening rooms with some goofy transcription turntable (with a 12" or maybe 16" arm!), and just listen. This was the early-to-mid 70s, and I was probably 9 years old, maybe up to 12 or so.
So, I love to see the records on the shelf, and thumb through them, and take them down and look at them. To read the liner notes. To look at the awesome art and read the lyrics. Yeah, there are PDFs for that now, but is it the same? I think not. Just like i prefer paper books, and like to see them on the shelf. A Kindle has its place though, right? Variety is the spice, eh?
I love the ritual. I love washing them. I love taking them out of the sleeves and placing them on a really cool turntable. Brushing them off. Cleaning the stylus. It’s like sorting seeds and stems back in the day. The ritual is the thing. (And what did we sort those seeds and stems on? ALBUM COVERS!)
I love the vintage nature of the gear. (Even new turntables.) The tonearms are works of mechanical engineering. The delicate balance to achieve 1.5 grams tracking force EXACTLY. Anti-skate weights attached with filament. SME tonearms made in England in the 60s and 70s. Walnut plinths. (That’s why I like the vintage stuff. Mad Men-era hi-fi, baby!)
The cartridges are like little racecar engines; they look so freaking cool. Some of those Koetsus and Lyras should be in architectural digest.
Listening to an album is so analog, and I love it. Start here, end there. No skipping around. Patience, Grasshopper.
But I know that, more often than not, if I play the same file on CD/SACD or from my digital library through my DAC, it will probably sound better, cleaner, crisper, fuller. Not all the time, but more often than not. That’s just the way it is.
Some vinyl systems will put others’ digital systems to shame. (Paging Michael Fremer.) But that is a giant rabbit hole and you can get lost down there for a long time. More power to you if you get in deep.
That all said, I probably listen to 75% digital, 25% vinyl. But, I’ll never get rid of my records!
(I still drive a manual transmission. Maybe it’s a little like that. Certainly not as convenient. New automatics shift far more quickly and efficiently. But are they as “fun”? Not for me.)
anyway, blah blah blah, was waiting for my kid to be ready to go on our grocery run, and i’m just killin time