I’m currently surfacing from a deep-ish dive into digital audio, a portion of it logged here and elsewhere. While I have made time for vinyl (and regularly purchased records), I’d invested very little in my analog chain. Renewed focus on my humble vinyl collection and discussions with my good friend Dave inspired me to make some changes.
Ultimately, I have rediscovered what so many of our community had long before now. Analog rules.
I’m not saying digital audio sounds bad – it can, of course, just like vinyl – but they both sound awesome when done right. This is not about digital vs analog – I’m not interested in arguing the technical superiority of one tech over another. Digital is really great. The convenience is a compelling argument, the Tidal/Roon dive is now among my favorite past-times, and again it sounds excellent when well implemented.
That said, there’s no denying that it sounds different from analog. Perhaps on audio’s highest peaks the gap has closed, but that is not my world. Still trying to grasp what this means for me – the vinyl experience. For me there are compromises with either choice. In the end, I enjoy vinyl more, and that’s all I needed to know.
I still have my digital front end, and listen to it via headphones while working, etc. For my two channel sessions, it’s all analog. In fact, I’ve another amp coming soon, and I’d like to do a side by side comparison with my Bottlehead amp. We’ll see.
After doing tons of reading, I chose to buy a Clearaudio Concept table with the Concept MM cartridge and Satisfy Black tonearm. Thanks to Andrew at Esoteric Audio! I’ll provide a more in-depth review of the ‘table (along with some glamour shots) in another post, but I can say I am surprised by Clearaudio’s entry-level gear.
I had a moment recently where I realized I was trying to get my digital chain to sound like analog. Silly me. Instead, I have invested in a new phono pre and turntable, and I am finally experiencing what so many have before me. More to come…