Just added an NDX 2 to my system (NAC 282, NAP 250 DR, HiCap DR with ATC SMC40), I have an extensive vinyl collection playing on a Luxman PD 151/Lyra Delos. Well, after running in the NDX, I am having a hard time justifying buying new records. The NDX streaming Qubuz HiRes just sounds bigger, fuller and more detailed to my ear than the current vinyl release (e.g. New Blonde Redhead and Sampha to name a couple) and with most new music being created in the digital domain (ProTools, and digital mastering, etc) and mastering for vinyl being inconsistent at best (artist don’t always do separate or careful master for vinyl), it’s hard to imagine vinyl, except in rare instances, sounding better than the NDX. Am I crazy?
No, you’re not crazy. A lot of recent vinyl releases sound average at best. I mostly buy specialist Jazz reissues and vintage pressings so am less affected by the problems of modern pressings.
There is the reverse as well, when vinyl sounds better, as in this system for example… (A friend’s system) It’s all about what you want to achieve and prioritize
It’s impossible to truly answer that question based on the information given.
I am a fan of Qobuz though …
A good turntable need a really good phono amp. Have you tried a Superline or another riaa at that price point?
No, not crazy. The NDX2 + Core would be all I needed if I didn’t already have a stash of vinyl and visiting record shops hadn’t been part of my life for 50 odd years. If you can do without record shopping, handling beautiful LP covers etc then streaming hits the spot especially as it’s stress free (pressing quality). But I need a record player in my life.
We have almost the same system. (282, 250DR, NDX2 and ATC SCM40) But I don’t feel the LP playback in general is inferior compared to the NDX2 and Qobuz. This is with a Superline phono stage though.
In the same boat. Will always have a TT, record stores and vinyl in my life as I love the tactile nature and character of vinyl too. Better or worse? - who can really say but it is certainly not out of reason to have a preference - and a preference right down to the title level but just curious what is your personal process for deciding when you’ll pull out vinyl vs. fire up the NDX? Do you ever by the vinyl just to “own” the title and reward the artist but default HiRes when you listen?
Based on my personal experience, that is where I have been leaning since adding the NDX. I have bought several Blue Note/Tone poets on vinyl and of course the Aja UHQR but for new mainstream releases I am having better results with the NDX and may just buy the FLAC versions so the artist get paid and I own the files in the event of a Zombie apocalypse…
Helpful. So how do you chose?
Makes perfect sense
I’m pretty happy with my Limetree streamer but am curious about the ND5 XS2 and NDX2. Might see if I can try one out this year.
I have been able to do a careful comparison between Solstice TT and ND555, both into full Statement.
All else being equal - or as much equal as possible - LPs were consistently better than digital files, to my and a couple of friends’ ears.
And I mean dynamics, soundstage, 3D, liveliness. I am a fair supporter of digital - I listen to CDs much more than to LPs - but streamed digital has consistently disappointed me. My opinion only.
I’ve had to add a Supercap to my Prefix to make it sound on a par with my NDS. Both vinyl and streaming now sound superb. However, I feel that investing heavily in lots more new vinyl doesn’t make sense and for that reason, I suspect that In the years to come, my vinyl system will be sacrificed to the greater good. Whatever that may be.
If I simply want to push money to the artist or keep a complete collection going (PJ Harvey & Get The Blessing in 2023 for e.g) I buy the CD and rip to the Core. If family want to buy me music (birthday/christmas) they go with vinyl. Some albums just feel right for Vinyl - the beautiful Jaimie Branch album, the cover is a work of art & the 3 sided Corinne Bailey Rae album being a couple of examples from 2023. The best fun though is second hand. I love the browsing, chatting to the shop owner/other customers and dropping on a bargain/something I didn’t know I wanted or something missing from Qobuz or to bring symmetry to my collection (I’d like a decent copy of Neighbourhood by Los Lobos - no idea why I didn’t buy it at the time - for instance). I don’t buy audiophile pressings, I have a couple of Tone Poets (Fopp sale) but nothing more exotic. I’m happy with ordinary vinyl & think the heavy weight stuff over rated (probably my system is too poor to benefit?). In truth I’m haphazard and happy to be so. If pushed mindst, I still think a great record sounds better on the TT.
I’m not sure what you refer to but so far I don’t see that I have to pick one over the other. Some days I like to play records. Other days I explore new music on Qobuz or listen to albums I own as records as it is easy.
I don’t plan to stop buying records, but I won’t buy everything I like or is new. Also two sources is a good back up to always have some music to play, should there be a problem with one of them.
The key is to not compare and just enjoy the different sources for what they are. I have an NDX/XPSdr and also a Technics SL-1200GR (I’d love to have your PD-151 though - gosh what a deck. If you are chucking it in the trash, I’ll pay the postage instead ) going into a Stageline N/HCdr.
Do they sound very different? Yes. Does the NDX do things with scale and accuracy that vinyl can’t? Sure. After all, vinyl cannot even do 1:0 channel separation (it can only manage 3:1) so of course a digital source can place some things at more extreme ends of the soundstage.
On the other hand, even with old, less than great condition vinyl (some played to near death), there is a sort of vibrancy and life to a lot of vinyl. I find it acceptable to just enjoy them for what they are and never make the comparison. Comparing an old cartridge or deck to a new one certainly makes sense. But comparing unrelated formats? Not so much - unless you are contemplating getting rid of your collection.
It is possible that synergy just isn’t there. After all, we can’t hear what you hear. I personally feel the Sageline is very good, but have never run it of the powered AUX on the 282 with a single HiCap. That said, your level of turntable certainly deserves a SuperLine or perhaps the matching high end Luxman phono stage.
My gut tells me that while the above is true, you are probably in the standard new source honeymoon period. And that the charms of the PD-151 will manifest again with no system changes once you have gotten familiar with the NDX2 and the areas it excels in no longer hit you in the face.
Nope ‘not insane’.
Firstly- devils advocate; my “Picnic at Hanging Rock” vinyl (lots of panpipe and flute/‘high frequency’ = not strength of DACs) sounds ‘wonderful’.
Probably my houses’ favourite vinyl (which is crazy)
I love my latest Julia Stone Vinyl (most played), but for all the vinyls I bought to ‘improve on their CD equivalents’, being Gomez to Florence, Prodigy to Pendulum, and stuff from Massive Attack to Eric Clapton; the DAC gets the lionshare of the audio for the fact that it is convenient to play, and, ‘once I upgraded my DAC’ could best my Rega with Rega MC cart (and nice phono stages etc) setup.
My friend didn’t believe that if he spent equal money to his Vinyl setup on ‘digital’ that digital might actually sound half decent.
Once he got a nice Denefrips R2R DAC, his Vinyl buying days dropped to basically nil.
now his CD collection is growing at a rate that has finally exceeded his digital concerts (blurray and DVDs), and is approaching his Vinyl catalogue.
He owns many discs across various medias… and once we dialed in the right filter and NOS/OS mode, the reasons to have to get up every twenty five minutes (or less) dropped right off.
Sometimes he just wants to ‘chill out’ and enjoy the music (not verbatim, but a definite repeating catchphrase often said with a major smile when we hear truly great CD masters).
True he started to spend proper coin into his digital rig, even buying a dedicated CD transport (no analogue circuits).
He came to realise that digital didn’t have to sound horrible (and we had tried a few DACs most being superior to 99% of ‘what is sold’), but once he moved into R2R territory, his ‘analogued’ sound had come to fruition/“full circle”- with shiny small silver (although he has a knack for finding Gold) getting the win.
Did require a multithousand dollar upgrade to the digital side of his reference setup, but we could catch up with his 1/3rd pricepoint vinyl setup (itself having had valve phono stages added and all sorts of platter and surface upgrades (and weights) and using cans of compressed air to ‘de-static’ and remove dust etc)
Digitals cost is upfront, and then, with the plethora of media available, is ‘cheap as chips’.
Vinyl setup is like buying a big engined V6 or V8 car second hand… cheap initially but you pay for it with the weekly running costs (much more petrol = expensive LP media)
I am here only comparing mass market digital vs relatively mass market turntable (all of my friends kit required ordering in generally via specialist stores).
Once I saw his setup go this path, I dumped my Vinyl aspirations (didn’t trust my kid with a $1000+ cartridge), and found the best ladder DAC I could reasonably afford (took more than a year to land the right part).
I have no doubt in the high end space Vinyl OWNs MUSIC.
but it is costly in time and effort to get there.
for the masses, a LOT of joy can be found with digital… (but nice ‘musical’ DACs are few and far between, and spec sheet warfare obsfucates the process of finding something worth owning!)
Naim seem to know what they are doing with Digital, from the DAC chips used to the improvements in their circuit implementations and power supplies etc… (and a focus on music ‘greater than’ spec sheet etc)
Doing digital right is something that not even one in one hundred get to experience. (very niche)
@Noodle you don’t mention it, but in my experience unless you are properly cleaning you LP’s with a good Cleaning Machine then you are significantly handicapping your LP playback; and the LP to CD or Steaming comparison is flawed.
I have a somewhat similar system to you: 82/Hicap/250 into ATC SCM40’s and an NDX but with a very high spec GyroDec. I also strongly advise that a dedicated phono stage will make a marked difference to the quality of sound from vinyl. The Trichord Dino I use is excellent, the PS Audio Stellar I also use is even better and slightly warmer sounding. As others have said there are options from Naim too (although I’m not a fan of the Stageline as I don’t think it’s enough of an upgrade over the internal phono cards).
I think your turntable and cartridge is at the level it should be able to give an NDX a good run for its money but I’m not sure either should be definitively ‘better’. So much depends on the pressing, the mastering, the original technology used in the recording (digital/analogue) and the type of music. Personally I see the various sources as complimentary. You’ve doubtless built a collection of music on various formats over the years and your system is the means to enjoy all of it. There’s some interesting discussion about vinyl v digital sources in a thread running just now on this forum called “the quality of music” which might be worth a read.
As Whitedragem says above you have to spend fairly big (IMHO) on vinyl to convincingly better CD/streaming from local rips most of the time - even a £300 Squeezebox touch can sound pretty darned amazing and you’d need to spend 10-20x as much on vinyl replay hardware to match it.