That is completely the opposite of my experience. I
think you have to spend an a lot more on a vinyl front end to come close to what today’s digital can achieve for less, with judicious choice of modern DAC. Vinyl, meanwhile, is always limited with quiet by its surface noise with high dynamic range music by its limited limited dynamic range (among other limitations), and of course continuing wear if the records are played often.
That’s true. As usual, it will depend on priorities and how important is vinyl to you. I sold my turntable about 9 years ago and gave away my vinyl collection to friends. I kept 3 LPs for decoration on the display rack. Personally I don’t enjoy spinning LPs and all the pops and crackle became tiring. Apart from LPs I don’t play CDs anymore but still keep a fairly modest collection of CD, and the CD player for sentimental reasons.
No regrets for me as mentioned above. My vinyl setup is not high-end but decent, and I find the digital set up to sound better than the vinyl setup. I enjoy the simplicity and sound quality of digital, being able to control the music using your tablet. DACs do make a difference, from my limited experience since I don’t have the privilege of trying many DACs. Just don’t get the cheap ones will do it. £4k appears to be a healthy budget and should be more than sufficient, new or used.
We have switched to streaming via ND555. My wife loves Quobuz. All good.
Our vinyl sounds fantastic via the Verdier-Superline-Supercap. Much better than streaming.
Tough choice. She will never let the streamer out of the house. She owns the coolest vinyl, too.
Why is this man smiling?
I would downgrade my car before selling our vinyl, which we rarely listen to. It is irreplaceable. Cars are everywhere. But I recommend against this for every young man who wants to get into vinyl. Why bother when Quobuz has everything?
Vinyl is expensive, fragile and a complete PITA. If you only have 120 LPs with a mid-level TT and aren’t really into it I say get rid of it all, recoup what you can and invest in better digital if that’s what you want to do.
I am heavily invested in vinyl, with an analog front end that costs more than my car and well over 4000 LPs. I love it but almost never recommend it to those who aren’t in to it or want to get started with it. Unless you’ve been in to it for a long time like I have been, and are comfortable with all the kinks it’s just not for everybody.
Is music replay purely about sound quality for relative effort? Or does the act of putting on a record give you some tactile pleasure?
If you answer “yes” to the first question, then I think you know what you really want to do. But if you answer yes to the second question, then regardless of questions about sound quality, you are likely to greatly regret losing your vinyl friend.
I find vinyl is about having fun beyond just the aural pleasure of the music. It’s about the ritual of doing something to make that music. And that absolutely might not be for everyone all the time. You might even find that going for a simpler deck and trimming down your collection (or the collection actually available at hand in the room) to just a few treasures.
To paint a picture, while I find the sound from my digital sources superior in many ways, I find it immensely therapeutic after a stressful day/week, to put a record on, sit back with a tea or coffee and no kids around for 22 minutes. Just listen, sip, and watch the disc go round. Which source is better doesn’t come into the discussion at all.
Oh you forget how much fun it is with a lower end deck and second hand bins. I’ve found that affordable and discovered great stuff. Low fuss, low cost. It is possible. Just be prepared to clean everything you buy.
These are not going to do miracles to precious vinyl recordings that you obviously seek that have been played and damaged on a 2 inch nail
Vinyl can be very rewarding agreed and you have to love it but it can also be intensely frustrating and difficult to find those gems
I will still stand by my statement that, you can achieve a better sound cheaper with a turntable than a dac. Yes the turntable will have the clicks, pops, etc. But it will also have that certain sound quality that you get with vinyl, and a half decent turntable that most dacs, even expensive ones just can’t do.
Something like a rega P8 with a apheta3, and rega phono stage to match, not that much money new really, this will take some beating by a dac, for sound quality when paired with a decent quality system.
Obviously digital sounds different, but it can lack that analogue quality and feel that vinyl has.
Some dacs have it, others have clinical very detailed sound, but to get a dac that has it all is still a challenge, and not many do it, plus the ones that can cost loads
Well put and that’s, to a great extent, the dilemna - even though it only happens once in a blue moon. Since budget is the imperative just now and I sold the eldest child to get Serafino’s, I’ve concluded sell gear, buy dac, keep lp’s, re-visit gear acquisition at a future point of flush funds.
And thanks to everyone for their comments which have all been of great and welcome help.
That reminds me of a point I’d neglected - cost of vinyl today. It’s completely nuts. Yesterday, Annette Askvik wrote to me (and a few thousand others) offering me an advance release of her new album on vinyl - for 60 euros! What’s the average price of new vinyl - £20-£30? And even new, some albums are not cleanly pressed. Used is great in theory and I love going through racks at dealers looking for a past gem, but have bought too many that have ‘orrible scratches that a clean won’t save. Thinking on, this is why I’ve invested so little in buying the media in recent years and would have been unlikely to do so going forward even if I hadn’t needed a new dac.
This quote from @feeling_zen is very apt: Is music replay purely about sound quality for relative effort? Or does the act of putting on a record give you some tactile pleasure? However it, of course, goes beyond the black and white question, rather it is the balance between these, and the associated cost and effort.
In my case, whilst I prefer the sound quality that I get from digital, being to me more natural sounding, I do sometimes miss the “magic” of handling a record sleeve, and of lowering a visible stylus onto a visible groove, and getting the anticipatory initial noise and sometimes pre-echo that heralds what is coming - I just don’t miss enough to want the very high commitment and all-too-often the distinctly adverse aspects.
I admit to not having heard an absolutely top-flight vinyl front end, but certainly I found the sound quality of a Mac Mini/Audirvana into Chord Hugo1 via Gustard U12 to be distinctly superior in terms of sound quality to an LP12 based source of probably at least similar value. However, even the very best vinyl systems will inevitably be at the mercy of the medium itself - though to put in context so is digital, and there certainly are poor digital releases out there (e.g. the CDs bastardised by the “loudness wars” that severely compressed dynamic range), but there are also digital recordings that are as good as it gets.
All good points raised by other members here. No right or wrong. As mentioned earlier, it’s all about managing priorities and preferences.
Apart from the cost of vinyl today, I suppose there is one more factor which may influence the decision regarding giving up vinyl for digital. Music on vinyl. I’m not sure if it is an issue today but it was one a decade ago when the music which I enjoy are not available on vinyl.
@Innocent_Bystander I used to enjoy handling vinyl but later regarded it as a chore. Similarly I don’t miss it but for me it’s more to improved sound quality and convenience of digital playback (mainly streaming) apart from the relatively high cost of good vinyl and limited availability of titles on vinyl. The fairly small collection of records which I owned made it easier for me.
I have considered selling my LP12 and vinyl but have decided not to. The reasons are many, I sold an LP12 in the past and regretted it after a couple of years. For the last 18 months, I have mainly been streaming, now via an NDS. Getting up and changing records seems like a faff but I have been enjoying vinyl in my 2nd system so this may be a temporary thing. The other faff is having to turn off the mains based Wi-Fi extender when playing vinyl as it creates noise which is picked up by the phono input. When I switch it on again, I sometimes have to power off/on the NDS to reconnect the network which creates fuse blow anxiety. However, this can easily be resolved by running a cable up to my cabin from the house and losing the extender. So again, a temporary faff. Also, used LP12s are not easy to sell for a good price and mine is a good spec and looks nice. I feel it will again come into its own in the future. Getting rid of a vinyl rig feels like it could be a heavy handed solution to what might be a temporary wobble. If mine still isn’t getting the use it deserves in a couple of years I might (in the words of Fagin) review the situation.
When I heard a Simplex, before the update, it was giving a Rega p8 a hard time but it was nowhere as easy to set up to that level, presumably yours is the older version too. How much will you get for it and will it make that much difference to the DAC you can afford?