Turntables vs. Digital - what do you get for your money?

@emrei asked me about this in another thread, and certainly many of us have both tt’s and digital replay at home. I’m a bit focused here on what you get for your $ or £ or €. (Apologies to those whose currency I’ve omitted.)

Simple conclusion: Seems that you can get a more for your money out of vinyl.

Caveats: “It depends on the source material” absolutely applies. Great digital files vs. poorly mastered digital can overwhelm the analysis. Same with vinyl. And when you’re used to not hearing surface noise, you have to come to accept some with vinyl replay IMHO, or you’ll miss out on some wonderful, sometimes vintage pressings.

The RP8 was not capable of the sheer resolution of the ND555. Certain recordings (e.g. 2011 Remaster of The Wall) are just SO IMMERSIVE (pun intended) on the ND555. I never really got THAT effect from the lp’s. On the ND, the combo of the stark ‘inky blackness’ of the background, plus sheer musical resolution, puts me INTO the music. Mentally a 360-degree soundstage. Obviously not all recordings provide that experience. But great recordings of all genres and vintages really shine on the ND. The background is always blacker. But that’s not always better, and its an effect that probably not everyone likes.

Our Rega RP8/Apheta2 provided a ton of music listening enjoyment. “Different” than ND for all the obvious reasons. But always enjoyable. In some cases AS enjoyable. Jobim Girl from Ipanema and Beck Sea Change on MFSL vinyl come to mind.

Our P10/Aphelion2 is still too new; the cartridge needs more hours. I can already hear a lot more of that “resolution.” Not a cliche - I’ve already heard things on some LP’s I never noticed before. Norah Jones on Analog Productions Come Away With Me (first LP I played on it) was IN my room as I’ve not heard it before. The entire production held together musically as I’ve not heard it. Good signs.

@emrei you said you’re looking for something simple - Rega absolutely is simple to set up and own. As @hungryhalibut wrote recently, it’s a 5-minute set-up. He can compare his P6 to his N272/555PS. What’s your budget? I’m sure you can find a tt in your budget that you’ll enjoy.


Just as a quick aside, Bart if you’ve not read this then i’d recommend buying it. The back story of Roy Gandy and Rega along with the engineering philosophy employed in the design of their turntables. A really fascinating read…

Back on topic…


I think way too much is made of surface noise. A concert hall/pub/theater has a lot of ‘surface’ noise and no one complains. Of course, a record can be in such poor condition that it is unlistenable, but this isn’t that common. A good wash can get most back to enjoyable listening.

I bought a copy of that last year – a really interesting read! I still don’t think I quite understand exactly how stereo music is encoded in the groove walls . . . but not a topic for this thread :slight_smile:

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This will be very interesting topic

İs it worth to invest to a turntable like p10 which is not so cheap but far away from being the last Word on analog when you own nd555 and/or cd555?

I see this only as the SQ question because they will be many other variables such as joy of owning an LP or playing your old records which bring merories etc

I want one but can not put my self spending that kind of money as a third source:) after i Sold like 4-5 turntables

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I would guess that you can be very happy with a P8. Maybe a P6??

for me I have always turned to vinyl as my prefered source, that been said the new streamers NDX2 and ND555 are both superb and when I went to the launch of the ND555 with a very ££ demo it showed just how good it was

on a personel level for me a great deck set up well with the right system behind it still takes some beating, but it’s getting close

on the £££ vs reproduction ND555 with 2 x 555 or NDX2 with 555 should be a stunning source, but vinyl on a ££ for ££ basis still gives me more music

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:small_blue_diamond:I’m basically a Vinyl-guy,.albeit I’ve spent a lot of time the last four years…
To learn how to optimize a digital source,.with all that entails.

It’s complicated to get Vinyl to play really,really well.
This also applies to a Digital source,.all small,small details matter.
But if I may be joking a little,.I’ll put in this picture…

Stay safe…


Peder and other - what do you think about the relative costs?

Peder - I have only owned Rega; the tt itself is as uncomplicated as the Technics direct drive I owned in 1980. I have not found any of it complicated - what complicates it for you? Digital was more challenging, at first. Now with Roon its extremely reliable too (but so is nas with a good server app + Naim app).

We might all find our different ways of answering…
My TT cost less than a third of the price of my digital. I prefer music on the TT.

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The rega path is so much easier I agree. I had an SME 20/2 and it was really more difficult.
You choosed a rega cart, which gives less complications.
Perhaps another stand that glass shelf would give still better results.
Is your Superline optimized for the Aphelion ?

I’ve got to be honest which will likely lead to me being stoned to death but I prefer my digital source to my RP8/Apheta 2. To me it sounds better, has more detail and is, obviously, more convenient to use. I enjoy buying vinyl when I visit other cities but the replay is fairly limited for me.


This is a no-judgment thread! What is your digital source?

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Mac mini running Aidirvana into chord hugo 2 via a usb regen 2 and a few bits and pieces. Works very well for me and is rock solid to.use

Turntables vs Digital - what do you get for your money?

For me digital (I mean Qobuz streaming in hi-res to an ND555 / NDX2) = ultimate convenience. There is always music enough for every mood. Its brilliant for new music discovery and the SQ with a decent setup is emotive and high quality.

So, just from a listening to music perspective I think digital is pretty unbeatable. Digital = max practicality.

However there is no romance in it. There is no collecting, no acquiring, little tinkering, little maintenance - like cleaning and storage. There is no memory of where you got that music, why, who you were with and when. Its these aspects that appeal to a hobbyist in my opinion. And its in this aspect that digital, as defined above, just simply can’t compete.

If you like the ritual of listening to music, the ritual of collecting it and having a collection, then the emotional value of Turntables is off the chart. Turntable = max emotion.

So where do you place your money?

If you are a collector, go max turntable and revel in it. If you don’t give a damn about the ritual of collecting, or the equipment and just want music, then go max digital.

I personally value the mix - I like the practicality of digital, but also I enjoy aspects of the emotion of Turntable and collecting.

My system reflects that, in that I have good amplification (252/SCDR/300DR) and reasonably competent sources :

Rega Planar 8, Rega Apheta 3, Chord Shawline DIN / RCA interconnect and Rega Aria v2 = Turntable source
Naim NDX 2 using integrated Qobuz Studio Subscription with DIN Naim Superlumina interconnect = Digital source


:small_blue_diamond:@jlewis,…Now I do not understand,.where/is it mine,or someone else’s comment you are referring to…??


Sorry, I do not understand your question. The meaning of the words that I used are: we all express things in different ways. I am not sure if I have caused any offense, if I have then please be assured that none was intended.
Best wishes,

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For serious listening I used to play vinyl more than 95% of the time. I had a ND5XS but I just didn’t find digital source very satisfying, and ended up using it only for background music. It always just seemed rather anemic and analytical to my taste. To be be fair, my analog front end is more than $20k (U.S.), so they didn’t really compare well.

Last year I got a NDX2 and I use that with Qobuz and stored FLAC files (CD rips and purchased 24-bit hires) all unified into one UX with Roon. That was the game changer for me. The NDX2 stepped up the game for digital playback and I started listening to digital more frequently. Roon created a great user experience for me. After a few months I added a XPSDR and that stepped it up even more.

All things being equal my digital source is still not quite up to my analog source, but it’s much closer than it ever was before. Nowadays for serious listening, the split is more like 70/30 in favor of analog, but I do have a record library of some 4000 LPs, many of which are not in digital form. Also, when possible, I prefer listening to original analog source on a turntable and original digital source on the NDX2.


The magic with Rega is ( for me) not really their turntables. ( I still sort of own my P25), but it’s their arms.
They must have sold, was going to say 10, but that is too low , but 10 times as many arms as turntables.
The RB 300 arm is a design classic. Most, if not all their arms are based on this. And everyman has tried to modify them with varying degrees of success.
No self respecting TT manufacturer makes their TT without providing the ability to fit a Rega arm.


I still but cds for my collecting habits

Will you buy a rega p10 to compete with a nd555/ 2 PS555DR?

Just for the SQ?