Uniti Star: my analogue TT will be digital

I understand that connecting my P6 TT via RCA to the Star will change into digital and not pure analogue as a traditional amp/TT setup.

Is the sound quality diminished or noticeably different to the point of me regretting using a TT with the Star?

Yes, the signal from the analogue input is digitized. Nobody can tell you if this affects sound quality because there is no way to bypass this ADC for comparison, although people seem to like to state here that it must be a bad thing.

But interestingly people used it and were surprised subsequently to learn that the signal had been through a digital stage. Digital is not inherently limiting to sound quality (unlike vinyl), as evident these days when done well.

N.B. Received wisdom suggests that the filters stage of the DAC has a fundamental influence on sound quality - but where it can be matched to the ADC it is easier to get it right, compared to when it has to deal with digital signals from any number of original recording devices. If this is correct then it explains how products like the Uniti series, and some Linn amps, and some digital crossovers can do the ADC-DAC conversion without degradation of the signal.

Vinyl has a major advantage over digital; recordings/sound are consistently high quality. Back in the day, before digital, you’d play a record and very very rarely think the recording is poor. Quality of recording wasn’t an issue.

Streaming however, is a different matter, poor quality recording are very very common. It doesn’t take long to decide a recording is unlistenable.
Plus, a sub optimal switch, ethernet cable, streamer, spdif cable could adversely effect sound quality.

So, the ADC/DAC being in one box and designed to work together is obviously optimal. The quality of the ADC/DAC will be matched to the quality of the Star’s amplification section, so the ADC/DAC may not be the limiting factor.
With the consistency of the vinyl, I wouldn’t be surprised if it compared well with all digital.

Sounds like a cue for expounding the advantages of digital over the disadvantages of vinyl…. But regardless, the quality of either is fundamentally dependant on the quality of the recording and mastering before considering other contributors. And there have indeed been many poor digital releases, perhaps most notably a consequence of the “loudness wars” bastardising dynamic range of CDs. As for vinyl, when I used to buy LPs, including long before digital was born, many were the copies I had to return to the record shop, and even then often have noticeably intrusive noise right from day I before any wear.

The take home thing from this thread, however, is nothing to do with vinyl vs digital, but simply that digitising does not inherently have an any effect on sound quality, not adding or subtracting anything from the music, nor imposing a character. (And that applies even where the music has a very wide dynamic range or very high level bass content.)

Haha, it sounds like I won’t be experiencing vinyl a lot differently but could possibly appreciate it a bit more with the Star.

This is news to me. There are plenty of rubbish vinyl records out there. In fact, how do you manage to own a deck and not constantly trip over just naff sounding records I don’t know.

There is nothing remotely consistent about it.

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I agree but I got the advice I needed :laughing:

Used to have a Star with my P6. After I put in a Rega Aria phonostage a well pressed vinyl outperformed streaming on the Star. So you will definitely enjoy your vinyl.

The Uniti devices make use of hi res lossless digital so you will get an accurate representation of the analogue signal coming in.

I’ve been buying vinyl for 50 years and never returned a record due it sounding naff. I was once tempted to return a Cutting Crew album due to severe surface noise, but it was my wife’s and didn’t bother. :grinning: I also have a second hand copy of Pretzel Logic that is so flat sounding, I won’t listen to it. Apart from a few vinyl records I bought after the introduction of CD, which contain 35min of music per side, none of my records are unlistenable and I own over 1000. Although, obviously some sound better than others.

Surface noise isn’t a problem, I very rarely hear it. I use Denon DL103, which is very good at not picking up surface noise. :hear_no_evil:

I’m enjoying playing records via my RP3/MP200, Arklessed CA640, whether listening via headphones or speakers. So much depends on the quality of the LP recording, and I don’t mind whether it’s analogue or digital.

Comparisons of sound quality as a measure of medium are of course only directly applicable if the two are definitely the same mastering, with simply one cut to vinyl and the other distributed digitally, as different masterings inevitably will sound different, which can affect sound quality as well as overall sound mix/balanc However it would be interesting to know if that was online streaming or from your own local storage device? (I would expect online streaming to have significantly higher risk of degradation.)

According to this article a master optimised for digital shouldn’t be used for vinyl.

What is Mastering for Vinyl? — Sage Audio.

Indeed - and the fact of different mastering in most cases means you’re not comparing like with like, so inevitably they sound different - and vinyl, as the description of mastering clearly indicates, is changed from the original recording to cope with the limitations of the vinyl medium. With awareness of that, it is perhaps surprising that vinyl sounds as good as it does before wear takes effect - while of course many people were brought up with that as the sound of hifi.

Sadly digital mastering has not always focussed on sound quality, for example being targeted at sounding good and competing with other music on radio or other limited quality replay equipment. Ideally all music should be first mastered for highest quality, and made available for distribution/sale in that form, then particular purpose copies sub-masters prepared from that, for other distributions like vinyl and radio.