Vinyl vs Digital

An old saw I know …but what the hell.

A friend I had leant my Audionote DAC to popped it back to me last night and so I demoed my SBLs to him. Having played a variety of tracks streamed locally and from Qobuz via my Klimax Renew, and very nice it sounded.

I then put on my original, and rather less than perfect, copy of The Wall. My friend started making some not undeserved derogatory comments about the state of the album before shortly thereafter falling quiet and just listening to the music, in a way he just hadn’t when the music was streamed.

To bring some balance, after The Wall I played a couple of tracks from one of The Beatles 24bit flac albums, which are particularly good, to show the streamer at its best.

He then played me the following video:

Vinyl vs Digital

This makes a number of points, one being the well known safeguard of the limitations of the vinyl media protecting the musics dynamic range. One perhaps more subtle point is the inextricable linkage between the two channels when using a cartridge, so that you cannot independently play with one channel without effecting the other.

Our conversation then moved onto the psycho-acoustic effects of music mastering; effects that we don’t consciously register but do help us to relax and enjoy, or become tenser as our brain is forced to work that bit harder perhaps.

This bought us back in due course to the Audionote DAC, NOS and how chasing good measurements in one area can lead to poor results in another, such as phase.

I fully accept that the SBLs and LP12/Aro/Geddon were designed with each other in mind. But, I have heard the perceived step up in performance from Vinyl in many contexts and the feeling that something is just right; whilst knowing that the measured performance of digital files outstrips vinyl in many areas.

Brave man starting this one up again! For the record I totally agree with you using CDS3 and near Klimax LP12 and SBLs.

Not being a technical person measurements don’t mean much to me. Neither does accuracy per se. I just want my music to entertain me and vinyl does that better in my view. This definitely divides opinion and the important thing is that we all enjoy our own preferences.


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The TT etc is more of a pain to (learn to) set up but still worth the effort, mine’s been keeping me away from my ND555 quite a lot.

Hi Stu,

Fools rush in!

I completely agree about preferences, and I could do a demo to prove either was ‘better’, just varying what I choose to play.

I play digital far more often, but the move to the SBLs has definitely allowed the TT to pull further in front.

My medium term plan had been to digitise my favourite LPs and then just keep the LPs. When I play my 9624 LP rips against the source vinyl I am afraid it doesn’t quiet cut it. I am now changing my thinking, I have bought a record cleaning machine and looking to buy a Goldring’d Trioka in due course. PITA!

My friends highlighting of the analogue linking of left and right channels is a subtlety that had never occurred to me, and may be of no relevance at all, but I thought others may have some interesting thoughts and insights.

What a nice dilemma! :wink:

“Fools rush in” lol!

Good move on the RCM in my view, although it adds to some of the faff around vinyl ownership. I happen to find a session cleaning records quite therapeutic. But it’s the end product that counts and I simply enjoy my records more than my CDs.


Back in the day, when I was making a little money that was the million dollar decision: The analog TT or those dirty silver disk. I had to give those silver disk a spin. Early eighties, I think, went out and spent a fortune on a Denon CD player ($400).

Played it for 2 days, it had to go back! Thin and very harsh, compared to my Thorens TD-145 if I recall the model number correctly! Anyhow, I really went out and done something stupid:
Bought an $989 Philips CD player, I think model number was 980. Hell of a deck, just sold it about six year ago!

Ok, getting long winded, point being not always, but usually there is a relationship between price and quality. With that being said, I hate I sold my Linn Sondek about three years ago! Still got about 20 pristine Albums, one never knows, I like that Rega! And to your point, I miss that Snap, Crackle, and Pop!

Paraphrasing Simon:

No longer just the analog TT & the digital CD. A new Paradigm: The analog TT, digital CD, and digital Streaming depending on Music & Mood!

PS. Even back then, I got it. Linn LP 12 & Ghinki CD, I think! Those were some crazy naims!

Karin, Dirack, etc… I learned
the hard way$$LOL☺

Naim’s Holy Trinity:

LP 12. ~ 25K
CD555~ 20K
ND555~ 20K

When purchasing hi fidelity components their is really only two choices: The best, and very close to the best for a lot less!

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I made a concious decision some while ago that digital was good enough to change over to.
Sold my LP 12 / aro setup …Spent the money on an NDS / uniticore
Wasn’t getting the enjoyment I thought I should be…So bought a rega P8 / alpheta2
It wipes the floor with the NDS…For enjoyment


And the NDS is a very capable streamer. A couple of years ago i went to a demonstration of the Statement amps at Infidelity, using Sopra 2s. The NDS played very well, and the system resolved some things I had not heard before, but the system truly came to life when the NDS was replaced by a Tangerined LP12.


Recently I auditioned Kudos Titan 808 with Statement pre/power first with ND555, then Linn Klimax LP12. The latter was way more entertaining to my ears.
But then I’m exclusively into vinyl for serious listening (sold my CDX2) for several years. I think my ears and brain are more attracted by the vinyl sound - and I got so used to it, that digital replay is not enjoyable for me anymore (beside mobil listening while on the move).

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Yes, it is the interaction with the physical medium that keeps me buying vinyl. May be old school thinking but I am at peace with it. CD’s never engaged me like a an LP- sold off my CDS3/555 years ago. Absolutely no interest in computer based audio at this point but who knows…if they can only make it sound good:flushed::grinning:

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This is what I think is interesting. It is NOT that the vinyl is somehow warmer or cuddlier to my ears, it is harder hitting and dynamic, and yet on the standard measurements like SNR digital should be killing it - it is not that I think the digital is bad, I stream for hours every day and vinyl has so much against it, dragging a tiny bit of carbon hanging on a stick over some PVC!

In the digital sphere NOS dacs measure appallingly but to my ears are amongst my favourites. There was the recent debacle at Stereophile where the ex-editor sent the Border Patrol DAC off to a second reviewer warning him of the poor measurements, as the first reviewer had given it a positive review.

Are we measuring what is important?

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I think I posted this originally in the wrong thread.

Look, there are basically three types of people:

  • Those who think a Rega RP2 wipes the floor with a ND555.
  • Those who think the original ND5XS wipes the floor with a LP12 Klimax.
  • Those who don’t care.

I remember doing a test years ago (mid 90’s) in the dem room. We had a maxed out LP12 and Denon digital tape deck at about GBP400. The LP12 sounded like an LP12 and if you like that sort of think (my colleague did) it was unbeatable. Certainly, the same album on CD into a CDI or Karik sounded very different. But here’s the thing. We then recorded from vinyl to the digital tape and played it back. Result: It sounded exactly like the vinyl. Same warmth and immediacy. We had to conclude that vinyl sounds the way it does because it has to. Digital sounds the way it does because it wants to.

I had access to a maxed out LP12 for years and I just could never fall in love with the format.

To this day, I have a few albums ripped from vinyl to 16/44.1 PCM. And indeed… they sound like vinyl.

As a post script, I’d say I fall into the category of those who don’t care. But I do get my nose out of joint when the master selected for vinyl is clearly superior or has less dynamic range compression applied. That’s loading the dice.

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Hi feeling_zen,

I have hundreds of LPs I have captured to 9624. The other day I was playing the system to a friend and having played my beaten up copy of The Wall I switched to the 9624, it was very listenable and had the LP12 tonality, BUT the slight extra punch was gone.

Ultimately I don’t care, from the point of view that I will listen to both and enjoy them on their own merits. BUT, I would love to try and understand what might be happening. I thought my friends observation about the left/right channel linkage was interesting, as it had never particularly occurred to me. I do wonder whether phase might be a factor.

I mentioned NOS dacs above in an effort to move past a pure analogue vs digital.

I heard my first CD player around the end of the 80s, a Philips costing £500, it was boring and irritating in equal measure. We found recording from it onto cassette was preferable. Eventually I found my way to a CD5x which made my now rather aging vinyl system sound grey, I bought an Aro to restore the natural order. One day I might not be able to maintain the lead of my vinyl system but I may not last that long.


I am not so much in the “I don’t care” camp so much as the “I am happy for people to enjoy their own preference” camp. A Rega 2 is definitely better than an ND555 though :innocent:

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Hi Stu,

We are both running with an LP12 & SBLs and I think this is a synergistic match made in Salisbury.

Agree with that Mr U! I am sure Roy George and JV designed the olive series and original range of speakers using an LP12. However, the Linn has a different presentation these days, one that I actually prefer to a pre Cirkus deck. Does that make this assertion less valid? All I can say is that the Linn sounds wonderful on my Sibbles, but definitely not warm and cuddly!


Actually there are 10 types of people in the world
Those who understand binary (and prefer digital).
Those who don’t (and prefer vinyl).