Audio quality per source components' cost comparison

sbo6

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#21
If possible I'd like to sidebar other peripherally related topics like room acoustics, amplifiers, speakers, etc. Also, FWIW my room is well treated and I've spent extensive time and energy optimizing my room, speaker + 4 subs' placement and treatment along with SS positioning to achieve what my my ears ended preferred which was very close to Sean Olive's Harman Listener's Target Curve.
 
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Solypsa

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#22
If the music you like is analog, original on vinyl (old jazz as stated, others too) then you will want a turntable no? So the question is just a matter of budget and priorities in your music collection (size, quality, type).
 

sbo6

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#23
Ultimately, yes, but by understanding how much it will cost to not have sub - digital quality sound with a TT setup is open.
 

Solypsa

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#24
Certainly, and so many variables as already mentioned. In my opinion most systems not in 'end game' territory have certain strengths and bias that may favor digital or analog to begin with. As a somewhat extreme example a friend of mine wanted to demo an analog system. They are digital folks that just happen to have a few records from their favorite bands. Not only are they all digital but they use powered and dsp'd speakers (digital only system about $50k). We put together a $20k analog front end. Ultimately the lack of great records and a lack of interest in really dialing the system in left them deciding a cheap record player was all they needed. They aren't into it enough to warrant the effort. Btw that $20k system isn't perfect but is quite good. Thats about the entry point imho (table/arm/cart/pre)

But again...if you have the vinyl you need the player. Figure out if you have any bias towards belt/idler/dd and jump in :)
 

Kingrex

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#25
Im playing right in your price range. About $11k digital and 14k vinyl. What I find is a flip flop. Throw time and $ at either and it will surpass the other in some areas. Then throw a few more $ the other way and it moves back. Both mine are excelent now and the actual file or record are way more important than the equipment.
 
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Kingrex

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#26
Certainly, and so many variables as already mentioned. In my opinion most systems not in 'end game' territory have certain strengths and bias that may favor digital or analog to begin with. As a somewhat extreme example a friend of mine wanted to demo an analog system. They are digital folks that just happen to have a few records from their favorite bands. Not only are they all digital but they use powered and dsp'd speakers (digital only system about $50k). We put together a $20k analog front end. Ultimately the lack of great records and a lack of interest in really dialing the system in left them deciding a cheap record player was all they needed. They aren't into it enough to warrant the effort. Btw that $20k system isn't perfect but is quite good. Thats about the entry point imho (table/arm/cart/pre)

But again...if you have the vinyl you need the player. Figure out if you have any bias towards belt/idler/dd and jump in :)
You set me up with kick ass vinyl and it was more like $14k. And it's really good
 
May 30, 2010
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#27
If the music you like is analog, original on vinyl (old jazz as stated, others too) then you will want a turntable no? So the question is just a matter of budget and priorities in your music collection (size, quality, type).
Surely. Particularly because the vinyl ritual is particularly adequate to jazz and people today in the fifties and sixties spent decades listening to LPs. Many jazz LPs have high quality artwork covers - I really prefer vinyl for jazz. Classical music LP covers are usually boring ...
 
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twitch

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Jun 17, 2010
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#28
Generalizing, I think that good analog is more expensive than good digital, especially at the low end.

Analog scales up as you spend more money.
I concur, assuming the media is mixed and produced properly one can easily do great digital for considerably less than analog. IMO, analog requires not only a greater $$ outlay but a greater commitment as well .......
 

Kingrex

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#29
I concur, assuming the media is mixed and produced properly one can easily do great digital for considerably less than analog. IMO, analog requires not only a greater $$ outlay but a greater commitment as well .......
To simple IMO. You need to build the entire digital backbone correct. If your just internal files and no ethernet attached to the server its easier. You only have vibration control and cabling to deal with. As soon as you put an ethernet cable in it, you need devices such as gigafoil, linear PS on modem, router and audiophile switches for streaming. And all the cabling and isolation as well as vibration control and dedicated circuit power. Good digital takes a different type of attention to detail to make it really good. Once it is done its done. Vinyl is annoying when you change a cart. Its a PITA to get it all dialed back in. And record cleaning is absolutely necessary. Read Tima's thread on DIY record cleaner. Its amazing one of the most important records to clean is the brand new one. Who would have guessed.
 

sbo6

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#30
One option if it were remotely feasible would be to purchase analog rips to digital as I understand that the sound is quite close to the quality as if played on the vinyl rig. Somebody could make a fortune providing this service and / or selling the vinyl rips.
 

ddk

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#31
I know most people feel that it's difficult to compare source types per $ but if you had to compare digital to analog (turntable) versus analog (R2R) how would you rate all them? For example IME and IMO:

- An ~$18K turntable setup (TT, phono pre, vibration control platform, cartridge, tonearm) is sonically approximately on par with an ~$18K digital setup (DAC, music controller / streamer). For R2R, I don't have enough experiences to accurately compare. Thoughts?
If you know what you’re doing the turntable is your best bet, it will easily outperform this type of digital setup at 5X of this budget! There’s also plenty of great music available on vinyl for next to nothing. Technically an $18k R2R will best the tt setup but you need very high quality recordings for that to happen and good titles are few and hard to come by, an album will cost you hundreds these days.

david
 
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May 30, 2010
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#32
One option if it were remotely feasible would be to purchase analog rips to digital as I understand that the sound is quite close to the quality as if played on the vinyl rig. Somebody could make a fortune providing this service and / or selling the vinyl rips.
IMHO no LP aficionado wants vinyl rips, people would want "their" vinyl rips, made to their preference, and surely a new version of the rip every two months. Imagine their distress when they read in an audio forum that the SRA of the stylus used for the rip was wrong by .1 degree or the turntable had a motor with feedback! ;)
 

sbo6

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#33
But what about a digitalphile who wants the best sounding Jazz classics? Maybe a market?
 

Al M.

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#34
Who will tell that the original question is so dependent on everything else (system, preferences) that it becomes meaningless.
I agree. I think it's hard to get a system to sound optimal on both sources. Vinyl lovers will optimize their system for vinyl playback and then may complain about their digital, digital lovers will optimize their system for digital playback and then may complain about how vinyl sounds.

In terms of preferences, there is so much that can tilt the scale one way or another. It's what kind of sound you prefer, and even if unamplified live music is your reference, what kind of live experiences in which kind of venues and at which seating positions you have, and what your personal perception is of the sound at these live events -- no two persons experience the same thing the same way.

With vinyl playback you can also taylor the sound more easily to a personal preference; a simple change of cartridge for example, can do the trick.

And of course the type of music you listen to may lead you to prefer one format over the other. The digital "loudness wars" affect pop/rock more than other genres; in fact, on classical the dynamics and dynamic range on digital are often extreme, in a good way. Vinyl has its issues with having to hunt for great or at least good pressings in some cases, and so on.
 
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Lagonda

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#35
I have been enjoying the Yggy 2 immensely the last 2 weeks and have purposely not turned on the vinyl rig as to not fall into the preferred flavor pit. Tonight i fired up the Io, started up my compressor and let myself get swept away ! As much as i like the tone speed and rhythm of the Yggy 2 ( and i am definitely buying one) the gap up to vinyl is not small. Performances are just more real with my vinyl rig, and i have not even picked my best recorded albums. It’s not a fair comparison as the digital front is priced around 10 k used, the vinyl is closer to 40 k, and i don’t even own a really pricey cartridge or unobtainimum cables:rolleyes:
 
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ddk

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#36
I agree. I think it's hard to get a system to sound optimal on both sources. Vinyl lovers will optimize their system for vinyl playback and then may complain about their digital, digital lovers will optimize their system for digital playback and then may complain about how vinyl sounds.
What do you mean by optimize in this instance Al? I don't see where you optimize differently from preamp to speakers based on your source. Many of us have multiple sources and some all three.

david
 

Mike Lavigne

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#37
I agree. I think it's hard to get a system to sound optimal on both sources. Vinyl lovers will optimize their system for vinyl playback and then may complain about their digital, digital lovers will optimize their system for digital playback and then may complain about how vinyl sounds.
i have to disagree. maybe it can be hard, but it's the only way i've ever looked at it.

i do realize that maybe if a system is set up for say. golden age jazz records primarily, with dense tone and fat bass as the character (not saying that is the right way to do that), then that will be limiting.....but that is an extreme situation......and a lazy short-cut approach.

in my system it's clarity, micro-dynamic life, and neutrality all the way, and it's how i want to hear all my formats. yes; the three turntables each have their signature sound, but i want that character to come through clearly without some compensating system artifact in the way. everything i have has been selected to be neutral. and i don't think any of my sources have system advantages. i use 75 to 100 digital tracks for quick feedback on changes, and 20-30 vinyl tracks to confirm them. and my tape should sound similar to the vinyl.

where i do agree is that you do have to be serious to get this to happen.

In terms of preferences, there is so much that can tilt the scale one way or another. It's what kind of sound you prefer, and even if unamplified live music is your reference, what kind of live experiences in which kind of venues and at which seating positions you have, and what your personal perception is of the sound at these live events -- no two persons experience the same thing the same way.

With vinyl playback you can also taylor the sound more easily to a personal preference; a simple change of cartridge for example, can do the trick.

And of course the type of music you listen to may lead you to prefer one format over the other. The digital "loudness wars" affect pop/rock more than other genres; in fact, on classical the dynamics and dynamic range on digital are often extreme, in a good way. Vinyl has its issues with having to hunt for great or at least good pressings in some cases, and so on.
i do think this part can be valid.......but more that to allow certain types of music to succeed in your system does push the envelope of effort and asset allocation. or maybe if you really love a certain type character then the gear that requires might be limited in other types of music. absolutely i've been faced with that situation......and did choose the most all around best performer while still appreciating the specialness of the more limited performer.
 
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Folsom

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#38
IMO with a little bit of DIY you can spend circa $1k in vinyl that can’t be touched at any price digitally. The cost goes up some for having decent vinyl that isn’t really beat up and is clean - especially compared to Tidal or whatever. The hard part is having the knowledge to make the vinyl good.
 
May 25, 2010
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#39
I have been focusing on R2R tape for the last few years. Just about all of the pro level tape machines are used, so you need to have either great DIY skills or a really good tech. You can get the best level R2R sound for the same or less money than the high end DAC and TT. However, the real cost is in the tapes, not the playback. Lots of great stuff out there, both commercial and beyond. But unless you are comparing to rare collectable vinyl, it is the tape cost. But IMHO nothing is better than tape for music from the analogue era.

Larry
 

Al M.

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#40
What do you mean by optimize in this instance Al? I don't see where you optimize differently from preamp to speakers based on your source. Many of us have multiple sources and some all three.

david
Analog and digital sources can have a slightly different tonal balance. Even just a cartridge change on a vinyl rig can cause a change in tonality. I have heard too many different cartridges not to know this to be true. Also different digital sources can have different tonalities, e.g. brighter or darker, despite the fact that "theoretically", and in practice on steady test tones (which are not music) they all should have a flat response.

You can change tonal balance of your overall system by changes in room acoustics and/or speaker setup. Such changes may favor one or the other source, depending on slight differences in tonality between them.
 

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