Paul McGowan Prefers Digital

Ron Resnick

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Jan 25, 2015
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#1
paul-McGowan.jpg
In Paul McGowan’s post today, “Album art,” on his PS Audio blog, https://www.psaudio.com/pauls-posts/album-art/#comment-104603, he writes:

“My readers will know I prefer the dynamics, life, and sound quality of proper digital on a system specific to the medium.“

I commented:

I have great respect for your accomplishments, Paul, but I find your preference inexplicable. I understand this preference for convenience, and for your business strategy, but I do not understand it for “life and sound quality.”

Are you certain that you have paid as much time, money and effort to your analog playback system, whether vinyl or tape, as you have to your digital playback system?

Alternatively, have you felt obligated to adopt this view since PS Audio presently seems to focus more on digital playback than it does on analog playback?

I am baffled that digital truly could be your honest sonic preference.

—————————————

If digital truly is Paul’s preference, then I have absolutely no issue with that whatsoever. I am just wondering if it truly is his preference.

Am I being too hard on Paul?

What do you make of Paul’s declaration?
 
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spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
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#2
Ron, you're surely aware plenty of people If not the majority prefer digital. It measures better, and a very good argument can be made to say it sounds better. And plenty are confounded by your attitude that analog is better.

You've heard MSB, yes?
 
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spiritofmusic

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Jun 13, 2013
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#3
You really need to hear more good digital, didn't you decline the opportunity at MikeL's?
 

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
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#5
Ron, you're surely aware plenty of people If not the majority prefer digital. It measures better, and a very good argument can be made to say it sounds better. And plenty are confounded by your attitude that analog is better.

You've heard MSB, yes?
Your first sentence leaves open the key questions. Majority of people is not WBF members. “Majority of people” is people listening to music on Spotify and Sirius in their cars. Of course the “majority of people” prefer digital, because that is all they know.

So your post is not remotely the question I am asking Paul. I also am not asking if a majority of even WBF members prefer digital over analog in their own systems. I personally think it is cheaper and easier to achieve a high fraction of the highest quality digital playback than it is to achieve a high fraction of the highest quality vinyl playback. (Actually, maybe I do not agree with this. I actually think even a modest vinyl set-up can manifest glimpses of the sonic reasons people like analog.)

Paul has Infinity IRS Vs set up in a new dedicated listening room. From other posts and from an interview Paul gave years ago, my personal suspicion is that Paul has given vinyl short shrift for quite some time. (In this interview, which I do not remember verbatim, an interviewer noticed Paul’s vinyl set-up and asked him about it, and Paul offhandedly commented that it doesn’t work, as he hasn’t replaced the cartridge since someone broke the cantilever on it some time ago.)

I would be very curious to know what vinyl set-up Paul has assembled in this new listening room. I asked him this question in a second comment on his PS Audio blog.
 
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May 30, 2010
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Portugal
#6
Ron,

Well, an interesting post of Paul McGowan on Album Art, but IMHO your comment is unrealistic or even unfair - assuming that the preference of Paul McGowan is due to business strategy or ignorance of good analog playback is meaningless. The subject you highlighted was addressed by him several times in his site in an extremely correct and fair way - Paul has long professional experience with tape and top vinyl.

Should I remember that our preference is also due to the type of music we listen?
 

spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
8,239
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E. England
#7
Ron, I mean the majority of audiophiles out there. I believe it would heavily weigh in favour of digital.

It's fine to champion analog, but illogical to think a compatriot wouldn't prefer digital.
 

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
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Beverly Hills, CA
#8
Ron,

Well, an interesting post of Paul McGowan on Album Art, but IMHO your comment is unrealistic or even unfair - assuming that the preference of Paul McGowan is due to business strategy or ignorance of good analog playback is meaningless. The subject you highlighted was addressed by him several times in his site in an extremely correct and fair way - Paul has long professional experience with tape and top vinyl.

Should I remember that our preference is also due to the type of music we listen?
I certainly was not trying to be unfair. I did not believe I was assuming. I believed I was wondering and asking.
 
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Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
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#9
Ron, I mean the majority of audiophiles out there. I believe it would heavily weigh in favour of digital.

It's fine to champion analog, but illogical to think a compatriot wouldn't prefer digital.
I agree with you that probably a majority of audiophiles out there prefer digital. Compared to their vinyl systems, I might prefer digital on their systems as well.

But that has nothing to do with my question to Paul about whether his vinyl replay system is at the same level as his digital replay system.

KeithR’s digital system with the MSB is enjoyable for me to listen to. Compared to his vinyl system, I still prefer the sound of the vinyl system on analog recordings, but Keith’s digital and vinyl systems are now close enough that I think convenience alone could weigh in favor of the digital most of the time.

And I prefer digital recordings on digital playback systems. Sarah McLachlan’s “Witness,” a digital recording, sounded better on Keith’s MSB than I remembered it sounding (admittedly a long time ago) on my last vinyl system.
 
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Ron Resnick

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Jan 25, 2015
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#10
You really need to hear more good digital, didn't you decline the opportunity at MikeL's?
Yes, I declined the opportunity at MikeL’s because I had many larger fish to fry. You can do only so much in a certain period of time, and I already had a lot to do.

From MikeL’s reports, and my listening with Keith at Alma, and from my listening with Keith to Keith’s system, I think MSB is something special for digital. MSB makes the digital “nasties” go away, leaving a fair and legitimate digital versus analog competition.

People here promise us that Lampizator achieves the same thing.

I think Al M should audition an MSB DAC!
 
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bonzo75

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Feb 26, 2014
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#11
Yes, I declined the opportunity at MikeL’s because I had many larger fish to fry. You can do only so much in a certain period of time, and I already had a lot to do.

From MikeL’s reports, and my listening with Keith at Alma, and from my listening with Keith to Keith’s system, I think MSB is something special for digital. MSB makes the digital “nasties” go away, leaving a fair and legitimate digital versus analog competition.

People here promise us that Lampizator achieves the same thing.
Better. Can configure to system match.
 

asiufy

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Jul 8, 2011
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almaaudio.com
#12
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bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
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#13
Ron,

Well, an interesting post of Paul McGowan on Album Art, but IMHO your comment is unrealistic or even unfair - assuming that the preference of Paul McGowan is due to business strategy or ignorance of good analog playback is meaningless. The subject you highlighted was addressed by him several times in his site in an extremely correct and fair way - Paul has long professional experience with tape and top vinyl.

Should I remember that our preference is also due to the type of music we listen?
For what music would you recommend digital over vinyl
 

spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
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E. England
#14
Ked, a big reason I don't get as much from yr reports is the 100% classical itinerary, often now superior pressings.

When you tell me eg off LZ3 how Tangerine compares to Immigrant Song, some Blue Note, some Electronica, all sound, and not just yr repeat cycle of fave classical, I'll get more from yr conclusions.

Yr posted clip will do v little for most of us.
 

Bodhi

Active Member
Apr 20, 2014
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43
Melbourne, Australia
#15
I'm pretty darn happy with my current Vitus SCD-025Mk2 spinner, and was blown away recently when I heard the APL Hifi Master Reference transport/dac on Boulder amps. I could happily live with the APL combo as my main source (even with a high end tt sitting next to it). It's that good. But i'm realistic enough to know that the best release of a particular album may not be on CD or SACD, but on vinyl or analogue tape (and vice versa). Then often times albums are only released in one format, making the above points moot. There are pro’s and con’s to both formats, so they can happily co-exist.

That said Ron, having compared my friend's Kronos Pro tt + SCPS-1 & Vitus MP-P201 to his Vitus Masterpiece transport & dac, I had to reluctantly agree that the vinyl release of albums more often than not sounded better than the cd. Hence it is odd that analogue components are absent from PS Audio’s lineup, considering the late, great Arnold’s love of vinyl?
 
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Joe Whip

Active Member
Feb 8, 2014
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Wayne, PA
#16
Count me in the digital camp as most already know. My philosophy is simple, tune your system to digital not vinyl. When you do, both sound great. When you tune your system to vinyl, the vinyl sounds great and the digital suffers. I rarely listen to vinyl at home and when I do, it is needle drops of my fav LPs at 24/96. They sound great, identical to the LP if played. Just my 2 cents.
 
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asiufy

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Jul 8, 2011
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#17
No amount of tuning will compensate for a poor analog to digital transfer. So if the CD is poorly produced/mastered/remastered/etc, the vinyl, even the $1 bin reissue, will likely sound better.

As I always say, gotta have both :)
 
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#18
In Paul McGowan’s post today, “Album art,” on his PS Audio blog, https://www.psaudio.com/pauls-posts/album-art/#comment-104603, he writes:

“My readers will know I prefer the dynamics, life, and sound quality of proper digital on a system specific to the medium.“

I commented:

I have great respect for your accomplishments, Paul, but I find your preference inexplicable. I understand this preference for convenience, and for your business strategy, but I do not understand it for “life and sound quality.”

Are you certain that you have paid as much time, money and effort to your analog playback system, whether vinyl or tape, as you have to your digital playback system?

Alternatively, have you felt obligated to adopt this view since PS Audio presently seems to focus more on digital playback than it does on analog playback?

I am baffled that digital truly could be your honest sonic preference.

—————————————

If digital truly is Paul’s preference, then I have absolutely no issue with that whatsoever. I am just wondering if it truly is his preference.

Am I being too hard on Paul?

What do you make of Paul’s declaration?
I believe you are. There are so many advantages to digital that you are not even considering.
First a design team needs consistency. The ability to play some music over and over and each time it be exactly the same. This is IMPOSSIBLE with analog. I have heard state of the art systems with analog and digital. I am not putting down those who like records and want to go through the PROCESS each time they want to play a song but I abandoned that a long time ago as not something that is practical for my life style. I got rid of my 6000 LPS for many reasons but the most important one was I believe that the digital products over the last few years are just incredible. I have limited time to listen and I don't want to spend it looking for material, cleaning it, and playing it every few minutes. That is my choice however if it sounded bad I would not accept it. I have a CH C1 mono , with clock and three X-1 supplies its insane and IMHO worth the price since I now listen to more of my music than EVER and I have found it wasn't the discs or files that I didn't like it was the HARDWARE. MY friend has an MSB select 2 and he was the same opinion. These are great pieces and ones that if you have not listened to and lived with you have NO idea what digital is capable of. Paul's company makes a good digital system and an excellent value which I think is hard to beat for the price. With Qobuz and Tidal music is fun again and really easy to access and enjoy. Analog never is easy and I would speculate that the vast number of owners would agree with that statement.
How does one even find new music with analog?
One man's view
 
Dec 18, 2013
251
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San Diego area
#19
In Paul McGowan’s post today, “Album art,” on his PS Audio blog, https://www.psaudio.com/pauls-posts/album-art/#comment-104603, he writes:

“My readers will know I prefer the dynamics, life, and sound quality of proper digital on a system specific to the medium.“

I commented:

I have great respect for your accomplishments, Paul, but I find your preference inexplicable. I understand this preference for convenience, and for your business strategy, but I do not understand it for “life and sound quality.”

Are you certain that you have paid as much time, money and effort to your analog playback system, whether vinyl or tape, as you have to your digital playback system?

Alternatively, have you felt obligated to adopt this view since PS Audio presently seems to focus more on digital playback than it does on analog playback?

I am baffled that digital truly could be your honest sonic preference.

—————————————

If digital truly is Paul’s preference, then I have absolutely no issue with that whatsoever. I am just wondering if it truly is his preference.

Am I being too hard on Paul?

What do you make of Paul’s declaration?
This tired, old subject again? Certainly there are many more interesting things to talk about.
 

Bodhi

Active Member
Apr 20, 2014
749
221
43
Melbourne, Australia
#20
This tired, old subject again? Certainly there are many more interesting things to talk about.
You mean like the migratory patterns of the Broad-Winged Hawk? :D
 
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