Paul McGowan Prefers Digital

KeithR

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May 7, 2010
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#41
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'd bet for dealers, 90%+ of business is digital.

but also interesting that of my audiophile group, i'm the only one that leans digital (but has both)
 

spiritofmusic

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Jun 13, 2013
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#43
That was kind of uncalled for.
So by that statement you are saying those that listen to classical are better/smarter than those that don't. You are better than that Ked.
I am of the same thought process, reviews to me that are all classical are meaningless as you know, in your own words "He is a Rocker".
I like reviews with a mix of material to form a opinion.
Thanks. My point actually is that a system that sounds stellar on unamplified acoustic can be pretty challenged by rock, electronic, maybe even jazz. Ked can take any number of favourite classical lps on his travels, his findings can't be relied on to be consistent across genres.
 

KeithR

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#45
Thanks. My point actually is that a system that sounds stellar on unamplified acoustic can be pretty challenged by rock, electronic, maybe even jazz. Ked can take any number of favourite classical lps on his travels, his findings can't be relied on to be consistent across genres.
i can make the case good electronica is harder to render than classical :eek:
 
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spiritofmusic

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#46
No argument from me there, Keith.
 

Al M.

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Sep 10, 2013
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#47
to the OP:


yes, it sure sucks having 14,000 hi res titles for free through Roon/Tidal
Yeah, if you believe MQA is real hi res.
 

Ron Resnick

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Jan 25, 2015
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#48
Here is Paul McGowan’s very thoughtful and interesting reply:

It is absolutely my preference not because I prefer digital but because on even the best vinyl systems in the world, like Michael Fremer’s, I find it too colored and limited in what I consider the sound of live music.

It’s perhaps good to remember I grew up with vinyl and have heard the best systems in the world. When all there was was vinyl, listening to HP’s system was an absolute revelation to me – almost like going to Mecca. But after building a digital based system like I have now vinyl just simply cannot compare. It is different. Many find it better. I get that. Our engineer, Darren Myers likes his vinyl better than the IRS. I just find it too colored and lacking in frequency extremes and dynamics.

All that said, your comment about building a system around the medium is spot on. My system was tailored to the digital medium that drives it. Placing an excellent turntable and phono preamplifier in place of the digital system is bound to be disappointing. Just as throwing in a DS and DMP into your system would be equally disappointing. Which is why Fremer finds digital lacking when he plays it into his vinyl tweaked setup.

There are no systems I am aware of that can properly handle both. You set up for vinyl or digital. Everything is then based on the source: cables, speaker positioning, subwoofer settings, on and on. You can’t just plop a different source in and then say one is better than the other. Doesn’t work that way.

My judgment on vinyl is based on how it should be—evaluating a proper setup for the source medium. And on that basis, I hear the romance people like in vinyl systems but it isn’t real (to me) and it feels contrived—kind of like an over sugared food. Good on first bite but leaves me wanting to scrape off the sweet.

I know this won’t sit well with many but let’s agree there aren’t any absolutes and let’s further agree that evaluations of either source mediums can only be done through systems dedicated to that medium.
 
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Al M.

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#49
i can make the case good electronica is harder to render than classical :eek:
Both are tough to render well, in their own way. Since we both listen to all kinds of music, our systems must be multi-talented. Some systems aren't.
 
May 30, 2010
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#50
Paul McGowan’s very thoughtful and interesting reply:

It is absolutely my preference not because I prefer digital but because on even the best vinyl systems in the world, like Michael Fremer’s, I find it too colored and limited in what I consider the sound of live music.

It’s perhaps good to remember I grew up with vinyl and have heard the best systems in the world. When all there was was vinyl, listening to HP’s system was an absolute revelation to me – almost like going to Mecca. But after building a digital based system like I have now vinyl just simply cannot compare. It is different. Many find it better. I get that. Our engineer, Darren Myers likes his vinyl better than the IRS. I just find it too colored and lacking in frequency extremes and dynamics.

All that said, your comment about building a system around the medium is spot on. My system was tailored to the digital medium that drives it. Placing an excellent turntable and phono preamplifier in place of the digital system is bound to be disappointing. Just as throwing in a DS and DMP into your system would be equally disappointing. Which is why Fremer finds digital lacking when he plays it into his vinyl tweaked setup.

There are no systems I am aware of that can properly handle both. You set up for vinyl or digital. Everything is then based on the source: cables, speaker positioning, subwoofer settings, on and on. You can’t just plop a different source in and then say one is better than the other. Doesn’t work that way.

My judgment on vinyl is based on how it should be—evaluating a proper setup for the source medium. And on that basis, I hear the romance people like in vinyl systems but it isn’t real (to me) and it feels contrived—kind of like an over sugared food. Good on first bite but leaves me wanting to scrape off the sweet.

I know this won’t sit well with many but let’s agree there aren’t any absolutes and let’s further agree that evaluations of either source mediums can only be done through systems dedicated to that medium.
Curiously I have more than once expressed a similar opinion in WBF - a room and system optimized for vinyl playback will not be optimum for digital and this explains most of some people opinions on digital.
 
May 30, 2010
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Portugal
#51
Yeah, if you believe MQA is real hi res.
According to many people whom we have no reason to think they are deaf or have an agenda many MQA files sound excellent and significantly better than redbook version - it is what matters me. Surely if I can get the original 24/192 or DSD file I will prefer it.
 
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Al M.

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#53
Curiously I have more than once expressed a similar opinion in WBF - a room and system optimized for vinyl playback will not be optimum for digital and this explains most of some people opinions on digital.
I totally agree with you and Paul McGowan here.

Things become a self-fulfilling prophecy for analog fans who have optimized for vinyl but do not want to optimize for digital; then the result just confirms their preconceived notions.
 
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Al M.

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#54
Paul McGowan’s very thoughtful and interesting reply:

[...]
My judgment on vinyl is based on how it should be—evaluating a proper setup for the source medium. And on that basis, I hear the romance people like in vinyl systems but it isn’t real (to me) and it feels contrived—kind of like an over sugared food. Good on first bite but leaves me wanting to scrape off the sweet.

I know this won’t sit well with many but let’s agree there aren’t any absolutes and let’s further agree that evaluations of either source mediums can only be done through systems dedicated to that medium.
So that is what I don't understand.

Yes, on some LPs, especially suboptimal pressings, the medium can sound too colored and romantic.

Yet good quality pressings of good recordings, when played back on a great vinyl rig, mostly sound incisive, with good transients, and they sound vivid, dynamic, linear, open and with great clarity. I just don't hear the romantic, sweet and unrealistic character from such analog as Paul McGowan describes.

Which leads me back to wonder how good the vinyl playback really was that he bases his judgment of the medium on.
 
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Mike Lavigne

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Apr 25, 2010
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#55
Curiously I have more than once expressed a similar opinion in WBF - a room and system optimized for vinyl playback will not be optimum for digital and this explains most of some people opinions on digital.
maybe it justifys/explains it to you, but not for me. and my opinion is that that thought does not validate Paul's view. i have no doubt what you say is possible and maybe how you approach system optimization. i feel strongly that a better system for me betters all sources i have. nothing i do system wide is done favoring any specific source. in fact, i'd say part of my amp choice of not keeping the ML3's was that the dart mono's were stronger with all types of presentations, and not just small scale vinyl recordings like the ML3's. at that time i did not consciously think of it relative to digital or vinyl optimization but practically that was part of it. a system that could do it all.

who is to say which systems are optimized for vinyl or optimized for digital? i would agree that not everyone is equally committed to optimizing digital and vinyl.......and that few are truly fully committed to both.

but some are. i view myself as one of those and clearly feel analog has the higher ceiling.
 
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Feb 8, 2011
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#56
And some music recordings are optimized to sound their best from optimized analog rigs ...
Others from optimized digital rigs ...

Or it's in the search of the best master recordings by the best sources and people in the know where those masters can be purchased...regardless of price and pride.
 

Hi-FiGuy

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Feb 24, 2015
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#57
maybe it justifys/explains it to you, but not for me. and my opinion is that that thought does not validate Paul's view. i have no doubt what you say is possible and maybe how you approach system optimization. i feel strongly that a better system for me betters all sources i have. nothing i do system wide is done favoring any specific source. in fact, i'd say part of my amp choice of not keeping the ML3's was that the dart mono's were stronger with all types of presentations, and not just small scale vinyl recordings like the ML3's. at that time i did not consciously think of it relative to digital or vinyl optimization but practically that was part of it. a system that could do it all.

who is to say which systems are optimized for vinyl or optimized for digital? i would agree that not everyone is equally committed to optimizing digital and vinyl.......and that few are truly fully committed to both.

but some are. i view myself as one of those and clearly feel analog has the higher ceiling.
As I was reading these posts I was thinking about your rig as well as Steves. I think both systems to all formats well. Steve and I had a blast comparing multiple formats of Brothers In Arms.
Both systems are masterfully committed to multiple formats and that is impressive.
 
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tima

Industry Expert
Mar 4, 2014
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#58
Tch tch tch ...

I get the idea that investees like to have a certain amount of forum churn to maintain momentum - sure, okay, no problem. But, do pardon me, this thread and topic - brought here from another board - strikes me as a cheap matinee for blue hairs.
 
Jan 4, 2019
40
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Toronto, Canada
#59
As I was reading these posts I was thinking about your rig as well as Steves. I think both systems to all formats well. Steve and I had a blast comparing multiple formats of Brothers In Arms.
Both systems are masterfully committed to multiple formats and that is impressive.
fwiw, I think the back end (room, speakers, amplification) if carefully thought out, should do justice to whatever decent source one would want to use. I have digital and analog sources and very happy with both. I spend most of my time now with new music discovery so I stream digitally. For sheer sonic immersion, I play my old favourite LP's but much less often. While the sonics are generally superior, I prefer to sample new music.
 
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Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
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#60
Curiously I have more than once expressed a similar opinion in WBF - a room and system optimized for vinyl playback will not be optimum for digital and this explains most of some people opinions on digital.
I have trouble understanding why a source-optimized system makes any sense (unless one is trying to use syrupy tube electronics to smooth down harsh-sounding digital).

Please explain this. Why would loudspeaker choice or speaker location or amplifier electronics or room acoustics or line stage be any different depending on the source components?

Why would, as Paul suggests, a digital system necessitate different cables than an analog system? (I want to agree with Paul, but I’m just not seeing this.)
 
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