Paul McGowan Prefers Digital

RogerD

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May 23, 2010
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BiggestLittleCity
You are correct. Except that "Extremely transparent, dynamic, and everything the microphone has captured should pass through to the listener" is the very real potential but far from the actual.
Compression and the recording process limits the final product. But many continue to pierce further into the veil on both sides of reproduction.
It will continue to get better as our knowledge and experience increases.
 
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RogerD

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May 23, 2010
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BiggestLittleCity
Dec 20, 2014
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So the guy prefers digital which has, like it or not:
1. cleaner background?
2. wider bandwidth?
3. lower distortion?
4. consistently more accurate timing (no speed drag issues)

As a vinyl guy I don't blame him. Yes analogue nasties are better than digital nasties, and analogue to my ears sounds better. That said, he is entitled to having his taste without being treated like an audio pariah for having the temerity to prefer digital.
 
Nov 16, 2013
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In the web page link I received about the forum today, this subject caught my attention because I have a DirectStream dac, which I like a lot, but have just enough dissatisfaction with its effectively digital limitations, at least at its price point, to wonder if I would prefer a good tube dac/preamp instead. Unfortunately, the equivalents, such as the Ayon Audio Stealth or Stratos, are made in Europe, so there's a major premium going in the door and not much domestic second hand market if it doesn't turn out well. That said, I'm unclear exactly what your beef - questioning of Paul's judgment - is about: Since he readily recognizes that vinyl can sound good and digital bad, is it really that PS Audio doesn't make a record player, or is it that he prefers high quality digital recordings on his equipment? Let's note that his equipment, the stuff in the Listening Room, now includes tube hybrid designs, based on listening and the influence of Bascom King, and sounds awfully good. What's more, practically speaking, digital formats are a heck of a lot easier to deal with - and streaming (which I haven't gotten involved with) doesn't require the storage space of vinyl or physical digital. (Note: In 1984, I sold most of my vinyl collection dating back to the 1930s when I moved abroad, and the rest, along with a good TT, in 2001 when I moved again across country and didn't expect to have room to set up a new system for the time being).
 
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spiritofmusic

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Jun 13, 2013
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I've just gone from digital beating my analog for the last decade, to analog finally getting ahead in the last 4 weeks. I have 2k lps and only 750 cds. I've spent my adult life extolling analog. And have no problems w Paul's conclusions.
 

Ron Resnick

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Jan 25, 2015
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In the web page link I received about the forum today, this subject caught my attention because I have a DirectStream dac, which I like a lot, but have just enough dissatisfaction with its effectively digital limitations, at least at its price point, to wonder if I would prefer a good tube dac/preamp instead. Unfortunately, the equivalents, such as the Ayon Audio Stealth or Stratos, are made in Europe, so there's a major premium going in the door and not much domestic second hand market if it doesn't turn out well. That said, I'm unclear exactly what your beef - questioning of Paul's judgment - is about: Since he readily recognizes that vinyl can sound good and digital bad, is it really that PS Audio doesn't make a record player, or is it that he prefers high quality digital recordings on his equipment? Let's note that his equipment, the stuff in the Listening Room, now includes tube hybrid designs, based on listening and the influence of Bascom King, and sounds awfully good. What's more, practically speaking, digital formats are a heck of a lot easier to deal with - and streaming (which I haven't gotten involved with) doesn't require the storage space of vinyl or physical digital. (Note: In 1984, I sold most of my vinyl collection dating back to the 1930s when I moved abroad, and the rest, along with a good TT, in 2001 when I moved again across country and didn't expect to have room to set up a new system for the time being).
There is no doubt that CD players and streamers are more convenient and easier to deal with than turntable/tonearm/cartridge set-ups and vinyl records.

I was clear in my opening post that I was asking Paul solely about his true sonic preference (meaning putting convenience aside).

As I wrote at the top of the thread if digital truly is Paul’s sonic preference, then I have absolutely no issue with that whatsoever. I was just wondering if it truly is his sonic preference.
 
Nov 16, 2013
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Come on, Ron, you weren't just "wondering." What you said up top was that you were "baffled" and Paul's preference is "inexplicable." Time to stand behind your serious disagreement, rather than playing innocent victim of everyone else's misunderstanding.
 
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spiritofmusic

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Jun 13, 2013
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For me, my recent tt reinstall has been a real learning experience. Get it not quite right, and it's a struggle to say vinyl absolutely has magic over digital, the latter being exemplary at all sorts of price points and technical levels.

But get right in the zone (in my case getting my air LT arm absolutely level and balanced, and my cart trully dialled in for azimuth), and there is absolute black magic in those grooves that digital just can't wholly replicate.

So this is the nub. Add in the need for vinyl care, variance in pressings, storage concerns, it's very easy to move on to feel digital nails it more consistently and more comprehensively across parameters.

But get that arm and cart JUST right. Then it's like the best steak v MacD's.
 
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Ron Resnick

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Jan 25, 2015
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Come on, Ron, you weren't just "wondering." What you said up top was that you were "baffled" and Paul's preference is "inexplicable." Time to stand behind your serious disagreement, rather than playing innocent victim of everyone else's misunderstanding.
In my opening post I used the word “baffled” and I used the word “wondering.” Both are correct in my mind.

You are fencing with me over an assertion I never made. I never proffered “serious disagreement.”

This is a subjective hobby. There is nothing objective here about which one can rationally seriously disagree, in the sense of one person being objectively correct and the other person being objectively wrong.
 
May 30, 2010
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There is no doubt that CD players and streamers are more convenient and easier to deal with than turntable/tonearm/cartridge set-ups and vinyl records.
May be more convenient, but surely not easier to deal. Turntable/tonearm/cartridge set-ups and vinyl records can be easy to deal with, audiophiles do their best to complicate it.
 

Ron Resnick

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Jan 25, 2015
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May be more convenient, but surely not easier to deal. Turntable/tonearm/cartridge set-ups and vinyl records can be easy to deal with, audiophiles do their best to complicate it.
Do you mean in the same way that some audiophiles do their best to be contrary to everything they read and argumentative for no reason?
 
May 30, 2010
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Do you mean in the same way that some audiophiles do their best to be contrary to everything they read and argumentative for no reason?
Not everything, just what is dogmatic and tries to subsist just repeating over and over again. I do my best to clarify such issues if I find it is not true. IMHO it is also the purpose of forums.
 
Feb 8, 2011
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If you build two systems, one completely analog and the other totally digital, and using the best music sources, the best master recordings, in the best acoustical music listening rooms (pro calibrated, tuned, etc.), the best audio gear and regardless of price (into the seven or eight digits); is digital still better than analog? Or is it analog that is still better than digital, from open-reel tapes?

Who has the absolute answer?
 
May 30, 2010
15,324
597
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Portugal
If you build two systems, one completely analog and the other totally digital, and using the best music sources, the best master recordings, in the best acoustical music listening rooms (pro calibrated, tuned, etc.), the best audio gear and regardless of price (into the seven or eight digits); is digital still better than analog? Or is it analog that is still better than digital, from open-reel tapes?

Who has the absolute answer?
How would you decide which is the best? A giant democratic polling - one listener one vote, the most voted wins?

IMHO there is no answer, Bob.
 
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PeterA

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Dec 7, 2011
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What actually changed in Peter's room after Jim Smith finished, other than moving the speakers slightly in the room?
Hello Don, I have discussed the things that Jim pointed out and that I changed. It was more than just the speakers moving slightly in the room. I don't mind your skepticism. That is fine. I enjoyed meeting Jim, learned a lot, and now enjoy my system more.

I learned lessons from Jim which helped me to set up my new speakers. Learning things which can be applied later is what really matters to me. His visit was not expensive. I find it was money well spent and actually a very good value. Yes, he delivered the fish and taught me how to catch the next one. I am grateful.
 

PeterA

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Dec 7, 2011
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What do you suppose that says about the many who look up to him?
Stehno,

It says that some of us have less experience than others in this fascinating hobby and we are trying to learn from those who know more than we do. I would not describe it as "looking up to him".

I have also read with much interest your ideas about vibration and energy management, at least those ideas you are willing to share on this forum. I remember seeing an image of your rack and clamping system. I'd like to know more, but you don't discuss it much. I also learned something by watching the video you posted today in the thread discussing MikeL's system.

Perhaps you should start your own thread to discuss your ideas including some more videos of solo cello, violin, and piano and then a complex orchestral work.
 

bonzo75

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Feb 26, 2014
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How would you decide which is the best? A giant democratic polling - one listener one vote, the most voted wins?

IMHO there is no answer, Bob.
Just pick the highest priced one
 
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PeterA

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Dec 7, 2011
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They are starting to realize that the gear and setup are both essential to good sound.
Yes, that is definitely part of it.
 
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