The Sound of Analog, the Sound of Digital

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PeterA

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I understand that some do you not hear a difference between analog and digital or say they do not have a preference of one over the other. However, for the sake of discussion , let’s assume most of us hear a difference between digital and analog. Are those differences more apparent in a modest system or in a system that is mature and expensive?

Or asked a slightly different way, does one need a highly resolving system to hear the differences?

What does it suggest about Paul’s system that he does not think it is necessary to distinguish between analog sound and digital sound anymore?
 
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Al M.

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What does it suggest about Paul’s system that he does not think it is necessary to distinguish between analog sound and digital sound anymore?

Not much. He may not even have the greatest analog playback and may have decided that his digital sounds better.

What he is saying, if I understand correctly, is that there is no "digital signature" to the sound of good digital anymore, and I think he is right.
 

PeterA

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Not much. He may not even have the greatest analog playback and may have decided that his digital sounds better.

What he is saying, if I understand correctly, is that there is no "digital signature" to the sound of good digital anymore, and I think he is right.

I think he is also saying then that there is no analog signature anymore. Do you think he is right about that also?

It would be wonderful if he joined the discussion to better explain what exactly he means.
 

Ron Resnick

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I don't hear one at all. In fact, to my ears digital excels at vocals, solo, ensemble or choir. I find vocals on good digital to sound timbrally intact and extremely realistic.

. . .


Fair enough, Al. We hear this differently.

This is why you listen to vocals on digital, and I listen to vocals on analog. :)
 
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Mike Lavigne

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no question that in some ways the gap has narrowed.

both are now quite a bit better; digital now is void of areas where it's not acceptable. it is fully acceptable. period. i can listen to digital for hours without ever missing anything. i'm never feeling short

but the vinyl has much more magic now. it can soar to previously unattainable heights.
 

Al M.

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Fair enough, Al. We hear this differently.

This is why you listen to vocals on digital, and I listen to vocals on analog. :)

Ron, again, as I said it may depend on the genre. Classical vocals are very well served on digital, pop vocals maybe not so much because of all the extra processing.
 

Al M.

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no question that in some ways the gap has narrowed.

both are now quite a bit better; digital now is void of areas where it's not acceptable. it is fully acceptable. period. i can listen to digital for hours without ever missing anything. i'm never feeling short

but the vinyl has much more magic now. it can soar to previously unattainable heights.

I don't get this talk of analog "magic". Either it more or less resembles the real thing, or not. Any extra "magic" would be coloration.
 
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Atmasphere

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Not much. He may not even have the greatest analog playback and may have decided that his digital sounds better.

What he is saying, if I understand correctly, is that there is no "digital signature" to the sound of good digital anymore, and I think he is right.

I always associated the sound of digital as a 'crispness'; and extra bit of bright way up on top. And if you look at how aliasing occurs, this seems to make sense. Analog simply does not have that 'crispness'. Fortunately either my hearing has gone south or much of that aliasing is gone, and I think both are true.
 
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Al M.

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I always associated the sound of digital as a 'crispness'; and extra bit of bright way up on top. And if you look at how aliasing occurs, this seems to make sense. Analog simply does not have that 'crispness'. Fortunately either my hearing has gone south or much of that aliasing is gone, and I think both are true.

Yes, I used to make that association too, but not anymore, unless the recording/mastering is deficient.
 

Ron Resnick

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Ron, again, as I said it may depend on the genre. Classical vocals are very well served on digital, pop vocals maybe not so much because of all the extra processing.

I did not address that genre point, because I do not agree with your distinctions. I hear vocals on analog as being more natural sounding and as creating a greater suspension of disbelief than digital across all genres of vocals.

If you forced me to make a distinction I would say that multi-track, processed rock/pop vocals sounds even worse on digital than it sounds on analog.
 
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Mike Lavigne

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I don't get this talk of analog "magic". Either it more or less resembles the real thing, or not. Any extra "magic" would be coloration.

Al, if we ever listen together (which i hope happens), happy to show you what i mean. until then i respect you are not hearing what i am hearing. it's so easy when i listen with someone.

words almost never change beliefs. experiences on the other hand.......
 

Al M.

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If you forced me to make a distinction I would say that multi-track, processed rock/pop vocals sounds even worse on digital than it sounds on analog.

That is very well possible.

BTW, Dido's White Flag now sounds so much better on my system than it did when you were visiting two years ago. I was amazed at the difference when I tried it recently.
 

the sound of Tao

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Do you think we are bananas
0026940A-DB48-4DD3-8F0D-578342424C9F.jpeg
Ked the very fact we are here proves that while we are all very different oranges we are all truly bananas... I’m going to have go off and play one of my favourite ever tunes now... Strange fruit... but am I more Billie Holiday Strange Fruit or are we not Nina Simone??
 

Lagonda

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I don't get this talk of analog "magic". Either it more or less resembles the real thing, or not. Any extra "magic" would be coloration.
Al it’s also about how good the analog is, i think a lot of people that have decided there is no difference have not heard/owned a really good analog combination. There is truly a magic real life, people in the room sound, that i have never heard with digital. I have not heard the absolute best digital, but have extensively heard the Yggdrasil 2 against my analog rig with CD’s only and it’s not even close:oops: I like digital, but once i have heard the music i was missing because i don’t have it on vinyl, i predominantly grab a LP, sorry ! :)
 

Lagonda

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View attachment 67536
Ked the very fact we are here proves that while we are all very different oranges we are all truly bananas... I’m going to have go off and play one of my favourite ever tunes now... Strange fruit... but am I more Billie Holiday Strange Fruit or are we not Nina Simone??
Damned you Graham you just gave me a craving with your little creation, and i only have apples :(
 
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the sound of Tao

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Damned you Graham you just gave me a craving with your little creation, and i only have apples :(
You shouldn’t bring apples to an orange tossing event Milan :eek: you never know which way the fruit salad will go.

I love that there is passionate advocacy for our various endeavours. I would think it wonderful if we could constantly seek to get a better definition of the inherent sonic and experiential differences between topologies... not just digital and analogue but different speaker types, amp types, materials in cables etc. and not always get caught up in which is better.

There are characteristic traits and types and potentials and constraints that come out of fundamental electrical and mechanical elements in the different approaches. These are just different perspective views of the same thing. It is in the nature of the limits of any context that sets these in place. We can’t view the whole from everywhere simultaneously unless we are in the music rather than just being in the room.

Marrying understanding of the relationship between the contextual and the experiential is in many ways more valuable and relevant than just our preferences in these at any rate. Juice sayin.
 
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Al M.

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Al, if we ever listen together (which i hope happens), happy to show you what i mean. until then i respect you are not hearing what i am hearing. it's so easy when i listen with someone.

words almost never change beliefs. experiences on the other hand.......

Mike, I would love to hear your system some day!

I would not listen for some elusive analog magic specific to the medium, however. I only would care if, on classical music, the analog sounds truer to my reference of live music -- or memories thereof, that's all we can go by -- than the digital. If it does, that's all the "magic" I need, and my only measure for it.
 

Al M.

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Al it’s also about how good the analog is, i think a lot of people that have decided there is no difference have not heard/owned a really good analog combination. There is truly a magic real life, people in the room sound, that i have never heard with digital. I have not heard the absolute best digital, but have extensively heard the Yggdrasil 2 against my analog rig with CD’s only and it’s not even close:oops: I like digital, but once i have heard the music i was missing because i don’t have it on vinyl, i predominantly grab a LP, sorry ! :)

Sorry, Lagonda, I am hearing what is considered top analog on a regular basis in my friends' systems, and it seems to be competently set up (which in itself can be tricky business as you know), so I don't think I am at a disadvantage here in terms of experience.

You have never heard a "people in the room" sound with your digital? I do with mine frequently, on suitable recordings. Either that, or a "you are there" sound. Since I have not heard your system, I cannot judge if your digital setup is somehow lacking in comparison with what I would expect. I did on some occasions hear the Yggdrasil 2 sound with suboptimal performance elsewhere, when I knew it shouldn't -- and on those occasions I greatly preferred the analog. High end is complicated.
 
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microstrip

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no question that in some ways the gap has narrowed.

both are now quite a bit better; digital now is void of areas where it's not acceptable. it is fully acceptable. period. i can listen to digital for hours without ever missing anything. i'm never feeling short

but the vinyl has much more magic now. it can soar to previously unattainable heights.

Again I can't understand how the gap has narrowed if digital recordings can do things that analog can't do. I think you say a lot when when you write that vinyl has much more magic NOW and NOW can soar to previously unattainable heights.

Can we conclude that a system built only with equipment more than five years old can not reach the highest levels of analog sound reproduction?
 
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