Will vinyl sound identical to digital?

January 1, 2019
 by Paul McGowan

6 comments on “Will vinyl sound identical to digital?”

  1. I don’t feel that the only reason we hear more of what we hear on analog is only due to raising lowest passages of the music. What we also hear is a continuity to the music that is missing in digital. Yes I said missing because it’s not all there in digital either. Sound quality can be argued in either format, however there are some arguments that can be made in the completeness of the audio signal. If you compare analog to digital, a good analogy is as follows. Imagine you have a pencil and you draw a line on a piece of paper. The pencil drags along the paper making one cohesive solid line. This is a representation of analog. Digital however, uses the same pencil across the paper, the only difference is as you drag your the pencil across the paper, you are also intermittently lifting it off the paper as you draw, leaving gaps in the line or a sequence of dots that look like a line from a certain distance. The space between the dots would represent the portion of audio signal that is lost in the digital format aka sampling. While at a distance both lines may look the same, the digital line is made of dots and the analog line is solid. Now imagine your audio equipment is a magnifying glass. The better your audio equipment, the more magnification you have. Assuming that standard consumer grade audio equipment is 1x magnification, when you look at the two lines you just drew, they look the same (sound the same). However, when you start to apply high end audio components to your audio chain, that magnifying glass becomes more powerful, increasing the magnification to 5x or 10x. Now when you look at those two lines, analog is still showing a solid line, but digital just looks like a bunch of dots resembling a line. This is the analogy i use when you compare digital to analog. Don’t get me wrong, digital produces some very high quality audio, however it tends to lack dynamic range that analog has. The argument against vinyl is that while many audiophiles believe that the audio signal is more pure when it comes to vinyl, it is also very coloured due to the different tonality you get from different cartridges, turntables as etc as it is a physical format that is effected by its environmental influences. After all that….i love vinyl and i can typically tell the difference between vinyl and digital as long as the original audio was recorded in analog format. When transferring digital recordings to analog, the sound quality is worsened. Either record in analog format and put on an analog medium or record in digital format and transfer to digital medium. This is just my opinion and i love both formats, but prefer analog.

    1. While this is the conventional view it does not hold water. If there were missing information in your gaps theory we’d be able to measure that missing information. And, we can’t. That’s because it isn’t actually missing.

      There’s another reason all this happens and I’ll try and explain.

      The process of recording analog is what’s changing the sound for the better. There are only three ways to record analog: tape, vinyl, DSD. Using any of those mediums gets us close to the original source with the obvious flaws: viny and tape flaws are well known. DSD has none of them though is a rare medium hardly used anymore.

      Once the analog is captured on an analog recording medium, it sounds analog. If you make a PCM recording of that analog playback, it sounds nearly identical. Thus, whatever is happening in the analog capture medium is being faithfully preserved by the PCM medium.

      However, if you were to have recorded the live feed with only PCM, it sounds digital. This is because we have eliminated the “analog” effect of the three capture mediums I just described.

      Think long and hard about this experiment and it’ll dawn on you what’s happening.

      1. Thanks for your input on this theory Paul. I’m not going to argue in favor of the theory I presented. It’s a theory I have held before hearing those who agree with it or don’t agree so it’s not something I’m just repeating. I guess if those were actual missing gaps then the song would be shorter in digital then the original analog recording. Question is in the digital to analog process are the gaps being filled with simulated musical passages based on what logically should be there? I believe some think that the only part of digital that is actually there are the 1’s and 0’s and the gaps are filled logically. A mere copy and recreation of music instead of the continuous magnetic soul of analog. Guess I am arguing…lol. I’m not sure if that makes sense…lol. I guess it makes about as much sense as any of the theories and snake oil people claim to hear in our nutty industry….lol.

        1. Some think that the magnet needs to be involved in every aspect of sound reproduction. Whether it be a cartridge, tape head, speaker which all produce sound through some kind of mechanical magnetic field just as musical instruments are mechanical. Digital breaks away from the mechanical magnetic field creating the sound. I think both can sound amazing when done correctly and there’s pros and cons to both. I just happen to like the best analog over the best digital. I hear the soul in analog. Maybe I’m nuts. 🙁

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