Put it in reverse

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So let me ask you a question. Why would those of us that love vinyl prefer a vinyl pressing of a digital recording?

Many new vinyl releases from today's musician's are recorded in the studio digitally, as opposed to using an analog tape machine, then mastered and released from analog masters created from the master digital recording.

We know we can make a near-perfect digital copy of an analog pressing, but we cannot reverse the process and go the other way. We know this because analog is limited in its dynamic range capabilities, relative to a modern digital process, and we'll also get some added noise.

So I think it's safe to assume that when we record a digital master in the studio and transfer it to analog/vinyl, the output won't contain all the same information of the original, yet most of us will find it more musical. Therefore, we are somewhat filtering the original recording, compressing its dynamics to fit into the smaller analog space and tolerating the added noise it brings; yet it is still better to our ears.

And, as I mentioned, we can make a digital copy of a vinyl pressing and it is nearly indistinguishable from the vinyl - even played through a DAC chain. To make matters worse, we can even make a CD copy of the digital RIP of the album without any consequence to the sound, relative to the live streaming feed.

So if these observations are accurate, and they certainly are in my world, what does it mean? What is happening that running anything through the lens of vinyl makes it sound more "live" on our systems?

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Paul McGowan

Founder & CEO

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