In response to Ted Smith’s video explaining DSD, a viewer posted a great remark that is the title of today’s post. I just couldn’t resist writing about it.
Indeed, when digital audio first came on the scene in the early 1980s, the intent of designers was clear. Outperform the turntable. From day one their goals were met in terms of fixing vinyl’s many weaknesses: degradation over time, mechanical interface, ticks and pops, surface noise, limited dynamic range, stunted frequency response, mechanical nightmare.
For most, the advent of the CD was all they needed to retire their vinyl collection. Few looked back with regret.
Of course, our sector of the market reacted rather differently. We were horrified with the one aspect most important to us. Sound quality. Compare an old CD to the same in vinyl and it’s easy to see why.
Today, the situation has flip-flopped. While vinyl’s still a great sounding medium whose popularity has soared once again, digital has long ago exceeded our expectations for sound quality. Consider that nearly every new vinyl release of the last few decades was recorded on a digital system before transferring to vinyl. That what modern purchasers of vinyl are hearing is a second-generation copy of a digital master.
Sometimes change happens without our even noticing it.