Do hifi systems have souls?

October 9, 2017
 by Paul McGowan

I’ve heard it said more than once. “Vinyl has soul. Digital does not.”

I can relate to what’s being expressed in that statement and I don’t disagree.

If we think of soul not as an immortal entity but rather as the essence or embodiment of a certain quality—as in the soul of an argument—then vinyl qualifies easily in my mind. Where digital is a clean, accurate, unrestricted, and uncolored representation of the original source material, the gyrations needed to squeeze the same onto the vinyl medium lend it a form of soul enjoyed by many (including me).

My friend Jim McCullough of Cello is kind enough to send me his collection of vinyl rips each year and they are terrific—filled with the soul of vinyl, reproduced flawlessly on a reference digital system. The soul I refer to is captured in those digital rips.

So, yes, I believe hifi systems can have a type of soul, a unique voice tailored to each system owner in the same way we might distinguish ourselves through dress and mannerisms in a crowded world. This soul of the system, to me, is a good thing.

I’ve also put together another little video on the Soul of Vinyl that you might enjoy.

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63 comments on “Do hifi systems have souls?”

  1. If we understand the definition of “soul” as “emotionally involving”, which to me has a lot to do with ambiance, holographic imaging, but also realistic richness in timbre, dynamics, timing….for me, this is more question of the overall system, not vinyl/digital.

    1. Even if the one or other (vinyl/digital) do different things better/worse, my aim always was to get digital closest to vinyl’s strenghts and vinyl closest do digital strengths. This brings them closer together an IMO to an optimum, different than what many cultivate as typical enemy images.

    2. Analog is a joke. Digitizing records is even more of a joke!
      Might as well engineer a digital device to add distortion and remove dynamic range from your music files, so they sound more soulful! Lol.

      1. Well said. But you forgot to add clicks and pops… I don’t see very many people compare the digital reproduction to live music. That’s the real criterion and not vinyl. I guess live music doesn’t have soul in their views. I’m referring to live unamplified music like a symphony playing which a good digital system reproduces way more faithfully than vinyl.

  2. Just anthropomorphism, I’m afraid.

    You want to relate to your hifi as if it has human characteristics, as if it’s talking to you on a human level. I regret to inform you, but hifi is bits of metal, wood, plastic and other materials stuck together, put in a box and delivered in the back of a truck. Anything with soul is delivered in a maternity ward.

    Hifi is just a trick to make you believe you are somewhere else, listening to someone sing etc. It’s an illusion. Just some illusionists are better than others.

      1. Quoi?

        I’m reading Design as Art by Bruno Munari at the moment, explains why people feel as they do about everyday machines (and a lot more). A man who lived under Fascism, worked extensively with concrete and rhymes with murare. Strange, that.

  3. Be careful …

    Hifi systems have no soul. It does not matter whether it is an analogue or a digital system.
    Here we are again dealing with audiophile lyricism.
    Why is it so hard to treat things like things and living creatures like living creatures?
    Oh, yes, the intension is to highlight your own preferences with flowery words.
    I think this is the reason a lot of audiophiles are at least dissatisfied with their system.
    Last month they were still convinced that the care with which they’ve choosen their components finally gave them the satisfaction they wanted. This month, they have heard of a device that puts everything in the shade, so they are eager to own it. An then – after a short time to sell it again, because it was only partially different than the previous device.


    1. It is commonly known, that children and elderly people interact with robots in a way most similar to their interactions with human beings. And there are even car aficionados who name their vehicles as own children. :–)

    2. First Bernd Paul being if Irish decent has poetry in his DNA. Words don’t nesessarily mean what you think they do, they represent an idea that has some connection however vague to what they normally mean. Irish people use a lot of metaphors.

      One of the worst TV programs ever to appear on American television was My Mother the Car. As I recall Jerry Van Dykes mother or mother in law died and her soul came back into his car to torture him. Now we have My Mother the Phonograph where your dead mother in laws soul comes back to torture audiophiles for not spending every spare moment being tortured by their wives instead.

  4. “filled with the soul of vinyl, reproduced flawlessly on a reference digital system. The soul I refer to is captured in those digital rips”

    If that is so then the “soul” has nothing to do with the vinyl; if the “soul” was inherent to vinyl, it wouldn’t be captured in digital transcription and playback.
    So clearly the “soul” you are referring to is some type of coloration in the analogue medium which digital doesn’t introduce, yet when digitizing vinyl, digital recording and playback preserve perfectly.
    If you prefer that coloration, fine. But then the logical conclusion would be to discover how to introduce that same coloration to your digital recordings, so you could enjoy that so-called “soul” without having to use vinyl,

    1. I love your logic. Although I know little about DSP, it should be possible to use it to reproduce not only the complex distortions introduced by vinyl, but the coloration of a tube amp and the mellow sound of a vintage radiogram. You could also mess ad nauseam with stereo effects. I see a brave new world coming.

    2. Althought I never compared if vinyl playback captured digitally, with all the add. cabling involved etc., really sounds on the same level as played back by vinyl on the same record player, I tend to believe it …. so on a rough level given it is so:

      I think the problem still remains, that if one likes the positive vinyl artifacts, digital seems to cannot produce them, just reproduce them.

      That’s why those who like vinyl sound over digital still need a record player (or have to know someone who has a good one).

      1. Most vinyl records today come from a digital master.
        (1) If I playback the digital master on my digital system and it lacks soul, but:
        (2) I take the same digital master and produce and LP from it, and the LP playback has soul;
        and (3) I digitally rip the LP and playback the digital rip on the digital system from #1 – and it has “soul”;
        then, (4) the only conclusion is that the vinyl production and playback added in the “soul”.
        Since the “soul” IS reproducible with digital recording and playback, it should be possible to digitally add it in to any playback on that same digital system, if one so desires, as it isn’t some aspect of playback that digital in incapable of .

  5. Vinyl has “soul” ? So coloration (aka distortion) has “soul” ?
    Sorry, but don’t make me laugh.
    Like Steven said, just anthropomorphism.
    Like John McEnroe used to say : “You cannot be serious”
    I like to think PaulMcG does not really mean what he said but just wants to stimulate a discussion.
    But I have to be honest (my mother always taught me that) : I’m really disappointed with today’s post. I’m gutted.
    My appreciation for the writer is in a serious depression.
    And BTW, why is there not a PSA turntable, full of “soul”.

    1. I understand the basic problem people have with accepting, that coloration can be a positive thing and think, pure neutrality should come closest to reality, which makes sense initially.

      But how should it? We all have a guess how much gets lost between music captured by microphones and played back over speakers. There might be many aspects, which when altered, better compensate for lost information compared to reality than pure neutrality does.
      Why should a neutral representation of a definitely limited capture be the optimum?

      Think of photos. None of them really replicates reality. And the most neutral, unaltered photo definitely doesn’t do it the best way, even if it’s most true to what the camera caught…problem just is…the camera didn’t catch all of the real thing.

      1. Addition:
        I think digital purists just color their system at another point (possibly unintentionally).

        This can be a special room/speaker interaction, cabling, speaker dimension or speaker concept or all together.

        I personally try to keep vinyl as neutral and free of vinyl artifacts as possible and digital as free of digital artifacts as possible. Makes them similar enough to run both pleasantly over one setup.

    2. Interesting how this post is being accepted/rejected. I do not personally listen to vinyl (just to be clear). I gave that up years ago.

      That said, I still appreciate the “soul” of vinyl’s colorations. Think of it this way. I gave up sugar and candy years ago, but on occasion, I’ll sneak an Abba Zabba and enjoy the damn thing just like on occasion I will enjoy an album despite all that I dislike about them.

      1. You also listen to tubes…..and like them. OMG, Never say never.

        What will the next advance in audioananachrophilia be, 78 records, wind up phonographs, or will they go straight to wax cylinders? Do wax cylinders have soul? Only when they are playing soul music.

      2. I absolutely respect all opinions of such experienced people like you!

        I just sometimes wish, that just 10% of people discussing about digital/vinyl topics would listen to BOTH digital and vinyl CURRENTLY, REGULARILY, WITH COMPARABLE SETUPS (in quality and voicing), WITH COMPARABLE / SUITABLE MEDIA/MASTERINGS, WITH AN OPEN MIND FOR RESULTS.

        From many postings I more or less read that those with the strongest and most one-sided opinions mostly listen to just one of them anyway or had very limited experience long ago with what they oppose to.

        This happens for pro/contra vinyl as well as pro/contra digital discussions by the opponing parties.

  6. What with Bladerunner back in our lives, if a Replicant could sing like Ella Fitzgerald, would it have Soul? No. (That was a rhetorical question.) It will still be a Replicant and if it could do the cleaning as well it would be more practical than the stereo.

  7. My 5:09 comment was a bit harsh perhaps.
    But I meant what I said.
    One of the reasons I always liked PSA was the fact “they” don’t like vinyl (or so I thought).
    But that seems to be a wrong assumption all those years.
    So, what can we expect from PSA in the future ?
    Is this post the prelude to a turntable, like so many other companies did the last couple of years (Bryston, Levinson, to name only a few) , because it is very much in fashion now ?
    I hope not. I always loved PSA because they concentrate on beautiful digital electronics. Like dCS.
    For me that shouldn’t change. Just like I’m not very excited about the fact PSA is going to produce speakers.
    And not only because they’ll probably be way too big and expensive for me.
    Don’t we have (more than) enough speaker companies already ? What’s the added value ?

    1. 100% agree. dCS kit is peerless in my experience, but some might consider it soulless. It’s just accurate and uncoloured. If you want soul and warmth, invite all your friends round and pour Martini down their throats, the atmosphere may make the music sound better. Also cheaper than high-end turntables.
      I actually listened to something on vinyl and digital this weekend (L’Estro Armonico, ASMF, Marriner from 1972 originally on ARGO, original pressing, then streamed from Qobuz), couldn’t tell the difference. Both wonderful.
      If PSA can make a $50k speaker and sell it to their customer-base, good luck to them. That’s why people develop brands, it’s basic business. Some people buy into brands, others don’t.

    2. There seems to be an infinite number of audiophile speaker manufacturers on this planet. Where are all the customers coming from ? What significant new technology can be introduced that isn’t already available on the market by manufacturers who specialize in this product with extensive research facilities and deep pockets ? I don’t see PSA’s business model in this one.

      1. It’s not that complicated. You’re right there are a bazillion high-end speaker manufacturers but the number of products I might want to recommend to our customers are fewer than the number of fingers on one hand. That’s a problem when it comes to building a system.

        For all the whizbang technology and designs available, few sound like music to me and even fewer are high enough value to garner my recommendation to customers.

        By engaging the world’s best speaker designer and charging him with designing and voicing a line of high value speakers we can honestly say are musical and full range in every respect (and in every home) we solve the problem of matching up speakers to electronics and are finally able to offer our customers a clear path to bring music into their homes.

        1. Hi Paul-
          I don’t understand your comment about “we solve the problem of matching up speakers to electronics”. Really, I don’t.
          The only speakers I know of that do this are actives with purpose designed amps matched to the drivers.
          Are your speakers going to be actives? Are they going to be passives that are purpose designed to match only one of your amps?
          If not, how do they “solve the problem”

          1. Even if my guess is not what you waited for, I think with a DSP’ablebass up to 100Hz and a directional ribbon tweeter which is quite room uncritical, chances are high that one can pretty well match the speaker to the room, even if highs/mids are not activeated.

            And a speaker designed by one of the top designers and marketed by one of the best bang for the buck companies should be very special.

            I’m not from PSA sales dept., I just say this because these speakers seem to include many of my preferences.

      2. Ned, I once investigated the leading London audio retailer, since gone bust, who had geared his business to sell top of the range Wilson’s. Even with the brand name, they are not that easy to sell (really, very difficult). I also spoke to one on the top sales guys at Kharma, who make world class speakers in the range about $30,000 to $350,000. I asked why they had no dealers in the UK. They said they just did not expect to be able to sell any, too expensive when there is no brand recognition. I think there are plenty of speakers that can do justice to PSA electronics, I’m not sure there can be a business plan other than to make the most of the brand value and I suspect it could wash its face in the USA and possibly Far East (if there is a small pair). Having just read about Mr Nudel, I reckon my $50k pricetag covers the binding posts. 25 years ago I went to see two kids printing an art magazine, they’d spent their paltry initial investment and wanted some advice. Each one sent out cost more than the cover price. I can’t remember the advice gave, but I couldn’t see it lasting another issue. It is now the world’s leading art magazine and they run the world’s largest art fair. So you never know.

        1. There are many speakers [more than can be counted with one hand] in the $5K to $10K range that sound really good [I have one of those] , that are highly rated by respected reviewers and would sound fabulous with PSA electronics. Perhaps Paul’s standards are higher than most and I’m sure Nudell will come up with a winner. I too just don’t get that “matching” issue.

          1. Paul seems to have been in marketing mode, and I agree and have commented before about speaker matching.

            Item 2 in my Nudell search had this comment from Paul in July 2016: “All Genesis high-end loudspeakers had built in subwoofers, a trait started by Arnie while at Infinity. Arnie believed (as do I) that loudspeakers should be full range to the best of their abilities – adding extra boxes to make them reproduce music properly was a wrong headed idea that placed additional burdens on customers they didn’t need.”

            Well, that may have been the case 20 years ago, but there are now many excellent ways of integrating an external powered subwoofer with passive main speakers (mainly software-driven) together with DSP, as well as there being more than a few excellent fully active or fully passive full-range speakers.

            Someone already mentioned these speakers are likely to be a similar arrangement to that described at Genesis. Perhaps if Paul reaches the Promised Land he should call them Deuteronomy Speakers, and remember its a journey that takes 40 years and a lot of wrong turns, battles and a certain amount of spying.

  8. Surprising number of non-artistic-spectrum sort of responses so far, which I guess is not surprising, as this blog often seems predominantly populated by engineering/science based folks.

    My current theory (in part) for why I think people like to wax poetic about vinyl reproduction is, surprisingly, informed by my experiences with the DMP – a state of the art digital device – as well as other recent discussions of things Digital. As is cropping up in many other areas, the time domain (vs. strictly frequency) is the thing du jour.

    Current discussions on: why MQA allegedly does what it does (in part – fixing time smear issues inherent in most digital audio), the cleaning up of microtiming issues by devices or methods that clean up USB delivery, differences in the sound of different means of getting digital from source to speaker, etc. all point to the role of these heretofore oft-ignored aspects of properly and realistically reproducing music. (present company of resident scientific audio genii excepted)

    But, what this has opened up in my thoughts about reproduction – and HOW and WHAT we can hear – I think bears on the question of the Soul of Vinyl. The micro-timing capabilities of the DMP (in part, again) help reproduce (to take one example) transients in a pleasingly realistic way that I had not heard from digital before. Now, I’m not saying vinyl does that, necessarily, or competes with it in that regard.

    What strikes me now when I’m listening to a record is – it’s a Live Event, every time you play it, which is different from digital (and which is clearly one of the reasons digital afficionados reject it out of hand). I could probably make an analogy to tube distortion by suggesting it is doing a micro-timing Dance in that groove every time that speaks to those of us that love it – and speaks to your Soul (or your body or your heart – below the neck as opposed to above) rather than speaking as directly to your intellect and any positive or negative cognitive biases with regard to Digital. I love both, for different reasons, though the differences between two good examples of each these days would be imperceptible/laughable to the majority of people.

    No, one can’t remove any cognitive bias induced by going through the process of putting on a record vs. tapping your iPad to summon All the Music On Earth. Wouldn’t want to. It’s part of the enjoyment of it.

    Why is an Actual Live Musical event held as the standard by which all reproduction should be judged? I’m not referring to the obvious answer. I think it’s because it is happening in the moment, flaws and all, it’s passing by like life, is ephemeral, and dare I say it, Magical. One of the long standing issues with digital reproduction is that (allegedly) bit are bits. So yougettheexactsamethingeverytime. Not “lifelike” in the above sense.

    Listening to digital (purely with regard to today’s topic), I feel like Bill Murray’s character in Groundhog Day – I’m the only one who is aware that Everything is Happening Exactly the Same Every Single Day. When I put on a record, at least the weather’s different ; )

    1. BB, I think your point about playing from vinyl introducing small differences each time is an interesting one. I can see that it might add a slight level of novelty which is missing from a completely predictable digital rendition, and this could well be stimulating. Then I cast my mind back to playing from compact cassette, which introduced even more variety, but not normally in a good way. The end result is that I do not really know where I stand with regards to your suggestion 🙁

  9. My first instinct was that the question was absurd. But having thought about it, there’s a lot more to it than first meets the eye. Do people have souls? What are souls? People of many religions believe there is a component of each person that goes beyond their physical existence and does not die when their body dies. It may go on to some heaven or hell or to be reincarnated. Personally I don’t believe that but in a wider sense, sentient beings while they are alive have a sense of self. Will machines ever evolve into sentient beings? That is a question plaguing experts in artificial intelligence. It brings up a lot of questions about ethics, independence of action, and other difficult questions being debated as the belief among experts is that it is only a matter of time before AI advances to being smarter, more capable, able to learn, and aware of themselves. Already, Americans have weapons that can be fully autonomous, able to attack an enemy targets by dint of opportunity without human programming, control, or intervention. Artificial robots are advancing with AI at a blistering pace. Eventually they will invent each other at which point they will advance much more rapidly. Will they play music to entertain you? This is not a fantasy or a joke. This is real.

    There are many clips on YouTube about Sophia. That is today. What will tomorrow bring. Many experts are frightened at the prospect.

    1. Soundmind ?

      Everything you wrote came from your soul. The means to write what you did was accomplished through the biological machinery controlled by your soul. That sophisticated machinery we commonly refer to as the body. Robots can not reason between good and evil. What they have been programmed to do is only a reflection of the soul(s) that programed it. It takes a soul to produce a robot.

  10. This weekend at RMAF, we listened to the hi res digital file of Stevie Ray Vaughn’s “Tin Pan Alley” followed by the 45 rpm vinyl from Analogue Productions/Quality Record Pressings which was sourced from the original analogue master tapes. Everyone in the room was blown away by the difference. The Fender Stratocaster sounded more real, the finger snaps, the entire presentation was more “alive” and the music had more “soul” with the vinyl than the digital. It was an OMG moment. I don’t understand why, I don’t even care. All I know is what I and everyone in the room heard. Three listeners immediately went to the Acoustic Sounds table to see if there were any copies left to purchase.

    1. As someone who loves both, vinyl and digital for their sake I also had such experiences and read or heard about it many times. Although I’m very open for it, I never heard about similar enthusiastic reactions the other way around (not even by vinyl haters, they mostly argument differently, more theoretically), but I and many others certainly experienced digital sounding better than vinyl in rather isolated, factual aspects.

    2. Laura, the difference between the two is in all likelihood, the mastering. There are absolutely not the same. Whoever mastered the vinyl had ears, and whoever mastered the digital did not or did not care. Happens all the time and the sad part is the medium gets the blame/praise when it is the mastering engineer that should get either praise or damnation.

      1. Thanks Paul, I know mastering can make all the difference in the world. The 45 RPM vinyl was mastered by Ryan Smith at Sterling Sound. I have no idea you mastered the hi res digital.
        Good to see you and Terri last week. Hope you had a good show.

  11. soul
    noun: soul; plural noun: souls
    the spiritual or immaterial part of a human being or animal, regarded as immortal.
    a person’s moral or emotional nature or sense of identity.
    “in the depths of her soul, she knew he would betray her”
    synonyms: spirit, psyche, (inner) self, inner being, life force, vital force; More
    individuality, makeup, subconscious, anima;
    “seeing the soul through the eyes”
    emotional or intellectual energy or intensity, especially as revealed in a work of art or an artistic performance.
    “their interpretation lacked soul”
    synonyms: inspiration, feeling, emotion, passion, animation, intensity, fervor, ardor, enthusiasm, warmth, energy, vitality, spirit
    “their music lacked soul”
    the essence or embodiment of a specified quality.
    “he was the soul of discretion”
    synonyms: embodiment, personification, incarnation, epitome, quintessence, essence; More
    model, exemplification, exemplar, image, manifestation
    “he is the soul of discretion”
    an individual person.
    “I’ll never tell a soul”
    synonyms: person, human being, individual, man, woman, mortal, creature
    “not a soul in sight”
    a person regarded with affection or pity.
    “she’s a nice old soul”
    African-American culture or ethnic pride.
    short for soul music.
    Ok, if we look at the above, Soul has more than one definition.
    If we decide to discuss that old worn out topic of vinyl versus digital, I think it is interesting that you can, with good equipment, do a needle drop, and be able to tell it’s origin was a vinyl record. Done well it sounds amazing, if the record sounded amazing. Turn it around, as new music being transferred to vinyl often has a digital source, and it sounds like vinyl. To me, that tells me digital is more accurate to it’s source, whether that is tape, or a file. When I started doing needle drops, I was quite amazed at how good it could sound, and how close to the record it comes.
    Doesn’t mean records don’t have something special to offer. If you are over 40, you grew up with vinyl. If you love music, and relate said music to periods of time in your life, a record can take you back, it sparks memories. For me, I can’t listen to T-Rex “Slider” or “Tank” without thinking of Tolkien’s trilogy. In the early ’70s I found those two records to sound other worldly, they were the perfect companion to those three books. Four if you read “The Hobbit” first. My guess is, no one else will have that same memory or association. Doesn’t matter, I don’t care, the memory is mine.
    I think someone went religious, in that machines can’t have a soul. Makes sense, but they can have soul. I’m not religious, and like politics, it is not a topic you normally bring up in social situations. I will say this if dogs don’t have souls and don’t get to go to heaven, I would prefer to go where they go. To me it won’t be Paradise without dogs, cats are welcome too in my concept of heaven.

    Reading all the posts that proceeded mine, tells me, way too many take Paul’s posts, and PS Audio way too seriously. And to be bothered that they are going to sell speakers, if you are bothered by that, never consider wanting or buying them. Never mind that they are being designed by Arnie Nudell, someone that every audio expert would list as one of the top 20 designers and innovators of speaker technology. Over the years we have seen PS Audio grow and evolve, now making products that compete with those selling for a whole lot more, than they charge. Products that receive recognition in the form of awards, and being assigned Class A status. There is probably a complement in there, that some of you think PS Audio should do as you think, as if you have stock in, or some kind of partial ownership, but alas the company is Paul’s, and the direction it goes is his and of those he employs, or consults. More than most, he considers the requests, and needs of his customers, but that doesn’t include what not to manufacture.

    Today in America, there is no postal delivery, and the banks are closed. Why? Because we are celebrating the man who didn’t really discover America, brought disease, and slaughter to the real owners of this country. But do we give them the honor and respect they deserve? Naw, we celebrate some clown who got lost on his way to India.
    Good music has soul, how we receive it, live, digitally or on vinyl record, matters not.*

    *All opinions expressed are my own, I speak for no one else. Well, except for my dog, and he agrees with me.

    1. Not an opinion, but an accurate description of what everyone in the room heard. Two of the folks in the room, including the designer and manufacturer of the speakers, are 100% digital in their home audio. They said they haven’t listened to vinyl in years except occasionally at an audio show. One turned to me and said “OK, I now understand why you buy vinyl.”

      Is this true with all vinyl? Certainly not. The 33.3 of the same album cut from the same tapes does not compare to the 45.

  12. CDs hit a brick wall at around 21Khz. No more information beyond that point. This results in the harmonic envelope being shaved off resulting in a clean but sterile sound. This may also explain why some times people mistake digital sound as more accurate when in fact it is just the opposite. Digital is always sterile, flat and lifeless comparatively speaking unless that is all one has been exposed to. Vinyl supports frequencies up to 40 to 50 thousand Hz. This is in the form of transients which interact with frequencies lower down in the audible range giving vinyl a sound closer to real life instruments because the sound of instrument is not limited to 20 ,000 cycles. Their frequency envelope extends much beyond 20 khz. This is why Vinyl has soul and digital is flat and lifeless . Take a poorly recorded vinyl with limited frequency response and it will sound more like a CD. CDs are involving because of the performance not the sound. Vinyl is involving because of both. Big difference. Listen to both with good equally matched front ends and it will be obvious. Regards.

    1. Oliver,

      is this really true?
      Which CD-Player or DAC is really working @ 44.1 kHz?
      Most are resampling the signal before they interpolate and convert.
      I do not know at which frequency for instance the DirectStream DAC internally works. A far as I know all signals even the PCM-codes are converted to DSD before further manipulation.
      So who needs a brickwall filter @ 21 kHz if the signal is resampled before?
      There are some myths about RBCD still in the heads of people some of which biases them to certain views. Maybe one should for further thoughts on it.


      1. Bernd. I think the brick wall filter is applied before the digital conversion for an RBCD to prevent ultrasonics causing aliasing. Frequencies above 20khz are just not present on the CD. Anything you do on playback is not going to bring them back. Perhaps I have misunderstood your post?

  13. Paul, who at PSAudio will voice and regularily use the upcoming high class phono amp? 😉
    Will music room 1 be the appropriate environment for voicing in terms of being optimized for digital playback?

    1. I will along with Darren and Scott McGowan. MR1 is perfect except for one thing, the turntable. There is a nice Clear Audio table that’s never really been set up right and we will likely sell it and get a new table probably from VPI.

      1. So maybe you’ll have new vinyl experiences if you long time had no properly setup turntable, which maybe from it’s price point also didn’t meet great digital 😉

        I’m sure MR1 will be great for hearing differences…I just thought of your theory, that setups usually are optimized for digital OR vinyl and mostly can only play one thing at the best. To use such a setup for voicing the “wrong” front end could have “wrong” results.

        But I’m sure you have enough people available with experience, who didn’t give up on vinyl until the new phono stage now comes. It’s just that there are so many variables with vinyl that IMO voicing phono equipment should probably be done by people who are very familiar and experienced with vinyl gear and various combinations of phono stuff.

        On the other hand it’s possibly not that complicated…a phono amp is amplifying and PSA builds amplifiers for a long time ,-)

    1. It’s not the table so much as the arm that doesn’t match well to the cartridges we’re likely to use. But yes, maybe we’ll change the arm instead. It’s one of the things I dislike about vinyl, the enormous mechanical setup process involved. But, once set up it usually sounds pretty good.

      1. I also hate this about vinyl and the many dependencies that are not always calculable.

        I think this and a few other aspects is why a certain part of the people decides to dislike vinyl generally, fixate on theoretical observations, no matter how good it can sound and inspite of never have really listened to a good setup. Mostly these people have the most radical opinions.

        But I can understand and share many dislikable aspects and why some choose to not listen to vinyl. I think if I wouldn’t know how it can sound and not have a large valuable collection, today I probably wouldn’t start with it.

  14. I just wanted to share some current music with my friend. Because it’s a lot easier to do by making a couple of CD-Rs than by sending him 40 LPs. And he can listen to the CD-Rs in the car on the way to work. Sharing music conveniently. It’s what digital does best.

    1. And the music shared was mostly really great! We played much at the show and people wanted to know what it was. Our younger guys were impressed we played “music from this century” and even more impressed it was, in some cases, unknown to them.

      Sharing and discovering is what it’s all about (or should be). My thanks to my friend, Jim.

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