One way street

November 10, 2021
 by Paul McGowan

If you freeze bread and then toast it, the results are marvelous. Crunchy on the outside and soft and pliable on the inside. Try reversing the process and the results are more than disappointing.

I wish I understood more about one-way streets. Why some things work best in one direction but not in another.

Make a side-by-side recording using a digital recorder and a vinyl cutting lathe.  It doesn’t take a pair of golden ears to hear the digital audio capture sounds nothing like the vinyl.

Yet, we can make near-perfect digital captures of vinyl records.

I have long suspected that this one-way effect is due to digital audio’s greater resolution and dynamic range capabilities than those of vinyl. It’s easy enough to put a pint of water into a gallon bucket, but the opposite doesn’t work.

What’s troubling to me is that as we move Octave Record releases into the realm of vinyl, we find that the one-way street argument falls a bit short. Direct vinyl masters from the DSD masters seem to sound more dynamic and musical than the original DSD files.

This has me scratching my head.

The sound of vinyl may remain an unsolved mystery that in my lifetime never gets resolved.

It’s a one way street to confusion.

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75 comments on “One way street”

  1. Paul, I’dont want to repeat similar statements, me and others made regarding this, you must know such also from the past (from the talk of others or in practice).

    What I wonder about a bit is, by the time in the past you were into (probably also highest end) vinyl, by the time you know those discussions and lots of amateur and professional people of the one or the other camp…how can it be that you had such a firm and as far as I understood a rather completely and not only partly dismissive opinion about vinyl without ever making comparisons that showed the other side? IMO what you said here (and a few other things) are quite obvious even without producing recordings oneself, as there are many examples of parallel, equally mastered media to compare from the same source. The differences out of digital sources on both media are even much smaller than those of analog sources.

    What I really appreciate is, that you’re never shy to talk about new findings!

  2. Is annealed copper wire a one way street for electrical sonic signals?

    I haven’t owned vinyl, or a turntable, since 1987 however at the last Hi-Fi show here in Sydney
    (July 2017) I listened to a MoFi record on a MoFi t’table & MoFi cartridge (no idea what models), can’t remember the amp but the loudspeakers were Sonus Faber floorstanders (again, no idea what model) & I was stunned, absolutely stunned, at how near perfect the music sounded (all of the positive audio adjectives you can think of) compared to everything else that I’d listened to over those four days of visiting every room at the show.
    The only other display that came close to this canned ‘musical perfection’ was a pair of DeVore Orangutan 0/96’s with a streaming input.
    That experience will stay with me for life, however the costs involved for me to go back to vinyl is definitely prohibitive for that sort of high-end sound…CD’s are fine for Rock ‘n Roll 🙂

    1. FR when people go back and listen to well recorded vinyl (not the digital transferred to vinyl) after listening to CD’s for years they are stunned at the ease of the sound. Instruments with real air around them that sound like actual instruments. When I buy vinyl I only look for first pressings and never the digital transferred to vinyl. If you’re thinking about buying those albums just stick to CD’s.

  3. The one way street digital/vinyl capture example:

    I never understood what this (fact) should prove, except that digital can make near perfect replicas of existing, readily produced media and vinyl certainly not. However I understood, that digital proponents wished to conclude a general superiority or perfection of digital processing out of it.

    A digital camera can make a quite identical picture from an analog print. But if you make two shots in nature, an analog photo looks different than the digital. And an analog picture of a digital print will again be a little different. But which direct picture from the nature event looks better?

    The experiment proves that a digital camera can make exact copies of a print and the analog camera can’t. But due to the fact, that both when shooting nature can’t capture the full content, and both have their characteristic to replicate what they capture, this doesn’t allow a conclusion which makes better pictures from nature. IMO the reason why digital (in spite of perfect when catching prints) not generally wins in terms of catching the (analog) nature is, that the losses of digital when capturing nature may be partly more distracting than those of analog. The fact that digital doesn’t add anything to it (which analog might), although more accurate, doesn’t help this situation. It would only help, if the digital capture was perfect and containing all of the nature event from start (which it doesn’t). I see this even stronger and more obvious in audio. Perfect accuracy to the source only firmly helps when the source is perfect and captured everything. Neither microphones do, nor digital recorders, nor analog ones. The losses of digital and analog processing are different. The losses of digital don’t always seem to be the less harmful ones. And even if this is not puristic, it seems, it’s partly better to add something (good) to an unperfect signal than to leave it as it is.

    1. Thanks, Jazznut and I think your thoughts have captured a good deal of it. I like the photo analogy.

      Working on that analogy, the dynamic range alone is instructive. Film has a DR of about 12 stops, the best digital around 15 stops, and the human eye as much as 24 stops.

      Very interesting indeed. Clearly, our ears are the same. I feel another post coming on. I’ll give it a few days to cogitate on.

      1. Yes I think the photo analogy fits at least enough to make certain thoughts more clear, on the other hand imo analog in the photo world has rather artistic advantages in special application cases than that it contains much more information if shot from analog source (which imo is different in audio).

        I know you say, DSD captures generally more than analog, but my experience comparing multiple SACD’s with vinyl (same Analog Productions or other labels analog source, same engineer, same mastering) tells another truth. I also see the “more” of DSD, but the “more” of all analog seems more essential for the sound quality experience.

        Regarding the dynamic range analogy of cameras I think it’s important to consider that in this field, the higher dynamic range directly affects the quality of most pictures, as due to strong colors in most pictures, a higher dynamic range also shows advantages beyond an extreme black/white contrast. In audio it’s different in my observation. There a higher absolute dynamic range (like 100 instead of 70dB) is only appreciable at a strong dynamic peak, making use of it (which is rare and in a small listening room not always only an advantage). The higher absolute dynamic range in audio in contrary doesn’t improve the dynamic behavior and performance within that range. This is determined by other factors like equipment quality or as you noticed, the concept in terms of vinyl often sounding more dynamic (my assumption always was it must have to do with the preamplification stages). So this is where the photo analogy and the concentration on dynamic range is a bit off imo.

        But most important to consider in your thoughts is, that with the vinyl from DSD process (to use the analogy again) you make an analog picture from a digital print. Not from the real nature event. The rules and explanations of analog/vinyl you find by trying to explain this, are just explaining the less interesting and less important effect of the vinyl playback mystery in terms of “why does the playback of a limited capture on an (at least from this point of the process on) even more limiting cutting/playback system lead to better sound”?

        It would be even more interesting to find out about the core of analog fascination, why an all analog capture and playback of the same event contains so much more important ambient/imaging/dynamic/prat information, than the complete or for the most part digital capture and processing by any digital format? Nearly the same for comparing analog or digital media from the same analog master source (which is much easier to compare for most). It might have to do with the format or the different processing up to the final commercial media or the playback side or all of them.

        By my personal conversations the owners of partly benchmark labels like Yarlung, 2xHD, Acousence, Stockfisch, Opus 3, Chesky, Winter&Winter, Fone all went through this somehow, partly produce all formats PCM, DSD, analog and partly use digital recording meanwhile or from start, but would still sound wise prefer all analog so far. Didn’t talk to Reference Recordings, but their all analog stuff was better sounding, too than todays.

        I understand, at least DSD must be much better than tape and technically is and maybe also proves so in certain studio comparisons…but it seems when we look at what’s finally on the table at home high end playback, things seem to turn out differently.

        But I understand and support the way to go to surpass this in the digital domain, even if it currently still needs all analog processing inbetween (2xHD even process tape stages for their digital media, crazy).

        Aside of that, imo recording skill rules and I think e.g. guys like Pauler Acoustics could make a more fascinating recording on CD than most others on tape, D2D or DSD. If a label wants to improve sound quality, it seems to me, format is less than secondary. All equipment around and know how seems to rule. I’d prefer a well recorded CD to any average recorded LP.

        1. All of us Vinyl Addicts know the premise of Direst-To-Disc records – a one-time recording from start to finish, with the Recording Engineer using “Gain Riding” without any other compression. Imagine my surprise when I found a 2nd copy of Dave Gruisin “Discovered Again” as a different session! Pre-session, practice? IDK; it’s certainly different, but maybe as well done as what I always thought of as the original , & only one.
          I’ve owned Paul’s “Say Somethin” for over a week now, but have not yet cracked the seal! I’m waiting until I have time next week to tweak my cartridge/tonearm setup before giving it the virgin run:-)

          1. Kevin Gray did even just use a bit of gain riding on the SFS Mahler Symphony box set. I don’t know how many recordings have a bigger dynamic range than those symphonies.

            Direct to disc sound gorgeous in terms of dynamics, directness and transparency, but imo usually lack the kind of holographic magic which seems to be achieved with some mastering.

  4. I still listen to both CD and vinyl. Never had the heart to dispose of my hard-gotten vinyl when CD came on the market.
    Vinyl replay installation can be intimidating for a beginner but today new t’tables are more user-friendly. Recently made a tiny adjustment to my turntable and the performance improved. I suppose I should look at adding a separate DAC to improve CD replay but the current set-up sounds good already.

    1. Yes, we tend to think that major change equals major improvement but never underestimate that even a small alteration can reap worthwhile benefits, and often at much lower cost.
      As for the DAC I would say go for it when inclination allows. The biggest problem being you’re up against the law of diminishing returns.

    2. Same boat here. I think about getting a separate DAC, but am skeptical that it would make a meaningful improvement over my Marantz SACD player’s DAC. Especially without spending crazy $. And as you said, it sounds quite good now.

  5. I got an idea some time ago, that it is not a resolution or dynamic range or master or whatever, but the actual shape of the sound wave. When producing and playing record, music is several times converted to mechanical vibration. Every natural sound is caused by mechanical vibration. So vinyl even a digital recording “naturalises” shape of sound wave and our mind (somewhere in deepest unconscious deeps of sound procesing in our brain) “marks” it as natural and treets it preferably to something more unnatural. Is it crazy enough to be true? Is laser cut HD vinyl mold going to loose The Magic? (forgive me spelling, no google translate today)

  6. There’s whole bunch of people saying “I told You so”….

    The most obvious reason is the playback mechanism. Especially if all digital is being used to source the cutting lathe.
    Something to do with resonances / damping that a mechanical device device provides when fed in a continuous spiral? I don’t know…
    Why do tubes sound better when used in voltage gain config than solid state?
    Is digital too precise for your ears?

    Maybe the question you should be asking, is if your DSD digital sounds better when placed on a vinyl medium, would it sound better if it was kept all analog with the same attention to recording detail? The reason I ask is I have heard some phenomenal digital remasters from old recordings recordings that were originally done on tape, many which rival anything being done today.

    1. No, all analog can’t work because it would never capture what DSD can. All analog (unless we went directly to the cutting lathe) requires tape. And tape is so limited. Fortunately, we’ve been down that road and know what to expect. This new hybrid of DSD (which I consider better than analog captures) and analog is a major step up from the old days of tape recorders. Been there done that.

      1. So then that leaves me with one lingering off the wall observation. If what I understand about the DSD recording process (which is not a lot) is that in the mixing process tracks are being mixed in analog (tape) and then back to digital. So what I’m left to assume is there is something inherently being lost because of tape limitations. That being said, then the idea, the hunt and hopefully the solution from Bit Perfect to eliminate that conversion step makes total sense.

        That still doesn’t help with todays post / observations. Even with the mixing in the analog realm (not as accurate?) then things still sound better when played back from a vibrating mechanical source. I know no one right now has that absolute answer. So even when the mix becomes ‘Bit Perfect’ the conclusion becomes mechanical playback from vinyl still sounds ‘better’. The final question becomes is there a better way to maximize sound quality playback with out using vinyl as the storage medium?

          1. Somewhere I thought I read a Studer? tape machine was involved. Forget it and ignore my ignorance. I’m going back to the music only. How ever it’s mastered, recorded, or played back. If I like it then that’s good enough.
            I’m no longer going to search for some grail, but rather work on pure enjoyment / entertainment. The equipment and technical side are starting to get in the way. It won’t be easy dropping the Audio habit, but neither is life.

  7. Todays topic brings up another thought… If we expound upon todays premise, then it seems a whole new realm of product could be developed. “The DSVS” Why not take a DSD playback format, and provide the same signal that is applied to the cutting lathe, only instead of cutting, it runs some kind cartridge in reverse or other device… (mechanical energy is generated so to speak). That mechanical energy is then converted back to electrical energy (cartridge) for playback. Just another off the wall thought…

    (DSVS = directream vinyl sound)

    1. Good morning Mike!
      In some ways, that has already been done.
      When you stop to think about it, in a lot of today’s recording studios, a microphone is connected to a digital to analog converter.
      But this was an experiment that they were doing in the mid to late seventies.
      Because even then, SONY came up with PCM.
      And about this time in 1982, SONY and Philips designed laser disc players and pro recorders.
      They burned that to a five inch silver disc.
      And that was the very first CD.
      And about 17 years later, they came up with DSD and burned the very first SACD.
      But getting to where we are today, we have turntables with USB DAC’s built in to them.
      I never played with one of them, so I have no idea of what they sound like.

  8. I think the challenge here is that no one has been able to find a way to quantify something that is so completely subjective. And within that subjective universe it is difficult to ascribe a frame of reference or “standard” as everyone’s aural perception is different (and dependent on and framed by so many other factors beyond what we can physically hear e.g., life experiences). Audio magazines that routinely include measurements with their reviews will be the first to tell you that what is quantifiable/measurable does not tell the whole story. There are plenty of manufacturers that use only hearing to translate their aural experiences into engineering and design. It’s also difficult for an audiophile to describe the sound they are hearing without resorting to clichés which can never fully capture the experience they are witnessing. Not sure if we’ll ever be able to fully bridge the gap between the subjective and the objective worlds – a tough nut to crack. But we all seem to have one thing in common: to maximize our musical enjoyment with the format of our choosing.

    1. gorm.yoder…Your response is the type of comment that I have been waiting to hear. It may have quite a ‘bit’ of merit since I haven’t seen enough attention given to the emotional experience of listening to music and Paul’s response that touches on our emotional engagement as well makes me feel like a new door has just opened on the subject of analog versus digital sound reproduction. Suggest that the two of you continue your conversation to explore this idea.

      1. For me there is something about the music that transcends the medium which I think is the emotional response you describe. The fact that I have been able to make that emotional connection to the music with far more modest systems than the one I currently own (including an old transistor AM radio or car radio) is probably core to my passion as an audiophile and what drives me to seek out ways to heighten that experience. I also have a secondary passion for electronics. I think it’s easy to go down the rabbit hole and obsess not only about one’s own system (i.e., tweaks), but be dogmatic about the “truths” of analog vs. digital, tubes vs. solid state, electrostatics vs. box speakers, cables, etc.. which can sometimes distract us from enjoying the music. Like good food and drink, I always look forward to the opportunity to share good music with a friend and see if we can make that emotional connection together (regardless of the kind of system it might be played on).

        1. Your response reminds me of my friend and fellow Engineer Lew. We would have constant arguments about my high end audio musical enjoyment versus his enjoyment of listening to music on a table radio.

          That’s why I’m on this website and Lew is not.

  9. Dear Paul,

    Maybe the theory that “digital audio [has] greater resolution and dynamic range capabilities than those of vinyl” is being proven wrong or incomplete in practice by your own ears?

    I agree with jazznut’s gentle reminder that your belief in the theoretical superiority of digital audio caused you to abandon highest-level vinyl playback a long time ago. (I think I remember an interview from many years ago in which you told the reporter the turntable in the IRS V room hadn’t even been working for a long time.)

    “No, all analog can’t work because it would never capture what DSD can.”
    Respectfully, here is that bias again. I agree that maybe “analog can’t work” in your audio engineering logic, but vinyl is apparently doing something better for you than DSD in the real world.

    You also wrote: “All analog (unless we went directly to the cutting lathe) requires tape. And tape is so limited.”

    I truly believe that if you replicated Doug Sax’s direct-to-disc recording process the sound of the resulting vinyl would be more emotionally engaging and closer to the original musical event than the vinyl you are making from your DSD recordings.

    The DSD recording might also be found subjectively to be sonically inferior to recording on (admittedly annoying) 2 inch, 2 track magnetic tape.

    1. Great points and I like your use of emotional engagement. There’s no question in my mind that DSD capture is far superior to any analog capture. It’s easy to prove that both technically and audibly.

      But emotional connection is something that often gets ignored by the likes of us engineering nerd types. I wish I could understand it better. I certainly hear and feel it—it’s real enough—but quantifying it is a challenge.

      From a practical note the way Doug Sax made recordings is not viable. Interesting, rewarding, but hardly a path forward.

      The holy grail for me is to keep pushing the boundaries of what’s possible/practical.

      Hey, worst case, we continue recording in DSD and then cut vinyl from those masters. Now we get the best of all worlds.

      1. “ Hey, worst case, we continue recording in DSD and then cut vinyl from those masters. Now we get the best of all worlds.”

        Although I think this won’t be your final status, this now shows a truly non dogmatic, result orientated view on the matter, kudos!

      2. Having previously listened to the DSD recording of “Out Of Thin Air” (and loving it), I received the vinyl of the same. Emotional engagement comes to mind.
        And yes, I have a reasonable investment in analog reproduction, but a similar investment in streaming from my from NAS, playing from SACD.
        I cannot explain it either, but I’ll take it.

  10. The Stockfisch DMM Dubplate, Vol. 1 is one of the most astonishingly good-sounding discs I’ve ever heard. It’s a metal disc, cut in analog from a digital master. I know the manufacturing process is different than for the Octave discs, but I wonder if this mysterious digital-to-disc “thing” is going on with that disc also. In any case, as I wrote in my Copper article a while back, it has forced me to re-evaluate all the truisms I once took for granted in both digital and analog sound.

      1. I didn’t know what the cost was until after I’d reviewed it. If I did, I might have been a little hesitant, knowing the time, effort and cost it took for the company to send it out. On the other hand, I’m glad I did, as it really was an education in what can be done.

        It makes me think of how much I miss audio shows. I’ll never be able to afford the really expensive gear, so hearing it at shows and dealers is invaluable.

    1. Pauler told me he will publish needledrops of the played back dub plates soon.

      Crazy world. No studios anymore to record analog, then analog mixed/mastered LP’s are made from a digital source and made available as digital download again, just to let digital folks experience half of what would be possible with a fully analog produced record played back by a record player 😉

  11. Thank you for your kind and thoughtful reply, Paul.

    I appreciate and I agree that direct-to-disc is impractical. Sonically wonderful, but not a viable way forward.

  12. A curious situation. If DSD is the superior recording medium and analog vinyl is the preferred playback medium, then obviously the analog conversion is adding certain distortion, by definition. Can’t that distortion be measured, quantified, and replicated via a digital program? Why can’t my DAC have an appropriate “analog vinyl” filter selection?

    1. At least if the DAC used for putting the file on vinyl was the same as the one for the comparison and ALL cabling the same, and there are not many other options, than that the cutting equipment, the vinyl rig or the phono amp add something (helpful). And as vinyl rigs can be quite different, the result of what they add or not can be quite different.

      But the main thing about analog/vinyl is not what it adds in this special case of a digital source recording, it’s what it preserves from an all analog recording compared to digital media.

  13. Paul,

    When cutting to vinyl, does your (or the vinyl cutter’s) software impose the RIAA equalization curve onto the record?

    Could that be the source of the improved(?) sound?

    The question mark was placed within the previous sentence as one of my audiophile friends, or perhaps a salesman, asked me this question: Do you want something that is accurate or that sounds good?

    That last question may be worth a short video, as I prefer not to accept mutually exclusive arguments.

    Steve

    1. Yes, of course, the inverse RIAA is applied by the cutter so when played back it can be straightened out to flat. I don’t have any solid answers but I suspect this is not one of the reasons why it sounds better.

  14. Here is what happened when a friend brought his new whest 30rdt se phono stage to my place because his deck was not in use,so we used my Technics sl 1210m5g standard arm and wiring with a Kiseki purple heart sapphire cartridge.
    We played Santana’s greatest hits on vinyl while playing evil ways I said I’ve never heard that before about the Guiro,it was so clear and up front in your face so to speak.
    The whest slaughtered my Loricraft missing link phono stage as it should cold out of the box the real story is I can hear the Guiro with my phono stage just not as much as the whest but on a CD Santana’s ultimate collection I can not pick the Guiro out much.
    I’ve tried with Marantz CD5003,MF nuvista 3d now my backup player and a SA KI Ruby which is my main disc player.
    So what do you make of that.

    1. I don’t know, but have experienced something similar. Having recently upgraded my system which now overall sounds better I noticed on the odd track a certain effect, a knock or a tap for example, which I’d expected to be prominent as it had been previously was now more recessed. Now all manufacturers try to ensure the frequency response of their equipment is as flat as possible, but what happens when the various pieces of equipment are assembled into a system with the associated cables in a listeners room. Is the response still flat? I’d imagine there are a few peaks and troughs but doubt that many listeners actually measure the in room frequency response of their system. Could it be that one piece of equipment places a little more emphasis on the frequencies of say the Guiro, than another and that’s why it has become more apparent. I’ve no real idea if this is a credible theory or absolute nonsense….but someone will probably tell me 😉

    2. Hi Yorkie, I have a Whest Two phono stage so down below the one you have had it about 6 years so this year sent it back to Whest for service and an upgrade and its even better they are terrific Phono Stages for the money and I always recommend them. I am mainly a Vinyl record man very little cd replay for me though I have a Sony SACD player which is quite good

  15. Probably, a lot of what you are hearing are the characteristics of the cartridge you are using. Back when I was cutting in the ’60s, we found a top-of-the-line Stanton or Shure moving magnet cartridge made an acetate sound much more like the tape. Moving coils had an airy high-end and more dynamics than the source. The top mastering engineers were still using these cartridges for reference into the ’90s and quite possibly still are. I’m actually speaking on a panel this weekend where I’ll find out.

    1. Regarding more dynamics than the source from MC cartridges:
      In a post above I suspected, the dynamic improvement might come from the multiple and high amplification stages in phono playback, but I’m not sure if this makes any sense or should lead to the opposite…amp expert Paul will know if this is BS.

  16. I’m not trying to open the worm can or take sides – But I’ve always been a little curious about the vinyl angle of us philes..
    I lived through the vinyl years as it was the best quality option but I could NEVER get past the crackle tick aspect. I bought Impulse Noise Eliminators & Transient Noise devices – mediocre results with degrading outcome. So I embraced digital era and every once in a while will break out the table & see what I am missing – I will stop at the first crackle.
    So as the perfectionists we are – how do vinyl lovers deal with the the surface distractions? Or is that something that can be eliminated with mega-dollar setups? I’ve got some hi-res digital versions of some import albums and there are certainly some sounds very notably present better and different from the CD versions and even differences between the Japan or German versions. But even if the vinyl DOES sound better my brain zooms in on the surface noise and I can’t unhear it; I can’t listen to it. I’ll take a slightly inferior sounding but clean recording.

    I’d like to hear some vinyl fans’ responses to the unfortunate byproducts of vinyl. Have you managed to eliminated it? Are you able to ignore it? Perhaps you embrace a bit of it?
    Again, not taking sides – just curious. How do YOU handle the snap crackle pop?

    For reference – I have a Pioneer PL-530/w ortofon, my pair of DJ SL-1200MK2 with Stantons – never did own a separate phono preamp…

    1. Great question. The best vinyl systems I heard at shows didn’t display the crackle but don’t know how they did it because at home I could never avoid it and was a major reason I went digital.

    2. On good rigs, music and crackles are on a very different layer. Just like a fly on a TV. You look through the fly on the 3D movie (although the fly sits directly on the screen). That makes the fly or the crackle very secondary. On simple rigs crackle is like a fly sitting on a postcard.

      Furthermore if you have a good rig, you mostly also have more clean pressings than awful ones.

      1. I’d say I’m not quite postcard level – SGCD, M1200s Cocktail X50 & Mag 3.7i & REL T9i sub. Not extreme; not mid-fi. Table is certainly the weak link in this scenario.
        Also have RME ADI2 FS DAC with Audio-GD Master 19 & Arya, Focal Clear MG, Audeze LCD-MX4 and Fostex TH900 MK2 – again not extreme – not mid-fi.
        The fly certainly present in the soundroom; is actually much worse on the headphones…
        And I’ve purchased brand new sealed Audiophile pressing albums. There are crackles present upon the FIRST play. And then more each subsequent play. I don’t know HOW much I spent on satin inner sleeves over the years…

        However I WOULD love to hear vinyl in an extreme room – like SR2 or Ken Fritz’s dream sound room.

    3. pikpen,
      Same here, which is why I dumped my table & vinyl back in ’87.
      The snap, crackle, pop (open log-fire recordings) thing just ruined the whole
      listening to canned music experience for me & CD’s were the cure.

    4. Since I have gone back to making my top listening preference vinyl records, my collection consists of mostly records that make no noise at all. I gave away over 800 noisy, poor quality records when I moved from New York to Florida because I knew I was never going to listen to them again and they weren’t worth very much. The approximate 500 records that I have in my collection at present are just about dead silent. I still have the same problem with vinyl that mostly everybody else does. They are a giant pain in the butt to constantly get up turn them over or put a new record on my turntable and sit down again for 15 to 20 minutes at most. A few times I fell asleep and woke up to the stove is ticking to the innermost part of the recording. Nevertheless, my preferences are Vinyl records, CDs and Streaming in that order. It’s really all about the quality of the recordings not the equipment in my system especially since I switched over to XLR from my RCA connectors.

  17. The earth will stop spinning and the sun will disappear into a black hole, but the argument analogue v digital will remain no nearer to resolution. I enjoy both and no longer give it a thought.

        1. Exactly FR we are so evenly matched any game can go anyway playing them. Not like your team we either thrash you or you thrash us its never ever really close its just a case of who’s day it is thats what I think

  18. I like the flavor of vinyl, but with my digital pipe organ it would be hard to have thousands of little vinyl disc turntables individually playing on demand, so I’ll just be thankful for high rez digital 🙂

  19. Strangely, a medium that relies on an electromechanical device scrapping of a modulated surface that we KNOW has a reduced amount of channel separation, a reduced dynamic range, a frequency range that is restricted, and a response that is very much other than flat when compared to DSD sounds better. But, thems the breaks.

    The same can often be said for the differences between the master analog tape (when tape was still used) and the resultant vinyl cut.

    I ordered the vinyl version of Gabe’s most recent Octave recording because he said that he preferred the vinyl version. Otherwise, I would have ordered the DSD version.

    BTW. Congrats on the review in Stereophile of Octave’s first release.

  20. Paul, Forget about the toast. I think that sometime within the last year you have a Paul’s Post about the “magic” of vinyl. Now I know of people ( including myself ) who al are able to hear the magic in vinyl recordings whose vinyl playback systems ( cartridge, tonearm, TT and phono preamp ) differ by 2 orders of magnitude in cost. To me this says that whatever causes the “magic” most likely has something to do with the fact that instead a magnetic recording to tape or a digital recording to file we have a mechanical recording. It could be the RIAA equalization and reversal, the actual cutting, the stylus tracing of the final record, the vinyl pressing or all of this.

    I have SACD’s and vinyl records made from the same master tapes and the vinyl has the magic and even though SACD’s sound very good they do not have the magic. I can make a DSD recording of the vinyl ( my TASCAM hi-res recorder is not match for your DSD recorder at Octave ) but it capture the magic of vinyl.

    I do wonder if people of our age hear the “magic” of vinly because we have been imprinted by it becaus it is what we heard when we were young?

    1. Tony, I reply about the sound that I am hearing in the moment. My analog vinyl and tape days were over for more than 20 years when I went back to listening to records and I can clearly hear the differences between streaming, CDs and vinyl records. This has nothing to do with my memories from the past. Other people may agree with you but that’s not my experience and I say that with all honesty. I can hear the magic in certain CDs but not in streaming.

  21. One last comment from yours truly.

    The Absolute Sound, November, 2021 page 22, by Anthony H. Cordesman (a person I always wanted to meet) titled “Audio Provenance” is a wonderful article about the extreme importance of the recording process which AHC terms ‘The other half of the Absolute Sound”. It is a treasure trove of information that can provide many of us who are unfamiliar with this half of the music reproduction equation with just about everything we need to know in plain English about how much more important the recording process is then the actual playback. I found this five page article mesmerizing.

    1. Thank you so much for pointing this out. I chucked the Buyers Guide Issue into a stack were I keep them and forgot that they have a few articles in with all of the equipment listings. This Anthony and AHC share similar taste in audio gear. I believe he and I have the same TT and speakers in our main systems.

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