How would you categorize your audio system?

Stereophile's picture
It's been a decade since the analog vs. digital debate began. Where has your system ended up?
How would you categorize your audio system?
All analog
2% (6 votes)
All digital
25% (80 votes)
Mostly analog
22% (72 votes)
Mostly digital
27% (88 votes)
Even mix of the two
23% (75 votes)
Total votes: 321
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Comments
David Milo's picture

A divorce took care of all my albums.

Wayne Winter's picture

My analog is packed away, most likely because I've outgrown most of my analog music collection.

Ernie Brunings's picture

analog still sounds better but the ease of CD's is very wellcome if I'm lazy and the sound has improved to the point where is doesn't bother me the way it did in the past

boogiemn@frontier.net (Frank)'s picture

I currently purchase 15 LPs to every CD. One has only to listen to the vinyl release of Pink Floyd's "Pulse" and compare it to the CD release to understand why! To my ear, digtal sounds flat and sterile . . . analog sounds alive and breathes fire into my musical soul!

Carl Flygare's picture

Digital audio has advanced at a much faster rate than analog recoring technology. Digital can also make a "high-end" listening experience available to a far wider audience than analog recoring techniques given the economies of scale associated with all things digital, and the rapid improvement in price/performance competition imposes on the marketplace. Although I hardly believe that the current CD audio stanard (as defined in the "Redbook") is "perfect sound forever" it beats listening to a rock (even one so lovely as a diamond) dragging it's way through a ripple embossed in a slab of vinyl at 33 1/3 RPM. And next generation digital recording techniques such as 24/96 (could we have 24/192?) linear PCM or DSD will slam the door shut on analog once an for all. An yes I fully realize that 24-bit resolution is a chimera given today's state-of-the-art and funamental limitations imposed by physics, but face it needle dudes, you may never need to have another cartridge retipped or refurbished again, except to listen to archival LPs. If these opinions upset you just sit down, relax, an enjoy the music. After all that's what this avocation is ultimately about.

Wandal's picture

Your site is ok...

Marek from Gdansk, Poland's picture

I feel that CD still sucks. But I am unable to buy vinyl in Poland, where I live. To make my CD-based system more listenable, I drive my loudspeakers with an ultra-fast Polish-made symmetrical-tube-triode amplifier (30Wpc). I think that my system could easly outperform rubbish owned by J-10. I also feel that Stereophile is responsible for some stupid reviews of digital gear, like YBA CD1 and Myryad MC100. I've heard it, it sounds lifeless.

John at JC3RD@AOL.COM's picture

My system is about a 60/40 mix of analog and digital. I wouldn't be without either format as both offer music unavalible to the other. I find, all thing being equal, that I will purchase records over discs when given the opportunity. I spend most of my music budget on used vinyl because I can usually puchase 3 or 4 used records for the price of one CD.

David Le POSA's picture

After 10 years of hi fi listening experience. The Sound of LP still better than CD.The main point is LP makes me feel much more musical than CD.The sound is "TOO" digital although the latest format of CD is 24/96.

John Lloyd's picture

I am too young to have had an opportunity to collect a lot of LPs. I think I actually own 4 now, compared to 500+ CDs. One of these days I will have to go back and see what all the fuss is about . . .

Dave Brown's picture

There's a lot to be said for convenience. Analog may sound better, but for most of us, it's just too labor-intensive.

Rich Meier's picture

I have yet to hear any digital source that rivals my VPI-3/ET-2/Grado- Ref.Master analog source.

Marc Phillips's picture

I was the first on my block, so to speak, to buy a CD player. I find it amazing and ironic to find I'm one of the last on my block to still own a turntable. The more I upgraded my system, the more I realized that digital did not have all the answers, and 15 years after saying "Wow!" after listening to my first CD, I'm writing a column for an e-zine under the name "The Vinyl Anachronist." Who'd a thunk it?

Tim Ferris's picture

Even my DCC deck blows away the sound of my analog sources.

Val Willis's picture

It is simply more fun to collect LPs than CDs. I feel vinyl holds its value better. When was the last time you saw an original 1983 RCA or Sony CD for $100? End of case.

Steven Thompson's picture

I have listen to the latest $6K cd players but I still can not go past the sound of my Well Tempered turntable.

Jim in Dallas's picture

Invent the error-correcting LP and I'll try vinyl again . . .

Charles Purvis Kelly, Jr.'s picture

My current system is digital, no question about it. In 1983, when I was about twenty years old, I believe that then, records were being phased out. I have attempted to buy a turntable back in 1984 (a Denon Direct-Drive model with an Ortofon Magnetic Cartridge). At that time, cd's were beginning to take off and I didn't own many LP's so to speak. So that didn't justify the purchase of a turntable (at least the type I was interested in), so, I decided to start with CD's from the start. As it stands now, I am getting ready to purchase my fourth CD Player in 13 years. 1. NAD 5255 (1985 - 1992) 2. JVC XL-M509TN CD Player/Changer (1994 -) 3. NAD 514 (1995 - 1998), will be upgraded to player listed below. 4. Pioneer Elite PD-65 (Coming in June 1998) If you want to include my NAD 4225 Tuner and Nakamichi BX-300 Cassette Deck, I guess you can say that my system is two-thirds analog and one-third digital. But the main front-end in my system is digital and that's the way it is. Charles Purvis Kelly, Jr. Washington, D. C.

Steve Dudley's picture

I, for one, am quite happy with the sound of digital. If it does sound as bad as Fremer keeps bellyaching about, month after month after month, I'm glad that I can't hear it. I really don't have a preference one way or the other, but cleaning the record and flipping it over gets to be a pain in the ass.

Josh Tarnow's picture

At first the convenience of the CD meant giving up fidelity (vs. analog)....digital has come such a long way in both performance and price that todays CD based systems give the LP a run for the money.

RichS's picture

Still have a 'table and even bought a used VITB to go with my new line-only pre-amp. But I haven't used it in years.

Craig's picture

Analog can give you a palpable presence and sweetness, especially with vocals, that is hard to achieve with digital, but for all around performance incuding fast tight punchy bass with good transient response digital carries the day especially when cost and time and effort to maintain are factored in. When the next level of digital, probably DVD based, becomes common with more data sampling it will make tube replacement, record cleanliness maintainance, etc., etc. even less appealing. Craig

S.B.'s picture

It's not a matter of digital or analog. If it sounds good, I'll buy it.

Bruce Martineau's picture

By the time I became serious about audio, the task of assembling a vinyl collection in an aluminum-coated world seemed insurmountable. That, and I can't seem to listen through ticks and pops.

Aquilino Sanona's picture

I listen to both formats, but there is no question about what is better. I vote for analog.

Stephen Westbom's picture

Analog is a pain in the neck. Scratched records, dirt, warps, record wear, who needs it. I have my old recordings but I have been transferring them to CDs. There isn't any performance parameter where digital isn't superior at this point. The only thing I like about analog is the reduced dynamic range due to compression to fit the 45 decibel or so dynamic range of vinyl. This can be helpful when listening at low volumes.

robert wolk's picture

except for titles that didn't make it to digital I prefer cd. there are a great number of great sounding cds out there. If one cd can sound great, they all can. Don't blame the format, blame the producer or engineers! People sometimes get all hung up on the technology and forget to just enjoy the music ok, sermon's over ,get your favorite music and just enjoy it!!!!!!!!!

Marty Troum's picture

Although I still play some of my LP collection on a direct-drive turntable with an Audio Alchemy VAC-IN-THE-BOX phono preamp, my music collection is tilted now in favor of CDs. I find that the audiophile-grade CDs are spectacular in soundstaging, clarity of sound, expanded dynamic range, and quite a bit of an improvement over the older analog recordings that have suffered wear and tear from the years before my involvement with high-end audio. I'll easily admit that some CDs are pure crap compared to their analog counterparts, however, I've learned to shop for good CD recordings and continually upgrade my equipment as my tastes move forward.

James Guthtrie's picture

Better reproduction of Mids and Highs. There is no substitute!!

Kurt Johnson's picture

Being a child of the 80's I didn't have much vinyl, so my source was cassette. As soon as I heard the first CD systems, I gave away 700+ tapes and started buying CDs. Now I'm digital all the way to the amps on both my home and car stereos.

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