Analog vs Digital: Home-Brew Science at the Edge of the Art Page 2

The Music
We chose four selections that would allow us to examine different aspects of sound reproduction, and obtained identical material in three forms: Nakamichi cassettes recorded on TDK metal tape using Dolby-C and made from a composite master tape (footnote 4); original Sheffield direct-to-disc vinyl records; and compact discs produced from the same composite master tape used for the Nakamichi cassettes (footnote 5). We cleaned the records with a VPI-16 record cleaning machine, and immediately treated them with LAST record preservative. We also used Stylast on the cartridge during playback. The CD and Nakamichi tape selections were from the Sheffield Creme de la Creme sampler. Both authors were intimately familiar with the selections, which were:

Thelma Houston, I've Got the Music in Me (Sheffield Lab 2, recorded 1976), title cut. The same backup analog tape was used to produce both the CD and cassette versions.

Amanda McBroom, Growing Up in Hollywood Town (Sheffield Lab 13, recorded 1980), "Amanda." Cassette and CD were derived from a backup analog tape.

Amanda McBroom, West of Oz (Sheffield Lab 15, recorded 1981), "Gossamer." Cassette and CD were derived from a backup digital tape.

The Sheffield Track Record (Sheffield Lab 20, recorded 1982), "The Higher You Rise." Cassette and CD were derived from a backup analog tape.

The Listening Method and Criteria for Evaluation
The tests were conducted over a three-day, 12-hour period at the sites of Systems One and Two. Our listening procedure had been developed and refined over a two-year period in which we had established a vocabulary that allowed us to communicate clearly with each other.

Each listening comparison started with careful gain matching between components. Our usual approach was to play a selection completely through, repeat the selection on the alternate playback system, then repeat this cycle for as many times as it took to satisfy both of us that we had heard specific differences. To ensure that we did not influence one another, no discussion was allowed during this time. Once we were satisfied with our initial impressions, we described to each other the differences we had heard. If one described a difference not heard by the other, we repeated the comparison until both agreed about what we had heard.

In previous equipment evaluations, we had sometimes "agreed to disagree" in our value judgments about differences, but we have always been able to precisely verbalize, in nonjudgmental terms, what differences existed.) In these tests, however, there was not a single point of disagreement. As an additional listening method, we synchronized pairs of playback components and switched between the two. This permitted quick identification of major differences in tonality, bass impact, and clarity.

We listened for specific sonic characteristics, using well-defined criteria to establish value judgments. We were greatly aided in selecting specific criteria by numerous descriptions in the underground audio magazines of what is purportedly wrong with digital recordings: reduction of bass energy, limited treble extension, frequency-dependent phase distortion, high-frequency roughness, ringing or harshness, loss of low-level information (eg, deficient ambience retrieval or truncated decay on instrumental tones), lack of proper instrumental timbre, and various imaging distortions.

With respect to imaging, we made specific judgments regarding stage width and front-to-back depth, front-to-back layering of instruments, and instrument focus (i.e, the apparent size of instruments or soloists). We were also able to discern differences in clarity.

In fact, clarity proved to be one of the major differences between media, and we have attempted a crude quantification of this property on a scale of 1+, 2+, etc., with 1+ being a conservative minimum resolution. To us, an increase in clarity means a decrease in veiling akin to reducing the amount of circuitry through which a signal must pass. Clarity is distinguishable from detailing by thinking of the latter as a reduction in blurring of closely spaced transients (such as a rapid staccato guitar riff), or in the degree of separation of individual violins in an orchestral passage.

In our experience, clarity and imaging are both affected by a recording's absolute phase. Polarity differences were readily apparent in our listening tests (we preferred the Sheffield records and tapes in inverted polarity, though we're told that all but the Thelma Houston have correct absolute polarity), and we took pains to insure that each pair of sources was matched for absolute phase. For the benefit of readers who want to reproduce our results, the Meridian MCD was known to exhibit inverted phase polarity with respect to the tape and phono playback systems, so we reversed the polarity of both speaker leads when using the tape and phono systems.

The Results
First we compared the CD with the Nakamichi cassette. Our initial impression was that the cassette copy had tighter focus and greater clarity (magnitude 1+), greater detail (but only in proportion to the differences in clarity), and a slightly more emphasized bass response. Other than the slight differences in bass and clarity, overall frequency balance, dynamic range, timbre, instrument position, and stage size were not obviously different. These conclusions were consistent for all test cuts.

However, the Meridian CD player came with a supplemental instruction sheet suggesting that another CD be placed on top of the one being played, and this we had forgotten to do. When we repeated the comparison with the double CD, the results were completely reversed: the CD now had the better focus and clarity. Bass response was now about equal. Other than focus and clarity, we could discern no further differences in any of the listening criteria. The addition of the second CD boosted the clarity of CD playback by magnitude 2+, now exceeding the tape by magnitude 1+.

On the basis of these results, we are forced to conclude that not only is the CD an extremely accurate facsimile of the original master tape, but is, in fact, superior to a first-generation cassette copy of the same original master. These results were surprising to us. Since we had no idea of the magnitude of the losses suffered during production of the CD and the cassette from the original master tape, we were eager to compare the CD and D-to-D analog record directly. The results follow:

Amanda McBroom, "Amanda": With a single CD in the Meridian, the CD exhibited a slight edge in both clarity (magnitude 1+) and image focus. With the analog, the position of all instruments seemed to be constantly shimmering or vibrating, whereas with the CD the instruments were firmly fixed in space (this shimmering effect is small on the Rock turntable but quite pronounced on many other high-end turntables). When we repeated the comparison with a double CD, even larger differences favored it. The clarity (now magnitude 3+), detailing of instrumental overtones, and image focus were indisputably superior on the CD.

With System One we perceived no differences with respect to front-to-back or side-to-side placement of instruments. We noted significant differences in System Two's imaging and timbre between the AR (as played through the Oracle/Panasonic combination) and both the tape and CD. The cartridge introduced a boomy quality at low frequencies and an extra brightness at high frequencies compared with the reference tape and the CD. Despite this bright tonality, however, the sound of the turntable system did not exceed that of the tape or CD in subjective clarity. Image width, front-to-back depth, and focus were also notably diminished compared with those of the tape or CD. For example, McBroom's position moved quite far forward and was more diffuse. The clinical dryness and deficient ambience, frequently noted by digital detractors (and which we, too, had perceived with some CD players), were not present in this comparison. Indeed, for every evaluation criteria we tested, the CD was preferred over the record.

Footnote 4: Sheffield prepared the composite by taking a master tape (of which they had several) from each performance, cutting the selected track from the overall recording session, and splicing the selected tracks together to make a new composite master tape; this tape was then used as the master to make the first-generation Nakamichi cassette.

Footnote 5: Please note that a real problem is introduced here, one that's been evident every time I compared a Sheffield direct-to-disc to a Sheffield Treasury series disc: the Treasury series, made from the backup tape referred to in the article, sounds distinctly less life-like compared to the direct-to-disc. If the Nakamichi cassette and CD overcame this problem, they did better than Sheffield did when cutting the backup discs!


jimtavegia's picture

My wife was kind enough to buy me my first CD player, a Technics, which lasted about 4 months and could not be repaired, so Technics kindly gave me a 2nd gen player as a replacement which was better in some ways.

The backgrounds were as black as they could be, but most of the tests were that many players only had 12 to 14 bit performance capabilities and we later discovered that jitter was a big problem in the first chipsets. That said, there was much to like about the potential of the CD.

Many of the first discs were too bright, but showed promise with lower distortion. Now today most players that are even in the $200 rage are good and the recordings and medium have improved as did the mixing and mastering and many converters are nearly perfect and implemented very well.

Now at 71 and faded hearing I doubt many of the first discs would sound bright to me with all my HF hearing loss, but most CDs today sound excellent and often their performance cannot be topped by a TT set up of $1K. It take more to do that in my estimation. The cartridge and the phono stage play a huge part in the performance of vinyl, but I am glad that it has comeback strong and is very musical when the LPs are pressed right.

To me the advantage of digital is in home recording, downloading, and streaming which were never thought of in the beginning years. No one saw SACD coming and the super sound they can produce and who would have thought that downloading DSD would have ever been possible?

It all had to start somewhere and now most of us are glad that it did. This is a great time to be an audiophile and a musician and record your own music in high resolution.

_tedd's picture

You just nailed it I think. I'm 31 and so grew up with CD's, and being a musician also, digital recording. I've recorded songs with well over 100 tracks in them - imagine doing that in a home studio on tape!! My casual listening these days is done through Tidal's HiFi tier, my "serious" listening with hi-res files, but I also certainly enjoy putting on a vinyl of a Sunday afternoon. There is a place in the world for both!

Ortofan's picture

... all on the Sheffield label, a Stanton 881S MM cartridge would have been a better choice than the Monster MC or Panasonic strain gauge cartridges.

tonykaz's picture

... and Esoteric Audio. RIP 1985

For me, it was a Train Wreck & a Rebirth.

It ruined my lovely Esoteric Audio Business. All that hard work swirling to extinction.

My wife was thrilled that she no longer had to cope with Audio Business Office work as I migrated back to Mother General Motors after I'd became hopelessly Addicted to HighEnd Vinyl Audio Music Reproduction and kept buying better Cabling, Speakers, Koetsu Phono Cartridges, etc. until that final Day when my Wife had me swear off my HighEnd Neurosis, Psychosis 4-Evah!!!

Compact Discs were lower Mid-Fi, a convenience Music Format, in 1985.


Compact Discs ( 1985 ) were the Shining North STAR Future for the Automotive Industry !

Now, we can play "Records" in our Cars again!

From now-on we can have our zippered Albums holding 96 CD's that sounded pretty dam good in the Car, thanks to "LOUDNESS WARS" Recording Technology that made it possible for us to enjoy our wonderful music in a NOISY Car with an Ambient Sound Levels well-over 70dba at 70MPH.

I'm back, flying high. A perfect time for an Experienced Audio Guy to guide a Corporation's in Car Gear Decision making.

Plus, General Motors liked that I knew how to Import and Turnover 52 times per year. Phew, they loved me again.

Years Later....

Waiting around Colorado in 2011, I visited RMAF ( first time ) and happened upon Tyll Herston & Steve Gutenberg doing a Headphone Seminar. I was instantly re-addictid. I immediately bought Schiit & Sennheiser HD580s ( that Steve G recommended )

Looking Around RMAF 2011 I could see that : high-performance Audio is a whole new world. Digital RedBook playback is very good enough, Turntables are essentially gone ( with a few committed collectors clinging to their VAST Collections of 33.3s and NOT LETTING Go ) . Super High Performance Digital Audio Converters being Offered at Staggering Prices while NwAvGuy promises Benchmark performance from a modest design. ( I still own one of his little designs )

And importantly, John Atkinson is Editor of a SUPERB Stereophile, my old Audio Mag. love is lonnnnnnggggg gone and HP has left Absolute Sound.

For me, from my perspective, the HighEnd Audio Manufacturers seemed to have matured but Prices seemed to have gone CRAZY. ( like X-5 or more ). And too many Manufacturers have decided to Off-Shore to Asia ( a Suicide decision ) for goods to be sold in USA. ( Obama's TPP gave us that sell-out ) .

Now-a-days, Millennials are entering their Discretional Income Buying Years carrying a $200,000 Debt-loading on Loan commitments for their Mandatory Pedigree College Educations and with a ever continuing Mandatory iPhone Communication Billing & a Career Required Nice Car with it's 2-3 year Lease agreement.

So, I now see that, HighEnd Audio can no longer hope to capture it's typical set of new, bright-eyed, hobbyists. The HighEnd Audio Shows being populated by Gray Beard 33.3 types replacing us long gone Brick & Mortar Audio Dealer Networks & HighEnd Audio Sales Reps. ( but Schiit & PS Audio are still there, selling direct, thank goodness )

I think that High performance Audio Gear has a future because of people like PS Audio & Schiit paving the way with a Solid Business Model for making outstanding Gear that's accessible.

The Music Industry is about to become accessible to everyone on a Global scale.

Now, as Civilization returns to Solar Power, we will enjoy our lovely dopamine inducing music being wirelessly delivered to us thru Earth's Ether Atmosphere.

It all started with Ben Franklin and that Kite & Key.

Tony in Michigan

ps. we have an exciting future unfolding before our very eyes, bring it on!

Michael Fremer's picture

Lots of young people especially where there are turntables and headphones. Online dealers and smart brick and mortar ones are doing fine contrary to your dreary assertions.

Ali's picture

In that case, dCS Was also a better choice and on and on...

Ortofan's picture

... in 1986.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Bob sez, MQA could have been the best choice :-) .........

Robin Landseadel's picture

Back in 1986 I was still working at Tower Records, Durant near Telegraph, Berkeley California. CDs were filling shelve space fast, pushing LPs into the remaindered bins. The classical annex further down south on Telegraph was about 1/3 cutouts by 1987. I was firmly in the anti-digital camp at the time. Had a system consisting of Dynaco 70/PAS III, some Mission "bookshelf" speakers hardwired to some braided Kimber cable and an AR turntable with a Grace 707 arm. Probably a mid-range Grado cartridge. Hated the flat, resonance-free presentation of CDs and digitally recorded LPs. The extra-dry sounding production of early 1980's Power Pop and "New Wave" emphasized everything I though of as "Digital".

The next year I was technically assisting a series that was broadcast on "Music From The Hearts Of Space", a show generally focused on music composed on digital synthesizers. The series I worked on was Ellen Holmes' "Adagio Recordings", programs with an emphasis on Western Classical Music. I'd transfer the signal from a decent sounding Thorens TT with Sumiko cartridge into a nasty sounding Tascam 32 reel to reel recorder for editing. Then I'd transfer that r to r copy to an even nastier sounding Sony 501 digitizer, using Betamax tape as the storage format naturally—But Wait! There's more!!!—The final product, being a "Bleeding-Edge" product, was uplinked to satellite via a predictably low data rate link, probably 12-bit.

The result did not sound good. I was using the best Stax Earspeakers available at the time, could hear all the grit and dirt added each step of the way.

Within a few years I was recording choruses and orchestras, recitals and vanity projects, for radio broadcast and CD release. During that entire time I was convinced that Digital sound might get better but it would never catch up with LPs. At the same time, I had a growing awareness that the sound of a microphone feed was more like "digital" and less like the "real thing". And that the part that sounded more spacious via LPs over speakers sounded more like pre-post echo via the Stax Signatures. "Digital" string sound was more "raw" but also a little more "real". Particularly after I got a 20-bit capable [and generally good sounding] tc electronics digital effects box that doubled [tripled?] as a ADC and DAC. That was back around 1995.

Thirty years later I work in a cubical farm, typing letters all day. I've got a side hustle transferring recordings from older formats to digital formats. This week I transferred three hours worth of Blues Harmonica instruction from cassettes to a flash drive. One 24-bit recorder I use set me back $99, got another of these miniature Tascam units for a little more. My dual-well Onkyo cassette deck set me back all of $10. I transfer the file to an I-Mac where I edit the result in Audacity—freeware. The gear I was using back in the 1990's was nowhere near as good.

But mostly I type for a living these days, bringing in my portable audio system, a $70 FIIO M3K DAP loaded with 16,600 apple lossless files [with 25 gb to spare] on a 400gb drive that cost about the same, playing over a variety of audio headgear including the purdy good sounding AKG K167 closed-back DJ Tiesto phones. B + H has been blowing them out at $50 a pair for a couple years now. That cheap little FIIO DAP is 384khz/32 capable with WAV files, playback would translate to 192khz in theory. That would exceed the hearing capabilities of any creature—porpoises appear to have the best high frequency hearing up there at 150 khz. Mind you, the amp side of the design limits the little DAP to a mere 80khz, better than you or me or your uncle Ralph can come up with. Better as well than whatever I was listening to 30 years ago. Probably better than what you're listening to right now.

Overall, I prefer the sound of apple lossless files via this DAP to any of those LPs where I first heard that music. All the things that always bugged me about LP playback—reduction of sound quality as the needle approaches deadwax, off-center pressings, a-musical noises and distortions— are absent via the FIIO M3K. And the resolution of the upper registers, freedom of distortion from the bottom to the top, is finer than on any LP-based system I have owned. The one turntable-based audio system that was more refined on top happened to be owned and operated by the man responsible for the design of the $20,000 phono preamp in the middle of its audio chain.

Right now, I've got about 1,000 LPs I still need to get rid of, lots of it classical stuff on Shaded Dogs and London STS pressings, Philips and DGG discs. Nobody seems to want them.

Funny how time slips away.

Michael Fremer's picture

Current turntable, tone arm, cartridge and phono preamp designs have obviously slid right past you. You are stuck in the analog past thinking that's what vinyl sounds like. It's what it once sounded like.

The analog present betters any and all digital I've heard and that includes the best. It's very good but put on a record and no contest.

Jean-Benoit's picture

Hi Michael. Candid question from a new member. You're saying present top-tier analog betters all digital. Betters how? To use the yardstick suggested by the article: are you saying that current analog is now what sounds closest to the original master tape? Or rather, that current analog is what sounds most pleasing, master tape be damned?

ok's picture

..merely sound closest to the original vinyl event.

Jean-Benoit's picture

Not sure what you mean by that... (but maybe you said it in jest and serious me didn't pick up on it :-)

ok's picture

..surface noise, counter-equalization, pitch drift and n-generation “master” tape sources in case of non-digital ones amongst others; I have benevolently payed heed to all kind of insanely priced vinyl (and digital mind you, they often suck as well –dcs gear first and foremost by far) myths and I just don’t get the hype despite all my hearing and musical prowess – the most disturbing part of the story being that mainstream “reviewers” (pathetically arrogant laypersons for the most part) seem to believe in their own lies when convenient. No problem with chronic nostalgia by the way –or any other form of audio lockstep for that matter– as long as it kindly keeps to itself and safely away from my dough.

Robin Landseadel's picture

Couldn't agree more. It requires serious "ear training" to "unlisten" to all that creeping entropy of LP's sound. The one that gets me most is off center records, I recall the last time I bought a modern LP reissue, wanting "Let Her Dance" by the Bobby Fuller Four after watching "The Fantastic Mr. Fox". Bought the recently mastered LP reissue, way off center enough that I got better results via YouTube. Saw "Mr. Fox" when it came out, that was 2009, the LP reissue was made a year or two before. Then there was that theoretically "perfect" Beatles Mono reissue from analog masters, with an off-center side or two. Sorry, too much of that has happened and too much of it is still happening. Seems pointless to make the gamble. My money is also going elsewhere.

ok's picture

..for me the most annoying aspect of vinyl is the tiny speed fluctuations which give a distinctively atonal character to the music compared to the pitch-perfect digital reproduction (jitter is an entirely different matter that has nothing to do with perceived tonal accuracy). In case of an all-analog (re)production line one should also consider the accumulative speed-fluctuation effects of the original multi-track tapes, master tapes, usable copies (all aforementioned x2, recording and playback respectively) and cutting machine. The end result is a chaotic blend of incompatible speed variations not unlike some guitar tuned with all strings contingently forced off-axis.

ok's picture

I actually think that digitally-sourced vinyl might make some sense after all, since physical transformation of the less-than-perfect electric waves of a DAC's output in conjuction with the concomitant playback friction virtually act as an additional reconstruction filter which roughly straightens them out in order to more closely resemble the natural ones.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Look at the album cover of 'Beware of the Dogs' by Stella Donnelly ......... Now, use your imagination :-) ......

Robin Landseadel's picture

The new LPs are mostly derived from digital masters. I've heard enough new pressings to know that only a very carefully culled selection of LPs played back on a carefully selected collection of gear set up oh-so carefully will be enough better to justify all the hassle and cost. So do most other people. So if you like your digital sources with additional "analog" distortions, that's your business. And if you want my LPs, you can have them.

PeterPani's picture

My best analog sources are some analog tracks on certain Laserdiscs. Nothing beats them. Next comes my external tube-amplified Revox A700 two-track 15ips with tapes from Analog Productions or tapeproject. Then comes a TD124 with old EMT pickups from the '60s and old Haycock tonearm. This is the one that sounds closest to tape or analog Laserdisc. Modern tables (I tried several with modern arms from Graham to SME) miss the intimacy in replaying human voice. Digital - I am not sure. I own a lot of DVD-A, SACD, streaming, DSD, DXD and 192/24-files. I play them on serveral occasions to test the development, but I do not enjoy it. When I want to listen I always go for analog. Listen to digital is like looking at a perfect picture of life, but missing that life is more colorful in all its nuances that digital misses somehow. I believe, it is the never-ending constant time stepped data frequency. Especially, the nearly atom-clocked accuracy of external DAC-clocks produces the most depressing fatigue of boredom during listening to digital content. And an inaccurate clock fatigues the ear itself with distortion - and again, always the same amount of distortion every second, every minute, every hour. As a result there are two possibilities listening to digital: perfect equipment resulting in boredom and sleeping away, or inaccurate equipment (95% of the cases) and getting nervous and crazy by listening for more than 30 minutes.

Michael Fremer's picture

Who are you asking? Dead people?

Ortofan's picture

... to buy LPs.

Robin Landseadel's picture

Perhaps the shift in listening habits of classical music lovers as regards LPs has passed you by? I worked in stores that specialized in Classical music, watched consumer interest shift rapidly back in the 1990's. Nothing will change the reality that LPs always sound worse as the stylus is drawn to the deadwax. Nothing can be done about that save choosing to ignore that fact, as you clearly do. John Darko is right, you're wrong.

volvic's picture

Whoever he is, dunno him. What I do know is that the decision as to which is better as a format is best left to the marketplace and vinyl sales again were up by 12% from 2017. Vinyl grew as overall physical album sales continued to drop. So I ask are all these people brainwashed as to noise artifacts? Needles banging against the walls of a record creating noise? I can't say for sure, no one can. But there is clearly a sonic preference for it. I drive out to Princeton Record Exchange from time to time and always dumbfounded how many youngins are hanging around the vinyl section.

volvic's picture

Yes, have read him before briefly. Forgot about him.

Robin Landseadel's picture

Lest we forget:

volvic's picture

With one bit of music and while I cannot speak for Darko, I am sure he would be the first to admit if you did multiple tests like this with different recordings from different eras you would see vinyl winning on some and CD or download winning in others. In other words the results wouldn't be so clear cut. This one test while informative, about a particular recording, is not a large enough sample to say that one format is overhyped or another is better. However, as Darko and others have said that most new vinyl released is from 44.1 sources and should be a cause for concern. Fortunately there are others who don't. But not an issue for me as my purchases are mainly used classical vinyl from the golden analogue age.

Ortofan's picture

... vinyl section at the Princeton Record Exchange is skewed by the 5,000+ undergraduates residing almost across the street?

Also, is the preference for vinyl always based on sound quality, or is it possibly a function of the packaging?
More that few of the millennials with whom I am acquainted buy vinyl as much for the purpose of displaying the album jackets as pieces of artwork as for listening to the recordings.

By the way, how many of the artists on the list of new releases for Record Store Day do (or don't) you recognize?

volvic's picture

Doubt you do either, but in the last 7 years have met two at Academy Records who live in the city and take the train to Princeto, to go there and judging by the out of state cars that park in front I have to assume not all attend Princeton.

As I’ve said in these same pages I don’t portend to know all the reasons why people gravitate towards vinyl, have to assume some love the sound, others packaging, others the hipness. I know though that some will be hooked for life and that is a fun thing for them.

Robin Landseadel's picture

Record stores are not buying classical records because folks don't buy Classical music much these days anyway. Tower District Records can't seem to give them away, doesn't want them anymore. Remember when mentioning "living in the past" that most classical records are old, with the signs of age that comes along with that, and most classical music listeners are dead. New classical records are either digitally recorded or unobtanium.

volvic's picture

Went back and forth and when I asked for photos or quality of records he told me he wasn't interested, too much work. So.........

Robin Landseadel's picture

Allow me to repeat myself—back when there was a viable market for used classical LPs I could go to an Amoeba or Rasputins, roll up with my LPs, get either cash or credit and be done with it. There's a local Rasputins, there's another local LP store specializing in LPs. They're not interested. I've put those records in yard sales, folks were interested about 5 years ago @ a $1 a pop, they aren't now. While sales of re-pressed LPs made from digital intermasters is growing, the classical LP scene is dead and gone. As regards quality of records, some are good, some are not so good. Photos of LPs won't do much good, one actually has to go through the ritual of looking and evaluating each record they are interested in. I am not going to go to special lengths to get rid of these things, easier to hand them all off to Amvets.

volvic's picture

You dangled those LP's last year, you encouraged me then to contact you regarding them and after contact, you said you weren't interested in shipping, providing photos or lifting a finger regarding those records. So my question is why do you still bring them up and say that no one wants them?

Robin Landseadel's picture

Because I can't get rid of these things the way I used to [see above]. I never had to go through that much effort to get rid of these records in the past. I don't intend to go to special efforts now, I've got too much to do to go through that kind of hassle.

Michael Fremer's picture

CD sound is still lousy.

Robin Landseadel's picture

You mean to say that you don't like it. Subjective, personal. Your bailiwick and claim to fame. And it's not really about CDs anymore, it's about high-rez recording, with consumer sources that would be used as the first generation for LP's pressed as an afterthought. Perhaps the growth and improvement of Digital recording and playback is passing you by due to your confirmation bias?

Biggs753's picture

This is a great time to be an audiophile and a musician and record your own music in high resolution krogerfeedback

Bogolu Haranath's picture

2018 stats .........

2018 vinyl album sales 9.7 million, up 11.9% from 2017 .........

2018 CD sales 60.7 million, down 18.5% from 2017 ........

Vinyl has long ways to go before catching up with the CD sales .......

2018 on-demand music streams, 809.5 billion (ie. billion with a 'B'), up 35.4% from 2017 ........

All those music streams are 'digital', BTW :-) .........

2018 top 3 music streaming services in USA ........

Apple Music ........ 23% ....
Spotify ......... 22% .......
Pandora Radio .......... 17% ...........

According to Google search .... Apple Music has the most music choices :-) ........

2018 worldwide paid subscribers for streaming music :-) .........

Spotify .......... 60 million ........
Apple Music ......... 56 million ..........

Robin Landseadel's picture

That is to say that LPs have yet to catch up with the declining sales of a soon-to-be defunct format.