AAA vs DDD...

As I was going through my paltry collection of music, I realized that I have two different versions of the same piece of music, from the same "players" recorded years apart. One, is Deutsche Grammophon recording of Beethoven's 9th that is part of the Beethoven Bicentennial Collection, Symphonies and Overtures Part Two with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and Herbert von Karajan, which was released in 1971. It is a pressing I purchased recently from a local store for $20.00 (CDN)... (One of six sets of 5 record collections from the same series I purchased - there were 17 sets in total). The records were played once so the original owner could record them to 1/4" reel to reel. The pressings are mint and still had the undisturbed shrink wrap and original booklet/sleeves included. They took a minute to clean as time is unkind to most things...

I also have a digital recording of the 9th. It was produced in 1984. Also with Deutsche Grammophon, Herbert von Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. It is on a CD and was one of the first CD's I ever bought.

The first, was obviously a complete analogue process from beginning to end. AAA. The latter was a full DDD translation of the same piece of music.

Interesting thing is, as I was listening to the vinyl earlier tonight, I thought that I had the same piece of music on CD. The performances are quite similar. As they should be given the same conductor is working with the same orchestra.

Interesting part is, the Vinyl, recorded years before the CD, sounds soooo much better. It was only after doing an A/B switching back and forth and reading the liner notes that it was clear these were not from the same session.

All this to speak to the virtues of vinyl.

Granted, the CD was recorded during the beginning stages of Digital, and was processed through the early stages of what the digital process could handle, hence the differences are quite easily distinguishable. 

As a commercial photographer who was a very late adopter to shooting digital as opposed to film, this all made sense to me. Now, don't get me wrong, there are some major benefits to shooting digital on a job, too many to list... However, there is an inherent quality to film that is quite difficult to nail down. Especially now that digital is sooo much better that it was, and you can pretty much emulate any effect you want through post processing. Same holds true to the re-presentation of music.

There is something about the space between the "bits" of information that leaves a void. Something organic is lost in the process. I am by no means defending the "virtues" of the "mistake" in an analogue process - as some would possibly define the experience of vinyl? And, it could be argued (I think I may be a backer of this) that it is in fact more difficult to do really good work in the digital realm as you can not depend on the benefit of the "mistake" to provide you with the "natural" as you have the benefit of being connected to the real - the wonderful richness when working in analogue... It is, however, very interesting to me, albeit obvious, that AAA is so much richer and fuller of life than DDD as it was presented to me earlier tonight.

Thats my rant...

Yup. I can hear if a recording is digital.  It has a dark blue-grey veil over the music. 

I would call "the mistake" in analogue production "colouration" or  "harmonic distortion." 
I'm not sure which is more difficult, analogue or digital production. With analogue, there is the constant concern to reduce noise and prevent distortion which doesn't occur in digital. However, the nature of analogue equipment provides us with the richness and organic sound you speak of.

There is a difference in sonics between the two domains even in modern recording. But digital production and playback has come a long way. Now the mastering process has become much more significant in how the final product sounds.

All music recording starts as an analog process - sound waves into a microphone. It is best captured on analog tape and then transferred to a laquer disk via a cutting lathe. The final product being the lp. Very little is lost in the process. This is a mature technology. And is best listened to via turntable/cartridge/phono stage. Digital recording and playback is like Kraft cheese versus artisanal cheese!

I've been a 'vinyl head' all my life but many (most?) new LPs are ProTools digitally mastered anyway & often sound fabulous compared to some older 60s-70s albums which can be thin or dull sounding.

I prefer to focus on how the music SOUNDS rather than how it was PRODUCED.!
I was listening to an album in sacd last night in my BelCanto PL1. I was very impressed with how closely it resembled the original recording and was enjoying the music until, about 40 minutes in, I started to get "aural fatigue". I thought it was my mood or my system. I felt like my ears were responding to an almost imperceptible scrim of noise over the proceedings, especially louder, complex passages. So I pulled out my original vinyl and played the same passages on my VPI HRX with Lyra Atlas cart. No fatigue. The sound was better and more natural.
 I think digital gets better every year and I listen to more digital than vinyl based on convenience. But all of the advancements in digital technology have yet to match the primitive process of  running a needle over vinyl grooves.   
DDD is the best CD recordings typically, ADD next. But I take what I can get!
We need the AAA physical format reinvented in high resolution with a new substrate.
To add to that +1, I'll always also go for the "version release" that gets the best DR (dynamic range) figures from here, and it's never let me down

Cheers George  

Just to add, just look how they "crushed" compressed the Traveling Wilburys later albums for the streaming/downing customers, compared to the early 1988 Vol 1 album on cd/vinyl
Cheers George
I have a vinyl copy of Zappa’s Joe’s Garage, DDA. It’s excellent.

You got that right, this is one of the "very rare ones" that weren’t compressed (crushed) the later the re-issues that were released, never got touched or butchered much.
Great DR from 1979 all they to 2021 witch is streamed, very unusual to see this!!!

For memory I think maybe Zapper is part member/contributors that started the Dynamic Range Website, along with Neil Young, Clapton and a few others that that started this site and that are dead against compression

Cheers George
"Digital recording and playback is like Kraft cheese versus artisanal cheese!"

I'd suggest such assertions of "superiority" by those who worship at the shrine of analogue/vinyl are only likley to impress fellow cultists. . . 

I've heard very expensive vinyl based systems... do they sound good ? Yes. 
Do they sound better to me than my digital system?  No.
Of course, this "proves" I can't hear worth a damn, right? 
Otherwise, I'd be a fellow worshipper. 

So goeth the "logic"...  

This is one of those themes, akin to "cables are snake oil"  that I find
exceedingly tedious. 

perkri, in order to make a valid comparison between AAA and DDD you would have to record the exact same performance and route the mic feed to both an analog and digital recording system and carry the format through production of the consumer product be it a CD, File or record. 
Otherwise you can't make a valid comparison. Saying that "something is missing between the bits" is an admission of lack of understanding how a DAC works. This is just lay instinct. This is not to say that one format might not sound better than the other but you have to understand that sounding "better" is not synonymous with sounding "accurate". I think it is well understood that certain distortions are pleasing and universally so. This is the most obvious reason for a large proportion of audiophiles preferring vinyl, a format which can not be nearly as accurate as a high resolution digital one. 

I have an original pressing of Von Karajan's complete Beethoven Symphonies. Got it for my 16th Birthday. 

Actually fiesta75 has given the perfect A/B with the Zappa above you can get almost identical DR's with the vinyl and cd

Vinyl Cat no.  MIPD-2-9364

CD Cat no.  RCD 10060

Cheers George
Also this is a good one to show what they usually do now with later re-issue recordings of the same album, squashed to the max, absolutely discussing.
(The Zappa in my above post is an exception)

Cheers George