Analog vs. digital

I’ve found that on my system the digital side is more finely etched than the analog side. Both sound great in their own way, but records just don’t sound so finely defined.
What is your experience?


My preamp has the ability to run both a standard rectifier and full wave rectifier. I tried the standard one first then tried the full wave. I initially preferred the standard rectifier. It sounded more detailed/etched...cleaner? Actually sounded digital-like.

The full wave rectifier sounded smoother, softer and less etched and detailed. I put on a familiar track and note carefully listened to the sound and every bit of high detail was present in the full wave rectifier. It just had a level of density and smoothness that the standard rectifier didn't.

After some time, I realized the full wave rectifier was better for me.

For me, LPs are like this. In my system digital is quite good sounding and sometimes better sounding than my LP playback system. But overall, with digital, I'm never alarmed by the realism during certain musical moments. I only get those occasional surprising moments with LP... despite the many issues (noise, pops etc).




I totally concur that CDs made from tapes of the’50’s and ‘60’s sound more natural than anything.  This is true in classical as well as Jazz. 
‘But the LP’s from that period actually (usually) sound better.

Depends on level of comparable components. If the level of analog tract of your system is relatively same level with components of digital tract, theoretically the analog will win cause signal path is shorter and less dependable on all bunch of decoding and filtering processes. 

In the early ‘80s I shared a house with an amateur recordist who had a collection of tapes made on a modified ReVox A77 with a dbx 224 compander NR unit. They were documenting a local orchestra that was very good, and the recordings were totally uncompressed live to 2 track with the best Nakamichi Tri-mic Omni capsules.    These tapes were FAR better sounding than any commercial LPs even played on my SOTA Sapphire with Dynavector Ruby and PS Audio preamp, which was pretty good then. Then he switched to a Nakamichi PCM processor and Betamax using the same front end. Remarkably little changed. We even did a live vs. digitized event with a chamber ensemble and there was no definable difference. 
BUT, when CDs were compared to LP very few were preferred to the vinyl. This using a Nakamichi OM5 II player. Something in the corporate production process was detracting from the quality possible with even Red Book digital. Things have improved, but alas my hearing has not!

It's hard to wrap my mind around a space being sharper.  Perhaps you mean that the edges of notes are more distinct on the digital side.  While you use an excellent phono cartridge, a MM does soften things up a bit compared to a low output MC.  But then you'd have to compensate for its lower output.

By your own description your analog side outperforms your digital side in ways that are important to you.  Most of your system is shared by both sides.  However, if you read Goldensound's review of your DAC it sounds very much like what you've described.  My personal bias is to look directly at hardware.  In analog you have, IIUC, an excellent phono stage with tubes and powered with an LPS.  On the digital side, once you get by the digital manipulation, you have an analog section consisting of op-amp chips.  These typically have a lot of feedback.  And it's powered by a switch mode ps.  I think you can do far better on the digital side.