Analogue v. Digital...again (Washington Post)

This is an interesting article and it features a couple of A vs. D recordings so you can try to tell the difference. Michael Fremer had a brief remark in the "comments" section. Hopefully, this Washington Post link for non-subscribers works:



So, let me get this straight. We will compare analog vs digital artifacts by recording both as digital, compressing eh living crap out of it, and playing it back on a computer.

The only possible thing that this could prove is that the digital representation of each is perfect and we prefer some additive analog artifacts that are faithfully reproduced in one of the files. I’m not saying that’s the case, but its the only possible proof that can come of this.

If, in fact, the process used to code each example (A vs D) to a file is so very good that it can reveal the nuances of each, why not just record music with this astonishing approach int he first palce and put an end to the debate?

These sorts of comparisons underscore how little many really understand the signal chain. Apparently it does not stop writing and commenting however.

No, i have not dug into the specifics - it doesn’t really change the facts all that much.


This man's opinion is totally arbitrary, meaningless but, if he can make money at it. great. That is the American way. Consumer beware. 

+1 on the American way and capitalism

All these opinions are merely data points and incumbent upon each of us to trust but verify before reacting

I can only say my personal experience is different than his

I've got near 500 albums from the 70s and 80s

My parents have passed down their collection from the 60s and 70s, some great artists and original pressings of Elvis, Sonny and Cher, The Supremes, Roy Orbison, etc

My analog kit is moderate by today's standards but better than Mr Port's circa 2000 kit

During analog playback, I've got dozens of those pressings that sound spectacular, despite the pops and warps

But I've got a much higher percentage that sound average to nails on a chalkboard, the lack of quality consistency is the biggest analog let down for me

My digital playback is at least 95% as good as my best analog and the quality consistency is off the charts - nothing sounds like nails on a chalkboard and less than 10% sound average

I would submit that 90% of my digital playback is the best playback versions of these old war horses that I've been playing over and over for 40 years

For reference I stream everything and play fewer CDs than even records 

Again simply my personal experience on my kit in my space

The mileage varies for all of us, no wrong are right answers - just different experiences and preferences

Happy listening to all

I wouldn't trash gear just because it's old. We are enjoying very modest incremental improvements on analog equipment these days. They are real advances, but small and expensive. Some old troglodyte in the 1960s with a Decca cartridge, Garrard turntable, Quad tube amps and electrostatics* was having a pretty good time and one that would stand up today as being very respectable.


*I chose these as all are still made today, an indication of their solid design and performance.