Diff in recording/reproduction in Analog/CD/SACD

Without going in to too much technical details, is it possible to discuss why analog sounds better? (Although having limited analog auditions, I think digital could come very close). Starting from how the recordings are made-old and modern, and recorded ( signal type and quality) on master tape and how the mastertape signal is transfered/reduced/upsampled? on Records/CD/SACD.

Once we go thru the original signal waveform and its transfer on records/CD/SACD, how it is being reproduced thru cartridge/laser to DA/laser to DA?

I know details are very involving but is there clear consensus that anlog has the least curruption of the original signal? Does not different cartrideges designs reproduce the signal 'differently' than the original, adding its own coloring to the signal?

Is Analog clearly the winner in the battle?

I would really like to know if there is some material out there that discusses these three different mediums.



Nice story connecting Dr Thomas Kite, PHD of Audio Precision Inc. with the victorian circus poster "Kite" that inspired Lennon! I enjoyed this and had a good laugh.


More seriously, Audio Precision Inc is a company soley dedicated to manufacturing test and measurement equipment necessary to design, build and verify audio products. Audio Precision customers include the world's top manufacturers in the areas of recording and broadcast, A/D and D/A chip design, signal processing, computer audio, home entertainment, personal stereo, telecommunications, loudspeaker, microphone and amplifier research, design and manufacturing.

Back to the discussion of relatve merits of Analog/CD/SACD, assuming that some people may actually be interested in a serious discussion rather than resorting to Vinyl molecules, calling Digital nonsense and suggesting that listening dispells myths:

Dr Kite actually has this to say about SACD;

The new Super Audio CD (SACD) promoted by Sony and Philips is a CD-size optical disc containing a 1-bit digital audio bitstream, a format known as Direct Stream Digital (DSD). DSD is the bitstream produced by a 1-bit 5th-order sigma-delta converter operating at 2.8224 MHz. Although low-bit converters have become standard in the industry, the insoluble problems with 1-bit converters have slowed or eliminated their use in professional applications. These problems include distortion, noise modulation, and high out-of-band noise power. The choice of a 1-bit format for SACD would therefore appear to be a mistake.

This is interesting coming from an expert that works for a company which is soley dedicated to manufacturing test equipment for the audio engineering industry...so I thought it worth sharing.

Does anyone have some technical views on SACD versus CD Digital ?
I guess if we are going to use "Why else has digital become the standard for recording and playback?" as the standard for what sounds best, then the new best must be i-pods and Sirrus radio.
Digital music has many pluses over analog. Especially in regards to copying, portability, ease of use. Everything except the two most important aspects, fun and natural sound reproduction. There is nothing fun about digital music, starting with the jewel cases and ending with boring cd players and MP3 players.
Digital music is great for the car, to listen to while exercising, and for couch potatoes that can't exist without a remote. I have never managed to listen to a full cd at one sitting in my music room. Something about it makes me unable to relax and listen to the music, it keeps me "on edge". My wife, who has much more sensitive hearing, will sit with me for hours when listening to albums. When a cd is in she seldom lasts more than a couple of songs.
The only thing that is "a well known fact" regarding digital v.s. analog is that debates in forums never change anybody's mind. Many people have gone from cds back to vinyl, and many people can't get past the surface noise on some records. Each their own.
Stevecham...Sound waves in air are truly analog. But contrary to what you suggest the sense of hearing is ultimately digital in nature. Neurons "fire", or "not"...a "one" or a "zero". The level of activity of a great number of neurons taken as a group conveys the analog information, just as does a digital data stream. Sorry about that. But who cares?

As the digital sampling rate and/or bit resolution gets better and better the difference between digital and anlog disappears. In over words the analog waveform reconstructed from the digital data stream exactly matches the original analog waveform. Isn't that what you want? Are we there yet? With 16bit/44Khz simple electrical measurement instruments clearly say no. The ears, with some ambiguity, also say no. IMHO, the situation is boaderline. With the present "high Resolutuion digital audio" 24 bit/96 KHz (or the SACD equivalent) we have probably reached to point of diminishing returns (not ideal perfection) with respect to waveform error resulting from the digital nature of the information. There are many other ways that the waveform can get distorted, having nothing to do with digital issues, and these mostly afflict analog information processing. Most of all, the analog loudspeaker that creates the sound waves which we hear is the dominant error source.