Digital with same soundstage as analog

I have a modest setup, but the analog sounds good to me. Question, can I get the same soundstage with digital by adding a DAC or Streamer?

Current equipment is;

VPI Scout with Hana SL

Parasound A21

Vincent SA32 Preamp

Elac PPA2 

Dyneaudio Emit 30

Oppo 83SE

room is conditioned floor to ceiling and approximately 12x24’

When I play SACD’s, the soundstage is no where near the analogue presence. Maybe it’s the SACD player that’s limiting my experience to go streaming.

Advice based on setup would be helpful

Thanks in advance


The short answer is yes. All things being equal, even better soundstage than analog. As with any piece of equipment what you’ll hear is all relative to the design, quality and more often than not also the cost. Making a generalization of what sounds better, analog or digital depends on the equipment.  Personally, I think that the point of diminishing returns is much lower for DACs and streamers than most other components.

I don’t do analog anymore, but I would say yes, you can get there with digital. Others on this forum have said their digital system is now as good as their analog. You might have to spend a few bucks, and do some trial and error before you get there, but that is half the fun. 





Yes, sounds like you are limited by your SACD player. This point in time, your best bet is to go to streaming.

Both streamer and DAC are critical. In the lower cost points the DAC and streamer improve quickly with cost. I would say once you get a high performance DAC (that matches your tastes in sound) … in the range of $5K - $7K the streamer starts to matter more. But, regardless of investment level you want as good a DAC and Streamer as you can afford and you will be able to beat vinyl at some point.

Not sure why most on here trying to move you away from analog ?

Your question was can I get the sound from a different source. 
My modest setup vinyl sound fabulous. I do enjoy my DAC and steamer 

more for convenience. I use my digital setup for music through the house or dinner time. Your setup is great for vinyl and I would keep listening. I would start with a Bluesound Node. The playback is very good and the app is very easy to navigate. 
of course you can spend $20K on a DAC and streamer if you wish not sure it will sound that much better. 

Yes. Here's some helpful information.

A high quality digital system can sound fantastic. You may still prefer the sound of vinyl. I enjoy both. 

@vette5451 , in many cases, no. The analogue master will be different from much of what you would hear via streaming or a newer CD remaster (SACD will generally not be the same as analogue, no). The music master will matter more than streamer vs. turntable/cartridge vs. DAC in many cases if not every last case, when it comes to audible differences. This tends not to be a particularly fun concept for folks who like to chain-swap components regularly or make recommendations based on price points.

In cases of newer music that was mixed and mastered digitally then put onto vinyl, the answer changes - it should be similar in sound, since you are listening to digital music with the particular characteristics/shortcomings/compromises/whatever of the vinyl medium it’s been pressed into.
For older music (1980s and before) vinyl can be real nice for some listeners. The reason is not because vinyl is an inherently superior route to playback, but rather the translation of original master onto the medium worked out better than subsequent re-hashes sound via other playback media. Original CD’s from the ‘80s can be hit-or-miss. For newer music (post-2000) it’s often much less of a departure given almost all is done in the digital realm.
SACD seems to be a different animal more times than not. When you play SACD’s the difference in soundstage, assuming it’s real, should be due to differences in mastering of the tracks therein. The other factors are not impossible of course (inferior player, inferior DAC, etc.), they’re just much less likely to be the cause of audible differences.

the Oppo 83SE is what, almost 15 years old?  Oppo made great products, but digital has advanced a lot since then.  i would first add a newer DAC to the mix.  there are plenty of reasonably priced DAC's that IMO would be better sounding than the DAC inside the Oppo.  streamers have also come a long way in the last few years, but the sound quality depends on the quality of the input (qobuz or whomever).  i have not done a lot of streaming, and haven't had the chance to compare what is out there, but i've heard that Qobuz high resolution sounds the best of the bunch.  maybe others will chime in on this.  i'm currently tempted to add the Ferrum Wandla DAC, which is currently $2,800 (not including the Hypsos power supply, which you can always add later).


I can share my experience which is quite different than yours. I happen to have the same cartridge (Hana SL) on a Denon DP 47f turntable. For digital I'm running a Jay's Audio CD3 Mk III transport with a Berkeley Alpha Reference Series 2 MQA DAC as well as a Tubadour Mk IV DAC. I also have a Marantz KI Ruby SACD player. I have about 4,000 CDs/SACDs and about a thousand albums.

If I'm careful to make sure that I'm playing the same version of a record and CD/SACD my analog rig sounds remarkably similar to my digital rig(s). The soundstage is about the same and the other aspects of SQ are very close. This was also true when I was running a Marantz SA 8005 SACD player.

I have quite a few newer audiophile releases in both vinyl and SACD. Analog Productions puts out high quality vinyl pressings and a corresponding SACD and I have many titles where I own both. Same with Mobile Fidelity. Some that I own are Stevie Ray Vaughn, Steely Dan, Donald Fagan, Pink Floyd, Crosby Stills, and Nash, Joni Mitchell, and others. I'm sort of a format junkie and have quite few titles in more than one format.

I have never heard a substantial soundstage difference between different formats of the same master. I can hear differences in detail or harshness but thus far, not in soundstage.

I don't know why you would be experiencing this but one theory is that your turntable/arm/phono preamp combo is doing something to widen the soundstage. I'm doubtful that getting a new digital player will make a big difference but there is lots of good used digital gear for sale and you can experiment without spending huge sums of money.

Please report back if you try a new DAC or digital front end. I'm curious about how much difference it will make.

Yes you can get a soundstage, no if “same” means “identical” - analog and digital are 2 different technologies and not mixed the same way

I have used the Hana SL as both a work horse Cart, and as a A/B Cart' against other Cart' and a Digtal Source..

Both experiences had reinforced my understanding, the SL was not for me. 

I have a bespoke built Valve DAC used with CD and to date, the experience had is enjoyed as much as Vinyl. I don't concern myself with such things anymore. 

Is the CD Source better?, Is the Vinyl Source better? 

I have a modest setup, but the analog sounds good to me. Question, can I get the same soundstage with digital by adding a DAC or Streamer?

The short answer is yes.  At present you’re comparing a >$4000 vinyl rig to an old $900 CD/SACD player so not very surprising you’re hearing what you do — apples and oranges. If you spend anywhere near that on a good DAC and streamer and get a Qobuz subscription your digital and overall listening experience will improve exponentially to the point that you’ll likely find yourself listening far less to vinyl and CDs/SACDs. It’s a crying shame some SACDs are holding you hostage from the excitement of discovering worlds of new music through streaming, much of which is available in hi res. Your only regret about streaming will be that you didn’t start way, way sooner — that was definitely my experience about five years ago. The ability to find and embrace worlds of new music along with playing virtually anything I want in any order from my listening chair has been the biggest revelation in audio in my 40+ years of being an audiophile, and I don’t make that statement lightly. It’s time. Just my $0.02 FWIW.


I purchased a Bluesound Node and signed up for Tidal. This definitely made a significant improvement in soundstage and overall listening enjoyment. While I don’t plan to move away from vinyl, I fear I have started a chain reaction in the world of streaming to better the quality.

i appreciate everyone’s feedback.

Goodonya and Gongrats! If you’re using the analog outs from the Node a separate DAC should definitely be your next move. And just to maybe spark the chain reaction a little further for down the road, adding a separate linear power supply to the Node from the likes of Teddy Pardo, etc. for $200-$400 should give you another significant and relatively cost-effective performance boost to where you may be able to live happily with the Node for a long time. Many people here have done this and have been very happy with the results. FWIW.

I was first introduced to Steaming through dedicated set ups for Streaming as the Source in a few very expensive systems, both Valve and Solid State. At the time of these demo's there was no option to carry out A/B comparisons to other Sources.

My assessment was that I could not but feel the system was being sold short with a Source that is streamed material only.

Later down the line, I was in a position where I could experience Streamed Data and FLAC - WAV File Data, as Source Medium replayed on Audio Systems I was very familiar with. These experiences have even allowed for comparisons of other Sources inclusive of CDP > CDT + DAC and Vinyl LP using the same Album Tracks.

The outcome of such experiences for myself and as a result of only experiencing a very limited range of dedicated streaming devices, is that Streaming is not a contender for a CD or Vinyl Source.

That does not mean it is without attraction, as the music produced in these later demo's is very listenable for long periods, definitely not fatiguing. Combine this with the convenience of accessing preferred music as fast as a click of a thumb, along with immediate access to a vast range of music genre's and different cultural music is an attraction that is difficult to be overlooked.



Definitely a flat response after that! The moving iron moves on.😉

But once again we have streaming in the analog section. Why does that keep happening?

At least I'm not with a first encounter being 'Steaming Sauces', that would be a interesting wording to cause total confusion.

I have a notoriety for being a Thread Killer.  

The most recent 2024 Streamer Demo' has been a Linn Selekt with Upgrades, in comparison to a few CD Sources, being a EAR Acute and a Wadia. The Vinyl Source has been the SP10 R > Glanz > Miyajima Lab MC > Bespoke Built Valve Input / Output Phonostage. 

Is the Linn Selekt a Streamer that competes comfortably in the end sound production area, with the other Brands of similar purchase value, or is it a poorer performer.

I would own a Selekt, if there was a better sonic quality to be achieved for less monies, from a new or used alternative device, I would be keen to learn of such models.   

Tone and timbre would be the largest differences I notice between vinyl and digital.  I wouldn’t think that sound stage would be much affected by source, generally speaking.

The outcome of such experiences for myself and as a result of only experiencing a very limited range of dedicated streaming devices, is that Streaming is not a contender for a CD or Vinyl Source.

@pindac I’m sure you heard what you heard, but the key to your strong statement that  “streaming is not a contender for CD or vinyl source”  is that as you stated your experience is “very limited.”  There are many here with very accomplished/expensive systems who have found this to not be the case at all and that streaming is very much “a contender” to the other formats sonically along with all its other significant advantages/benefits.  “Streaming is not a contender” is a bold and definitive statement to make for someone with admittedly relatively little experience with various streaming setups and has not been born out by me and many others here.  But obviously you’re entitled to your opinion.

@soix I'm sure everything you say is true. But surely it does not belong in the analog forum?

I'm sure everything you say is true. But surely it does not belong in the analog forum?

@dogberry  The OP was asking if a DAC/streamer can soundstage on the level of vinyl, so where better to ask?  This was an off shoot of that original question — it happens in discussion forums.

Keeping my assessment limited to my experiences encountered, I will add to the statement made in the earlier post.

"The outcome of such experiences for myself and as a result of only experiencing a very limited range of dedicated streaming devices, is that Streaming is not a contender for a CD or Vinyl Source." will read better if as the following:

 The outcome of such experiences for myself and as a result of only experiencing a very limited range of dedicated streaming devices, where demo's given are using Steaming Devices up to £6K as a purchase price and experienced in use in systems that range at the top end up to £150ishK in Value. Is that Streaming is not in my view a contender for a CD or Vinyl Source.

I stand by this statement more so in relation to the Audio Systems I have been able to experience the Streaming Source used in conjunction with a CD and Vinyl Source. As already made known there have been demo's where streaming was the only Source available.

In this context, the statement remains bold and definitive when within the constraints of not having a broad experience.

I would be interested to read comments from others who do have a Broad Experience of Streaming devices used on a range of audio systems. 

When / If the interest fully develops to discover a Broad Range of Streaming Devices.

I'm sure I will be my usual self, and do a reasonable amount of footwork, to ensure I experience a substantial amount of Streaming Set Ups. In a Broad Range of Audio Systems, from Home Demo's through to Commercial Events or at a Commercial Entities Premises.

Such an extension of experiences 'may' have the potential to create the influence that encourages a change of thought on the impression a Streamer Device as a Source to replay music can conjure up.

Both my outlook on Vinyl Replay Sources and CD Replay Sources has evolved to a very perceivable betterment. Through ensuring extended experiences are encountered outside of the Home System. Where the focus is on what can be attained from others making their own choices are able to achieve. This attitude to interact with others, has been the key to new horizons for end sound production and been instrumental in lifting both Sources to very satisfactory levels of performance in my own system. 

How would I ever have learnt after multiple years of not being impressed by and not having a CD replay Source, that a Bespoke Built Valve DAC would transform my whole belief system on a CD replay.

Without my arranging to meet with an individual and experiencing a Bespoke Valve DAC in use in their home system and having first hand experience of the impression that can be made. With the outcome being, the device is  loaned to be experienced in my own system, and my learning CD as a Replay Source can really impress and is one that is enthusiastically wanted to be maintained. 

The question is will a close mimic of above experiences be able to be created with a Streaming Device used as a Source to replay received Data that is 'hired' for usage as the Source medium.    


@soix It's not so much a matter of:

so where better to ask?

but one of where better to answer?

@dogberry I answered in response to a post here.  Where else would you suggest I answer it?  Get over yourself and just deal with it.

To go back to the OP, the Oppo 83 can be improved upon.  Personally I run a 105 into the HDMI input of my Bryston DAC and I have an excellent soundstage when spinning SACD.  The results of course depend upon the quality of the original recording.  I also run a 203 into a Anthem AVR in a HT system, and the soundstage is consistently more expansive than the CA CXN V2 streamer in the same system.

Digital done correctly is superior to analog in every way and streaming is definitely NOT the right way to do it. I have a friend with a modest, but effective system who listened mostly by streaming. On his system we compared a 24/96 digital file to streaming of several albums synced so we could AB and there was no comparison. Streaming is like trying to talk with a mouth stuffed with cotton balls. I have to assume they are doing this on purpose to prevent people from recording studio quality files. A middle of the road turntable is superior to streaming. I encourage people who stream to buy a 24/96 file of a favorite album and compare it to a streamed version. 

Once you are in the digital domain there are many things you can do to improve the performance of your system, gains that can not be made otherwise and there is little if any downside. Nobody has yet been able to reliably identify a record from it's 24/96 copy. Just like a three headed tape deck I can play back a recording as it is happening switching back and forth between the actual record and its digital copy. With digital processing you can turn a lackluster system into a great performer and  a great performer into the incredible zone. 

I am an old record collector. My idea of a great time is thumbing through records at the store. I still by records and will never stop, but a good digital file is superior and digital processing makes both even better.


Well, it depends on your components. “ Digital done correctly is superior to analog in every way“… it depends on your investment level. At the low end and very high end vinyl tends to out shine digital. This will change. So, I kind of agree that digital done right at certain investment levels is superior to analog. At my investment level $45K for each leg the sound quality is the same… although there is much more variability with vinyl… I think because of the variation in pressing (early in the short life of a master or late).

…”streaming is definitely NOT the right way to do it”… There is no fundamental difference between the potential sound quality from a CD, stored files and streaming. It is just  packaging differences in the playback equipment.  The cd player has a transport, streamer, and DAC. Streaming simply has the files remotely located. It depends on your equipment as to which if any sound better.

On my system red book CDs of the same mastering sound exactly the same as streamed, or local file.  High resolution streaming sound better than red book resolution via any source. It is equipment dependent.

As digital continues to advance it is getting the edge on vinyl over more investment levels… just as the disadvantages of vinyl, CD, and SACD are becoming overwhelming. 

There was 34 Years separating Vinyl as a mainstream medium and CD becoming the fledgling medium in the Marketplace.

It is now approx' 42 Years since Vinyl was to claimed to have become obsolete / superseded.

It seems extremely strange that 42 Years in, that there are pockets of Audio Enthusiasts who are forming the view the digital medium, is now able to present as a competitor capabilities that questions the use of the Vinyl LP as the medium for storing and replaying recorded data.   

As stated in an earlier post:

 "I don't concern myself with such things anymore." 

"Is the CD Source better?, Is the Vinyl Source better? "

Any prejudice I once carried for CD is now reconciled. 

OP I have a modest setup, but the analog sounds good to me. Question, can I get the same soundstage with digital by adding a DAC or Streamer?

I have a modded Oppo BDP-95 (no external dac) and I think it is the world class in soundstage and sound-images. Alex/WTA

@ghdprentice You are sort of right. It is just numbers. There should be absolutely no difference. The same numbers should sound the same played back through the same DAC, but they do not. Something is happening somewhere down the streaming line to corrupt those numbers. I have run this test many times on many systems demonstrating to people why streaming is a problem for quality listening. The result is always the same, a blank look and a four letter word. Streaming is fine for background music and shopping for new music.

As for the other issues, you are correct in vinyl being extraordinarily variable. Both vinyl and digital are subject to the quality of the recording, but where digital really shines is performance enhancing features such as EQ, crossovers, room control, group delay correction, etc. In order to take advantage of these capabilities you have to digitize everything including your turntable. I can take any system and I do mean any system and make it sound better with digital signal processing. I can also show you graphically where the problems in any system lie. The purists have a hard time buying into this and I always get an arguement. Even the very best analog systems will have noticeable issues that become obvious once you clean them up. Every time I do the corrected vs uncorrected AB demonstration I get the same blank look and four letter word.

Personally, I have found LessLoss 10x Power Base & LL Speaker Base, Boenicke ComDevs, Network Acoustics Muon Pro Ethernet Filter, Synergistic Research FEQ Carbon, SR Tranquility Base Carbon, SR UEF Ethernet Switch & SR HFT’s are very effective at expanding the soundstage without altering the bones of your source. Take some time to research these devices. You’ll find many positive listening impressions.

Streaming is fine for background music and shopping for new music.

Not my experience at all.