Has anyone been able to define well or measure differences between vinyl and digital?

It’s obvious right? They sound different, and I’m sure they measure differently. Well we know the dynamic range of cd’s is larger than vinyl.

But do we have an agreed description or agreed measurements of the differences between vinyl and digital?

I know this is a hot topic so I am asking not for trouble but for well reasoned and detailed replies, if possible. And courtesy among us. Please.

I’ve always wondered why vinyl sounds more open, airy and transparent in the mid range. And of cd’s and most digital sounds quieter and yet lifeless than compared with vinyl. YMMV of course, I am looking for the reasons, and appreciation of one another’s experience.


In my limited experience, Redbook, despite having a higher range, unless well recorded, doesn't sound particularly 'lifelike' as , say, vinyl.

However, newer recordings at higher resolution, definitely seems to come closer to vinyl. Just re-issuing old recordings at higher resolution doesn't seem to offer the same results.


A thought I've been having lately is how noise changes our perception. I think some noise in the recording and perhaps even distortion gives the mind a place to go, to fill in what isn't actually there. When it's taken away there's no where for that to happen. Consider the dreaded soap opera effect with motion pictures. This happens when the frame rate is too high. The theatrical drama can be ruined even though it is technically superior. This may also be the case with too much resolution. I don't agree that digital messes up micro details or micro dynamics or somehow fails to reproduces some fine nuance of what we can hear. I suspect it's just the opposite, and the precision and lack of noise makes more bare and plain the limitations of using microphones to record music and then speakers, typically no more than two, to play it back. 

Another interesting thing with LP is crosstalk between the stereo channels, which is not just any old crosstalk but reversed in phase. Who knows what that does to our hearing perception but I've been playing with out of phase signals mixed with in phase from opposite channels and it can produce an amazing amount of spaciousness. Records do a little of this because of how the needle moves to create stereo. Digital doesn't do it at all. There's also pre-echo with LP. You can hear the neighboring groove before it's played, and I assume the trailing groove as well. LP mixes up some strange audio soup, and it's not surprising if people find some magic in that. 

I find that a system optimized for a particular TT and cartridge is not very likely to sound equally good with a digital source inserted into it., whatever it is. Your TT has a sound, and your streamer has a different sound. Optimizing for both in the same system is quite a challenge and I may be wrong, but I don't think enough people consider that.

That a Linn LP12/Kendo/Sutherland combo is going to sound different from an Aurender/Mola Mola seems obvious. So, which one to you set up for?

I'm still working on it.

I think I'll go move my speakers...