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.


Teo-Audio. You do know that class D is analog not digital. It is an analog coding and named class D because D comes after C, another type of analog amp not good for audio. Class D does not stand for Digital.

I think you are going to get a lot of upset comments because we have a more fundamental problem:

Two digital sources can sound quite different, in so much that we cannot agree on common grounds for their performance, while the typical measurements will be so close that they statistically should not affect what we are hearing.

Also, analog has a similar issue where two setups can sound so wildly different you think they come from different planets.

So, depending on what kind of analog and digital folks have, they are going to give you diametrically opposite accounts.


What I have noticed is that at high levels they (A &D sources) start to sound closer and closer, and the defining feature will be how the recording was recorded: if it was recorded on a tape, it will sound analogue on BOTH digital and vinyl. 

When it was recorded in digital, it was sound exactly the same on BOTH digital and vinyl sources. For example, on my TT, the LPs recorded in digital format sound exactly as if I was listening to very high level digital source.

That's what I am experiencing.


The other side of confusion is that measurement-based tests relate to a single example, not to the entirety of the format which will give a completely bad impression. Classic example of that is the LPs dynamic range, which is an absolute garbage piece of intel as the difference in dynamic range reproducible by a low and high level TTs is astronomical to say the least.

Also, the measurmenets for analog and digital sources cannot be correlated to each other (A vs D), as the brain interprets analog noise VERY differently from digital noise, so the numbers that make sense to an oscilloscope or a microphone are nearly meaningless when trying to establish what the brain thinks of it.


On another note... let's say digital is Karate and analog is Kung Fu. (Let's stick to movie-style martial arts for now...)

Q: How they measure, which is better?

A: The one who is the master..... regardless the art.

Chuck Norris will slay the clueless beginner Kung Fu-pups with his mere shadow, and Bruce Lee will drop the lot of the white belt karate kids with a single shriek....


Varietas delectat.... & no words nor theories can make up for personal experience.

Enjoy your audio journey! ;

Other issues emerge in this conversation such as phase shift pre echo vs pre ringing, and so on. I’ve always wondered how bass interacts with our hearing to subdue and enhance the listening experience. Good bass (whatever that is) seems to support subjective listening and hearing of music as if it carries the whole tune, although in many live situations it doesn’t carry so much as it supports yet remains individually separated.

System synergy for one or the other source is a new insight for me.

And noise itself, which may be frequency related or across the board can surely have differential effects, on hearing and listening. For those sensitive to clicks and pops an absolute distraction from the vinyl listening experience at times.

On paper, digital has it all in spades, but there’s no denying, that vinyl can  have a truly inviting sound.