My LP couldn't beat my CD, until now

I'm an owner of a new VPI Scoutmaster w/Sumiko Blackbird cart. I, like so many recently, have returned to vinyl after a long time, seeking (as always) the absolute sound.

I'm an 80s kid; a product of the CD revolution. I enjoy my Slim Devices Transporter and all the convenience it delivers. However, I've felt that there's been something missing around music listening, and everyone's talking about analog anyway, so I took the plunge.

Imagine my disappointment when I set up my new 'table, wire it all up, and the first few albums sound flat, a little shrill and generally thin compared to a good rip of the same music off of CD.

I chalk all this up to break-in, to everything in the signal chain from the cartridge to the amp being new and untested. I'm also new at this, and have never set up a tonearm in my life (my goodness, it's a fiddly exercise).

I give it 20 hours of playing time or so, forcibly choosing not to judge. I wait patiently for everything to work in. Still, I find most recordings of everything from Pop & Rock to The Firebird Suite to be palatable and fine listening, but far from the nirvana of naturalness and organic ease everyone says is on LPs.

Well, friends, I think I've had one of those 'holy cow!' moments that come in audiophilia so rarely. A fellow AudiogoNer's recent sale just arrived at my door, and I swapped it in. It's a McCormack Micro Phono Drive, and it's made a tremendous difference in this setup. (I also changed the cable from arm to preamp from Hero to King Cobra for length, but I truly doubt that's what I'm hearing.)

My point in posting all this is to say that I never expected such an assumedly minor part of the signal chain to make such a magnificent difference in the enjoyability of LP listening.

It took a pinched soundstage and made it full-bodied. It took a somewhat shrill and tinny, crackly high end and tamed it. It filled in the bass from 'there' to 'wow'. In short, it completely saved what I thought was a flawed and disappointing attempt at analog.

I was all ready to post a 'LP can't possibly beat CD, so what are you smokin'?' message, but this one, simple thing has changed my mind! 80s kids out there, don't lose hope! there really is something to this LP scene.
I'm curious what was the phono pre-amp prior to the McCormack?

I'm always glad when someone new discovers the unique joys and tribulations of vinyl.

But revolution?


Of course let's all enjoy our records while they're still around but also let's not exaggerate our retro tendencies into a "revolution" quite yet.

Though I guess all revolutions must start somewhere....
As has been stated the technics table is a DJ table at best and cannot even be considered a highend table.
cartridges take something like 50-100 hours to break in and when they do, it can be somewhat sudden...
After 15 years in analog, I had a similar 'wow' experience when I inserted Vacuumstate JLTI phono stage into my system (after a Trichord Dino, Wright WPP200C). The second 'wow' followed quickly when I got my first >$1k cartridge. I did not think the rest of my system was up for as big of an improvement as I got.

The quality of phonostage and cartridge combination is crucial in analog playback.
You did not mention what you used for cartridge alignment and adjustment, but if you got it right on your first -time-ever try - even with lots of jiggling - that would be beyond amazing. Odds are good that there is still room for improvement, e.g., with a better protractor, scale, and practice.