What is the reason for this? (Digital vs Vinyl Question)

I recently bought new speakers - GoldenEar Triton One.R towers - to pair with my Naim Uniti Star. My set-up for digital is the Naim with Ethernet, Qobuz & Tidal HiRes organized and played through Roon. With all of my other systems until now I preferred the sound of vinyl over digital. I have a Rega Planar 3 tt with Rega Fono preamp. I spin the highest quality records you can get - Mofi 1 Step, Analogue Productions, Classic Records, etc. etc. I've been listening for days trying to convince myself otherwise because of the $$ I've spent on records but the digital chain just sounds better to my ears. The question is: Is this because my new speakers are revealing the disparity between digital and analog better than lesser speakers I've used in the past (Monitor Silver, PSB Platinum, etc.) or is it because some speakers just match better with digital vs vinyl or is it because with the Naim streamer / DAC I've just put together a better digital front end and need to upgrade my tt and / or phono preamp?  
Ag insider logo xs@2xjdm11
Because people like what they like. I just heard KC's Talk to the Wind on Radio Paradise over a BluNode and thought that my system took a crap. Switched to the red book rip over a cheaper streamer, same DAC and went to heaven.  Much more musical than playing the vinyl over any of seven cartridges. You'll have to double the vinyl spend to equal or better the SQ you have. Why,?
It takes up more of your life just playing them.
Were you looking for an excuse to spend more money or did you really want to stir up the inexhaustible digital vs analog debate?
So you improved your digital path AND got new speakers? Ignoring digital for the moment, do you think your vinyl rig sounds better now with the new speakers than it did previously?
It's funny you say that it's an honest question though I imagine that debate is endless. Yes I did both within the past few months I bought the Naim then bought the speakers last week. The old speakers I was using I liked they were PSB Platinum T6s then I got a deal on the Tritons and loved them and pulled the trigger. I would say my honest appraisal is the vinyl rig, (which I'm very pleased with overall, having changed over from Pro-Ject / Bellari / PSBs), is almost exactly the same. The digital is markedly improved and has leapfrogged the vinyl, which I did not anticipate (or desire). I am definitely not looking for an excuse to spend more money, though I will if it's the right move. I was just curious to get input from other people many of whom I'd imagine have more experience and / or technical expertise as it pertains to gear.    
The more I play at this though the more legit "Because people like what they like" seems to be. I'm also talking about power conditioning in another post as well as checking out posts on audio science and opinions are so varied I'm learning the "answers" I'm looking for might just be purely subjective after all. But I'm holding out hope it's not all purely subjective.
You have basically an entry level analog setup.  It's not surprising that you might find that digital sounds better. 

If you're happy with what you have, then enjoy it.  Just know that there's much more to be had with vinyl. 

I enjoy both.  I love the convenience and unlimited choices of streaming and the lack of any noise, but when the vinyl is done right and your system is up to it, it's better than streaming.
You have basically an entry level analog setup. It's not surprising that you might find that digital sounds better.

yes, actually i think greg is right on this...
I have a Rega P6/Ania, Respectable Tubed phono stage with matched Mullards and equivalent+ investment in amplification and speakers. This also is proly considered entry level.

I also have been building/tinkering with my streaming configuration for years and have about the same investment (streamer/external DAC etc).
I still like to spin vinyl but the stream is right there with SQ. 

The bewildering cost of vinyl now is knocked the fun out of it for me, new releases and reissues anyway.  I will carry on looking for old, well recorded classic vinyl. When I really want to engage its the way.

I have even gone back to ripping CDs I barrow from friends and good deals I can find online and well recorded music regardless of genre.  Friend loaned me MOFI gold CD SuperTramp the other day to rip. :)

Basically just not in the correct income bracket to ratchet up the viny spend.  To many other expensive hobbies (motorcycles,bicycles and skiing).

Thanks all

Re: Synergy - that was one of my notions but if that's the case I'm a bit stuck. I'm limited by what used gear is available at a good price when I have the extra money to spend plus, ahem, permission to buy. I don't have the liberty of auditioning all sorts of new equipment and mixing and matching to fine tune the sound. 

Re: Analog being an entry set-up - thanks for the input on that. That was one of my questions albeit perhaps muddled - in essence, were the new speakers revealing the limitations of my analog setup. My intuition had me leaning that way but I was curious to hear the thoughts of those more experienced. The question then would be what might it cost to purchase a more solidly mid-level analog setup? 
Basically just not in the correct income bracket to ratchet up the viny spend. To many other expensive hobbies (motorcycles,bicycles and skiing).

I fear I'm in the same boat and with a massive vinyl collection I got kind of OCD about
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<$2K in vinyl playback equip. is mere entry level. My point.
CD’s are usually better than streaming. So are rips. "If your system is up to it."
Except for convenience.
You are better off pointing the expenditures towards digital playback. That is where the majority of the music recordings are in the 21st century. Vinyl worshippers don't even know from Wondermints or Jenna Mammina.
That Naim is a surprisingly good digital rig.  Your TT and phono aren't "entry level" but only one rung up.  A step up in phono stage and at least cartridge will pay dividends.  

Rega tables in general are known for PRaT which usually means punchy mid-bass with rolled off highs and somewhat flabby low bass but mids that shine like the sun.  Your old speakers may not have illustrated this as cleanly.  

The real question is now that you are hearing shortcomings of your vinyl rig, you want to decide if the issue is Rega's sound profile or if it is just a lack of resolution / refinement.  

You probably have an Elys II on that Rega. An Exact II or Ania and a Chord Huei or other nice phono stage would step things up incrementally and get you closer to the same level while retaining the character that people love about Rega.  

If Rega is the issue, then it is a matter of exploring other tables like VPI, ProJect, Clearaudio, etc... and associated cartridges.  

I find that my vinyl rig and digital setups sound different but both are about equally enjoyable.  
It sounds like you're a little disappointed that your digital has surpassed your vinyl. Since you already have a collection of records, and that had been a major draw for you, it is understandable. As I see it, for some, the fiddling about with setup and record cleaning, and the other rituals are part of the attraction. I think there is a perception that "serious" audiophiles have meticulously selected the TT, tonearm, cartridge, phone pre, line stage, amp, and speakers to highlight their highly curated collection of vinyl that reflects their own unique tastes. (The really cool ones have it organized autobiographically.) There is a higher price of entry both in money and time. Even if you can't afford to, or decide not to upgrade your vinyl rig to again surpass your digital side, there are still plenty of reasons to enjoy it as is.
With vinyl you pretty much need to go big (relatively) or go home in order to surpass even a $1000 digital front end. The mass loaded TT designs will get you there much more quickly than the fly-weight Rega designs.
Not in the least surprising, I doubt very few audiophiles have both state of art analog and digital setups, and even then, is that particular setup the objective arbiter. IME, analog better than digital, digital comes back and takes the lead, nope, analog retakes lead, digital comeback, etc. This over many years and many setups. Simply enjoy both and upgrade as needed, I don't get the angst over which format is best. Both are capable of artist in room amazement.
Your new speakers are a more dynamic and full range speaker than you have had before so you will hear that the two formats will both sound very good at that point the better recording will win out and it will not matter what format it is on. The only thing i can say is that if you got a better phono pre amp your vinyl would sound a whole lot better and you did not mention the cartridge but if it is a rega you can switch to a dynavector 10x or 20 x and move to a whole new realm of sound on your table to.
Digital can have more noise in it than analog. I'm not talking about ticks & pops while listening to a vinyl album, but general grunge. Note that this "grunge" (probably to strong of a word) may not even be noticeable to you... until it's gone. That stated, some equipment upgrades (amps, preamps, cables, conditioners, speakers) will help take that out of the system & as such, you'll notice more improvement with digital than analog.  
+100 @cat doorman and SNS

I don't stream.  I take great joy listening to my vinyl set up.  However,  i don't dismiss how good streaming can be/sound.  Enjoy what you have and for what they are capable of. 

"Mofi 1 Step, Analogue Productions, Classic Records, etc"

With all due respect to everyone who's weighed in on this so far, much of which I agree with, the problem is the records. These so called "Audiophile" records lack the very quality that makes analog so satisfying - TRANSPARENCY! I write about this a lot if you're interested:


The records you play make a GINORMOUS difference in the experience you have with analog. Try buying one record from Better Records, just one, and see if your current analog front end doesn't start to impress you. If it doesn't you can return the record (30 day money back guarantee) and forget you ever read this.

But if that record does turn out to pique your interest in the potential for vinyl again, then use THAT RECORD to decide what upgrades to make if and when you decide to upgrade your analog front end, or your electronics, or wires, or just about anything but the digital stuff.

This is the way forward in analog. START WITH THE RECORDS!
Your digital can be dramatically improved , theNaim is pretty decent but much better out there similar monies like Briscari M3 with streamer, Aqua ,
total dac , for example ,  to clear up digital  further your network switch 
uptone audio Ether Regen  a very good product , and upgrade your digital cable 
great value Wireworld star light start right at the streamer biggest difference 
then modem to router , you can buy a 10m fthey also sell , all make a audible 
improvement , one more thing I just did  mini ultra Still points $400, retail $500 
truly do bring added resolution , everything cost money .
how about dedicated music server, not a standard computer .
I am In Process of buying the Excellent Melco N10, 
"you did not mention the cartridge but if it is a rega you can switch to a dynavector 10x or 20 x and move to a whole new realm of sound on your table"

Yes. I switched from a factory installed Exact to a Dynavector 20X2 years ago. The difference was not subtle; major upgrade.
Thanks so much for all the input I really do appreciate everyone's time and willingness to pass along some knowledge.

I'm happy with the digital setup but will hold on to Audioman's suggestions for future consideration (though I might check out the Wireworld Starlight right away for the current digital setup. I use Wireworld cables and interconnects and really like them). 
Based on the input and some research I think my plan will be to upgrade the phono cartridge and phono pre on the current vinyl setup. I'm not ready to start shopping new, more expensive tts anytime soon. And a lot of the posts mention the big escalation in costs to have a top notch analog front end I just don't have the finances for that. I'm glad to have enjoyable digital sound, but like cat says I am a little disappointed the digital has surpassed the vinyl given the investment in lps. I'm not looking for the end-all in analog sound just to enjoy the sound of vinyl on my system as much as I am enjoying the sound of digital (like verdantaudio says about his setup - different but equally enjoyable).

Really good feedback from everyone thanks again everybody. 
Welcome to the 21st century. You have actually admitted to what most people already know but still do not quite want to admit. Vinyl is good. Was good. But it is primitive, limited in bandwidth and limited in dynamics. Regardless of the recent sales figures, it is a dinosaur and it is only a matter of time before it goes the same way as film cameras. 
I still like listening to vinyl but recently i discovered that i like actually "looking at it" more than the listening part.  
@thebrokenrecord  How about giving the OP some advice that is even faintly cost-conscious? Typical prices Mofi 1 Step and Analogue Productions seemed to be in the range $50-125 per record; typical prices at Better Records seemed to be in the range $300-600. A decent sized record collection would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Surely you wouldn't play that collection on a $1,000 turntable.  (The current Stereophile reviews a TT that retails for $450,000; that might be a little too much.)  And even an enormous record collection is puny compared to what is available from streaming services.  
Gotta agree with Cakyol. I made the same discovery when I upped my game on streaming. And, high res streaming is better than the equivalent red book cd. 
jallan I agree about red book vs high res. I have about 7500 cds I've collected over 30 years and don't want to believe it but it's pretty clear. I've been A B comparing for days. What gear are you using to stream?
This is the game I play. My digital recently became obviously better than my analog. So my Rega P3's AT MC cartridge now feeds a Bob's Device's SUT, which feeds my Musical Fidelity V90, and the analog caught up right there. I have in progress the build of a Sunvalley SV-EQ1616D phono section that will very probably take the whole thing to an even better place. Then an expensive cartridge, well moderately, and my poor digital should be crushed.
Then I have a problem. My analog is obviously better than my digital and I'm back to square one. Its a fun game, anyone can play. ;)
"Simply enjoy both and upgrade as needed, I don't get the angst over which format is best. Both are capable of artist in room amazement"

@sns,  so true!  Concise and excellent summation.
"Simply enjoy both and upgrade as needed, I don’t get the angst over which format is best. Both are capable of artist in room amazement"

I agree with the genral thought that both are good but I don’t really think "needed" is the right word. "Upgrade as *wanted*" may be better. We generally don’t need better sound but boy do we want it. And that want includes taking budget into consideration.

My advice for op is to think about how much more money you are willing to spend. If it is not very much than keeping everything as is is a very good choice. Maybe buy a new cartridge to try to improve the analog side. You may of course then end up wanting to also upgrade the digital again. My thinking is that the future investment in digital will serve you better since you have a lot of cd’s and can start to stream also. That is a lot of music that already sounds good and might sound even better. But back to budget, a better dac may cost $1k - $3k and maybe that is too much, at least for now. Then just enjoy what you have.
  I'm  late to the thread and I agree with a lot that has been said here.  I embraced CDs when they were new and immediately preferred them to vinyl.  Around 20 years ago used record stores became big and I spent a lot of time in them, coming across many records that had never made it to digital or were only available in lossy formats.  So I bought a tt and began buying lps and steadily upgraded my analog front end.  Eventually all my sought after recordings became available losslessly in digital and it took me a few years to have to admit that despite I all I had spent on the vinyl end, I always preferred the digital version, even if I was using a cheap digital front end.  Eventually I sold off the analog front end and the records and due to the resurgence of vinyl made a nice profit which I turned into a killer DAC.
   My point is that we can become so emotionally invested in a format that we lose our objectivity.  
"I still like listening to vinyl but recently i discovered that i like actually "looking at it" more than the listening part."

CAKYOL, you hit the nail right on the head! The one thing you missed is;
People "want" to want vinyl". My stepson was explaining to me one day why records sounded better. I asked him whose system he heard this on?
He didn't. He read about it! So much gets perpetuated by ink rather than our ears. 

Someone above mentioned Dynavector.  That is a perfect upgrade in terms of cartridge.  10x, or 20x. Whichever you can afford.  You will get no noise issues with that Dynavector.  Rega grounds differently than some other tables and you can get some noise with Grado or say Ortofon Cadenza cartridges. 

Then get the best phone stage you can.  Once you move away from Rega cartridges, you will find that Rega phono stage will not deliver at the same level. Not sure where your budget will fall.  Vet with the group here to flag any big issues in terms of quality.  There are a few units I can think of that would be in your budget that I would avoid as not very good.  

Chord, Musical Fidelity and Rogue are all very safe in terms of phono stage quality.  
i second scott’s (verdant) recommendation for a dynavector

dyna also makes a lovely small form factor phono stage called the p75... works beautifully with dyna carts via their 'phono enhancer' circuit
@billzameI"m not suggesting anyone build their entire collection at Better Records. I only said "buy one"!

It's just than anyone buying MoFi's and AP's has never heard what a record can do and is therefore in need of an education on analog. Once you've heard what a record can do then at least you understand the possibilities. Then perhaps you start to develop the necessary skills to find great sounding records (cleaning methods, research and developing our ear) on your own. Often this is just cleaning the records we own better and listening with our full attention. But if we're buying Analogue Productions records we'll NEVER really get why serious analog enthusiasts get so darn enthusiastic about it!

The debate about whether vinyl sounds better than digital really ought to be a debate about whether vinyl CAN sound better than digital. If you get the right records, and then you build your system in the right way, that is, the way that makes your best sounding records sound even better, then you will very soon be all in with analog and never look back.

Oh and yes, get a better cartridge and phono preamp, absolutely, but don't expect to get the cartridge right on the very first try and demo as many phono preamps as you can until you decide. DON'T TRUST THE REVIEWS!
I wish I could hear a blind testing on a very expensive system on vinyl vs streaming.  I have always thought vinyl to be noisy and it is time consuming to have to get up and change a record.  It might even be more fun during a blind testing to tell them they were listening to streaming when playing vinyl to see if they could be fooled.  Buying a $20,000 turntable and purchasing expensive vinyl is not what most people can afford is also another question to consider.  Right now, I enjoy streaming music from a huge Tidal library and listening to hi res music.
Have fun, listen to tunes, keep pushing your system to new heights of enjoyment no matter the source……

BTW the NAIM streamer DAC deployed in the new series is superb !
Welcome to the 21st century. You have actually admitted to what most people already know but still do not quite want to admit. Vinyl is good. Was good. But it is primitive, limited in bandwidth and limited in dynamics. Regardless of the recent sales figures, it is a dinosaur and it is only a matter of time before it goes the same way as film cameras.
I still like listening to vinyl but recently i discovered that i like actually "looking at it" more than the listening part.  

Mike Lavigne would disagree with you on this. He has some of the best digital equipment and still says his analog equipment sounds better. I also remember him posting that some people in the recording industry couldn't believe that his vinyl playback sounded more dynamic than his digital playback.
Congratulations on the upgrade. I can completely understand your surprise. While digital has been getting better, typically you have to work at it and throw a lot more money at it for it to sound similar, let alone better. For decades I have tried to get my digital end to sound as good as my vinyl. I have finally gotten to the point where I have to say both are equally satisfying, but still my analog end is still more detailed although with $10K less investment over the digital end. Personally, if this happened to me, I would also question what was wrong with my vinyl end. You have substantial investment in vinyl.

Personally I would investigate the tt setup, cartridge, and if this doesn’t bring up the performance, consider upgrading if you want to get the most out of your vinyl. Vinyl is still the gold standard of any well set up synergistic system.
My system reveals the difference between digital and analogue also. Sigh.

And analog definitely has the upper hand.

To be fair, I have a Rega Planet CD player trying to compete with a Koetsu Onyx / Sumiko MMT / VPI HW MK IV. Not exactly balanced competition.

But, I can even hear when a vinyl press has been recorded and or (re)mastered digitally (DDA or ADA) , and it does not sound as good as AAA (analog recording, mastering, press).


I really don’t see the point in paying $300 for an LP that I can get for $30.

If we all took very good care of the records that we bought in the 50s through the 80s (my listening sweet spot) for $7 on average, we already have hundreds to thousands of these LPs, by the luck of the draw.

And, at the end of the day, there were some artists who were never pressed well, and Hot Stamper or whatever name they hype themselves by will never find one. I’m thinking of The Joy of Cooking, or Janis Ian, examples of where I bought a half dozen copies and they are all bad and identically so.

At the end of the day, I buy artists and their music, and sometimes I have to settle.

Hot Stamper is just exploiting the guillability of folks with too much money to spend. My two sense.


We'll just have to agree to disagree on this. Perhaps if you heard on of BR's records on a great analog system you'd change your mind!
Btw, and others may have already made this observation so I apologize for any redundancy, but rule of thumb is that digital sounds better than vinyl at entry level. Even with your upgrade, you are still at entry level.


Are you saying the Rega P3 and Rega Fono are entry level for analog or are you saying the Naim Uniti Star and GoldenEar Triton One.R speakers streaming hi-res Qobuz and Tidal & playing cds with the streaming running off a dedicated laptop all ethernet connected is an entry level digital setup as well?