Why didn't I sell my vinyl rig?

I've recently moved heavily into streaming and digital playback.  That system's core is the Denafrips Terminator Plus DAC with an Innuos Zenith Mk 3 / Phoenix USB.  Just added a LHY Audio SW-8 ethernet switch. Great cables all the way around. By most standards this is a reasonable mix of gear.  I run the Innuos Sense App as it sounds better than Roon. Love the convenience of digital and infinite supply of tunes from Qobuz.  My problem is this.  My vinyl rig generally sounds better.  Sometimes by a wide margin. Do others with both rigs have the same problem?


My streaming and vinyl are very close. I believe the reproduction is quite good. I also know some on this board have better systems than mine and find vinyl and digital to be very close. The good side of this for you is that upgrading digital is far less expensive than upgrading analog. BTW..your system is extremely impressive..

I’m a bit confused as to what you use the computer for. Does it function as a music server? You said that you don’t use Roon…which I missed the first read through.

My analog system was pretty close to my digital playback. Of coarse that all depends on the record and all the variables that dictate if it'll sound good which is one of the main reasons I sold my analog system. 

“My vinyl rig generally sounds better.”

Both Vinyl and digital (streaming) are capable of rendering sound that is equally enjoyable. Is one better than the other, not in my experience. For me, it boiled down to provenance of the recording on Vinyl vs. Streaming and attention to detail in each setups. In my system, both digital streaming and local files stored on my SSD already transcended Vinyl playback.

At the end of the day, one doesn’t need to pick between the two; just enjoy the tactile experience of Vinyl and convenience of digital streaming; not to mention access to millions of songs for a small monthly fee.

I use my Mac mini as a Roon core to drive other systems in the house.  I do love Roon but unfortunately Sense sounds better with Innuos products.  

I also agree it's fun to run both types of media.  It just amazes me that vinyl can sound so good in 2023.  I do, however,  hate the hassle of vinyl.  Just in search of the best SQ. 

“Just in search of the best SQ”

That is purely subjective but given your current system, you do have a potential to further enhance your digital playback. I highly recommend inserting a simple yet very effective passive filter like Network Acoustics’s Muon Pro Filter between your LHY switch and Innuos MK3. It comes with a no questions asked 30 days return policy.


As I said I have a Gigabit Ethernet Media Converter that isolates EMI/RF interference optically.  Don't know if the Muon product would help? But thanks for suggestion.


For me & my system, the battle between vinyl and bits is essentially neck-and-neck. On the occasions when I let my analytical side rule and do side-by-side comparisons between what I have on vinyl and what I dig up from Qobuz or Idagio, it can go either way.  This is true even when I'm comparing audio-nerd concerns such as soundstaging and slam. Even orchestral string tone is closely fought.

Based on equipment for both sources, I'd expect comparison to be much closer. I can't see anything that stands out as great liability in either. I do know the XP27 is standout phono, was going to be my choice for phono until nice deal on Thoress phono came along. Network improvements are possible but unlikely to close the gulf you're speaking of. You may have to upgrade to top tier streamer to bridge gulf, you'd have to go here in order to beat what is already nice streaming setup.

I find my vinyl rig sounds better but not by a large margin. I also have more money in my vinyl rig. I wonder if I spent equally on the digital side if it would even out . I use digital merely for the convenience and accessibility. I enjoy vinyl much more. 

You're right about cost difference.  I recently upgraded my entire vinyl setup along with the digital.  Spent 3 times as much on vinyl.  Found the greatest improvement with the DAC. It might be that a DCS based digital system, for example, could take it to a more competitive position. On the other hand many great recordings on vinyl just "feel" better with more energy and emotion.  On the other hand my ears were "weaned" on vinyl over 60 years ago.  Perhaps that's the difference?

Go 10g with your transceivers for your FMC and you will be there. 

I use digital streaming about 95% of the time out of convenience. IMHO the best vinyl rigs still sound better than the best digital ones. However, digital has improved significantly in comparison to the early days of compact discs. In the past, I sold a few turntables only to eventually buy another one. I’ve had my Systemdek IIX (paid about $350 including a Grado Reference Platinum MM phono cartridge worth $350 on its own) for the past 15 years and enjoy having it around for the occasional times that I want to listen to vinyl. If you own a decent size record collection it probably makes sense to at least have a good quality affordable table, such as a Rega P2.

I'll say it....

My digital setup sounds better than my analog setup!

As far as SQ they are equal but  on the digital I never get the occasional needle sound, or pop due to static or whatever other temperamental nonsense I have to deal with...  Then just as I am about to zone that side is over have to get out of the chair and flip it.  Also had to listen to all the songs on that side even the ones that suck.  Or I guess I could have gotten up and did a lift and drop and hope for the best.   

On digital I go on journeys.  One song leads me to the next and that one reminded me of something else in my life as the playlist builds and eventually I have 20 songs deep and I am zoning away.  No clicks, hisses, pops or gymnastics.

I will think...they won't have this album but they do and I can enjoy it instantly.  Looking around for it, cleaning it, finding and playin one song on it is an enormous hassle that has been eliminated by technology.  

Great thing about it....if you love it keep doing it. It is your system...you command.  I still have a turntable sort of mid grade as a backup to a possible internet outage but it is rarely used.  I actually listened to an album the other day....forced myself to do it and really honestly tried to find and advantage worth all the hassle.  For me the answer is no....

I think that one thing we can all agree vinyl is a major hassle.  Sone (not me) may enjoy the work.  And then there's  45RPM..........  Ugh.  But when the needle drops on my copy of Classic Records 45RPM series of Time Our I'm transported to another place.

My criteria for both Vinyl and SACD/CD’s in Main System, and Streaming in my Office System: Is it ’INVOLVING’ ... IF Yes, DONE?

I purposely don’t compare them as many of you do (mine are not directly comparable anyway).


Office Streaming (if you could call it that) is a simple $250. DAC (just so I can use USB from my PC). Office Source: free streaming, YouTube, Pandora, that’s it.

However, I do have some very nice speakers in the Office System (restored vintage AR-2ax, 3 way with 2 level controls: adjusting for the room a big asset).

I re-arranged the furniture to sit dead center on both Monitor and Speakers, thus for an Office, simple streaming with very nice Sound and Imaging up here. Thus: ’INVOLVING’

You that stream, hi-rez paid subscriptions, real equipment: thru your main system get far better I am sure. And, both thru your main systems, you can readily compare. Cost of Streaming can get way up there.


My Vinyl and SACD/CD via Main System areTerrific. Took me a few years, I’m Done.

3 Tonearms, one 12.5:, others two 9". MC, MM removable headshell, Mono ready to go, Switch in seconds during a listening session.

New to me Vintage SACD/CD player, rediscovering existing and buying used CD’s now.

Definitely ’INVOLVING’.


Compare: My friends bring their cartridges, or equipment here to hear/compare with my vinyl and/or cd systems, entire, or parts. That is both fun and informative.


Vinyl: CD’s only for years, then rediscovered Vinyl. Then listened to Vinyl only for a long while. Improved SACD/CD player, now both, Vinyl predominately.

Had sold my Thorens TD124 with SME 3009 arm sadly because it was subject to vertical vibrations from my flexible wood floor.

Got a simple Audio Technica 120, then I gave it with cartridge to a friend. Started Vinyl all over during covid times.

I put together a terrific 3 arm TT setup. Coincidentally Just this morning added all up, total $5,565. People here spend a whole heck of a lot more for their Vinyl Rigs, and for their Streaming setups.

Improved SACD/CD, went thru 9 players till I found this one. $1,000. (surprisingly same cost as when it was new)

I have a lot of CDs, many both LP and CD, we do compare them, prejudiced opinion: LP wins most of the time.

Reel to Reel beats both LP and CD. (despite tapes having the worst Signal/Noise rating)



AR-2ax, how cool.  I bought a pair of those new in HS.  Then moved up to the AR-3a.  Best speaker of the day.  I drove them with a Dynaco Pre & Power that I built.  It was a killer system.

To me vinyl and digital just sound different.  They will never sound the same.  I find in digital what really matters is what you play back.  Streaming services always suffer from jitter caused by the ‘noise’ between the original website (I have done everything humanly possible to minimize this … but it’s there and won’t go away), to the ISP, to my system.  I get better results playing back flies that I have ripped to my NAS.  Within these files, DSD files are superior to CD quality. 

My system is a Lumin X1, Lumin L1, Weiss 502 Mark 2, Sonore opticalModule deluxe, Ediscreation Fiber box II, Ediscreation Silent Switch OCXO

vinyl sound quality may have issues, may not compare to digital favorably, and yet, it will have a soul, deeper than digital ever will. Maybe it’s just in my head.

Right now I'm listening to a selection of oddball Dylan home recordings via Qobuz. A sheer impulse selection on my part. In any case, it sounds very, very good, and Dylan's artistic contribution ain't bad, either. Putting it another way, when you stream it's "welcome to the universe."

I have to say, though, that streaming just isn't quite as reliable as analog. Yeah, I'm 100% hardwired to the net but there are more than a few times when the stream will just stop. It always starts up again when I unplug my streamer/D to A converter and then plug it back in, but this is the second streamer/DA converter I've owned and both of them were guilty of this. With a turntable, arm and cartridge it's usually just sheer clumsiness that interrupts the listening.

I absolutely do not have, and have never had (since the 1980s anyway), the problem of vinyl sounding better than digital.

Vinyl does sound different, noisier actually, and I do acknowledge that some people like it, and that's fine.  I guess they like a certain lushness or whatever.  Maybe it depends on the speakers one is using.  

I still have a nice turntable and some good vinyl... which I never use except as a "nostalgia trip" every once in a while.  I view it mainly as clutter, and may get rid of it, just like I ridded myself of other "vintage" nostalgia-type components.

@skinzy Wow, your digital streaming section is at that cost level and you still say say vinyl sounds better. I stepped into streaming a year ago in the $1k range. Its not bad, but Im must be way out of the ballpark to even come close to hearing that warmer sound as my vinyl section provides.

My tt, cart & phono stage are 1/3rd the cost of your digital section. The whole rig is very transparent. You hear what you get. Quality recordings sound great. Fair to bad recordings I dont play anymore.

If I stream for awhile, I kind of acclamate to it, but if I put on a good vinyl pressing after, its like oh my system does sound better.

Yeah, maybe if you ditch your analog you ll acclamate to the digital sound.

I just love both equally, vinyl and streaming. To differ one from the other would be nit-picking in my system.

What's with the use of the word rig? Kind of weird. Anyone who thinks streaming sounds equivalent to analog/vinyl is delusional. No freaking way, not even close. 

Well, I call my turntable a rig, so there. 

My digital and analog FEU are both wonderful and I enjoy them equally.

As @baylinor said...nit picking. what is a nit anyway?



You’re comparing two vastly different levels of components. 

I would hope that a 20K Turntable, an 11K phonostage, and a 5K cartridge would sound better than a 6.5K DAC and 4.5K streamer. 

Your vinyl rig is 3.5 times more costly than your digital. If you changed your vinyl rig to a VPI Prime, XP-17, and a $2K cart; would it sound as good?

I couldn’t wait for CDs to replace analog.  My lps were destroyed in a flood t the dawn of the CD era and I was exclusively digital for about 20 years.  Then I got into analog before concluding that my original preference for CDs (and now streaming) was correct and sold off my analog rig about 5 years ago.

  I purchased a Technics Direct Drive a few months ago because I had always wanted one and I am very impressed.  I won’t be purchasing many lps as I am in the downsizing mode but this is the first turntable I have ever had that competes with Digital.

  Ymmv but I think that it’s easier to get Digital right, but analog takes some work and probably more money.  Entry level analog doesn’t give the same satisfaction that entry level streamers or CDs afford.  High Resolution downloads or SACD/Blu Ray are also an experience that vinyl can’t begin to approximate imo.



I bought my first pair of AR-2ax with wedding money (Sam Goody’s, NYC) in 1967.

Got ransacked one year, gone. Miserable, I looked for them in garage sales around town, nope.

Recently a discussion was started, the essence: ’ What single audio item do you miss the most’ That cost me some money.

It was my AR-2ax’s. Got a pair for my basement. Restored them: new tweeters, updated crossover, replaced the level controls. Re-stuffed with polyester.

They sounded so good, and luckily just fit the shelves in my office, so here they are, ear level, dead centered, adjusted for the space with the level controls.

I bought a second pair for the basement, and the parts to restore them, but sidelined by foot surgeries, next and hopefully last one 2-9-23. After recovery, 1st order of business, get those AR-2ax’s going.


Vinyl RIG, yeah I took a dumb shortcut with that, took me a re-read to realize it was me. Regrettable, but, should be my biggest mistake!

Estimations of vinyl vs digital superiority is so well reflected in this thread. The variability is great enough that hard and fast conclusions ridiculous. Both setups can be as simple or as complex as one wants to make it, trying to assemble a single system with perfectly equal vinyl and digital performance is likely a rare thing, I'm trying!

Anyone who feels vinyl is a hassle needs to slow down. You’re saying that 1 minute to clean a record is too much of a hassle, instead you want instant gratification of a lesser quality of music. 

Clean records with a quality record cleaner. Invest into a quality vinyl rig. Enjoy your investment knowing that it doesn’t get any better than this.

My experience with streaming music is to have more than one service, as the sound will vary from one to the other. It also varies on the stream’s resolution, is it 44.1, high rez, MQA, or are you using upsampling conversion? Nothing here seems absolute. I still prefer analog, but the gap is narrowing.

Fantastic room!! Maybe a few window treatments would warm up your digital side a bit?. Awesome setting!!

I’m resigned that I have to spend significantly to bring my digital chain up to the level of my analog.  

For me, streaming is for finding new music.  Vinyl is for the music I love.  

I recently had an experience finding an LP that was misplaced for a year or two; Jimmy Smith’s Midnight special. Playing it was a real revelation. I had never heard it sound so good, with so much detail and texture (I had new strain gauge styli built/upgraded by SoundSmith since I heard it last).  

I attributed the great increase in quality to the new styli and latest cart/electronic  upgrades from SoundSmith, but then I realized, I had been playing just the SACD rip for the last 1-2 years.  I had heard it a few weeks previously, so it was still fresh in my mind, but I just sold my Directstream MKI/bridge2 (fed via Etherregen) so I couldn’t A/B it.

I had been pretty happy with the sound of WAV files and DSD that at times beat out LP sound. I’ll have to do the comparison when the DS MKII arrives and see how it compares, but there are times when the right LP is just magical, and times when the digital is better, and it will be interested to hear how Ted Smith uses the additional FPGA in future firmware updates.

I will say that taking the digital out of the system (or shutting it off) has seemed to make LP’s sound even better, and I have a Niagara 7000 which should alleviate any power induced contamination. Perhaps it’s the XLR’s being connected, but I heard it on a tube pre and a passive as well.

The new DS MKII Dac allows one to lift grounds on any input (plus shell on XLR) so maybe that could help with what I’m hearing.

My vinyl rig is several times more expensive than my digital front end though, so digital can be cost effective for the discerning audiophile.

Incidentally a friend just got into vinyl modestly with a Technics 1500 with the packaged cart, which he is upgrading the stylus. He admits it does not sound as good as his Parasound all in one - including phono stage. I tried to explain if you’re going for vinyl I think you should consider spending at least a few thousand dollars to get something that could compete well with digital.



I found the quality of the streamer  used made a huge difference to my digital set up.

Moving away from a standard mac or windows computer/laptop was a big improvement.


”nit picky..what is a nit anyway?”

“The term originally referred to picking nits, the eggs of lice, from hair, and later to picking out the lice themselves.”

You’re welcome.

@waytoomuchstuff um that was sarcasm my man. But being from a family that is OCD about hygiene we never had to pick nits or lice. Just vegetables from our garden cause we spent all our money on soap…


Got the sarcasm.  I appreciate the comment. 

My (feeble) attempt at humor followed.

Yeah, I'm married to a OCD hygiene individual.  I get it.

Back in the audio dark ages...when transistors were usually only found in portable AM radios...your carefully-assembled component mono hi-fi system or one of them new-fangled stereophonic systems were commonly referred to as a rig.

For what it's worth I just came across the Jay's Audio Lab video "Vinyl Vs Digital: Which Is THE BEST?"  Worth a watch.  It mirrors my conclusions exactly and compares the high-end of both formats coming to the same conclusion I have.

  I watched part of that video(thought it quite boring as most of his tease me/whats behind the curtain videos) and if not mistaken his digital was streaming from Roon...makes the whole exercise irrelevant IMO...you have a top on the line table and pre up against streaming,lol...Jesus get a high end cd transport or even an Esoteric SACD player and make it a fair fight......

@missioncoonery  Don't know how much you watched but he had a top model MSB DAC & Streamer.  It tells me it's "in the" media.  I had an Esoteric K-01 for many years.  A nice player but was easily beat by my TP.  I now own a PS Audio PerfectWave SACD Transport.  While it sounds a bit better than streaming still not the match of the Vinyl.  You keep referring to my "top line" table.  If one looks at the range of available TT's it's in the middle.  Jay had a very high end table.  SME probably has one of the best. Do you have a vinyl system?

Vinyl playback is an anachronistic luddite technology that never fails to surprise me. My digital streaming rig sounds amazingly good and clearly keeps me in many loops I'd otherwise not be exposed to (Trio X of Sweden...who knew?), but stick a licorice pizza on my trusty old Linn?...man...a very moving moving coil. 

Having recently gotten back into the game in a big way, with vinyl and digital, frankly I’m blown away with how good my cd collection sounds. A great DAC and a dedicated quality (CEC) cd transport really deliver. Vinyl has a bigger range of listening quality. At its best, it’s wonderful, particularly with some of my recent, unblemished purchases. The other good thing about vinyl is that I’m more apt to chill, and listen to a side of music, instead of zipping ahead after a favorite solo.

I'm a step down:  Innuos MKII, Auralic DAC, decent but not great cables and no switches.  Scheu turntable into the onboard phono section of a Rogue Audio Cronus Magnum III.  New and well-cared-for vinyl often sounds better but by inches only, not yards.  Surprising to me, I've made some A-to-D rips with an RME babyface and Isotope Rx that sound better then some commercial CD remixes.