Despite many scientific tests showing that people can't consistently detect a difference in digital (CD) vs analog (vinyl) reproduction of music, a hardcore group continues to insist that analog is better. But how can it be better if you can't identify which is which in a testing situation?

Maybe, if analog is better in some way than digital, it's more in the measurable category than the perceivable category.

And yet, analog/vinyl proponents have a faith in their preferred format that borders on the religious.

Many vinyl proponents seem to forget that there's no such thing as analog perception. Perception isn't exactly digital, either, but no perception involves a continuous analog stream of data. Receptors in our eyes, or ears, or fingertips get stimulated enough to discharge. That is a lot more like the data on a digital CD than a groove on a vinyl disk.

Another thing that's often overlooked is that, anymore, all music which is produced in a normal sort of production situation is digitized at some point along the way, even if it is then D/A'd back into analog for reproduction on vinyl. That would tend to imply some sort of degradation in going for digital to analog.

Whenever a CD sounds worse than its vinyl counterpart (this is definitely possible, and happens) it may be due to several factors including carelessness in the conversion of an analog version to CD. The "Let's get it out there and start making money" attitude. Sometimes such producers don't even go back to the original analog tapes, but base the CD on a good quality second or third generation source. 

In other words, the fault isn't the technology in such cases, but shoddy workmanship on the part of the audio engineers.

For an intelligent discussion in an audiophile setting of the vinyl vs. CD debate, read this article.

Tags: analog, audio, cd, digital, music, vinyl, vs.

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