The debate, surprisingly, goes on. 

Proponents of vinyl insist vinyl sounds better. And there are a lot of proponents of vinyl out there, supporting numerous small shops specializing in vinyl records.

At the same time, in blind tests, vinyl doesn't have a good record against digital recordings. Not that one is better or worse than the other, but that in double-blind tests, vinyl believers can't even seem to tell which is which. If they were able reliably to identify "this one is analog" or "this one is digital." One would think that if vinyl sounds better, there'd be no problem distinguishing the one from the other. 

If it's a myth that vinyl sounds better than digital, perhaps can we trace it back to where it began. When CD's arrived on the scene, most of the first recordings offered were analog to digital rerecordings. A preexisting analog master was digitized onto the CD format. Often (indeed, almost always), the rerecordings were done in a rush by engineers who were new to digital audio and, thus, were on a learning curve.

A few pioneering companies such as Telarc started producing original digital recordings which were almost invariably given 5-star reviews by the critics, but for many years there were almost entirely a classical and a bit later a jazz label, so many interested rock, pop, hip-hop, etc. were almost totally unaware of them.

It took a considerable time for most recordings to be all-digital. 

As I understand it, the explanation given by proponents of analog/vinyl goes like "In digital recording, music is sampled. In other words, you're not hearing it all. It's like a movie with so many frames per second. If you'll notice, at times you realize that the movie is basically a string of stills, especially when rapid motion is involved. Then you realize you're seeing the action in a series of jerks. Digital audio is analogous to that." 

It seems the experts on perception aren't buying. They point out that our senses aren't truly analog. We perceive through specialized nerve endings, and all a nerve ending can do is either fire or wait to fire. A visual or auditory nerve does not provide us with a continuous perception of any sort. Our brain, in effect, becomes a kind of digital to analog converter. 

A seldom-recognized fact is that, aside from a very few direct-to-vinyl recordings which are then processed in analog form all the way to the final pressing, most so-called analog recordings are digitized at some point along the way and then converted back to analog before pressing the vinyl.

This debate will probably never die as long as people can convince themselves that vinyl sounds better, even if the belief seems to be something akin to the placebo effect whereby if you think it should sound better you will think it sounds better.

Tags: CD's, analog, digital, recordings, vinyl

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Violin is one of my favorite instruments to hear played live. Gypsy violin can evoke emotions in a way to make you dance or cry. 

The other thing I miss with direct-to-digital is the subtle preview you get when the master analog tapes would sometimes sit around a bit to long and start to bleed to the adjacent revolution a bit and of course the subtle wow and flutter that was sometimes evident.

Analog at very high fidelity is more dynamic then Digital.

Analog is a curve, Digital is a series of points.

The human ear is limited, not everyone can detach the nuance of Analog over Digital.

Vinyl degrades with each playing, Digital is the same every time it's played.

Analog has a richness Digital can't match.

To be honest neither can compare with a quality orchestra in a concert hall.

What you are describing is a technological superstition.

The digital image is converted to analog for play. 

Even if it weren't, the "points" (as you incorrectly call them) are dense enough that we don't hear points, just like when we see something, we don't see an array of colored dots representing the firing of visual nerve endings. 

A dense enough presentation of perceptions becomes indistinguishable from "analog" reality. Consider Apple's Retina Display.

Perception is really neither analog nor digital but something else entirely. However, it is more like digital than analog. Why? Because reality itself isn't analog. Magnified enough, every surface becomes rough, consisting of indivual entities not a continuous unbroken surface. Magnified enough, the smoothest glass becomes a matrix of molecules and atoms. Hell, light itself is constructed of parts call photons.

Finally, where are the double blind tests showing that people who think they are connoisseurs can even tell a digital recording from an analog one. And what about the fact that most so-called "analog" recordings are digitized at some stage in the production process then converted back to analog.

Just my POV.

In response to your post;

"What's your take: vinyl vs CD"

Personally my ears are so shot, it doesn't matter. :D

Sampling theorem is very interesting and more complicated than one may believe. Sampling an analog signal is theoretically the same as multiplying (aka modulating) that signal with a finite series of equally spaced impulses. The result in the frequency domain is a convolution of the two spectra. It's a periodic hold and compare function that results in a squared-up signal. Any frequencies in the input signal (intentional or not) that are greater than half the sample rate will cause aliasing (think of a wagon wheel in movie films) and distortion in the result. Therefore the signal is usually filtered before sampling, unless it is oversampled to such a degree that all noise will not be an issue. This is sometimes done using sigma delta "over-sample" system (captures delta vs absolute samples) to limit the resulting data you must to deal with. Of course there are so many ways to mess up this process. Imagine if I sample a signal at 47.9KHz and play it back at 48.1 KHz? You also have to filter the converted analog signal to suppress the "squared up" nature or once again over-sample it to use a cheaper filter. Fortunately, audio is slow: practically DC for most intents and purposes, so many of these problems simply go unnoticed...of course with a sigma delta input and class-d amplifier output you may never really go back to analog until you get to the air..

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