Analogue and digital - thoughts?

WARNING. This is going to be very controversial on this forum but I am interested to know what other dCS users are finding in all honesty. I have been enjoying digital since 1983 when I sold all my LPs and bought my first CD. I haven’t considered going back to vinyl in all that time and am the very satisfied owner of a Rossini player, clock and recent APEX upgrade. BUT last week I went to an event at my local dealer during which we played the same tracks via Qobuz (over full dCS Vivaldi stack) and then via LPs on a decent SME turntable with Dynavector MC cartridge. Worth noting that the analogue source was significantly less expensive than the digital. The vinyl blew the streaming away - no contest for every track played. Everyone in the room heard the difference and agreed. I was shocked. To be clear, the streaming on its own was sensational, it’s just that the LPs conveyed more… music! Streaming is fabulous for discovering new music, but tbh I think I need to invest in a new vinyl system and restart a journey I thought had ended 40 years ago! I can’t explain it technically, but emotionally it makes sense. I await the missiles heading in my direction.


A very interesting observation, and I ‘get it’ too. I recently went to an audio show where the rooms I enjoyed the most typically played LPs and had high sensitivity speakers - Living Voice, Snell, Klipsch. Pretty much the opposite of my system and listening too.

What was the rest of the kit you heard? Especially amps and speakers?


I enjoy both, I have a Vivaldi set up, but sometimes I listen to music with my Linn LP12, it can be softer on some vinyl compared with digital, on some other records, the digital is the same as vinyl, sometimes it is better.

If you do want something better than digital, you must listen to reel to reel tapes, but it is very expensive and the choice of music is very limited, but it sounds very good.


Never preferred the sound of cd over vinyl. Reluctantly converted primarily to cds when lp production became obsolete. Full stack gets most of my listening but i have a gigantic cd library plus large digital library on local server and sub to qobuz and amazon. My record collection is pared way down to what i consider to be better quality recordings. Vinyl gets machine washed and dried and archival storage. That being said, i listen probably 2-4 hrs every day. The cd is my meat and taters. It sounds terrific. Qobuz and server are for when i have a short time to listen, looking for obscure music or to hear a recommendation by others or am multitasking and when in my car. Records are played like dessert when i want to simply savor with no distractions and expect none. My turntable isnt as high end as the dcs but it is well up the chain with an atlas cart. I cant say at all that vinyl blows the cd away but the difference on a good record is easily notable and worth the hassle when i have the time to indulge myself.


I have the same experience. I really love my Rossini Player & Clock (soon to be Apex’d) but when playing f.e. Yello on my Bergmann Galder/Odin (with Vandenhul Colibri) the latter sounds ‘better’ (to my ears). Ofcourse it all depends on the quality of the source. I recently re-enjoyed listening to CD’s too.

I never sold my vinyl collection I built up since the 80-ies :slight_smile:

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Is the elephant in the room here Qobuz? I wonder whether the difference from vinyl you report would have been quite as marked if you were spinning a CD.

I love analogue, had an almost full spec LP12 and roughly 1000 records. Sold everything due space reasons and wanted to go from there for the best digital source. Now on dCS, Mleco, Qobuz, Innuos switch. Do I miss my LP12? Yes, sometimes ….especially when playing some Lambchop, Portishead, or alternative music.

Well, we all know the quality of the source -wether it be vinyl, CD or streaming- is essential. But (very) generally speaking vinyl > CD > streaming.

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I agree but generally speaking I would say vinyl > SACD > CD > streaming

The old “bits are bits” slogan was rightly debunked years ago. Even so, I don’t see why a recording on CD would necessarily sound better than the same recording streamed. Ultimately, it is the exact same bits placed in a buffer before playing.

I use Qobuz streaming a lot of the time. When I do play CDs, I’m often surprised at just how good they can still sound. But does CD generally sound ‘better’? I really don’t think so.

A couple of years or so back, I would’ve agreed that streaming isn’t as good. But since sorting my network out and using an optical link, I would say that Qobuz streaming is every bit as good as CD and hi-rez can be distinctly better.


No missiles, so many guys share your observations. I have the Rossini Player and clock and find that CD betters Qobuz at every turn, but they tell me vinyl betters them both, however, I am willing to sacrifice performance over convenience! I just don’t think I could go back but I think it’s great that a lot of audiophiles do!!


I have a Rossini (waiting for Apex upgrade) and Rossini Clock. I have a modest turntable rig (Pro-Ject RPM 9 turntable and Dynavector DV-X20 cartridge.

In my system I rank my source SQ formats as follows: vinyl > SACD > hires local on my NAS > Qobuz hires > Redbook either via CD player or Qobuz.

Vinyl has more depth and dynamics as digital seems more compressed. You hear the improved SQ right away.


It’s fascinating that a 70 year old technology is still relevant.

Coincidentally to the timing of this thread I got my turntable up and running again after it had been put away during renovations. I was quite taken aback at how good it sounded.

I’ve often thought in the comparison between analogue and digital that a turntable is a musical instrument – there’s a vibration going on there at the groove-stylus interface which is then amplified … live. Might this explain why some feel with vinyl there is more “there” there?

I agree with another post that at hifi shows the best sound is often with vinyl playback. The best sound I ever heard at a show was a reel-to-reel recording of Louis Armstrong – it was like he was in the room and that he had never died!

Since obtaining a Network Bridge 18 months ago most of my listening, however, has been digital – Tidal streaming or my own files on a NAS. The sound quality of albums on Tidal is a bit hit and miss. Some sound superb, some downright awful. If only record companies were more consistent in their remastering!

I’m pleased I put a lot of work in to ripping many of my LPs. Often these rips sound better than high res downloads or high res streaming. Perhaps “the future of analogue is digital” (not my quote).


Thank you for all those interesting responses. I owe you an update. Yesterday I spent a full day with my dealer comparing vinyl with digital. The dealer kindly set up three different vinyl systems at three different price points, from moderate to extortionate. I had purchased a double DSD download and exactly the same direct cut LP of a live recording from “Chasing the Dragon” who are a highly reputable recording studio. I thought this should represent the pinnacle of digital and analogue recording technology and remove “mastering” from the equation (which has a huge effect). I also listened to a wide variety of other LPs, CDs, and streaming tracks of varying recording quality. We did a simultaneous A/B of Rossini APEX player versus the vinyl. I was fully expecting to buy a new vinyl system as I said in my original post. It didn’t happen. And it probably won’t happen. Why? Some of the people (who already have vinyl) in the room liked the vinyl better. But I didn’t actually. Yes all the vinyl sounded very good, particularly after running through a Degritter machine. But the digital also sounded wonderful. The differences I heard were mainly in the “voicing” of the various cartridges compared to the Rossini. To my ears the Rossini sounded more focused, more open, and potentially a bit more “bright”. All the vinyl sounded wonderfully laid back, “organic”, detailed yet smooth. But better? Really? It wasn’t what I expected after my first experience but that was comparing a £300 LP with Qobuz. The differences were far more nuanced and probably down to personal preference rather than anything else. I suspect the frequency balance of the Rossini is flatter compared to the vinyl systems, with much lower noise floor and this could be disconcerting at times. Overall, what this says to me is how far digital, and in particular, dCS has come to sounding “analogue” and is a testament to modern digital recording and technology when done properly and with care. For those that love vinyl - absolutely good on you. But personally I can’t justify the cost and inconvenience of going there again. For those interested in gear used in the demos: turntables by Naim/Clearaudio, SME; Cartridges by Naim/Clearaudio, Ortofon, Dynavector; Phono Stages by Naim, Nagra, Accuphase; Amplification by D’Agostino, Constellation; Speakers by Wilson Audio; Cables by Crystal, Transparent.


@DaveC David, thanks for your follow up post. I’d love to think that the SQ of my soon to be Rossini Apex upgrade will come as close to vinyl as your post suggests. I’ll provide an update after my Rossini is updated and has ample settling time.

I took a look at the ‘Chasing the Dragon’ downloads available and they seem to be very limited. I’ve used HDTracks with various hits & misses. Are there other hires download sites you can recommend that have mainstream artists (mainly jazz) at double DSD resolution?

@Cycles2 - have you looked at DSD Native ( They have a good catalogue of dsd native recordings.

@Frankie67 Thanks for the DSD Native suggestion. As I’m not familiar with purchasing DSD downloads, do i select the DSD128 option or does the Rossini support a higher DSD resolution?

Brian …

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Nope, DSD128 is the max.

Interesting thread and thanks for sharing your thoughts.

I find for me there are albums that sound better in a vinyl incarnation and some that are more emotionally involving in their digital format – and “emotionally involving” is not a phrase I would have used to describe digital playback ten years ago.

Preference seems now to be down to the provenance of the particular recording and goes deeper than a simple analog versus digital dividing line. The skill of the recording crew, the choices made in the mixing process, the care of the mastering engineer, all have a greater impact in final sound quality than a simple choice of format.

I have rips from Redbook CDs that are demonstration quality, vinyl (and not necessarily audiophile-reissue vinyl) that sounds equally superlative, and I’ve experienced the same superb quality sound from streamed albums.

I’m very glad that I have choices and that I can find a satisfying, emotionally involving experience no matter what format I choose.


I love my vinyl setup but I don’t find much point in buying modern music on vinyl. It’s all digitally mastered so why convert it back to analog and press it on a disc? I guess it’s nice if you prefer the flavor of your analog setup, but the dCS sound is pretty great.

The fun of vinyl for me is finding old albums from before the digital era, or things that were never issued on digital. There’s so much great music you can only find on vinyl, and much of it is not big buck collector stuff. For the past few years I’ve been collecting Japanese jazz from the 60s and 70s. There’s some amazing music with incredible recoring quality and can be had for very reasonable prices.