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  1. #1

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    Default How can we achieve more analog with Digital?

    I realize the title of this thread is an oxymoron, but it expresses the ultimate goal of my system. A few weeks back I came to the conclusion that buying a turntable leads to many other expenses in terms of media, maintenance, cabling, etc. I wish I could buy all these things, but I simply don't have the money; moreoever I feel my money is better spent by improving on the way my core media (Compact Discs) is communicated to my speakers. Essentially, it made more sense for me to buy a Cambridge Audio 840C with the hope to achieve the best sounding digital I could.

    I'm sure others in this forum, especially those younger audiophiles who were never exposed to records given their birth in the digital age feel they are too late to enter the analog world. Ironically, I have over 50 records from the 60s and 70s in great condition that were passed down from my Dad. He has a Doors LP "Weird Scenes Inside the Gold Mine," which is an amazing album that I don't think ever made it to CD. Now, get ready to gasp . . . my first and only expereicne listeing to these records was on a Fisher Price Turntable! The turntable is long gone, but I still have the records.

    I guess my questions are . . .

    1. How can I achieve better analog sound with my digital setup?

    2. How can I begin to dabble in Analog? What's a good turntable? Used is fine. I need one that won't break the bank, but still give me HiFi sound that approaches my 840C. Is that possible? I just want to enjoy those records again, but I'm hesitant. I don't know the first thing about maintenance or use when it comes to turntables. How do I even know if the LPs I have are in good condition? The whole idea is intimidating.

  2. #2

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    1. How can I achieve better analog sound with my digital setup?
    The problem with digital is not that it's not analog, it's the way they master CDs and remove most of the dynamic range. I think a well mastered CD sounds better than a well mastered LP. Problem is that they are few and far between.

    Don't know of any equipment that can make up for poor mastering.

  3. #3

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    You can try different DAC's or a tube buffer, etc...
    "He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you." Friedrich Nietzsche

  4. #4

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    Tubes, man, tubes.
    HT/2-channel Rig: Sony 50 LCD TV; Toshiba HD-A2 DVD player; Emotiva LMC-1 pre/pro; Rogue Audio M-120 monoblocks (modded); Placette RVC; Emotiva LPA-1 amp; Bada HD-22 tube CDP (modded); VMPS Tower II SE (fronts); DIY Clearwave Dynamic 4CC (center); Wharfedale Opus Tri-Surrounds (rear); and VMPS 215 sub

    "God grooves with tubes."

  5. #5

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    After the fact that many recordings are crummy on cd,
    almost all mass consumer products are built with little or no
    thought put into anlalog stage quality. They put a great DAC in a
    DVD player, then make the power supply weak, or do a cheap chip
    based analog stage. Stick with better stuff like Rotel, B&k, etc.
    Add an external DAC. My favorite- don't fall into the "new format war".
    A good 5.1 will blow away a poorly done 7.1, and the equipment is
    much cheaper. You see guys dumping real good 5.1 stuff to go to 7.1,
    and the 5.1 becomes bargain bin. Many of us have never gone
    to even 5.1, sticking to 2 channel. I've got a 15 year old tube amp that
    still kicks ass over most modern stuff.
    I know you've gone far beyond this, SolidSqual, but this is directed at the new guys.

    The TT bargains are out there. A good tube pre will work wonders. In retrospect,
    a good tube pre matched with a good sand amp would of been a better choice than
    a SS pre and a tube amp for me.
    Last edited by sucks2beme; 10-27-2007 at 02:53 PM.

  6. #6
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    If you are just looking to play the 50 or so LPs you have and not really get into the whole vinyl scene then search for a used turntable within driving distance of your home. Purchase some wet cleaning products that dry without residue and a good old fashioned dry stylus cleaning brush and you'll bask in the sound of your records.

    As far as digital sounding good, I've found that the higher end gear sounds very, very good. Just recently at Polkfest we got the hear a Musical Fidelity kW and CD/SACD player and it was awesome. F1nut's modded Jolida and RT1's Consonnance players sounded good too.

  7. #7

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    Try to find a NON-Oversampling DAC, and also do not get caught up in upsampling. Play 16bit digital through you non-os DAC, with perhaps a tubed output buffer, or to a tubed preamp.

    Tubes, in general, mellow things out, and also non-oversampling DACs do not have some of the "digital" haze... now, they may not be hyper detailed, but you don't necessarily need that for your music to sound analog. Analog, to me, is music without fatigue or artificial enhancements. Non-oversampling is probably the way to do that, along with tubes in your system. Also, if you do not want to use a tubed preamp, you could use a tubed poweramp, and try a passive pre that uses balanced transformers for volume.

    Here is the concept behind tubes and transformers, you are taking digital "sound" and running it through a vacuum between plates (tubes), or allowing the magnetic fields to transfer the information from one side to another (transformer), you are basically decoupling this precise digital output, and introducing a slight element of chaos. It seems counterintuitive, to have MORE things in the chain, but tubes are nothing short of paradise for many audiophiles, and transformers also help with the decoupling. A non-os DAC, it constructs the signal from the bits, and without any processing, it outputs the audio. They still use vectors and such to create a waveform, but it is smooth, and without any additional processing like upsampling or oversampling.

  8. #8

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    My system is this:

    CA 840C
    Rogue Audio Metis (Tube pre)
    Odyssey Khartgo (Stratos Mod)
    Acoustic Zen Adagios

    Based on your comments, it sounds like I am on the right track. I'd rather not add another DAC as the one in the CA is pretty damn good.

  9. #9

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    I have not gone the tube route yet but I found I really liked the improvement my Benchmark DAC 1 made as far as removing some of that digital sound. As far as vinyl goes, the sound blows digital away in the 'you are there' category but I am still frustrated by the noise.
    Sharp Elite 70
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    Parasound HCA 1000
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    Polk Atrium 7s on the patio just to keep my foot in the door.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by wingnut4772 View Post
    I have not gone the tube route yet but I found I really liked the improvement my Benchmark DAC 1 made as far as removing some of that digital sound. As far as vinyl goes, the sound blows digital away in the 'you are there' category but I am still frustrated by the noise.
    Wing -- why haven't you dabbled in tubes yet? A tube pre is in your future. I think you'll really enjoy it.
    HT/2-channel Rig: Sony 50 LCD TV; Toshiba HD-A2 DVD player; Emotiva LMC-1 pre/pro; Rogue Audio M-120 monoblocks (modded); Placette RVC; Emotiva LPA-1 amp; Bada HD-22 tube CDP (modded); VMPS Tower II SE (fronts); DIY Clearwave Dynamic 4CC (center); Wharfedale Opus Tri-Surrounds (rear); and VMPS 215 sub

    "God grooves with tubes."

  11. #11

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    Tube Pre is the best "tweak"/addition I ever added to my system. It terms of added enjoyment and greatest immdeiate difference, tube pre is the way to go. OF course . . . my former pre was a Yamaha HTR5890.

  12. #12

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    http://cls.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls....abl&1196366841

    I still want some good sound. How would this do?

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    If you really want to enjoy your CD's.... some of them are recorded in HDCD. Make sure you get a DAC that can decode this format. HDCD sounds 50% better than just CD.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by SolidSqual View Post
    Tube Pre is the best "tweak"/addition I ever added to my system. It terms of added enjoyment and greatest immdeiate difference, tube pre is the way to go. OF course . . . my former pre was a Yamaha HTR5890.
    I guess because I have read that they add distortion and color. The only one I have ever heard was paired with Thiel speakers and I was not feeling it. Maybe someday I will try one.
    Sharp Elite 70
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    Von Schweikert LCR 4 Center
    Totem Mask Surrounds X4
    Hsu ULS-15 Quad Drive Subwoofers
    Sony PS3
    Squeezebox Touch

    Polk Atrium 7s on the patio just to keep my foot in the door.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by wingnut4772 View Post
    I guess because I have read that they add distortion and color. The only one I have ever heard was paired with Thiel speakers and I was not feeling it. Maybe someday I will try one.
    Huh? The reason I got into tubes was to get rid of SS distortion, particularly at high volume levels.

    In terms of color, everything in the signal path adds color, and tubes are no different.

    Great thing about tube gear is -- you can change the sound by switching tubes. It's cheaper than constantly upgrading. If I had a SS CDP, I probably would have gone through several of CDP's, but I've had the same one for several years and have no plans to "upgrade."
    HT/2-channel Rig: Sony 50 LCD TV; Toshiba HD-A2 DVD player; Emotiva LMC-1 pre/pro; Rogue Audio M-120 monoblocks (modded); Placette RVC; Emotiva LPA-1 amp; Bada HD-22 tube CDP (modded); VMPS Tower II SE (fronts); DIY Clearwave Dynamic 4CC (center); Wharfedale Opus Tri-Surrounds (rear); and VMPS 215 sub

    "God grooves with tubes."

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by wingnut4772 View Post
    I have not gone the tube route yet but I found I really liked the improvement my Benchmark DAC 1 made as far as removing some of that digital sound. As far as vinyl goes, the sound blows digital away in the 'you are there' category but I am still frustrated by the noise.
    You need to get past that noise or you will never enjoy the vinyl experience. BTW there are several ways of getting a better signal to noise ratio and one of them is to go with a higher end cartridge either MM or MC will do. As I wrote in a previous thread, my ZYX cartridges have put the noise in a place where it is no longer bothersome unless of course it is a very deep nick or scratch.

  17. #17

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    Tru dat! Amen Brudda!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Early B. View Post
    Huh? The reason I got into tubes was to get rid of SS distortion, particularly at high volume levels.

    In terms of color, everything in the signal path adds color, and tubes are no different.

    Great thing about tube gear is -- you can change the sound by switching tubes. It's cheaper than constantly upgrading. If I had a SS CDP, I probably would have gone through several of CDP's, but I've had the same one for several years and have no plans to "upgrade."
    Be careful when choosing tube CDPs. My preamp hates tube CDPs. I've tried a couple out and the results were less than desirable.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by SolidSqual View Post
    http://cls.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls....abl&1196366841

    I still want some good sound. How would this do?
    Rega makes great tables. I've never heard this one in particular but I have heard their big brothers and their tonearm's big brothers. They sound very nice. I wouldn't buy a turntable that is to be shipped unless it is coming from the manufacturer or an authorized deatler. That's just me. Maybe if it come with the original packing and box and the seller guarantees safe arrival.

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Early B. View Post
    Huh? The reason I got into tubes was to get rid of SS distortion, particularly at high volume levels.

    In terms of color, everything in the signal path adds color, and tubes are no different.

    Great thing about tube gear is -- you can change the sound by switching tubes. It's cheaper than constantly upgrading. If I had a SS CDP, I probably would have gone through several of CDP's, but I've had the same one for several years and have no plans to "upgrade."
    That's just what I've read. I really don't know the first thing about them. AND ...I just bought a Musical Fidelity pre so no tubes right away.

    As far as vinyl noise goes Joe, I know but a new cartridge is not in my near future. I still enjoy the music though. A lot.
    Sharp Elite 70
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    Totem Mask Surrounds X4
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    Polk Atrium 7s on the patio just to keep my foot in the door.

  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by wingnut4772 View Post
    AND ...I just bought a Musical Fidelity pre so no tubes right away.
    Really? Cool. Did you get the A3cr? Has it arrived yet? Where's the review?
    HT/2-channel Rig: Sony 50 LCD TV; Toshiba HD-A2 DVD player; Emotiva LMC-1 pre/pro; Rogue Audio M-120 monoblocks (modded); Placette RVC; Emotiva LPA-1 amp; Bada HD-22 tube CDP (modded); VMPS Tower II SE (fronts); DIY Clearwave Dynamic 4CC (center); Wharfedale Opus Tri-Surrounds (rear); and VMPS 215 sub

    "God grooves with tubes."

  22. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Early B. View Post
    Huh? The reason I got into tubes was to get rid of SS distortion, particularly at high volume levels.

    In terms of color, everything in the signal path adds color, and tubes are no different.

    Great thing about tube gear is -- you can change the sound by switching tubes. It's cheaper than constantly upgrading. If I had a SS CDP, I probably would have gone through several of CDP's, but I've had the same one for several years and have no plans to "upgrade."
    Quote Originally Posted by Early B. View Post
    Really? Cool. Did you get the A3cr? Has it arrived yet? Where's the review?
    Yep. It arrives Tuesday.
    Sharp Elite 70
    Anthem D2V 3D
    Parasound 5250
    Parasound HCA 1000 A
    Parasound HCA 1000
    Oppo BDP 95
    Von Schweikert VR4 Jr R/L Fronts
    Von Schweikert LCR 4 Center
    Totem Mask Surrounds X4
    Hsu ULS-15 Quad Drive Subwoofers
    Sony PS3
    Squeezebox Touch

    Polk Atrium 7s on the patio just to keep my foot in the door.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by wingnut4772 View Post
    That's just what I've read. I really don't know the first thing about them. AND ...I just bought a Musical Fidelity pre so no tubes right away.

    As far as vinyl noise goes Joe, I know but a new cartridge is not in my near future. I still enjoy the music though. A lot.
    There are other things you can do to dampen the noise.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hearingimpared View Post
    There are other things you can do to dampen the noise.
    Wear earmuffs?:p:D:D:D;)
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    Squeezebox Touch

    Polk Atrium 7s on the patio just to keep my foot in the door.

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    Great pic

    engtaz

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    Solid--If you want great digital a pretty damm good DAC is not good enough. The most musical sounding digital format is SACD, mostly because it helps along the machines interpolater's.

    Although HD and Blue Ray offer another avenue for improved digital music it appears the suits who gummed up sacd and dvd/a are well on there way to spooning everyone who cares about musical sound with these new formats as well.

    For now I use SACD and the mentioned HDCD supplemented by my vinyl collection or my vinyl collection supplemented by my SACD.......just depends on the mood and music.

    Good luck finding the sound that does it for you. Just keep after it.

    Great pic.

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    Everthing Matters...Tubes Rule...and It's Over until it's Not Over

  28. #28
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    Great Pic! Is the cute lad holding his ears because of the digital glare & grunge?

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    lol :)

  30. #30

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    I have no idea why that kid is covering his ears. Some dumb Dad just posted a picture of his kid on the net with access available to every sleaze ball willing to search. I just typed in earmuffs on google images and it came up. It's funny and cute, but I don't approve if it.

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