Originally Posted by cctvtech
the goal of any high end system should be to reproduce the media without changing it in any way.
I can't agree with the "accuracy" argument. Different folks listen for (and hear) different things in live music... if in fact they have the opportunity to hear "live" music. If you like the sound of tubes, you should have tubes.
Originally Posted by Summa
I've heard a lot of analog fans describe digital sources as being "sterile" compared to vinyl reproduction.
Analog fans listening to vinyl are putting a lot more into the mix than "analog versus digital"... namely the phono cartridge. If you were to run a 15 or 30 IPS half track master on a tape deck that was calibrated the same as the recorder, you would have a very different sound than the vinyl it was mastered to. This is due to the sound of your cartridge. All cartridges have their own signature sound just like speakers. They can be bright, forward, veiled, thin, fat, warm, etc., and the differences between various models and designs is far greater than anything else in a capable system (other than the speakers of course). Without having the analog source the vinyl was mastered from to compare, they have no idea which cartridge might be the most "right". People go with the one that sounds the way "they" want it to in their system.
My experience is that a decent digital master from analog is much closer to the original source than vinyl through a phono cartridge. Because like tubes, the phono cartridge applies its sonic characteristics (which are much more significant), and these are what the vinyl folks are fond of. Different, yes. More accurate... nope. But, it is about what sounds better to you, not what is more accurate.
My issue with components with a large "sonic signature" is that they are great on some things, but usually not on everything. They get in the way of great recordings (where your system is at its best). Just like turning the bass and treble up on a thin, veiled recording, it soon becomes tiresome with a good one.
My experience with better systems is that they are usually less forgiving of lousy recordings, so some folks are actually looking for some coloration to embellish them. Perhaps we should have two setups (and many do). Most serious vinyl heads have several cartridges. Many years ago I had a turntable with three tonearms... yeesh.