Originally Posted by centurymantra
Well stated. That being said, the one thing that analog may have an edge on is upper end frequency response. It is my understanding that redbook CD pretty much contains no information above 20khz. Vinyl on the other hand, theoretically has the ability to reproduce frequencies far above this. This, of course, opens up the whole argument about whether this adds anything meaningful to the sound and we probably shouldn't go there. At the very least, we could argue that digital isn't more accurate in EVERY respect.
I agree with this actually. CD tops out at an utter max of 22.05 khz. CDs must be pre-filtered below 22.05khz which is the Nyquist limit, which is absolute. Usually they should get a pretty steep low-pass filter that rolls off somewhere around 20khz, and is pretty much completely gone by ~22khz to prevent aliasing problems if it exceeds the Nyquist limit.
In theory, vinyl can go beyond this. In practice, there's no way a meagre setup will do this, or do it very well. And there's even less chance of that because it would be rare to get frequencies that high actually pressed to vinyl. There were some experiments done and they were able to get quite a bit higher than 20khz, but the entire chain was so ideal (from cutting master to vinyl to playback) that it really wasn't very realistic. So it's good that you point this out, that in theory this is basically the only place where vinyl could
exceed CD. But in actual practice, you're getting pretty severe rolloff well
That being said, digital is ultimately a more accurate means of capture...to a point. In my original comment about digital and analog being different but not inherently better mediums, I wasn't necessarily referring to CD vs. vinyl. There is good digital (high end DAC/ADC such as might be found in a state of the art recording facility) and bad digital (the digital chip in your answering machine), just as there is good and bad analog. The quality of the recording that is made with my answering machine at home is not better OR more accurate than a top of the line Nagra analog recorder.
Absolutely I agree. There is never any inherent "digital is just better" or "analog is just better" argument that has any worth. It's all the specifics of whatever format you're talking about. Whether it is digital or analog is really just a step along the way.
My longstanding pet peeve is both versions of those arguments. On the one hand is people buying into the new-awesome ploy of "digital!" as if that is somehow better for some inherent reason. That digital video is just inherently better than analog, or whatever. That simply is not true.
And the flipside, the people who ignorantly go "digital is just a sampled version of an original analog signal, it can never capture the whole thing, analog will always be better." Also, an entirely uninformed and specious argument.
So my answer to this question is always a non-answer. "What's actually better, CD or vinyl?" My answer is always this: CD is an unquestionably superior format to vinyl in practically every meaningful way of delivering high-quality audio, but vinyl is the best sound I've ever heard.