Vinyl Vs Streaming... Which sounds better?

T1berious

Member
Firstly, I hope you all had a great Christmas and I wish you all the very best for 2021 (It can't get worse? Can it?)

I guess I just wanted to hear other peoples point of view, I totally accept its all entirely subjective and we all perceive things differently etc :)

So I've got back into Vinyl and haven't stopped using my TT (cough, I'm running the cartridge in, 50 hours.. so the man says, cough) but I'm finding I'm gravitating towards the TT more than I'm streaming.

My Streaming setup should smoke my TT (Bluesound Node 2i / Chord Qutest) but in the name of science I played exactly the same Album (Kind of Blue - Hi Res on Streamer) and found that wasn't the case. Vinyl sounded richer, the stream cleaner nut not necessarily better.

In the end I decided they sounded different but I liked them both (I mean the convenience of streaming with Tidal / Spotify / My Library anywhere in the house is just awesome) but I like the charm of getting the wet goat hair brush to an Album.

Just wondered about your experiences?
 

AmericanAudio

Active Member
AVForums Sponsor
I have only ever heard one back to back demo where digital matched vinyl.

And that was on a Naim 555 CD player, and sharing the same amps and speakers.

Not surprised with your findings at all.
 

Craig uk

Well-known Member
Vinyl is my preference - very pleased with what my Planar 10/Apheta 3 can do with it. I use streaming for discovery mostly.
 

T1berious

Member
Vinyl is my preference - very pleased with what my Planar 10/Apheta 3 can do with it. I use streaming for discovery mostly.

See, that is kind of what I'm doing, my only gripe being sourcing the Albums once you've decided "oooh, I want that!"
 

mushii

Distinguished Member
Depends on old vinyl vs new. Old vinyl will be mastered totally differently to new and will have that ‘inherent warmth’. New vinyl - welcome to the new Snake Oil....
 

musicphil

Active Member
Well it's snowing outside and -2 so I reckon streaming will sound as good as the weather is - Very cold.
Vinyl especially old stuff from analogue tapes has that warmth, and puts a 😃 on your face.
Vinyl for me........
 

Craig uk

Well-known Member
Depends on old vinyl vs new. Old vinyl will be mastered totally differently to new and will have that ‘inherent warmth’. New vinyl - welcome to the new Snake Oil....


Personally I like to have all options covered - for most of my favourite albums I have up to 5 different ways to listen...stream, hires download, CD, original vinyl pressing & modern heavyweight version. I wouldn’t go as far as saying vinyl always wins because I know a few albums that sound best on digital (in my system) but for the most part the black stuff on the P10 is the most enjoyable.
 

T1berious

Member
Yep, totally agree the mastering plays a massive part in any playback medium.





A fair chunk of what I've been listening to is "period" vinyl (Is that even a thing?) but the recent purchases will have been re-releases (Radiohead and Prince being two examples) and sound great (to me).

The interesting thing is a band I listened to religiously during the late 80's (Loose Ends) sounded much better than the CD copy I'd put on my iPod. Had a real heft to it which I was surprised at.
 
Last edited:

Craig uk

Well-known Member
Brothers in Arms original vinyl pressing sounds best to me on my setup, the SACD version is very good also.
 

Craig uk

Well-known Member
Now listening to this which is a fine example of modern vinyl done right.
43531716-0302-4151-A559-16229D82A9BF.jpeg
 

larkone

Member
Streaming doesn't have pops or crackles, doesn't need cleaning or require expensively engineered, delicate players.
 

Craig uk

Well-known Member
Streaming doesn't have pops or crackles, doesn't need cleaning or require expensively engineered, delicate players.

To get the best from vinyl it is advisable to clean it yes but its not essential, also there’s no need to spend the earth on a player - folks who have listened to decks from Rega or Project in the sub £500 bracket would agree I’m sure.
 

T1berious

Member
Streaming doesn't have pops or crackles, doesn't need cleaning or require expensively engineered, delicate players.

To be honest, the pops and crackles are (in my limited experience) down to static, if you clean before playing, this (again in my limited experience) reduces those pops and crackles to such a small level that for me its worth doing.

All of this is dependent on the state of your vinyl.

I'll go on record (see what I did there? :)) and say my streaming setup costs more than my vinyl. In fact my DAC isn't that far away in cost of my Rega P6.
 

Costello

Well-known Member
All that matters is what gives you the most enjoyment of the music. I was a life long cd user and couldn’t imagine using anything else. Then I took a punt on a Rega Planar P1 to give vinyl a try and I’m really enjoying it. I like the ritual and physical process of putting the music on, as well as collecting the albums.
if it’s not for you - which it seems it is - or others, that’s fine. Everyone should just enjoy their music the way they want.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
It's one of HiFi's great conundrums, which is best vinyl, download or the little silver disc. The simple answer is what actually gives you the most enjoyment.

Modern recordings whether they are digital or vinyl suffer from the loudness war and much of it is compressed flatter than hammered s**t, coming from the same masters. No matter what you play those recordings on is still a matter of crap in and crap out.

I've not listened to my vinyl collection since the early 1990s. Started out as convenience for the wife when she was working in her dark room. CDs were so more manageable and far easier to use. Then I realised that I could leave snap, crackle and pop to the breakfast table and I just bought new and replaced favourites with the little silver disc. I doubt I will ever go back to vinyl, too much of a chore to keep it sounding pristine.

I don't stream, far too 21st century for me and I refuse to be dragged kicking and screaming into it. Just wish there were more albums available on DVD-A, Blu Ray Audio and especially SACD.
 

oscroft

Member
Ah, the big question! I don't stream music (meaning I don't use online streaming services), but I do have a sizeable collection of digital music in FLAC and MP3 formats. So that's all I can compare.

I'll start by saying I don't get tonal differences between sources. Maybe I'm weird, but when I hear people saying one thing sounds warm, while another sounds cold, I just don't get it. I can hear tonal differences when comparing different speakers, because they can be far more extreme. But even then, my hearing adjusts quite quickly, and I soon forget the difference and what the previous pair sounded like.

What really matters to me, and what persists in my sound memory, is detail, dynamics, imaging... which is all down to the resolving power of a system. On that front, with top quality recordings, my LP front end is ahead. It's a much-upgraded Planar 3, using the (also upgraded) phono stage of my Audiolab 8000A. My digital source is a dedicated Mac Mini playing USB into an Audiolab M-DAC, then into the same amp.

But I find the difference between the two sources using top quality versions of the same recording is considerably smaller than the differences between different recordings. One of my reference recordings is the re-released Boys for Pele by Tori Amos. I have the CD and LP versions, and I think both are superbly engineered. With the LP (which is half-speed mastered), it's the first time in ages I've lowered the stylus and sat back, and then got up again thinking I hadn't turned the volume up - the lead-in is pure black silence. On those two versions, I do prefer the LP, which seems to do better in both dynamics and resolution on my equipment - I can easily imagine a different system where the opposite is true.

I have some CD rips which sound awful and are easily beaten by the original LPs. But I also have some LPs which are nowhere near as good as the CD versions.

So, ultimately, the quality of the recording is what makes the biggest difference for me. And the real beauty of having half-decent vinyl and digital playback equipment is the ability to enjoy the best of both worlds.
 

bernard1973

Active Member
My problem is that I just can't look after vinyl :(
Mine all get scratched or covered in carpet hair, so it's streaming for me (tbh I'm not very good at looking after cd's either).
 

Khankat

Well-known Member
Streaming doesn't have pops or crackles, doesn't need cleaning or require expensively engineered, delicate players.
But it does require an Internet connection. I do not and could not conceive having to rely on it to be able to listen to my music.
 

larkone

Member
But it does require an Internet connection. I do not and could not conceive having to rely on it to be able to listen to my music.
They all have an offline mode. Society now relies on an internet connection for most other things so why not music unless, that is, you subscribe to the flat earth theories, but then you are on an online forum that requires the internet so not likely.

Extrapolating your argument then you should only listen to live music on non-powered instruments so you do not have to rely on electricity to power your hifi. ;)
 

Khankat

Well-known Member
My preference is for vinyl. I do have CD's but don't stream.
Some time ago, I auditioned several CD players. I was not particularly impressed with any of them. As I was in the throes of getting up from my chair to leave, the sales guy bid me remain seated as he had one last player for me to listen to. Well, just a few bars in and I was smitten. That last player was a turntable.

I have a few CD's and LP's of the same recordings, and can now demonstrate the differences I heard during my CD demo. Admittedly, these recordings are from the earlier days of CD's. In essence, the early CD's originally used the vinyl masters, hence the poor sound quality, Red Book regs and hence limits not withstanding. Later, as vinyl was fading and the CD became king, the latter was mastered specifically for CD. Then with the resurgence of vinyl, it was pressed using the CD masters. Greed and ignorance and ego all have their part to play in not mastering correctly for each specific medium.

Just my opinion. Each to their own.
 

altnetid

Active Member
Vinyl is too practical and cheap for me.
If it's not reel to reel, it's not worth bothering with.
 

Khankat

Well-known Member
They all have an offline mode. Society now relies on an internet connection for most other things so why not music unless, that is, you subscribe to the flat earth theories, but then you are on an online forum that requires the internet so not likely.

Extrapolating your argument then you should only listen to live music on non-powered instruments so you do not have to rely on electricity to power your hifi. ;)
I know naff all about streaming services. So I take it Offline mode means having to store music on a device you have. If that is the case, then you might as well have purchased it physically or as a download.

I am not arguing anything. In this instance, I simply said that an Internet connection is necessary. In order to avail one's self of Internet services, a connection is required. That's a fact.
 

Khankat

Well-known Member
Vinyl is too practical and cheap for me.
If it's not reel to reel, it's not worth bothering with.

I have an open reel deck and mighty fine it is, too. But purchasing recorded material at £600 a pop, is too much for me. Way too much.
 

The latest video from AVForums

Podcast: Q Acoustics Q3030i, Humax Aura, Roku Streambar & WandaVision Reviews and more...

Latest News

What's new on Disney+ UK for February 2021
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Focal releases 1000 Series integrated speakers
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Klipsch announces ProMedia 2.1 BT speaker set
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
No Time to Die gets pushed to 8th Oct 2021
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
KEF announces KC62 subwoofer with new Uni-Core technology
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Top Bottom