Starting with analogue source

So I just bought my first TT, a 401 with SME 3009/Rega Carbon. It seems to be a good starter system with minimal faff-factor and a good place to upgrade from in the future, with low financial risk. Is it as good as my decent digital rig? (NAS> McMini> M2Tech Young)

Maybe? It's much harder than I expected to qualify the differences I hear and to ascribe value to those differences. Digital is plainly neutral, times perfectly at all times and is capable of stunning detail retrieval.

But the TT has something going for it, that's for certain. Vinyl seems to major on different details somehow, it certainly isn't so analytical as digital. I feel bass is tighter also, if noticeably less deep. Also the imaging has a certain something I haven't put my finger on yet, in spite of the digital front end being great at this too. I get the warmth too, but I'm yet to be convinced this is connected to High Fidelity. (I should say I think I've already found the cartridge is a limiting factor here, I need to find something better like a HO MC or bargain decent MM second hand - suggestions welcome.)

I don't perceive either format as superior to the other as yet. Predictably the TT lags considerably behind my digital for now yet is almost equally enjoyable for all that. I have to agree with observations that mastering is almost the be-all and end-all. But the coloration and limitations of a good TT seem pretty easy to live with. I couldn't say that about bad digital. 

The gramophone is here to enable me to explore and enjoy music of a certain vintage on the 'right' equipment, as it was mastered to minimize the shortcomings of this kind of rig. This rarely seems to sound right when remastered into digital somehow.


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