There are pros and cons to both analogue and digital playback. By understanding the advantages and disadvantages of each, you can find the right balance between the two.
If you grew up in the 80s like I did, you might remember listening to entire albums from start to finish on vinyl. The full-bodied live sound, the smell of the album cover, reading the lyrics, the cool photos and artwork… these things are hard to beat. Often the songs that I didn’t really love at first become my favourites and the anchor points of my childhood and adolescence, simply because there was no skip button.
After vinyl came cassettes. Cassette tapes were cool and certainly handy for the car or the good ole ghetto blaster. They were especially good for making personalised mixed tapes and copies. But if you lived in the age of the cassette tape, you’ll remember what a pain they were when it came to fast-forwarding and rewinding.
Then came the CD… This magical format would rule the music world for decades. It was a revolution that ticked a lot of boxes. Unfortunately, something was lost along the way. Often the format was rushed through for marketing purposes and was released with mistakes. The same dynamic range that we were experiencing on vinyl simply wasn’t present on CD. Having said that, CD was incredibly convenient.
Once we were able to burn CD music, the digital format evolved to MP3 and other small storage versions. Although once again, the importance of full range music reproduction was pushed aside for convenience and Apple iPod type marketing.
Thankfully we now have high-resolution digital music formats. We can now conveniently listen to millions of tracks in full dynamic range, the way the artist intended. The most common high-res formats are FLAC, WAV, Apple Lossless and the very popular DSD.
At West Coast Hifi, we’ve strived to bring these two worlds (vinyl and high-res digital) together and make it very simple to understand, setup and enjoy.
Our go-to high-res players are:
- ROON Nucleus and Nucleus plus – brilliant for all high-res files and integrates with TIDAL so well.
- HEOS by Denon – this player should cost more for what it offers; a brilliant product with a great range of amp, streamers, speakers, soundbars, subs and Marantz integration to boot.
- Bluesound – Non DSD but streams HQV really well.
If you’re looking to get the best of both worlds between vinyl and high-res, we’re always happy to have a chat about the best way to achieve it to meet your needs.