Digital music sucks!

Most people are unaware of the actual differences between digital & analogue recordings, & why would they - unless there's a reason for knowing?

The general assumption has been that all things digital are superior to analogue, but (while digital offers some advantages) people are now waking up to the fact that, although generally quieter, more portable & less corruptible - digital recordings are inferior in every other possible way!

You only have to compare a CD to a vinyl recording of the same album to reach that conclusion.

A vinyl or tape recording has much more life, detail & definition than even the most high quality 24 bit/96Khz recordings can come even close to.

Sure, the analogue recordings have some low level tape hiss or stylus rumble, but in reality you simply don't hear any of it once the music starts.
​​​​​​You hear the music, in all it's finest detail, all the dynamics & all the expression from every musical phrase, from every musician that played on it.

Digital recordings (good as they may seem) simply cannot capture that - & here's why.

Here's the science bit - concentrate:

Refer to the picture above.
When you record digitally, what you get is (basically) a 'mathematical representation' of the waveform.

A waveform is what you get when you turn a sound (like a voice) into an electrical signal (using a microphone for example) - this waveform can be recorded (stored) either in digital memory (a digital recording) or on tape or vinyl (an analogue recording).

The original signal (from a microphone for example) is an analogue signal & looks like the waveform in the top of the picture.

This waveform if recorded analogically (on tape or vinyl) will look (depending on the quality of the recording) more or less exactly the same as the original signal, albeit with some low level noise (hiss) which should be relatively unnoticeable.

The analogue recording will retain all the life & movement of the original performance, in the finest detail - subjectively speaking, it lives & breathes just like the real performance.

A digital recording by contrast, can only (at best) render 'a representation' of the original signal, & looks like the waveform at the bottom of the picture.

You'll notice that the amount of detail is limited by the amount of times from left to right (sampling frequency) & the amount of steps from the bottom line to the top (bit depth) that the waveform can be represented.

What you actually get from a digital recording is a tiny percentage of the original.

​​​​​​In short: analogue recordings give you the actual, real signal - while even the best digital recordings are nothing more than an approximation or rendering, to fool you into thinking you're hearing music.

Don't get me wrong, it works quite well, until you hear music again played from a decent turntable or tape deck - then you realise why you didn't bother to replace your Mp3 player ....& your CD collection is still covered in dust.

To the generation raised on rap, hip- hop, nu-metal & dance music - they'll probably never see any advantage to analogue recordings, because that music has almost no dynamic range whatsoever.

(One of the disadvantages of digital recording is that it needs to be compressed to make full use of the bit depth, & to disguise its' inherent lack of definition).

But for those of us who grew up in a time when music was actually played on musical instruments & vocals were not auto-tuned & vocaligned, the quality & dynamics of musical performances is important to the experience of listening to music.

That being the case, it's perfectly understandable why vinyl & tape are making a huge comeback - especially with the new generation who are now discovering hidden treasures among their families' old vinyl record collections.

If you love music & you haven't discovered or revisited vinyl records or analogue tape, perhaps you should - otherwise you are definitely missing out on what music is really all about .....
human expression!

Cheers & God bless!

Related article: 

Upscaling Audio