I am often asked for a recommendation on a piece of digital audio equipment that a person could simply drop in and hear how it is better than vinyl. A simple, easy, demonstration of one format’s superiority over another.
Unfortunately, I don’t know how to do that. Sure, we can all agree on digital’s technical superiority in terms of noise, dynamics, frequency response, transient attack, distortion, etc. Yet, replacing one piece into an analog ecosystem won’t demonstrate anything other than how alien it is.
Think of it as making as much sense as dropping a piece of modern furniture into a living room decorated in a completely different style. You’re unlikely to get a good feel of how that single piece would play out in a surrounding more acclimated to its style.
When we set up a system we’re doing so in a way that honors and accentuates the virtues of one format at the expense of another.
In the same way that plopping in the world’s best turntable into my digital optimized kit won’t tell us much of anything—other than it’s out of place—dropping a state of the art DAC into an all analog setup is doomed to failure too.
I wish I had an easy solution to help people experience the benefits of one vs. the other, but alas, drop-ins just don’t work.
They are about as welcome as uninvited guests at the family Thanksgiving dinner.