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I am a beginner in the "vinyl world" and I am interested in how modern turntables work.

As I have heard from people, if you stream your record player with Bluetooth (e.g. Audio Technica AT-LP60BK-BT) then the signal is digitized and it loses the experience of the analog sound. Is this true?

Currently, I stream vinyl via Bluetooth and I still feel the difference from the digital sound. Will it make any difference if I use cables (phono input) instead of the Bluetooth connection?

Thank you.

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This is a more controversial question than you might expect. For a certain subset of vinyl fans, myself among them, it makes at least a psychological difference that the sound of an old record (or a new one created with older methods) has never been digitized. In theory, for the pure analog reproduction of sound, a physical soundwave vibrates a physical needle, creating a physical groove in a master record. When you play a duplicate of that record, a reproduced physical groove vibrates a new physical needle, thus creating a new physical soundwave with most of the full richness of the original one intact.

When a sound is digitized, however, at any point along the process (including that final Bluetooth interface between your turntable and your speakers), what happens is that the soundwave is measured, turned into data points, and then reconstructed --or rather, simulated --by a computerized process. For an analog purist, this ruins the continuity between the original sound wave and the final one (as well as loses any information hiding between the datapoints). On the other hand, however, audio experts tell us that there's no humanly possible way to tell the difference between real analog and a properly digitized, high-fidelity reproduction. (You can, however, hear audible digital artifacts and sound quality loss in low-fidelity or poorly digitized sound, or sound that has been repeatedly converted from digital to analog and then back again.) According to the dominant consensus, what we call "the analog sound" is just a mixture of scratches, static and other characteristic imperfections/idiosyncrasies of older equipment.

To make a long story short, if it does matter to you that your sound never be digitized at any point on its journey, go ahead and plug in those analog speakers directly. But you'll be viewed as a self-deluding crank by most audio experts. (It's also worth noting that nearly all recording in the modern era --with a few notable exceptions --is digital, even if released on vinyl, so it's never pure analog in that case, no matter what you do).

  • +1 because it has some good info for the OP. But note that we audio professionals don't defend all digital conversion techniques. Some are deplorable. – Marc W Mar 24 '18 at 20:00
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I was about to answer with "there is no perceivable difference" and give you a lesson on high quality digital conversion techniques, but then I read this:
Audio Technica AT-LP60BK-BT
...and this:
what-to-know-about-bluetooth

I did not know this about Bluetooth, so I'm glad I read it - apparently Bluetooth will always encode the signal via lossy data compression unless the signal is already encoded in certain formats(MP3, AAC, etc). So an analogue signal will most definitely lose some data during the transfer process. So I would say there would most definitely be a perceivable difference to the discerning listener.

As for the second part of the question - you should be able to hear a difference using the phono out. As long as this really is a direct phono out. I wouldn't be too sure with Audio Technica.

Remember that the quality of the equipment will always have the biggest impact on the sound quality.

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It's just a personal choice. It's up to you in the end. I prefer vinyl for the attention it needs. I have to take care of it and and what you put into it is what you get back out of it. No one has ever heard me say vinyl "sounds better" than digital (CDs). Actually, truth be known, CDs do sound better overall in most situations. I don't care. You can throw a CD in your back yard, bury it in dirt for a week, dig it up and play it and it still sounds the same. You cannot say the same for vinyl. It's my hobby and how I prefer to enjoy my free time. I just purchased a 2nd turntable but I did not want to get rid of the first one I had so I moved the first one across the room onto a small table. I realized it is too far away from my receiver so I dug out a Bluetooth transmitter/receiver I had and hooked it up. Now I can play either turntable. I can't tell a difference on the turntable that's now on Bluetooth compared to when it wasn't.

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