The Hot Air About the Warmth of Analog 

(Un)holy digital, Batman!

My day job involves a lot of work with audio, and the occasional dip into the world of audiophiles. While some folks certainly have better hearing than others and some equipment does sound better than other equipment, there’s also a whole lot of nonsense being peddled to credulous consumers. Now, it seems that a vinyl re-issuing company called Mobile Fidelity has inadvertently given the lie to the claims of the superiority of analog over digital audio, by illicitly slipping a digital audio step into their supposedly analog-only releases.

In the world of audiophiles — where provenance is everything and the quest is to get as close to the sound of an album’s original recording as possible — digital is considered almost unholy. And using digital while claiming not to is the gravest sin a manufacturer can commit.

The thing I find most notable about this is that, of course, no one noticed. Digital audio is very, very good, and very few audiophile claims can hold up to proper blind testing.

Randy Braun, a music lover, Hoffman message board member and lawyer in New York, hopes that, in the end, the MoFi revelation will prove what he’s been saying for years: that the anti-digital crowd has been lying to itself. “These people who claim they have golden ears and can hear the difference between analog and digital, well, it turns out you couldn’t.”