This is the page where I record brief, digestible, comparable reflections on my LP12 Modification Frenzy.


This table judges each modification by the average change in sound quality it produced. For instance, if adding the Mober subchassis made Test Track 4 go from “Digital +5%” to “Vinyl +5%,” the Mober subchassis made a +10% difference in favour of the vinyl system. The number you see below is the average change across all 12 tracks.

Anything whose name is struck through is something I removed after performing the listening test (usually because it made the music sound worse). In cases like these, comparisons of subsequent upgrades are to the state before the “struck through” equipment was installed.

Step% changeComments
Base(The base system can’t make a change because it’s just the base system :))
Mober subchassis+8.8%Swapping out the Cirkus subchassis and laminated armboard for the Mober one-piece subchassis/armboard made things sound considerably better. There was more detail, more texture, and more space.
Khan+5%Swapping the stock stainless steel Linn top plate for the aluminum Khan improved the sound on most tracks, in some cases considerably. The music was more natural and the soundstage wider and cleaner, with greater separation between instruments. However, on two older pressings (possibly worn) the sound got worse.
Audio Desk+5%Cleaning discs with the Audio Desk Vinyl Cleaner Pro ultrasonic machine increased clarity, improved separation between instruments, and gave a more natural presentation. Every track except two (the two best-sounding tracks in previous rounds) sounded better, and even in these I thought I perceived a slight improvement.
Lingo 4–0.4%My Lingo 4 had a noisy motor and actually made my system sound slightly worse. I’d like to try again with one that has a healthy motor. In the meantime, I’ve removed the Lingo and reinstalled the Hercules/Mose.
SSP12+6.3%The SSP12, cheap and easy to install, made music sound considerably better. The difference was not subtle: the music was “springy,” energetic, colourful. As a value-for-money upgrade, this is the best yet.
XX-2–15.4%Probably through no fault of its own — rather, alignment issues, an arm/cartridge mismatch, or some other setup issue — the Dynavector XX-2 mkII cartridge made things sound considerably worse.
Ekos 2 & Kore+9.6% (6.2% off best)The Ekos and Kore made the XX-2 sound wayyyy better than it was sounding with the Nima, but still not as good as the Adikt+Mober setup. Which is weird, right?
Mober subchassis for Linn+5.8% (0.4% off best)The Mober subchassis replaced the Kore and restored excitement to the system. It didn’t make things sound quite as good as the best previous setup, but it brought it very close. I remain a fan of the reasonably-priced, well-made, brilliant-sounding Mober subchassis.
Mober DC motor kit+8.3% (6.6% better than ever)The Mober DC motor kit made a fundamental change in my system, adding incredible clarity, dynamism, and “sizzle.” One of the largest improvements yet.
Troika+4.2% The Troika brought added “snap” to the sound of my system, while sacrificing none of the bass or drive of the XX-2. A clear improvement over a much more expensive cartridge.
Javelin+1.6% The Javelin tonearm presented a goldilocks situation, giving up absolutely nothing to the Ekos in terms of bass drive or slam and adding “splash,” texture, focus, and space.
Javelin + XX-2-4.6%The rich, smooth XX-2 brought a little bit too much “aural umami” to the table. I missed the lively, snappy presentation of the Troika in the Javelin.
Aro + Greenstreet-6.25%The Aro lacked drive, heft, and “zing” compared with the Javelin, though it rendered delicate textures beautifully and had a euphonic presentation.


There is nothing very scientific about the % numbers in the tables below — just an attempt to boil down a lot of words into an easily comparable number. If it says “+5” in the vinyl column, that means that vinyl sounded 5% better than digital on this particular listening. I’m going to stick to increments of 5%. 5% means the difference is slight, 10% the difference is easily noticeable, 15% there is a big difference, 20% is when you switch from the good one to the bad one and say “gross,” 25% is “beyond gross.” 30% is when you switch from one to the other and are appalled — morally outraged — by how bad the bad one sounds. 40% is when switching from the one to the other is like switching from FM to AM radio.

1. The Beach Boys, “I Know There’s an Answer,” Pet Sounds (1966)

Base+5%Slight hardness to digital, vinyl more controlled — but more bass heft on digital
Mober subchassis==Hard to compare with loudness difference, but no evidence of digital hardness. Sound the same.
Khan+5%Some minimal evidence of the vinyl sounding a little bit better: tympanis are rounder, cymbals a little sharper. But the differences are small.
Audio Desk+10%Definite flatness, background haze to the digital. Heavier bass on vinyl, and more texture on harmonica and shakers. 
Lingo 4+15%Flat, constrained, mushed together, clunky on digital. Wide, full, clean, clear, harder-hitting on vinyl. The difference between sugar that’s congealed into a rock while being heated versus lots of lovely, fine, separated grains of sugar.
SSP12+15%Vinyl is sweet, golden, sunlit. Digital is hard and boxy — lit by those pure-white LED bulbs that make everything look terrible.
XX-2+25%Glaring difference in smoothness, richness, and detail.
Ekos 2 & Kore+20%Much smoother, more enjoyable presentation on vinyl. It’s like a rattlesnake is singing the song to me on digital: hollow, sharp, hissy. 
Mober subchassis for Linn+25%The shakers sound like distortion, all white without shade, on digital, and are much cleaner, better shaded on vinyl. Even the vocals have that effect, like they’ve been put through an over-exposure filter on digital.
Mober DC motor kit+40%It is seriously like switching from FM to AM radio. So hissy and disgusting and unpleasant on digital.
Troika+45%Focus, width, soundstage, force of bass, detail on treble: unbelievably better on vinyl.
Javelin+50%So much information going into my ears on vinyl. The digital is truly, shamefully awful in comparison. Digital has no bass drive, is tinny and hollow and flat, with grainy pixellation coloring everything.
Javelin + XX-2+45%You notice two things doing direct, back-to-back comparisons, and you notice them most on Brian’s vocals: the “edges” of notes are much clearer, and they are also much smoother — the transitions from silence to sound are both better defined and smoother.
Aro + Greenstreet+35%Definitely still a massive difference here. Much, much more natural, amazing textures on vinyl. Harshness, glare from digital. Definitely, though, what it’s lacking is just a little bit of slam.

2. Charles Mingus, “Track B — Duet Solo Dancers,” The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady (1963)

Base+10%More control, more extension, more detail on digital.
Mober subchassis==My comments are confused. With slight delay, “more presence, more texture, rounder drums, more detail, smoother, less harsh.” Second-to-second: “the vinyl seems a little muted in comparison to the authoritative, muscular digital.”
Khan+5%On balance, digital has a slight edge on texture, digital a slight edge on detail. But I’m not terribly happy with my choice of this record any longer: the surface noise makes it tricky to compare, adding a bit of graininess to the whole track. [Note: 2019 Vital Vinyl pressing sounds 10% better than digital: “Richer, smoother on vinyl but still with tons of detail.”]
Audio Desk==There are areas that digital excels: control and power. On details, vinyl is better in some ways, though, especially the ride cymbal, which is very tizzy on digital and much more natural on vinyl. (2019 Vital Vinyl is still 10% better than digital: It’s huge, powerful, more detailed.)
Lingo 4+5%The detail on cymbal and high end (and on drums in the quiet part) is much more listenable and pleasant on vinyl. (Vital Vinyl sounds the same as in previous rounds.)
SSP12+5%Less detail on vinyl, but so much “juicier” — so much more saturated with colour.
XX-2+15%Vinyl has closed the gap on detail (now totally equal) and maintained its advantage in terms of “colour,” cymbal texture, and spatial presentation.
Ekos 2 & Kore+15%A nice warm embrace on vinyl, like the whole soundstage is wrapping me up in its bear arms. Plenty of impact when called for, but the overall vibe is definitely smooth — it feels less manic, less Freudian than it normally does.
Mober subchassis for Linn+20%The grating, piercing, tinny cymbals ruin it and make it hard to listen to on digital. So smooth and thick (at the same time!) on vinyl.
Mober DC motor kit+30%Vinyl has digital absolutely destroyed on the texture of the cordy sax, which is rich and smooth but also filled in in micro-detail; on digital, it’s so sneezy and harsh and nasty.
Troika+40%Force, space, delicacy, texture, detail, all the important parts, massively to vinyl. Vinyl eats the digital’s cordy sax up, twists it around in its mouth, and spits it out.
Javelin+45%I think it’s pretty simple to characterize what’s happened: the Javelin has added texture, space, and definition. There’s more high-end detail, especially. It has subtracted nothing: the force and drive I loved in the Ekos 2 is still there.
Javelin + XX-2+40%The differences are less perceptible than last time. The digital is way too harsh; the XX-2 is just a touch too laid back for the really Freudian parts of this to come through. Exceptionally good but just a notch below last time.
Aro + Greenstreet+35%Vinyl is coherent, smooth, presented in an engaging way. Digital is hard to listen to: harsh, with no width, with everything mushed together, with much less convincing textures. All I’m losing is some clarity and heft on the low end.

3. The Pentangle, “Let No Man Steal Your Thyme,” The Pentangle (1968)

Base+10%Lots more detail with digital, especially noticeable with triangle
Mober subchassis==The rim hits have a bit more lifelike detail on digital, a bit more kick on vinyl. 
Khan+5%A little bit more “ting” on the triangle and cymbals on digital, perhaps? The surface noise is annoying and definitely adds a bit of filter to the music.
Audio Desk==Yes, the surface noise is there, but vinyl has all the detail, plus a bit more detail around edges, a fuller, more balanced sound, more heft.
Lingo 4+5%Yes, the graininess on vinyl is there. But there’s a tinniness to the digital that really shows up in the rim-hits: they feel blunt, hard against the soft landing of the vinyl.
SSP12+10%The digital presents a very narrow band of sound, like a shallow depth of field. Vinyl is much deeper and wider.
XX-2+5%Slightly congested sound on vinyl compared with digital. The vinyl evens off some of the harshness of the digital, so it’s more pleasant, but only slightly.
Ekos 2 & Kore+10%Fuller, better texture on vinyl. I like it much more. The balance is again tilted away from treble and toward bass, but I don’t think you lose any detail at all.
Mober subchassis for Linn+15%On vinyl, the bass sounds more like a bass, the guitar sounds more like a guitar, the voice more like a human voice. Without the exaggerated edge of treble on digital, much more “natural,” nicely balanced, real.
Mober DC motor kit+25%The opening bowed bass: buzzing like a bee on digital, sounds too bright for a bass, and with no sense of spatial location. Much better balance, tone, sense of space on vinyl, as well as sparkle, impact.
Troika+25%There’s a real shock in sound staging that comes when switching to digital, now. Something whole and continuous breaks into little pockets of sound. Weird, and bad.
Javelin+35%The differences are massive. So much confusion and glare on digital, that just totally recedes on vinyl. The Javelin has taken a fairly “meh” pressing and made it sound absolutely magical.
Javelin + XX-2+25%We’re not quite where we were las time. I think the Troika is bet better at textures and snap. Still far more clarity and life on vinyl, but it’s just a bit too laid-back for me, and in this track that comes across as a lack of definition, of clarity, of focus.
Aro + Greenstreet+25%So so so much nicer on acoustic and vocal textures on vinyl. Just totally right. Taking something off the top, making it more pleasant and smooth and listeninable, also more real.

4. Mariah, “Shinzo No Tobira,” Utakata No Hibi (1983)

Base+5%More detail on digital, greater sense of space, especially in the “rattly” drum. Warmer and more bass on vinyl.
Mober subchassis+5%More detail, more attack and definition, more crunch, more texture, more slam on vinyl. 
Khan+10%There is more of everything in the vinyl: more slam, more high end, more focus, more detail. 
Audio Desk+20%With the vocals at exactly the same volume level, I’m getting the bass and the rattles with what feels like twice the impact and presence.
Lingo 4+15%The staleness, flatness of the digital is definitely really clear even outside of back-and-forth comparison.
SSP12+25%Oh man, the analog synths on vinyl are just so crunchy, like running candy-sandpaper over my eardrums. 
XX-2+5%A very, very slight edge to vinyl. Just a very slightly nicer timbre on vinyl.
Ekos 2 & Kore+15%Again, the balance tilts toward the bass, but in a really nice way: strong, thick, full, but not in any way muting the bright tones of the shakers.
Mober subchassis for Linn+25%A bit more detail on the shakers on vinyl, but the real difference is the impact of the bass, especially once the drums and bass tones kick in. The timbre of the lead vocal is also clear, much more pleasant on vinyl.
Mober DC motor kit+25%The main difference, this time, is on the tone and timbre of the vocals and the synths. Both are just off — tizzy and weak — on digital compared with the thicker, more deeply-textured digital.
Troika+35%Digital vocals are missing texture, missing the sense of precise location in space. And the usual complaint post-Mober: vocals just don’t sound as much like real human voices on digital.
Javelin+35%On the synth breakdown, vinyl is maybe a touch too “edgy” in comparison to digital — it’s hyper-detailed, it demands your attention, but sometimes can be a little too much. The “too much” oddly here is both at the low end (SO much bass) and in the sharpness of the snares and higher-pitched synths.
Javelin + XX-2+35%The heavy bass and the light shakers coexist nicely, each doing their own thing on vinyl. They get all confused and conflated on digital.
Aro + Greenstreet+30%Synths are nice and squishy, three-dimensional on vinyl, flat and lifeless on digital. It’s a richer, more “glowing” presentation on vinyl. But yes, it once again lacks some kick.

5. Joy Division, “Atmosphere,” 12″ single (1980)

Base+5%More slam and a rounder sound, especially on the drums.
Mober subchassis+15%Not subtle. Both sound great but vinyl is just better, fuller, harder-hitting, more detailed, more focused, less hazy.
Khan+25%The quick drum playing in the right channel is beautifully distinct on vinyl, barely even audible on digital. No impact to the drums on digital; tons on vinyl. Everything is squeezed into a muddy little snowball in the digital; it’s like looking into a whole galaxy on vinyl. Seriously. Massive difference. 
Audio Desk+25%Not a fair fight. Cloudy, narrow, confused soundstage on digital — dead clear on vinyl. The question is not which is better but how much.
Lingo 4+25%So much more detail, impact, reality, edge, bite. The critical vocabulary is the issue now. Gross? Definitely. Beyond gross? Probably.
SSP12+30%The emotion of the song is so buried on digital — it feels almost wrong to listen to it in its diminished state.
XX-2+10%Just not like before. Toms are much more impactful, but they’re rounded off by that thuddy quality. Really spoils the experience here.
Ekos 2 & Kore+20%Definite advantage to vinyl — lots more impact and lots more detail — but only around the 20% level.
Mober subchassis for Linn+25%Switching from digital to vinyl, all the confusion vanishes: everything is in its place, everything is in focus. Just a beautiful experience.
Mober DC motor kit+35%Switching from vinyl to digital, so much just falls away on digital — you literally seem only to hear every other beat on the hand drum, for instance. And the tones are just WRONG on digital.
Troika+35%Yes, the digital misses a lot of the impact of the tom, but the more important thing it misses is the tone of the hand drums and the space around them. Just doesn’t get the edges right.
Javelin+40%Last time, it was space that really stood out. That’s not really what I’m hearing here — it’s more the life, resolution, realism of that hand drum. And then the fullness of the sound and crazy impact of that floor tom.
Javelin + XX-2+25%Clearly a notch down from last time — not bad by any means, but less exciting, less-defined in contrast. Somewhat strangely, it’s lost a bit of bass kick compared to the Troika — I only say strange because the XX-2 is supposed to excel with bass.
Aro + Greenstreet+25%In second to second comparison, it’s clearer that we’re not at the best levels of “slam” here. It’s a lot better than digital, but not trouncing it like in previous rounds. A lot of heft and detail, but maybe a bit less zing, sharpness compared to the Javelin’s presentation.

6. Low, “Just Make It Stop,” The Invisible Way (2013)

Base+5%Vinyl is grainy. Digital has more heft and detail.
Mober subchassis+5%Sounds a little muddy, veiled on digital. Brighter, more focused, nicer, cleaner cymbals on vinyl.
Khan+15%Massively more detail in brush, piano, and bass on vinyl. More definition, detail, decay on vinyl. Muffled, flat, narrow on digital. Lively, dynamic, alive on vinyl.
Audio Desk+20%Most noticeable are the brushed cymbals, which are one little point in space on digital but reverberate in a huge sphere of sound on vinyl.
Lingo 4+20%Clarity, space — no comparison. Clearest in the loud, busy parts. Everything becomes a mush on digital. 
SSP12+25%It’s just sad that digital should sound so weak — and that anyone should have to listen to it that way when the experience I’m having on vinyl is possible.
XX-2+5%Very, very similar — including a confused, muddy soundstage in loud parts. Only advantage is slightly more natural vocals and cymbals on vinyl.
Ekos 2 & Kore+15%The digital sounds shallow, tinny, tizzy in comparison to the big, thick-yet-detailed presentation of the vinyl. But only around 15% overall. It’s not like on the SSP12 round. 
Mober subchassis for Linn+25%Such great sound from vinyl — so full and spot-on tonally. Cymbals, Mimi’s voice, the palm mutes — all presented so beautifully on vinyl, so much more clearly and with so much more impact than digital, which is chalky, out of focus, confused.
Mober DC motor kit+30%There’s a covering of grey spray-goo on digital, and the sense that instruments just sound tonally wrong — not like themselves. Mimi’s vocals, too: they don’t quite sound like a human voice on digital. It’s the space between instruments you get on vinyl — that clarity and room to listen in. And then the tones, the thickness, the rightness.
Troika+35%The vocals have better tone and are more in focus on vinyl. That’s the main difference. The next biggest on is that sense of “cavernous space,” created but the reverb, the palm mutes, and the cymbals — all of which are much more delicate and detailed on vinyl, creating a much bigger effect.
Javelin+40%Incredible delicate fine detail like the cymbal overlaid with massive thudding palm mutes on vinyl; then a gross, weak, nasty, splashy, thin, dead, pixellated presentation on digital.
Javelin + XX-2+30%There’s a slightly “crowded” feel to the mid-band here — despite the terrific delicacy of the cymbals and the amazing drive of the palm-muted guitars, the vocals and piano can feel a little over-rich in comparison to digital in a few spots.
Aro + Greenstreet+20%Vinyl has again lost a little something here: force, drive. Delicacy, clarity, but not the heft on the edges, or the force during the barroom piano.

7. Yo La Tengo, “Stockholm Syndrome,” I Can Feel the Heart Beating as One (1997)

Base==Nice detail on guitars and more bass on vinyl. But more detail overall and better control on digital.
Mober subchassis+15%Digital is constrained in the soundstage, narrow, muddy, dull. Vinyl is brighter, wider, more detailed, more sparkling.
Khan+20%It’s nuts when comparing individual instruments: the bass is flabby on digital, tight and focused on vinyl; the drums are indistinct and flat on digital, tight and sharp on vinyl.
Audio Desk+25%Wowwwwwwww. It’s really like a room filled with stale, hot, humid air — and then a huge door swings open and fresh air blows through the space.
Lingo 4+30%You know, I think I might finally know what 30% sounds like. I am morally offended and also spiritually deflated at how horrible the digital sounds in comparison.
SSP12+35%The vinyl BURSTS FORTH with freshness and life; the digital is covered in a big, wet, lukewarm washcloth.
XX-2+10%The acoustic guitar sounds better and the cymbals are sharper on vinyl, but it sounds muddy and sounds nasty. Can’t get that Ekos on fast enough…
Ekos 2 & Kore+20%There’s a lot more drive and heft on vinyl. But I’m just not getting that WOW factor that I’ve heard so many times before on this track.
Mober subchassis for Linn+30%Definite WOW factor on vinyl. I can imagine it sounding a little better — the snare is a little flat and harsh — but this is a beautiful presentation: bouncing, driving, percussive, dynamic. 
Mober DC motor kit+40%The acoustic guitar, so rich and detailed on vinyl, almost isn’t there on digital: it fades in and out behind some artificial threshold. The drums, so lively and real on vinyl, with so much impact, drawn in such fine relief, are just little blips and splashes.
Troika+45%The biggest difference is the rendering of James’s voice here, which sounds a billion miles away on digital. Also, I don’t think I’ve ever heard the background vocals in the chorus: definitely Georgia.
Javelin+30%This track has lost a little something this round. Yes, way more drive, force, juiciness, texture on the guitars… but not quite as much clarity on James’s vocals as last time, and a hint of hardness.
Javelin + XX-2+30%The vocal harmonies do indeed come across much more clearly — in space and in texture/timbre. There is, however, a bit of a “bloom” on James’s voice, especially when he gets himself into a bit of a “croon.”
Aro + Greenstreet+30%Vinyl is definitely doing a very nice job with the acoustic guitar here and the snare snap — much more to dig into here aurally on vinyl. Extremely bland on digital.

8. The Beatles, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” The White Album (1968)

Base+5%Great on both, but bass is more present, deeper, and harder-hitting on vinyl.
Mober subchassis+5%More air and space on vinyl, more detail. Lots of slam on vinyl, though maybe a touch less than digital.
Khan+15%Vinyl sounds more assured, more natural, fuller. Digital soundstage sounds constrained, mushy. Instruments are less distinct, hazy. Low end is flabby. Really big difference.
Audio Desk+25%Instead of one big, tiring chunk of sound, on vinyl you get a whole room full of instruments, with air blowing through…
Lingo 4+20%The thick, full bass drum on vinyl becomes a flabby empty sack on digital. Imagine a bursting-full wineskin versus one with only a few drops left.
SSP12+30%Like watching a GIF image loading in the dialup days: digital is the first pass, then all the details come into focus switching to vinyl.
XX-2+5%When things get noisy and busy, it’s just too much on vinyl — confused, hazy.
Ekos 2 & Kore+25%This vinyl system nails this song. The driving bass and the bass drums are HUGE. Digital is hollow, echoey, nasty in comparison.
Mober subchassis for Linn+25%Vinyl wins everywhere. Major difference: bass drum and bass guitar, both huge and full; switching to digital is embarrassing. Guitars are sharper, as are the clippety-clops.
Mober DC motor kit+40%Digital is coming in from another planet. A planet made of tin where everyone is made of tin and all the instruments they play are made of tin, and the atmosphere contains large amounts of tin, which forms into ubiquitous tinny fogs.
Troika+40%Tones are off, detail is off, soundstage is off — it’s all just wrong. How is this a 24/96 version of a record that can sound amazing when pressed to vinyl? Meanwhile, over on vinyl, so much impact, such lifelike drums.
Javelin+40%On digital, flatness, death, a weird hollow-middle effect. Width, impact, detail, slam on vinyl.  Answering my notes from the last listening test, no, I’m definitely not missing bass or dynamics — it’s absolutely all here. Especially bass!
Javelin + XX-2+35%Amazing low-end kick, really nice detail on the clippety-clops  — but missing some snap on acoustic guitar compared with the Troika. 
Aro + Greenstreet+30%The Aro/XX-2 presentation is smooth, it’s euphonic, it sounds really nice and you want to keep listening. It takes away the harsh, grating quality of the digital presentation and adds a lot of bass kick. I’m not getting a whole lot more detail versus digital here, though, or that feeling of the musicians in the room.

9. Dungen, “Panda,” Ta Det Lugnt (2004)

Base+10%Vinyl slams harder, is much more alive and cutting.
Mober subchassis+15%Haze on digital drums. Much livelier, more real on vinyl. Not close.
Khan+20%Digital is hazy, unfocused, lacking in detail, full of sound and fury but signifying nothing. Vinyl just sounds relaxed, open, powerful, effortless, natural. 
Audio Desk+25%This just isn’t fair. Clarity, slam, detail, punch, everything. Unbelievable.
Lingo 4+20%Listening to the opening on vinyl, I feel like my head is actually being sort of pleasantly knocked around, like my headphones are the drumsticks and my head is the drum. No such fanciful effect on digital, where I feel no impact, and where everything is sludged together.
SSP12+30%On vinyl, a totally enveloping world of sonic perfection. What has this SSP12 done to my turntable?!
XX-2+15%The distorted electric guitars sound sharper, more alive on vinyl. The boomy bass and the thuddiness are here, but there’s a harsh glare to the digital that is gone on vinyl.
Ekos 2 & Kore+25%Yeah, this setup really does rock. Lots more drive, power, energy here, I think. I’m making all kinds of nasty rockstar faces here as I listen along. 
Mober subchassis for Linn+25%Absolutely massive advantage in the drums at the opening. So much more impact, depth, and sense of realism. The digital drums sound like Jamaican steel drums — shallow and flinty. 
Mober DC motor kit+35%Digital: grainy, distant, with a sour expression on face. Curdled. Vinyl: smooth, wide, alive, natural, sizzling with energy.
Troika+40%I’m sure this is the best I’ve heard this song sound on vinyl: the perfect mix of detail and slam. It’s totally exciting and very engaging but everything is very clearly painted. It’s the Dionysian/Apollinian synthesis that Nietzsche dreamed of!
Javelin+40%On naturalness, detail, width, slam, texture, everything — at least 40%. Definitely painful to switch back to vinyl. You need to get the volume up about twice as high on digital to feel any of the same impact and get any excitement out of it.
Javelin + XX-2+40%Getting my beloved “aural umami” feeling — a tickle in my belly — from the muted chords on the electric guitar. Huge and wide and soaring on vinyl — just amazing.
Aro + Greenstreet+40%Digital is tight, sharp edged, lacking in thickness. Vinyl is powerful, thick, forceful, packed with detail.

10. Julee Cruise, “Rocking Back Inside My Heart,” Floating Into the Night (1989)

Base+5%More detail, edge, and bass on vinyl.
Mober subchassis+15%Vinyl miles ahead. So much clarity, detail, texture, snap on vinyl.
Khan+20%The palm mutes are very revealing: on digital, one big deep-fried-together thunk; on vinyl, a whole bunch of thin, long, separable little strands working together.
Audio Desk+20%The sax breakdown is crazy: sounds great on digital but AMAZING on vinyl, with so much width, bite, detail, texture.
Lingo 4+20%Switching from vinyl to digital, things get cloudy, dull, mushed together, blunted.
SSP12+25%Snaps, claps, palm mutes — all the “sharp” sounds — are buried and muffled on digital, crisp on vinyl. The sax breakdown is a full-body experience on vinyl, pretty boring on digital. 
XX-2+5%Better treble detail on digital, higher higher and lower lows, more focus. Sax sounds a lot nicer on vinyl, textures generally nicer. But the thud.
Ekos 2 & Kore+20%Fuller and with more detail on vinyl. But I’d say more in the 20% range than the 25% of the SSP12 round. The sax blast confirms that it’s definitely a 20% difference —but no more.
Mober subchassis for Linn+25%Digital is very dry in comparison. The vinyl is very juicy and full and and detailed. Definitely more bass, but I don’t feel any treble detail is being sacrificed here
Mober DC motor kit+30%Vinyl totally rewrites the rules of the game, resets all comparisons. Vinyl has better tone, more heft, better balance, more slam, a better sense of space, better detail, more realistic textures…
Troika+35%Better in all the ways it’s been better in the post-Mober era. Clearer, better defined, with much better bass, and a much wider soundstage. The sax breakdown is tinny, dead, dull on digital. Seriously, no one should be hearing this song presented like this. 
Javelin+30%Nicer textures, certainly, especially on the sax, but no more than 30%. The bass-heaviness makes me think I might need to get the VTA just a bit higher…
Javelin + XX-2+35%The advantages of vinyl — bass drive, clarity on vocal, piano, and palm mutes — are very, very apparent here. Bass weight/drive are the main differentiators — and then the timbre of the sax is just absolutely wrong on digital. 
Aro + Greenstreet+25%This combo just isn’t working well on this track. The sound is decidedly vague and lacking in snap. Very pleasant and rich, with very natural tones, with the “Mober sizzle” you feel in your tummy. But a little dull on the top end, missing shimmer. 

11. Can, “Halleluwah,” Tago Mago (1971)

Base+5%Both amazing, but a little more haze on vinyl. Vinyl does have nicer, deeper bass.
Mober subchassis+5%A bit more air and snap on the vinyl. By no means a blowout, but definitely noticeable.
Khan+15%Soundstage is confused, compressed, muddied on digital. Drums just sound totally fake on digital; no roundness, no life.
Audio Desk+20%It’s not so much a question of detail or impact but of tone. All the sounds are there on digital and they hit pretty hard. They just don’t sound good in comparison to the vinyl.
Lingo 4+15%More, nicer bass on vinyl, also lots more definition on cymbals. Digital isn’t horrible, though — just a little foggy compared to the vinyl.
SSP12+25%Snap, slam, excitement: so much more on vinyl. “Tickle sounds” totally stale on digital. 
XX-2+5%The bass is just overwhelming in this vinyl setup. In some parts that works, in some parts it doesn’t.
Ekos 2 & Kore+20%Vinyl definitely nails this song. So much SLAM! The digital sounds really thin, harsh, hissy. There’s like twice as much bass coming through on vinyl, and it really works for this track.
Mober subchassis for Linn+30%Everything about this is amazing. SO much drive, and the details (including the tickle sounds) are just absolutely perfect. The cymbals and transients are much clearer and crisper on vinyl.
Mober DC motor kit+30%Things are all squashed together on digital, everything’s puffing up, like overproved dough. Everything has lots of room on vinyl. It’s not just the impact and tone of the bit, fat slamming drums but also the finer details: the space-creating synths are much clearer and with nicer texture on vinyl.
Troika+35%Any time a drum gets involved, especially a hand drum, the differences are staggering.
Javelin+40%Good Lord, when the bass really kicks in on vinyl, it’s crazy. This track is proof that the Javelin has bass IN SPADES. And then tons and tons of definition.
Javelin + XX-2+40%The list of ways that this vinyl presentation destroys the digital is just a list of how music reproduction can be evaluated: drive, tone, space, detail, coherence. The Javelin loves this track!
Aro + Greenstreet+25%Electric guitar textures and tone are more natural on vinyl. But all in all, the gap to digital has closed a lot here. The amazing drive and (whoops, Naim) PRAT of the Javelin listening sessions has disappeared a bit.

12. Bill Callahan, “Javelin Unlanding,” Dream River (2013)

Base+5%Bass hits harder with more clarity on digital. Percussion may be more present on vinyl.
Mober subchassis +15%Fuzz, bloat on digital, cleanliness focus, control, detail, elegance of presentation on vinyl.
Khan+20%Digital is boomy, unfocused. The main thing about vinyl is how clean, open it is, with clarity on every instrument and loads of space between them.
Audio Desk+25%It’s the little reverberations around the hand drums, the little rattling pockets of sound, that you miss most moving from vinyl to digital.
Lingo 4+20%Digital is too bassy, too muddy, total lack of subtlety in presentation of quieter textures and sounds. Space is foggy, congested on digital. Yuck.
SSP12+30%The digital transfer here is clearly just a terrible one. Cloudy, dead, muddy, gross. The vinyl sounded good on its own but sounds incredible in comparison.
XX-2==Wider soundstage, some more natural sounds, no pixel-barf on vinyl. But better detail, more dynamic presentation on digital. It’s a wash, which is nuts.
Ekos 2 & Kore+20%I don’t think this song plays to this vinyl setup’s strengths. This song needs as much clarity and detail as it can get. So while there is more space an detail and more focused, natural tones, it’s certainly not the best I’ve heard it sound. 
Mober subchassis for Linn+25%There’s a really audible moment in the song on vinyl where the crappy, dinky sounds make way for the good sounds — like a crapiness dial is being turned slowly down. On digital, the dial is never turned. It just stays crappy. 
Mober DC motor kit+35%Much richer, much wider, much better details, much better focus, much nicer tones and texture. Obviously most evident on the instruments that actually sound good: the hand drums and the electric guitar, especially on the chorus.
Troika+35%I love the belly-tickle sensation provoked by the chorus electric guitar on vinyl. Digital is shamefully flat.
Javelin+40%Haha, appropriately, this is the biggest difference of the evening, by far. The digital is laughably tinny. The vinyl sounds amazing. Javelin and “Javelin” — a perfect match.
Javelin + XX-2+30%Clearly not as good as last time. Not making as clear a contrast between the flat and the sharp sounds — so, hand drums and guitars not as nicely rendered, and space not as wide or defined.
Aro + Greenstreet+20%The space and textures really are quite far ahead on vinyl in direct comparison. But this track, like Can, was a lot better with the Javelin.