Why Not Hi-Res Digital?
Because records sound the best, period. Vinyl records are the best way of producing the emotional connection to music that happens when you listen to a live performance.
Records allow the listener to dive deep into the artist's true musical and sonic intentions, and are windows that open a soundstage that is just as wide and deep as our own lives.
While there has been much improvement in the quality of digital files, as the case with Hi-Res files which sound better than 16bit /44kHz; it’s still just an improved digital signal.
They don’t soothe you or immerse you the way vinyl does. Why you ask? because our ears and brains need to do a lot of work to turn digital’s discrete samples of audio into an approximation of a continuous waveform. There is a ton of processing in any Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC) that occurs in real-time while you are listening. The oversampling and filtering that occurs is seldom benign in the time domain, and in nearly all digital playback devices playback involves unnatural artifacts, including ringing artifacts that actually occur before the musical transient as well as after it. Where in nature would one hear distortion of a transient before the transient itself? Only in digital audio!
Analog playback on vinyl by contrast is a mechanical process and relatively straightforward on the ear/brain during real-time playback. As the stylus navigates the groove the waveform is reproduced without oversampling, brick-wall filters or digital signal processing.
How does all this hypothetical add up to what we hear? Vinyl takes the lid off the music in way that the best digital never does. Notes start and stop and float on with timing that is impeccable (assuming your turntable speed is set correctly!), timbres of instruments and vocals are wonderfully natural, and the imaging rounds out fully into the third dimension. Performers live and breathe in your listening room. Vinyl also does microdynamics in far superior and convincing fashion - like when a singer ramps up or down in vocal power, or steps slightly closer to or farther away from the mic. Vinyl recreates these subtleties with far more finesse and nuance than digital ever will.