Vinyl vs Digital and 24 bit vs 16 bit from vinyl. 2008-03-05 09:20:08 24-bit precision gives you about 16.77 million values. Assuming a total groove width of 50 x 10^-6m, the maximum movement of the cutter is physically bounded at about half that. Much more and the cutter will be in the space for an adjacent groove. Thus, 50 microns width divided by 16.77 million gives us about 3 x 10^-12m, i.e. ~0.03 angstroms.The diameter of a hydrogen atom is 1.0 angstroms (1 x 10^-10m). That would make the resolution of a 24-bit digital signal equivalent to an analog cutter whose resolution is just about 1/30 the width of a hydrogen atom. Sadly, this seems to be physically impossible, as none of the particles smaller than atoms are stable enough to be used in records.Of course, records aren't made of hydrogen, they're made of the polymer pvc. One molecule of pvc is about 100,000 angstroms. This means that, if the cutters were actually removing single pvc molecules the vinyl records would have about 11 bits of resolution. Sadly, they don't get even that precise, though I'm not sure the actual precision. To get down to a record made of hydrogen atoms (possible under very low temp/very high pressure I suppose) one would need 19 bits. Anything beyond that is useless as long as the laws of physics hold.Therefore, all other things being equal, digital is superior to vinyl. That said, mastering on CDs is often terrible while the mastering on records is often made somewhat better. This varies from CD to CD and record to record, and CDs are technologically far superior to records.