Vinyl / High qual analog tape / High-res digital -- One of these is not like the other

One common theme I read on forums here and elsewhere is the view by many that there is a pecking order in quality:

Top - High Quality Analog TapeNext - VinylBottom - Digital

I will go out on a limb and say that most, probably approaching almost all those making the claim have never heard a really good analog tape machine and high resolution digital side by side, and have certainly never heard what comes out the other end when it goes to vinyl, i.e. heard the tape/file that went to the cutter, then compared that to the resultant record?

High quality analog tape and high quality digital sound very similar. Add a bit of hiss (noise) to digital, and it would be very difficult to tell which is which. It is not digital, especially high resolution digital that is the outlier, it is vinyl. It is different from the other two.  Perhaps if more people actually experienced this, they would have a different approach to analog/vinyl?

This post has nothing to do with personal taste. If you prefer vinyl, then stick with it and enjoy it. There are reasons why the analog processing that occurs in the vinyl "process" can result in a sound that pleases someone. However, knowledge is good, and if you are set in your ways, you may be preventing the next leap.
Post removed 
Dear @cd318 :: ""  Hardly anyone can know what the recording is supposed to sound like.. ""

Rigth. To be nearest or truer to the recordings we must to put all kind of generated room/system distortions at minimum. This should be the target of any audiophile.

Again, common sense.


I have worked in an aspect of the audio industry that has given me "access" to musicians and recording processes in fairly recent history, including some boutique all analog work flows.

Raul, et. all, please note one key aspect of what I posted. I stand by 24/192 containing far more "raw" information than vinyl/tape. However, note, that I also stated (in different words), that that does not mean that more information makes it into the brain, at least useful information from a musical appreciation stand point. This has nothing to do with technically ignorant hypotheses w.r.t. "continuous vs. discontinuous", timing, etc. which are born out of a lack of understand of signal processing.  It goes to more fundamental aspects of how humans "hear" music. Reduced total information can allow easier processing of the remaining information. Noise can improve signal detection. Cross-talk can reduce complexity (information), but also creates different spatial perceptions, and can even cause acoustic cancellation improving actual separation at the ears (especially with near field listening).

So not only is there this distinction between what we seek from a recording, ie accuracy or pleasure (objectivist v subjectivist), not only is there great confusion for the consumer regarding what the recording was intended to sound like (audio's circle of confusion), there's also this issue of how an individual brain processes the sound. 

Signal processing is an entirely separate issue and a no less complex one. A 2009 study even indicated that some Stanford students preferred lower bitrate recordings to higher bitrate ones (192kbps to 320kbps).  

"Reduced total information can allow easier processing of the remaining information."

For the purposes of this post it's fairly safe to conclude that digital does hold more data than tape.

Tape can sound wonderful no doubt, but it's fairly obvious that successive generations of tape recording (bouncing down) have far more serious implications for its sound quality than digital copying ever does. 

The 1960s, especially the latter half, saw many recordings following in the footsteps of Phil Spector/Joe Meek etc with dubbing and overdubbing and bouncing down repeatedly. Daniel Lanois often used these techniques to great effect.

Some of those recordings as works of art hold up well, but sonic masterpieces they're not, ie the background is often a load of mush. Pleasant mush, but mush nonetheless.

As any fan of the Mamas and the Papas can tell you. 
Needless to say that cable merchants, snake oil doctors, magic pebble peddlers etc all tend to all be firmly on the subjectivist side.

No surprises there.

>>>>>Logical fallacy alert. 🚨 No surprises there if you’re a self-annointed pseudo skeptic. Typical phony baloney argument presumably made to create a false concept of US and THEM, everything is BLACK and WHITE with them. Controlled blind tests promoted by Olive and Toole are in fact.... subjective. Hello! I like Toole, he was great in Lawrence of Arabia.