Once I went into a hifi shop, which shall remain nameless. The owner was one of those who believed analogue to be clearly superior to digital. The same shop, at another time, insisted that a high quality composite video cable connection from a DVD player gave better picture quality than a mediocre (but functional) S-Video one.
To prove the analogue vs digital point, the owner played me a CD and then an LP, and there was no doubt about it: the sound from the LP was cleaner, far more coherent, and simply beautiful.
But the test was crap on so many levels. First, the CD and LP were played on different systems: different amps and speakers, not just sources. Second, the CD and the LP didn’t have the same version of the music on them, didn’t even have the same music on them, in fact, didn’t have anything vaguely comparable on them. The CD was a recording of a large scale orchestral work, a massively busy one, and there was little ability I felt to pick out the individual parts or instruments. It just collapsed into a buzzy mess.
The LP was a solo piano work, beautifully recorded.
After the test I agreed that the LP sounded much nicer than the CD, but demurred on the point that it had anything to say about the formats.
Then I noticed something. The LP’s label was Denon, and there’s something special about Denon recordings. I flipped the LP’s jacket over and — why yes! — this also was a digital recording! It’s just that final consumer delivery was on vinyl.