Take it my simple view is flawed then?
I've always gone off a simple basis like this:
My vinyl sounded clearest (until I scratched a few too many 12's on Vestax PDX 2000)
My tapes sounded shyte but generally gave me access to free music
My CD's sounded better that tape but not as nice as vinyl
My mp3's at whatever rate sound ok but shyte compared to cd & vinyl
My FLAC files don't exist as can't be arsed to get everything in that format
MP3 players are cheap (or early ones were) and so the sound was always going to be weak especially with manufacturers cheap headphones
Is my view way too simplistic by any chance?