^IMO this is an "it depends" kind of thing.
As noted on this thread, it all starts in the recording studio. Without a quality master, there won't be quality anywhere else. With a quality master in hand, it turns into an issue of making that content available. CD, SACD, DVD Audio, LP, or various digital downloads can all work well... with a good master.
Sometimes what shows up in one media channel differs from what shows up in other channels. For example, after getting a less than ideal digital download from HDTracks, that motivated me to compare a half dozen different digital downloads (all at least 96/24) to their CD equivalent. Sometimes the digital content sounded best, sometimes the CD won. It was never predictable.
There's no question that digital downloads can sound extraordinary, but simply being in a digital format is no assurance of quality. As far as I can tell, that will always depend on the quality of the original master and the production values used in making media available to consumers.
Last edited by Bill-99; 02-16-2018 at 08:04 AM.