Murph, an excellent explanation and in today's mature digital technology, in my mind, whatever differences between analog and digital exist, those differences are highly overrated.
Just to give you an example, although I didn't buy it specifically for that reason, but when the Oppo BDP95 was introduced last year, of course, the internal allegedly "state of the art" Sabre DACs were touted as being the ultimate for a Blu-Ray player operating in the analog domain. After making both multi-channel analog and HDMI connections through the inputs of three different AVRs during this time and trying, of course, to use my ears to make comparisons between the two, when all was said and done, I sat back and wondered what all the fuss was about?
Some would argue that what you are using as an external input source can vary in sound(I have my doubts), in the end, I went back to the straight HDMI connection which not only allowed me much greater versatility in bass management and other features, the HDMI connection was comparably louder than the analog and, of course, I had a lot less cables to hook up.
Perhaps others have had different experiences and this is not to doubt the Oppo's outstanding analog capabilities but, once again, you are talking products, such as the Oppo, that just seem to bring out their best operating in the digital format and why someone would spend that kind of money without getting the best out of it, to me anyway, seems kind of silly.