I don’t think he’s expecting people to read too much into his words. Also, he said analog and high end, not high frequency eq, which changes a lot of the meaning of what he’s saying.
What I get from what he’s saying is that tape/vinyl and whatever other analog mediums people used to listen to music had a natural high end rolloff. Since playback devices weren’t playing back the high end anyway, it didn’t matter as much to get it right.
With CDs, there is no natural high end rolloff except for the rolloff caused by your speakers, if there is any.
I do like what he’s saying about not letting the high end get cluttered. I never really put a lot of thought into that, but it makes sense.
I hear this all the time when I listen to my “old” Rock music (which is the majority of my listening pleasure). The brightness, the high end, in “modern” recordings … which is even sometimes enhanced by EQ boost and shelf … is fairly annoying to me. Whether I listen to MP3’s on my hard drive, or YouTube, the old stuff just has a warmth and cohesiveness to it that I don’t hear much anymore.
I got to experience the “tape rolloff” thing firsthand when I spent some years recording on my Fostex X-15. The documentation explained it, but I learned through track bouncing on both the X-15 and to a standard stereo cassette player how the top end would deteriorate after every bounce. On some songs where I did this 2-3 times (to get more tracks) the rolloff was significant and destructive. But unless it got really out of hand I liked that sound, the “tape” sound. I guess I still do, and probably mix ‘dark’ because of it. What was it somebody commented about my kick and bass … “old Black Sabbath”?