And the cd is certaintly a step-up in sound quality, from records and tapes
Not if you get a really good turntable and clean the record before you play it. Then vinyl and CD sound about the same from what I've heard. If the CD has more frequencies, they're probably ones nobody can hear. It's just that it's much easier to get a great sound with a CD. A CD walkman hooked up to good stereo system will probably sound just a good as a super expensive CD player. Both completely blow tapes away. In fact, MP3s and a bunch of other digital formats probably blow tapes away. Either way, think about it before you play on.