Tape noise has always intersted me, and vinyl too for that matter. And CD's sort of lack of noise floor.
As always used to listening to tapes and LPs, and noise, it is disturbing in a way (to this day) how CD just abruptly cuts off instead of tailing out, although some recordings do better than others. CD always sounds just a little thick to me, less lively than LP. But I live with both worlds, still.
Concerning analog tape, two theories of magnetism involve aligement of domains, one of them says it is like aligning tiny magnets with north south poles. Folks, that is digital on the tape in a way! Just thought I would throw that in!
Tubes produce noise, so does solid state. Most good solid state is quieter than tube gear, but not by much. I wonder if we like a little noise....maybe the generation brought up on "quiet" digital would not and does not like noise. Just thinking out loud.
It makes sense that Tim says he makes tube gear because the market wants them. It also makes sense he does not pick one over the other given his past designs and statements.