LP Vinyl: Quality, Pressing, Label, Weight, Where to Buy ???

Getting back into LP vinyl...its been a long time = mid 70s?  Searching for an educational review on the forum for buying decent quality vinyl LPs...an overview of quality, weight, pressing, label, and best source/location to purchasing (prefer to stay away from ebay as it seems to be hit/miss on what you get). Does anyone have suggestions for an educational review on the subject? 

As a discussion point...I was looking at buying an older LP (vinyl only); I did an internet search = "Faces" - The First Step Album. Online search produces numerous results with prices from $18 to $120...older, used, remakes/repressed, various quality ratings (is there a uniform rating scale), unopened...list goes on. 

Greatly appreciate the forums experience and insight!


Local record store if you have one.  They will usually price used records according to quality, because they want repeat customers.  At least mine does.  And they will order what they may not have in stock if you’re looking for new.

Discogs is specialized and peer reviewed. The sellar tells you what he's got and if wrong he gets bad marks.

Are the new remakes/repressed a "better" quality vinyl then the original released...if I understand the process correctly,  back in the day, after the first 20-30k pressings from the master the quality drops? Some labels produced better quality vinyl? Is todays "new" vinyl a better quality - looks like the wt (180 gm) is not indicative of quality?  Going thru a reputable online dealer with a return policy seems to be the way to go - unless buying new/repressed version....?




I buy new pressings from Music Direct. There are lots of people with strong opinions on which vendor. I probably buy six or eight audiophile pressings a year. I also buy from a local used record store here in Vancouver Washington. I lived in Tucson Arizona and purchased from a huge record store there… if you can look at the album before you buy it you can eliminate any scratched or warped records. A good cleaning machine, I had a VPI for about 25 years, now a German Nessie (way bettera0, and most albums sound pristine with no ticks and pops after cleaning. Of course that requires a great turntable, I now have a high end Linn LP12… my vinyl is a pleasure to listen to… whether a $5 used album from the late 1950’s or a newly pressed 200 gram audiophile album.

When the vinyl resurgence started and new vinyl was being pressed, results were not as good as original pressings. There was a learning curve and growing pains for the techs in the new pressing plants, but now new vinyl is worth buying. However, IMO, quality is inconsistent depending on record label and pressing plants. Forum members have reported the most common defect is warping. IMO again, quality control is poor, facilities have a backlog of orders and are trying to keep up.

One thing about new vinyl is that in most cases a remaster or reissue comes from a digital master. There has been an ongoing process by record labels to transfer analogue recordings to digital files. It makes for easier and safer storage and faster turnaround time to press an album. So, your favorite albums may have greater dynamics and no tape hiss, but may run the risk of too much compression compared to the original pressing.

Don’t get me wrong, there are excellent quality records being produced, usually they come from the specialty outlets like MOFI or Acoustic Sounds. Many of the bands and their producers have become more involved in the reissue process to produce a quality product. If you have a choice between new vinyl or a NM used original, often the original will have that magic sound you grew up with.