Why can't all/most recordings be this good?


Changing components this weekend (swapping out my MF Trivista 300 for a Hovland hp 100/Bel 1001 Mk V fronting Meadowlark Blue Heron II’s), I picked some of my cd’s that had, what I consider, exemplary sound. I listened through the day & evening, marveling at the crisp, delineated, but musical sound but also began to question: Why aren’t all/most recordings done in this manner?
I am not a sound engineer nor musician. I have no knowledge of mixing, microphone placement, layering, etc. But some recordings are so outstanding in their clarity, instrumentation, and pure enjoyment that many others pale in comparison. Granted, I am dealing in only one aspect (redbook cd) of media, and only with a single genre of music. And I certainly didn’t compile an exhaustive list of recordings; just ones I listened to of late. I would certainly like to add to the list and hear other’s opinion.

Lenard Cohen Live in London, 10 More Songs
Rickie Lee Jones Rickie Lee Jones
Aaron Neville Warm Your Heart
Chris Izak Baja Sessions
Allison Krause and Union Station Live
Govi No Strings Attached
farmdoc
It is sad but true that there seems to be no correlation between sound quality and record sales, therefore there is no economic incentive to do records better. I have heard of several instances in which record companies declined to use better manufacturing techniques even though the cost increases would be nominal. Some artists have both the power and inclination to demand good sound quality, most lack one or the other.
not everyone's cup of tea (it's 'artsy'), but Laurie Anderson's 'Life on a String' (nonesuch) is one of my favorite 'demo' CDs - astonishing sound for 'redbook'.
Most artists/producers could care less as long as the product sells.Just my opinion.
Generally the Doug Sax masters are in the top quartile (he has a huge list of credits on Artists Direct).

Other good engineers
Bill Schnee
Chuck Ainslay
Al Schmitt
Alan Parsons
James Guthrie
Mark Bishop
George Massenburg
Ed Cherney
Elliot Schiener

There are plenty of others of course but the above list probably accounts for more than 2/3 of the mainstream grammy award winning productions from big names.