Deutche Gramaphone are far not the best sounding ones.
Angel are a-bit better.
Among the classical ones the best ones probably RCA Victor.
Despite that Angel has the best musicians and performances recorded.
For jazz and rock I prefere German issues over US ones.
For classical LP that would be a good start
BTW, take a look at classicrecords.com
Most of their reissues are great.
If sound quality is paramount for you, in classical LP's I have generally found Phillips to have excellent quality and some good recording artists as well. DG is touch and go. EMI, London, Decca also have excellent recording practices and the surfaces of all of these were usually quite good (when new). Angel & RCA have some good music but a lot had pressing problems. RCA Living Stereo however could be just outstanding, as could Mercury Living Presence. You can also find great LP's by Telarc. For CD's you usually get good sound from London/Decca, EMI, Chandos, Telarc, BIS, Hyperion, Harmunia Mundi, Delos, Dorian, Denon, but watch out on DG these have similar problems to a lot of their LP's. CBS (Sony) and RCA as well. On the major labels the music recorded in the last 10 years usually sounds very respectible. Enjoy.......
That is the burning question. Unfortunately, many "audiophile" recordings that can make your LP system shine, are mediocre performances of questionable works. You can't go wrong getting your hands on some of the Mercury Living Presence recordings done by Bob Fine and Wilma Cozart. There is a reissue of Respighi's "Ancient Airs and Dances" on Mercury that is very good. There is a very complete catalog of 180g vinyl available from Acoustic Sounds http://www.acousticsounds.com as well as Music Direct http://www.amusicdirect.com These folks get you the best of both worlds: recordings you know and like, reissued in high quality heavy vinyl. I just purchased Crosby, Stills, and Nash's 1st album from them pressed on 180g vinyl and it sounds very good indeed.
Great suggestions! What makes 180g vinyl better? I have noticed some LP's I've picked up are heavier/more sturdy, are these 180g? They're not as flimsy, doesn't seem like you could bend them like a normal record.
I would suggest the Music Corner part of Steve Hoffman's website for discussions of the merits of various LP pressings -- I have learned more about various LP pressings here than anywhere else! See: http://www.stevehoffman.tv/
For a dealer that actually listens to LP's, visit Tom Port's Better Records website. Tom is very opinionated, but I seldom disagree with his assessment of LP reissues. See http://www.dccblowout.com/
Good luck with your vinyl acquisitions!
I've been collecting LPs for about 40 years and definitely find differences among them. It's not ALWAYS related to label, but in general I've found European labels to have a higher quiality. I'm particulary fond of Philips. On the other hand, two of my all-time favorite LPs are from an American company with a tiny catgalog - Reference Recordings. They make some of the best recordings on Earth.
Lyrita made some beautiful recordings, with both interesting musical value and very good sound quality. I have most but particularly enjoy the Bax.
From my experience with my collection(I own ~7k classical LPs but have not listened to them all), I like below labels(I really don't care for some of the newer audiophile re-issue lps):
-Most of RCA Living Stereo labels(ones with shaded dogs). Slightly in warm side. Dynagroove versions very unpredictable. I like most of LM(mono) shaded dogs as well.
-Mecury Living Presence(if your analog front end can handle the hot pressing LPs) both stereo and mono.
-Philips(holland pressings), US pressing Philips does not sound as good.
-CBS Mastersound issues, excellent performance and sound.(I love those YoYoMa albums)
-London/Decca/Lyrata/Erato, some sounds little bright
-Denon, great quality, somewhat less dynamic than the others maybe due to PCM recording.
-DGG, some very excellent, some so so(ones pressed in Germany usually sounds good). Blue tulip label ones are excellent.
-EMI Angel, not Angel. EMI Angel LPs sound good but US pressed Angel label sounds dull.....
-Telarc/Teldec/FSM, sounds very similar to Denon.
-MHS, mostly excellent pressing/performance.
-I have some USSR pressed Melodia(spelling?) label LPs which sounds great.
Well, fortunate thing is that there are loads of used classical LPs still available and prices are excellent. I won't pass above labels if price is around $1-$2.
Condition wise, it is very hard to find NM condition RCA Living Stereo or Mecury Living Presence. DGG/MHS/Philips LPs I usually see are in NM condition(maybe due to polylinded inner sleeves in these labels).
Some of those heavier vinyl discs are not necessarily "audiophile" 180 or 200g LPs. If they are older, they are probably 150g.
You can't go wrong with any of the Decca classical reissues on Speakers Corner. They are pricey at around $25 each but you get a thick slab of 180g vinyl for your money. Next up would be the Classic Records reissues some of which are being sold for $10-12 by web sites such as www.amusicdirect.com and www.elusivedisc.com. The Classics jazz reissues are pretty good too. On the pop side, you have the usual suspects (Pink Floyd "Dark Side" and "The Wall", Neil Young "Harvest", etc.). Check out Ebay and you can pick up some of these for less than $5. Good luck.
The LPs that impressed me most, and there are only a few, were TACET, particularly The Tube. For pure sonics, the Sheffield Labs are amazing.
For new LPs, I have found all the Super Analogue discs from Cisco as good as it gets. Their Vanguard label is also great but, limited titles.
Classical labels I found to be consistently good:
1. Erato,,,great production and dead quiet vinyl,,,very smooth sound with great dynamics.
2. Deutsche Gramophon from the 60's (the label has a big arrangement of Tulips on top and surrounding the inner label..I find the performaances first rate and vinyl very quiet.
3. The Melodiya/Angel releases, are dead quiet vinyl,,,great sound.
4. The London label I find that most of the ones I have are very very quiet, with very nice performances...I just got my first blue back and its pretty good.
5. Phillips of any kind, especially if pressed in Holland,,,dead quiet vinyl and good dynamics.
6. Teldec Direct Metal Mastering (derived from telefunken (derived from Decca)),,,Spotless production.
7. RCA Living Stereo (I am not that willing to pay anymore)
8. Mercury Living Presence...(reissues are supposed to be excellent) (not willing to pay that much anymore either).
9. Hungaratron and Supraphon (Eastern European labels)
I am paying an average of 2 dollars per classical LP that basically have never been played (or it looks that way)