The quality of vinyl mix plays a tremendous role in the quality of the music reproduction. I think we all know that. What really got me was just how poor the sound quality is on picture discus. On recommendation, I tried a picture disc (Toole; Lateralis) and what a waste of money that was. Absolutely terrible in sound quality and by far the noisiest piece of vinyl I have ever purchased. I played it once and said "never again will I allow that garbage to see my very expensive stylus". I sold it on eBay, took a 40% loss, and the guy who bought it posted a high satisfaction rating. Maybe he framed it or maybe he has a low-end playback system. All I can say is that picture discs will never be a part of my vinyl collection.
Just bought the new Mobil Fidelity remaster of Dire Straits. Now that is some fine vinyl! And as others have stated, the mastering/plating/pressing process is extremely important to the sound quality. The new Dire Straits release has it all. If only all of the new LPs were of that quality. Although, at $50 a copy it does put many LPs out of reach for regular/monthly purchases. For those of you looking for the finest, and especially if you appreciate Dire Straits, get this newly remastered release before they are gone. This is a limited production quantity and at present Elusive Disc still has some in inventory. It is quite the sonic experience. And the music is spectacular.