How can I tell what version of an LP is best ?

After 27 years I am coming back to vinyl . Should've never left !
Anyway , I would like to know if there is some kind of rating service , web site etc. that rates the different LP pressings. When I left , most everything was just the original cut . Now I see remasters , UK versions , Japanese versions and etc. I have some original albums that are just sublime and some that are , well not so much . I have heard three different versions of a Doors
CD that were all bad quality .
Does such a service exist ?

Thank You
I think that if you just google "What is the best pressing of..." you should come up with a good idea. Trying to find a great copy of a record is part of the fun. Plus, there's a lot of new, re-released stuff that people have purchased and reviewed. Don't get crazy with it. It's supposed to be enjoyable, not a source of grief.
I agree, Saki. Replacing an LP record library with CDs was madness. (I did warn them in 1990 but would they listen? :D)

Not sure if you meant you had listened to 3 versions of a CD or 3 LP versions of a CD but if the latter I'm mildly surprised. I've generally found a lot of pre-owned LPs are of very marketable quality once they've been cleaned. Indeed many of them will sound better than some brand new LPs - even of the same era.
As a rule I've always preferred the pre-1980s pressings because there was less risk of digital contamination in the mastering chain as digital recorders were developmental.

Pressing quality can vary depending on the condition of the stamper, whether it was at the beginning of a run or the end of a batch. Then, factor in the poor handling by the previous owner and it can lead to an unsatisfactory outcome even if the original pressing was a top 1971 example produced with brand new stampers.
Unfortunately this means that the buying process is very much trial and error. Even if there are codes & numbers inscribed on an LP you can still end up with a load of rubbish.

Audiophile 180g/200g LPs are very much a mixed bag. With some, the mastering and production are impeccable, while others can't even get the hole properly centred with the label such that your stylus collides with the edge of the label!!! (Be alert!)
Also you should be aware that the recording content or master tape may not even be the same one that produced the cherished recording, so well loved, from that bygone age. Compare e.g. Robert Fripp's LP "Exposure" with the CD version to be treated to songs which were clearly recorded at a different session or alternative "takes". Whether this is because they couldn't find the original master tape, whether it was damaged etc I can't recall, but it happens. (The CD version is actually a bit of a curiosity for this very reason. Interesting - but I won't go into that here :D )

The encouraging thing to draw from all this is that 2nd hand LPs are not a waste of time and a high percentage of them are well worthwhile - sometimes sounding like new. A line contact stylus will often evince a sound quality which the LPs previous owner never thought possible from his "old banger", featuring vanishingly low noise levels and unimpaired dynamic peaks.
Similarly, even the most vicious and lengthy looking scratches can be completely inaudible on replay.
If you do re-enter the fray it will be a voyage of discovery but one that only you can make.
Hope this is helpful...
Very well stated by Moonglum. But I must say, that like different cartridges, tonearms, preamps/amps, speakers and cables, it's what oooos and aaaahs *YOUR* ears that will tell the story. Personally, I almost always prefer the sound of original pressings over the reissues. While there are those who latch onto the dynamics and clarity of the latter I usually find the former easier and more traditionally "tube like" on my aging ears---and frankly, more natural sounding too. So, prepare for a return to those "thrilling days of yesteryear". Happy hunting and good listening!
Agree with the above and will add that is a good source for prices.
Steve Hoffman Forum ( is my go-to forum for finding out about various pressings. A big community of obsessive vinyl fans over there. Fremer's Analog Planet is another good place to look, as is My Vinyl Review ( (though it is less frequently updated).
Amusing the drone on forums and audio rags of the vinyl/analog superiority and disparaging of CD medium. Jolly too the backslapping of support elicited and received from that modest bunch. Well done! Go team go, we're #1 rah rah.
I have never messed with 'which pressing is the best' stuff.
I try to just find any clean copy of material used.
Finding the 'best' copy? not enough time to be bothered.
Perhaps if I run into some MFSL the store forgot to mark up the price.. but to waste time seaching for them is just not for me.
One could go to the sites which sell (what the site claims are) 'special' "hot stampers" and pay the exorbitant premium prices, and feel good because someone else claims you now have better copies of the same old stuff.
I spend my time looking for music i do not own that I want.
And I have no plans to bother searching for better editions of stuff i own.

I can understand folks asking me: 'well you spend a lot of time on stereo equipment so isn't that the same thing?' My answer is.. yeah, in some ways.. but i do not obsess over cables, or other little bits.. Which i associate way more with the search for slightly better editions of recordings.
So that is my response.
It is like the tipping point: at what personal point am i satisfied? And it is way short of chasing after mythical stampers...
But if i ran into a superior recording, by chance, yeah i might try it.
Airegin - you have a nice system. I wonder why virtually every high-end digital manufacturer compare their products sound like analog? Not all, but most. Maybe there's something to it?
I'd like to believe gold standard should be audio reproduction closest to music performed live regardless of tube or SS or needle or laser or vinyl or compact disc - but your point well taken.
I agree with Airegin. CD is just as good as vinyl. they do have different flaws. but each has them.
Perhaps some folks just find certain flaws easier to ignore?
I find both Lp and Cd to be just fine. And own LPs as buying used Lps is fun.
But I do have to laugh at the 'vinyl is better' fanboy crowd. It ain't better, just different.
Moonglun totally agree,
My respects for youd knowledge in the analog field, i just learned more than a few things....
Analog fan here even with hi end dac and cds on aiff.
Nothing like the old pressing on harbeth with luxman via rega p5.
First , thank you for your opinions and info .
I did not mean to diss or run down CD's . I have some that are better than the LP's of the same album . Mainly what I am refering to is what I call 'compressed and lifeless' . This is what I was refering to above when I mentioned the three CD's of the Doors . I also have some vinyl that has the same characteristics . It tends to take the enjoyment out of listening to the music as it does not
have any life to it .
I will not say that LP's are better than CD's . They are different and more to my and my wifes liking . We could tell this right off when we fired up our new turntable !
Much in the same way that we prefer tubes to SS .

I started this thread to alleviate the purchase of undesirable LP's.
While I can appreciate the excitement of the hunt for some of you , it is not always fun , exciting or even possible for others . Most of my hunting , these days , is done on line . Thanks again .

Happy Tunes
Find a good local record store. I am lucky to have a few in the Seattle area. It is more fun to thumb through the "bargain bins" thansearch for the best pressings of X.
Generally the original one is the best (higher frequencies, tonal colors), of course, there will be always some exceptions but I never had a top Reissue from a inferior Original. When you have a very good Reissue, then the Original Master or Copy is also excellent. A lot of knowledge died when the Plants closed, based on that, lots of reissues are noisy, or can be silent, but then they can sound dead and boring in comparison to an Original. And indeed, sometimes CD's aren't that bad...
No worries, Saki...none of the genuine respondents thought you were dissing CD at all. :^)

Neither was I BTW.... I will repeat the statement that selling a perfectly serviceable record library on the strength of powerful advertising and replacing it at great personal cost was madness and still is.
My admiration goes out to all those who proved refractory to highly persuasive marketing and social prejudice. ;^)

As to online shopping, nothing wrong with that either. They generally describe the product quite well but this can be misleading on occasions. I've bought a few by this method but most are acquired by trawling the Charity shops which have really become Modern Record Shops. Their staff are becoming very organised and discerning at grading vinyl as they see this as a rich seam of revenue now.
I'm delighted to support those charities in this way.

On the rare occasions I reject something it gets recycled back to the Charity Shops for free.(I only hope I don't re-purchase it! :D )
Just wanted to report back...
I took the suggestions and went to the links as well as subsequent ones listed there . They did do exactly what I was looking for . They listed the best , and often 2nd and 3rd best , copies of popular LP's . They also went so far as to list the bad copies !
Unfortunatly , I am not the only one seeking this info ! Trying to locate one of these primo copies is quite difficult if not impossible . And when one is available , it can be priced into the stratosphere !
So I guess the best deal is to just try to find a disk that is in as good of shape as possible .

Thank you for all of your help .
Or you can ask Tom Port. He rates the Lp's and sells them ---> Hot Stamper is a good place to search the printing history of a record.
Saki70 said: "Unfortunatly , I am not the only one seeking this info ! Trying to locate one of these primo copies is quite difficult if not impossible . And when one is available , it can be priced into the stratosphere !"

This is exactly why I am not a "collector." I refuse to pay ridiculous prices. Am I missing out on some really good sounding recordings? Probably. But almost always, there is a cheaper pressing available of the same exact recording, so one does not have to miss a great performance, and IMO, that is MUCH more important. And many times you can find them at reasonable prices, so it is good to be aware of which ones are the best.
Why is someone's opinion of record quality anymore valid than someone's opinion about a component's sound quality? Does anyone really take Stereophile's class A/B/C/D grading seriously? A record gradings more accurate/serious?

I've run out of questions.
Onhwy61 ;
The record grading thing is a good question .
I have been purchasing some albums from Amazon who uses a rating system for the quality of the LP and jacket . So far I have received 4 albums all rated at vg(very good).
The first two albums were what I would call average for somebody who takes good care of their stuff .The 2nd two were quite good for the disk itself but not for the cover or sleeve . One cover was worn more than some that I have obtained from thrift stores and another had what looks like coffee stains ! Both of these had torn sleeves too . While the first disc is very clean the other is loaded with finger prints !
I beleive that the grading system is highly subjective and is only an estimation . Sort of like the grading system used here but maybe not as contientious .

Happy Tunes
Moonglum made a point I believe is often overlooked, "Pressing quality can vary depending on the condition of the stamper".

My simple question, would you rather have the last record pressed from stamper #1 or the first record pressed from stamper #40?

Unfortunately this means the best search method is still trial and error. :^(