I hesitated between posting this question in the Music forum rather than Analog, but since the question regards the quality of the vinyl pressing and sound rather than the quality of the music, I decided the question was more fitting in the Analog forum.
I own all of Kate's records with the exception of "Aerial," and all of her albums are exceptionally good sounding, even the recent reissues of "The Hounds of Love" and "The Sensual World." Her last release before "50 Words for Snow" was "Director's Cut," which she released under her own label Fish People. The quality is beyond reproach. I just purchased "50 Words for Snow" and cleaned it with the AIVS 3-step formulas before first play. I had to stop a few minutes into the first song as the sounds was being marred by the loud crackling noise every several seconds. Same with the second song. It pretty much continued throughout the entire two-record album. The album was mastered by Doug Sax and James Guthrie and the CD sounds spectacular so I know it's not the recording but the quality of the pressing. Does anyone who owns this release share my experience? As much as I'd want it to be the case, I find it hard to believe I just happened to buy a bad isolated pressing. I'm so bummed as the music is heavenly.