Hard to hang around this crowd and not think about going vinyl. Bastards ;-)

Anyway, someone wrote in another thread (I can't find it) that there are differences between first issue, re-issue, and Audiophile grade (MS??) recordings. Would one of you summarize this for a newbee?

First issue, or original release is generally the preferable one to get. The master tapes were fresh, and the stampers had low wear. The original jackets also may have had some unique things like gatefolds, or embossing that re-releases may not have. Re-release may not be as good, but many are still good. Even if new stampers were made, the master tapes were older, and if not, the stampers may have been more worn. Audiophile issues generally are on premium vinyl and are quiet, but often may be remastered and not the same as original. They will have fresh master tapes and good stampers, so the sound quality will generally be very good, as long as they didn't screw up the remastering. Import copies of older LPs can have better vinyl than American releases after about 1970 because of the impact of the Clean Air Act and the use of recycled vinyl in the USA. This did not apply to most audiophile pressings because they were mostly pressed on imported virgin vinyl.