Stereo, hi fidility, ultra hifidelity ?

Can one of you smart Analog people me what to look for on an LP with regard to how the LP was recorded. I got a few questions.....
Went to purchase an LP the other day and found out that there are LP's recorded in stereo. Thats easy enough. But what does 'Hi Fi' on a jacket cover mean. Is that the same as stereo? What about 'Hi Fidelity' and 'Ultra Hi Filelity'? Oh, and what does 'MS' on a jacket cover mean ?

I was told that at some point, 'Stereo' recordings became the norm hence the word was not even put on the LP covers.

If there is a difference in recording methods, does it make much of a difference ? Thanks in advance....,.
If you would like a fine example of how an LP should be recorded and mixed find "Breaking Silence" by Janis Ian. Reading the back bottom of the cover regarding microphones and recording/mixing techniques makes my pusle race. It is an album of great music although the lyrics are rather depressing. The good news is the lyrics are easy to ignore.

Assuming you are looking at used LP's and wondering what to buy in a generic pressing there usually isn't much help. A good hint: if an artist is excellent "live" then less help is required in the recording process. Some of the very early stereo LP's are excellent.

Here are some used pieces of vinyl I would recommend for both the quality of the recording and the music:

Stardust by Willie Nelson
Any Dire Straights
Laid back by Greg Allman
Rickie Lee Jones self titled
The Soul Of A City Boy by Jesse Colin Young
Will O' The Wisp by Leon Russell
Any Karla Bonoff
Diamonds & Rust by Joan Baez
The Best Of Nancy Wilson
Any Steely Dan
Any Supertramp
Will The Circle Be Unbroken by The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Various Artists
Pure Gold by Duke Ellington
Blood On The Tracks by Bob Dylan
Any Alan Parsons Project
Still Crazy After All These Years by Paul Simon

I hope this helps. I hope to see more of such recommendations in this thread.

Happy Listening,
As to your question about Hi-Fi, Hi-Fidelity, and Ultra Hi-Fidelity--they are marketing terms. Each time a company came up with a new process, or improved the old one, they would label it as such--just to create market perception of an improved pressing method over their competitors. As to the "Stereo" question--pretty simple, but it's interesting to note that Classic Records (one of the top re-issue labels) is now re-issuing many albums in their original mono format.
"Stereo" and "High Fidelity" or "Ultra-High" fidelity are totally different issues. A high fidelity record may be mono as well. Can you imagine that imaging and the stage can be accomplished through the mono with the great success!
I do collect mono records and know how they worth. A lot of older hifi lovers will tell you that true fidelity is in mono records.

The pressing and mastering technology had been changing throughout the vinyl history along with recording as well.
Whenever the new technology was developed the consumers market have to act accordingly so by acheiving some descent sound from mastering by the mid-50's the "high fidelity" was placed on almost all records since they sounded better than previous ones.
I haven't used vinyl in years but I sure applaud your taste in music.

Patrick, about your note for a "good hint": I've personaly spoke with Jimmy Page's recording engineers and they told me that it's very difficult to manage a live recording with Jimmy Page since he's getting too agressive during concert and often forgetting about being recorded starts to hit strings too hard that none would normally do with electric guitar. Alghough I do consider Jimmy Page as an excellent guitar player.

As to your list of recommended recordings I would add the whole ECM label. These vinyls mainly digital but very good mastered. ECM label is for free-, avant- and other kinds of non-traditional jazz. Also bite some EG label recordings too.
Just to clarify my "hint". If you go to a concert and are impressed with how note for note perfect the artist is then that is a very good indication of what one might expect on vinyl. I was not speaking about a live recording.

A great example of this is Neil Young. In my experience his concerts are nearly perfect. Studio time for "the man" is very minimal and it shows in the recordings. Contrast this with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Their concerts are generally not very acurate compared to the recordings. Stills is the biggest culprit live because of the tendency to add a latin flare to the songs we all know so well. The rest of the group seems to harmonize with the way the song should be sung rather than what Stills is doing. CSN&Y were notorious for multiple sessions to cut a disc. It shows in the vinyl pressings with a lack of depth, dynamics, etc. I have no inside knowledge but I guess this was a source of frustration for Young and therefore he was a "sometimes" player.

The Eagles are a great example of superb live music and very high quality vinyl pressings. I hope I have cleared up any confusion regarding my recommendations. My hope was to read of other great generic pressings that perhaps I don't own.

Happy Listening,