@soundermn, I'm a big Danny Gatton fan. May I ask which Gatton LP you finally found? I have everything of his I've been able to find, on both LP and CD.
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I kind of wonder what's the fascination with reissues? I have about 1000 albums, and of those less than 20 are reissues. I find used vinyl in great shape that sounds great, even though it's 30 or more years old. I spend less this way, feel a better connection to the artist, and enjoy the fact that it sounds better than it ever did in college.
I'd rather hunt a little bit, buy 3 to 5 used ones than get one reissue, only to be disappointed in the sound quality.
Now that I have grown my collection and have a good selection at home, I can be much more picky on quality. If I don't find a particular gem today, I can find a gem that wasn't on my list... and eventually I'll find that one I was hunting, making it even more cool! For example, I hunted for a Danny Gatton for almost 2 years, and when I finally found it... wow!
And the average quality in my collection is getting better every week!
The only ones I know that have done it on a regular basis are Mobile Fidelity, Analogue Productions, Classic Records, and Music Matters. Older ones are Speakers Corners, Nautilus, and Simply Vinyl. So I would say unless its an all digital recording from Day one, unless its on one of these labels, buy the originals.
Then of course there are the mastering engineers.
Another thing would be if its digital, why put it on a record to begin with?
If it was so expensive to make an analog record in the past, how did they do it? why did they change things? Sort of like Plasma. The new TVs have black blacks, crushed blacks that is and look almost cartoon like in presentation of film and video. Some things just do not get better, they get cheaper.
It's my term (though I think shared by others) that it's not some special copy behind the counter on display but put into the 'bin' of used records that are sold at "regular" "cheap" prices. Now that I'm down in Austin, I hit a few stores here, including Waterloo- the new vinyl is all racked up and shiny, alphabetized and categorized. The used stuff- well, they have a handful of "collectibles" on the wall, but most of it is in the bins, organized by the day of the week it came in. You just gotta sort through it. Typical classic hard rock, lot's of schlock (though that's subjective I guess); Waterloo pricing is like $4.99 to 12 or maybe 15 bucks for these old records. Condition varies. (I've scored big on jazz there b/c no one seems to buy it. You'll almost never find a Zep record in those bins though). :)
I haven’t heard these latest cuts. (I have a WLP of this and more than a few old greenies- Warners in that era had a phenomenal roster of artists thanks to Mo Ostin and the in-house production team as well as some of the best sounding LPs issued on mainstream vinyl). Old copies of this are typically bin records, but given the inflation of the used record market, price and condition are issues.
I think the answer is manifold- the tapes, if they still exist, aren’t usually accessed, let alone loaned out; the notion is that hi-rez masters can get you pretty close to AAAAA* with less trouble, cost and risk. The industry itself- outside of the very small ’audiophile’ market-- is pushing hi-rez for source recording and mastering as well.
For third party reissue houses I know the majors will not let the tapes out of their control. (There are a small handful of exceptions but they keep reissuing the same records). I don’t think it is a ’fascination with digital on vinyl’ so much as practical, cost and a risk concerns. In a number of instances, I have a newish record that was recorded digitally and released on LP as well as Redbook or hi-rez and whatever shortcomings you may attribute to Redbook or digital, running the reproduction through the phono chain on playback can give it a little of that magic you probably associate with analog, despite the source of the mastering. Some are killer- listen to Crimson’s Live in Toronto 2016.
I’ve heard some marvelous LPs pulled from digital masters. I’m more sanguine about it now and less insistent on AAAAA. If the record was originally made on tape, yeah, I’d like to hear that LP cut from a tape. But much music isn’t reissued by audiophile labels so you are forced to run the gauntlet of older copies, which means condition, selection of particular mastering and pressing plant and price. For a lot of the market, that’s not feasible. I just listened to some highly touted all analog production that sounds terrible, so I don’t think an all analog thing is the complete answer anyway as far as SQ goes. And for newer music, if tape was used at all, it was probably in post-production as a ’sweetener’ not as the main medium to capture the sounds. The cost and headache of running tape is not something that many artists can afford and the record companies- to the extent they function as a funding source, aren’t going to be inclined to dump even more money into studio time. I wonder how many studios have the ability to record to tape today? And among those, how many do? Machines, maintenance, tape cost, institutional knowledge, third party vendors and techs all add to the cost. There was a guy in Portland ME who bought a 24 track Studer on the cheap for his studio. He couldn’t afford to get it fixed and I think as of this writing, abandoned it, despite his love for the thing.
The other factor is simply selection of music. There’s an awful lot of great music out there that isn’t sourced from tape and I don’t want to be limited in my musical adventures to the narrow confines of what has been issued or reissued by the small handful of audiophile labels (some of whom won’t tell you about source and process even if asked).
One last thought- the record industry has never really been about SQ in the audiophile sense. It was and to a far lesser degree today, about making money. It’s incumbent on you to sort through the thicket and I think that’s always been true. For those old Van Morrison records, it is probably still easy enough to find a clean old copy. At the FMu show several years ago, a guy had a whole pile of Van Morrison WLPs- I bought two, and went back for the rest, he was gone. Stupid me. But for more rarified stuff, you are stuck with market prices. Last night I played Cressida’s first album on UK Swirl. It took me three copies to get a clean player and this is typically a $500 record at VG+ condition prices. I’m still looking for a copy of their second album that is in mint playing condition for less than 4 figures. So, I suffer with a digitally remastered reissue as a placeholder. Not justifying it- I just wasn’t savvy to the band when you could have gotten these records for a reasonable price.
It’s a jungle out there....
*The AAAAA is actually an association in France that certifies a type of sausage where the parts of the animal are barely disguised. Disgustingly tasty.