Where to find hi-quality CD's of classical music

Season's Greeting, One and All,

I'm a lover of classical music and would like to find a source, on the internet (and/or elsewhere) to purchase hi-quality classical CD's. I live in Tucson, AZ - a nice place to live, but somewhat lacking in venues to satisfy my classical music interests. So, I ask you: Would you, perchance, be able to point me towards a site, store, source, where I could purchase what I call hi-quality CD's, meaning, music recorded with hi-fidelity, and quality recording standards as the goal. If memory serves me, I sort of recall reading somewhere that one could tell if a CD was a quality recording by some type of symbol or code on the jewel box label or on the CD itself. Does anyone know if there's any truth to that? Any and all input would be much appreciated.


1. I suggest checking your local library to find titles you may be interested in.
2. You might also read a few issues of Gramophone, there are classical reviews and ads from suppliers. Slightly pricey for a subscription depending on your interest level.
3. Also, check brightcecilia.com, a classical music site.

Both Amazon and CDUniverse carry most classical titles.
ArkivMusic.com is an online classical music dealer.

Hope this helps for starters.
There is no truth to the suggestion that there is some code that will tell you anything about the quality of a recording, classical or otherwise. The so-called SPARS code tells you what steps in the production were analog or digital; that's all.

The only way to find well-recorded and well-performed CDs is to read reviews and then buy them from sites like Amazon, ArkivMusic, etc..

The local library is a GREAT suggestion. I very recently checked out my local library's collection and was stunned by both quantity and quality. Much more classical than most brick and mortar stores.
In addition to local public libraries, check out nearby college and university libraries. Borrowing privileges usually attach to becoming a "Friend of the Library," usually for a nominal fee. But check to see whether music CDs circulate. Some schools are more restrictive in their borrowing policies. Some have listening areas within the library.

For purchases, check out BerkshireRecordOutlet.com, which features a wide variety of classical (and other) recordings at discount prices. They have an online catalog.

Also, check out ClassicsToday.com for classical reviews with sound quality ratings.
Berkshire Records is outstanding,thet have a yummy actual store near Tanglwood.
As stated however,the research is up to you, some labels like Dorain and Hyperion hardly ever make anything but quality.
Tm4tm, it is very rare that music libraries allow their CD's to circulate, especially to non-students. If there is one near you, you are lucky.

I don't know about Arizona. But in PA at least, any resident, i.e., taxpayer, is elegible for a (free) library card at the Penn State University library system. I also know of other non-PSU schools that have excellent music collections, even though they are not known primarily as "music libraries." It can't hurt to ask what the policies are for "Friends" and, for state-funded schools, residents. Usually the information is published on a library's website. If it's not, send an email expressing your interest to the head of circulation. You never know.
FWIW, I just checked the U of Arizona Libraries website. Looks like a Friend's card is $125/year, and music CDs and records circulate for 7 days at a time for this type of patron.