Where to find vinyl from original master tapes

I need to replace some LP's and just get some I don't currently have.
I have been searching & see that there are many different sources to buy from. When I see "German Pressing" or "Japan Pressing" I wonder where do they get their source music from? I find it hard to believe that Capital, Epic, etc. records would send their original masters around the planet for folks to use.
Leads up tp my main question; Any way to tell if an LP has been mastered from the original tape? Buying from a third generation master seems semi pointless.
Thanks, John
it can be complicated. you might spend some time on this site: http://www.dccblowout.com/
Depends on style of music too. Often a group that's popular in the USA is actually a British (or other country) based group. At that point, that countries pressing is the home version and the USA pressing is the out of country version.

Radiohead comes to mind. I bought the USA version from a web site here in the USA and it sucks. Went to the official Radiohead website (in the UK) and bought the same LP as a double 45 RPM version and it's sounds like a different group it's so much better.

You might even get title specific and post here at Audiogon. In spite of the fact most of us are gear heads, a lot of us are software junkies too.

Another option is Steve Hoffman forums:


I've seen discussions on LP's that cover EVERY possible version worldwide and even covering which pressings most faithfully reproduced the original tape.

A good example is the Beatles. The USA versions were so manipulated that the German and British copies sound like master tape playing compared to what we got here originally.
you'll drive yourself to drink if you try to purchase vinyl re-issues exclusively based on its relationship to the original source. just buy the music you like...the internet is filled with recommendations as to sound quality...original pressings have their own issues as well. the eratic nature of the pressings(import or domestic), and father time , make for an interesting hobby......knowing statements like 'original vault materials', and 'original stereo master(s)' are sometimes marketing 'sleight-of-hand' doesn't help either. you're either a vinyl freak or you're not...there's no middle ground. All lp's can be easily become 'pot stampers' anyway.
Wow, thanks for the responses. What got me on this little quest is my Peter Gabriel albums (1st three) have always sounded like ka-ka. After twenty plus years I finally looked at them closer. All three albums, inner tracks have serious bubbles in the vinyl itself. They look like street paving under the naked eye. I am amazed they even played at all. It would have been easier on the needle if I played double aught sand paper.
At any rate I am on the search for new ones, hopefully someone produced new copies using real vinyl without the whoop-de-doos & gravel imbedded.
Thanks, John
Jaybo, are there any specific places on the net where you can find recommendations on sound quality for various pressings?
feedback on acoustic sounds, audio asylum, and right here on agon for starters.