What It's Not About
Once again folks, it's not about the label, it's not about the country of origin, it's not about original vs. reissue -- it's about the sound of the record on the turntable, and the only way to know which are the best sounding pressings is to clean 'em and play 'em.
It's a time-consuming process that most audiophiles clearly don't have time for. You may be able to save time by buying only, to take just one example, British Led Zeppelin records, but that's a surefire way to miss out on some incredibly good sounding Zep LPs. Some of the killer copies are British, but most are not, and many of the British pressings are hopelessly bad. British band, British pressing is going to get you into a lot of trouble when it comes to Zep, of that you can be sure.
Check out some of our Hot Stamper commentaries and see how many of the Best Sounding Led Zeppelin LPs are British. In our experience, not that many.
The Exception that Proves the Rule
Zep IV. In our most recent shootout (3/12) the best British copy was clearly better than any domestic. At the same time, keep in mind that this is certainly no hard and fast rule: the best domestic Hot Stamper copies were superior to the lesser Hot Stamper British pressings.
The best of the best were British, but there is certainly no shortage of mediocre-sounding British vinyl. (The later reissues are uniformly awful as I recall, as are the German pressings.)
We Have the Technology
Fortunately we have the staff it takes to do the job right. We play every pressing we can get our hands on, regardless of country of manufacture, how original it is, the label it's on -- we ignore the conventional but wrong Rules of Thumb that so often lead the serious record lover and audiophile down the garden path.
We've already found the Hot Stampers that are just too difficult for most people to find on their own, and, as luck would have it, some of them are sitting in our Hot Stamper section as we speak, just waiting for a good home. Yours perhaps?