The best new records you can get today features properly mastered recordings pressed on to 180-gram (or heavier) virgin vinyl. These LPs sound a billion times better than the crappy, lightweight recycled vinyl that was being used at the end of the 70s. Terrible, terrible stuff.
And although you might think the vinyl you buy today is the best you can get, hold on, bucko. You need to investigate the product made by The Electric Recording Co.
This company (est. 2012) is insanely meticulous with their records, which focus mainly on classical and jazz albums from the 50s and 60s. Everything is produced in such small batches–300 units or less–and costs up to US$600 for each LP. You read that correctly.
The New York Times did a feature on the company. I quote:
“[Label founder Peter] Hutchison bought the two hulking, gunmetal-gray machines he uses to master records — a Lyrec tape deck and lathe, with Ortofon amplifiers, both from 1965 — and spent more than $150,000 restoring them over three years. He has invested thousands more on improvements like replacing their copper wiring with mined silver, which Hutchison said gives the audio signal a greater level of purity.
“The machines allow Hutchison to exclude any trace of technology that has crept into the recording process since a time when the Beatles were in moptops. That means not only anything digital or computerized, but also transistors, a mainstay of audio circuitry for decades; instead, the machines’ amplifiers are powered by vacuum tubes (or valves, as British engineers call them).”
Overkill or craftsmanship. You decide. Keep reading.