In the recent thread "What is your favorite Jazz Release(s)?" the subject of the various releases, issues, remasterings and pressings of a given recording was touched upon. Instead of continuing to intrude on that fine thread I figured I start a fresh thread to share my thoughts on this subject.
Through the many years of my music listening and record/cd collecting I have managed to find myself in possession of several different copies of various recordings. I've amassed these duplications due to a number of different factors: 1) my original copy was so bad I just had to replace it 2) I listened to the hype of either the record company (newly remastered) or some reviewer (the best sounding version) 3) new improved format (CD, SACD, DVD-Audio, Half Speed Master, Japanese Pressing, Test Pressing, etc.)
My observations on all of these super duper wonder records are split into two catagories. First there are the run of the mill recordings that just sound really good and are worth having as demo records or for the occassional listen. For these one buys the best quality pressing/issue available at the time and for a fair price and then one stops obsessing over that recording. You now own it, it sounds great and you go on with your life.
Then there's the second kind of recording. These are the classics. Recordings like "Kind of Blue" and "Way Out West" and "A Love Supreme" But here's the rub. They may or may not have been recorded all that great to begin with. Yes, some were, like "Way Out West" but others weren't, like "A Love Supreme". However, all of them are worth owning in the best fidelity possible. Now I find that useless I have a truly unlistenable copy of any these recordings I don't want to be sitting there listening to how much air is around the microphone on a given pressing, I want to be carried away by the music. So once again I find that just as with the run of the mill recordings, I buy the best sounding recording and then get on with my listening and life.
Please understand that this is in no way meant as a criticism of those who relish the fine art of record collecting. I've spent many an hour hunting down that hard to find record myself. And this is the Stereophile forum after all so a bit vinylmania is more than welcome.