I occasionally buy records at Barnes & Noble and the sound quality is usually pretty good. Not to say I haven't bought a dud or two but that won't keep me from buying "off the rack". The cost seems to run around $20 to $22 which is less than specialty online vendors. However, I do purchase records from Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs and Acoustic Sounds (in particular Quality Record Pressings) with consistent good results. The price is often towards $30 but I pay more for a special record knowing the record will likely have excellent sound quality. The QRP records at Acoustic Sounds are well worth the extra money IMO.
As with your older records, and CDs too, much of the sound quality of new records is based upon how it was mastered. Records that were mastered by Doug Sax or Robert Ludwig stand out and we are lucky Ludwig is still working his magic. QRP has done some amazing work with reissues.
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