Like all things, either of these choices giveth and taketh away. I have numerous copies of both including the very rare "Hot Stampers". Here are the general attributes of both. Just remember, these are generalizations. The stamping of vinyl is almost an artform and even in the reissues there are copies of the same title that are better than others.
There is a general rule for both catagories, however. That rule is that a truly sealed record is a crap shoot. That is especially true of records issued in the two gas grises of the 1970s when the cost of vinyl shot up and lesser quality vinyl was used to contain cost. These records could come from the factory with pressing flaws or a particularly noisy batch of vinyl. The positive is that they will not have suffered any abuse or damage from playback on inferiour equipment but that does not mean it must be a better LP. Sealed LPs are in high demand on the collector market but that has little to do with recording itsself and more to do with appearance and the collector manuia for such things.
- Audiophile reissues, Benefits.
- Superiour, very quiet vinyl.
- Recorded at a level that allows for the reduction or even the ellimination of compression.
- Generally less variable from copy to copy than original issues.
- Half-speed reissues have beautiful treble and midrange.
- Have generally been prized and well cared for.
- Audiophile reissues, problems
- Can have somewhat indistinct or muddy bass on half speed recordings
- Can suffer from deteriation of the tape "master".
- Are often remastered by an engineer who seldom hears "real" music live creating an artificial balance.
- Though they can easily rectify comprimises that were made on the originals between the tape master and the cutting lathe, have more difficulty when the compromise was on the master tape itself.
- Original recordings, benefits
- Certain recordings, especially those of the late valve (tube) board era have a natural sound and timbre seldom achieved on a reissue.
- They were made from a fresh tape master that was pristine.
- In the case of hot stampers, they were also made from a fresh negative on a good day by a highly skilled presser.
- Outside of a 15 ips one-off "master tape", Direct to Disk recordings are often the best recordings available and are capable of incredible sound quality and tonality. In a way, they are the nexus between reissues and originals since they are Originals intended to be Audiophile recordings. Unfortunately, the performances are often "careful" because mistakes could not be dubbed out.
- Original recordings, problems
- Vinyl before 1961 or so was very noisy.
- Vinyl after the 1st gas crisis was often cheap and horrendous. It was not unusual to go through 4 or 5 copies of an LP to find one without flaws. Fortunately, most record departments would let you do that.
- Recordings (especially classical recordings and hard rock) were deliberately compressed to increase the playing time per side.
- Bass was attenuated for two reasons
- Increased playing time
- The cartridges of the era could not track natural volume bass
- The playback equipment of the era was far from ideal, even in expensive setps causing damage to records. When you are talking rock or folk played by a stoned out student . . . well . . . you get the idea.
I have both. The reissues can sound excellent or horendous and the original recordings are the same. If noise bothers you (clicks, scratches and surface noise) a better choice may be the reissues. If a natural sound is your desire, original recordings (especially hot stampers) may be your thing. Even that has a caveat. In the 1970s the horrendous "radio mix" appeared in pop music. That mix is unnatural with attenuated bass and treble for broadcast.
Please remember, these are general rules. Specific recordings can be (and are) exceptions. Since the cost of some of these recordings (of both varieties) is often very high I wish I could provide better, more ironclad rules. But I cannot. As I said, pressing vinyl is almost an artform. This primer of the genral qualities is the best I can do. I hope this helps, especially those who are new to the vinyl camp.
Each of these has partisans, but the final choice is up to your ears and your equipment.