Well, it was probably too much to hope for. I had an order of eight albums come in from Acoustic Sounds and three of them were bad and will be going back. All were Blue Note standard reissues. I continue to have very good luck with Speakers Corner, though I did have one that had some minor issues on the first 15 seconds of the first track on side 1. I was able to record it to 24/96 digital audio and clean those glitches out of the recording, and made a great sounding DVD-A from it.
I also got a call from another dealer that I sent about 7 records back to because of defects and he tried to tell me that I should expect standard pressings to have a lot of pops and clicks, and to generally sound bad. Now, I've been buying jazz reissues from him for about a year or so and I tried to explain to him that last year I didn't have any of these problems. Now I seem to be having nothing but problems. He even went so far as to say that he played a few of the records I sent back and they were fine. I just can't accept that unless he believes that standard reissues should sound like the samples I posted earlier in the thread.
I'm not sure where this all leaves me, but I am fairly certain that I am just going cut my losses and will stop buying new vinyl altogether. I understand that Speakers Corner titles will be going up in price to about $40 a pop. It was my feeling that the label's titles were just barely worth buying at $35 each. So if the conventional wisdom is that in order to get a decent new vinyl pressing one must spend $40 to $50, then it just isn't worth the money for what you are getting in return.
I have about 1,000 or so vinyl records in my library that play just fine, sound wonderful, and that I can truly enjoy. If I never added another single record to my collection I really don't think it would bother me. I'd like to buy more vinyl, to be sure. But the hit or miss nature of new vinyl, both standard and audiophile pressings, just doesn't pass muster with me. I will occasionally buy vintage vinyl if the price is right (and the risk is low), but I am also done with buying pricey vintage records as well. The magic number for me is $10 or less.
I have been doing very well lately with buying certain jazz titles on CD (from Verve and Columbia specifically), XRCD, and SACD. I picked up a couple of boxed sets from Mosaic Records recently (The Columbia Small Group Swing Sessions and The Bobby Hackett Complete Capitol Sessions) and the sound quality was superb on both. I have a few additional Mosaic sets on order. Similarly, I bought several jazz SACDs from Analogue Productions that really sounded terrific, such as 5 By Monk By 5 and Moonbeams by the Bill Evans Trio. The good news is that Analogue Productions will also be releasing many Blue Note titles on SACD, and I intend to try a few of them to see if the sound quality measures up.
I think this thread has run its course so I doubt I will be posting in it again.