IMHO as I’ve gotten quite heavily into buying audiophile reissues and originals if they’re proven to be higher quality.
A lot of labels are repeated through different genres.
All of these are 100% analogue cuts, APART from Mobile Fidelity who usually use a digital copy from the master (but are still very high quality)
For classical originals -
Decca SXL series (simply the highest quality to date IMHO but getting pricey). These were basically an Audiophile range when Stereo was brand new from 1958, when you think in those days to kit out a stereo system meant buying another amp (as they were all monoblocks) plus another speaker, it was only high profile doctors / lawyers types that could afford a stereo setup. As such, these early Stereo records were priced extremely highly, out of reach of most people, but the quality is second to none if you can find them in good condition. The Eastern Asian community snapped up an awful lot of these from the 90s onwards when vinyl started losing focus as they’re heavily into classical.
Deutsche Grammophon pre 1973
HMV (His Masters Voice) ASD series with white and gold label, extremely good
Worth noting as well as not a lot of people know this, but the London Recordings label is actually just the US releases of the Decca label and sometimes vice versa, american originals then printed for UK, they used the same metal works. Often you can find the same copy on London rather than Decca for a 10th of the price.
For Classical audiophile reissues -
Deutsche Grammophon Original Source series, new, sell out fast, all have been superb to date, these are actually performed as a new production and recorded live, I believe they’re cut direct from the 4 track masters rather than reducing them to 2 track. Amazing process.
For Rock Audiophile reissues -
Speakers Corner, do yourself a favour and find a sealed copy of their Lou Reed - Transformer, one of the greatest rock pressings of all time IMHO, can still find them out there
Analogue Productions, anything from Analogue Productions is superb, no matter what genre. Their UHQR are the super luxury pressings, everyone should own at least one to see what their system is capable of
Classic Records, went under around 2009, were bought out by Analogue Productions, they had some quality control issues, but in the main, they’re a safe bet and you can still often find their records in the market still sealed, I’ve picked up a few myself in the last couple of years. Analogue Productions often still use the Classic Records metalworks when repressing their catalogue titles.
Mobile Fidelity, a notch down from AP in reliability, but still excellent, their UD1S series is their luxury range
Vinyl Me Please, often do more modern titles that others don’t currently consider, pressed at GZMedia which used to be awful but has improved no end since the pandemic and are now quite reliable. Their luxury series are the Anthology box sets, top notch quality pressings, and include really good booklets and podcasts that make a real experience out of genres that I otherwise wouldn’t find myself. They’re also incredibly adept at restoring recording where the original tapes have been lost, such as original latin american records or Zamrock titles.
Jazz audiophile reissues -
Analogue Productions, always extremely high quality, no matter what genre
Impex, never had a bad record from them, personally I think their quality control is the highest amongst everyone
Sam Records (France), alternative french sourced recordings when big artists were playing over there, some incredible content, one man operation, as an introduction get the Nathan Davis With Georges Arvanitas Trio – Live In Paris - The ORTF Recordings 1966/67
Blue Note, their premium series are the Tone Poets, really high quality, equivalent of an Analogue Productions. Their budget range that cut down on the packaging and vinyl weight are the Classic Series, but the mastering and pressing is still incredibly high quality even though they’re only about $25. Blue Note have always retained control over their tape catalogue, and as such, they’ve managed to keep them in incredibly good shape over the years.
Cohearant Records, owned by Kevin Gray, just about to release their second title, Kevin has a completely renovated true all tube recording, mastering and cutting setup and he records live in his own studios. If you can, pick up their first title which has recently been repressed, Kirsten Edkins - Shapes and Sound, it’s a saxophone jazz record and you have to hear it to believe it, it’s just beautiful and I’m not that into jazz (although do have a real soft spot for any sax music). These aren’t reissues at all, they’re all new unique recordings commissioned by Kevin for this series.
Electric Recording Company, I’ve put them lower down, not because of their quality which is insanely high, but because of the high price point. Ultra luxury pressings, done on an all tube cutting desk, NO MASTERING APPLIED, what’s on the master tape is what’s cut to disk. Jackets are hand made. Usually, they cost around 450 Euros per record and usually only release 300 or so copies of each title, I have no idea how people actually buy them, they tend to sell out in a matter of seconds.
Mobile Fidelity, particularly for Miles Davis titles
Vinyl Me Please, they do some good Jazz titles, they’re a mark down from the above, but still very good quality.
Analogue Productions, do quite a range of classical blues titles
Vinyl Me Please
R&B / Rap -
Vinyl Me Please, they’re simply the standout winners in this genre, they’re consistently produce the best copies available for almost all their Rap titles, mostly because no other label gives the genre due attention as yet
I’ll also add a list of Mastering / Cutting engineers who are always worth prioritising.
Current day -
Kevin Gray - The current top tier, this guy never misses, I would say with confidence that anything he’s ever put out has been a strong contender for one of the best sounding copies available
Ryan K Smith - Ready to sideline with Kevin above, Ryan is similarly standout in the lineup
Sidney Claire Meyer - She’s very young, studied under Kevin Gray, she is the cutting engineer responsible for the Deutsche Grammophon Original Source series and really showing her potential right out of the gate
Bernie Grundman - Puts out some good stuff, he’s getting on a bit though and I feel some of his later works are slipping a little, not so reliable
Krieg Wunderlich - The mastering engineer on most MoFi products, can be hit and miss, but when he gets it right, it really is superb.
Historical legends -
Bilbo (Denis Blackham) - If you ever see a record with Bilbo in the deadwax, just buy it, in my travels, I’ve never come across a bad Bilbo press, 9 times out of 10 they’re preferred over originals, or he was actually often brought in to do original cuts on Bowie and other big names.
Rudy Van Gelder - Probably the most famous Jazz mastering technician, most of the great titles were done by him in the 50s through to the 70s
A really helpful source if you’re collecting old classical originals is here: Guide to collecting | Spiral Classics: Fine Quality Classical LPs