Most run-of-the-mill LPs, like Columbia or Elecktra pressings are good but some of the boutique pressings such as Pacific Mobile Sound Labs or Analogue Recording are incredible in their dynamic range and detail. The small amount of hiss and other extraneous noise is a small price to pay to get much more natural and nuanced sound. Long live the LP!
If you prefer the sound of analog records that’s a personal choice and there’s nothing wrong with that… But IMO, the quality of the average LP was mediocre at best, at least in the rock/popular genres. Once in awhile you’d come across a gem. Add 30 or 40 years of wear and damage and good sounding records are very-very rare.
The “snap”, “crackle”, and “pop” of records always drove me freekin’ nuts! It was annoying, especially when it was my record and I knew exactly when that nasty “pop” was coming, and I’d be sitting there waiting for it instead of enjoying the music. When I got my 1st CD player, I was blow-away by the dead-silent background and sound clarity, and I never bought another record. I replaced most of my LPs with CDs, and digitized and then gave-away most of the records that weren’t available digitally. I still have a turntable, but I never listen to records, I only use the turntable for occasional digitizing.
Of course, CD’s are technically superior in every way (noise, dynamic range, distortion, and frequency response). But, you may still prefer the sound of the record, and the mastering may be different. A good quality MP3 is often superior to an LP too (in scientific blind listening tests the MP3 is often indistinguishable from the uncompressed original). And to me, even it the MP3 compression isn’t perfect an occasional MP3 compression artifact is preferable to vinyl noise… Personally, I’d always choose the MP3 over vinyl.
You can’t remove tracking distortion or groove damage distortion, but you can remove some of the noise, and of course you can fix-up the frequency response with EQ. If you want to go beyond what Audacity can do, [u]this page[/u] lists some software for cleaning-up digitized LPs. I’ve been using Wave Repair which does an audibly perfect job of removing most clicks & pops, and in the manual mode it only “touches” the sound where you identify a defect. But, it usually takes me a full weekend to clean-up a digitized LP, so I’m going to try something more automated next time. And with 1000 LPs to digitize, you’ll also need something more automated.