Yeah, “recently remastered” is sadly often a bad thing. As a rule of thumb, the older the CD, the better mastered it is. For this reason, I like to buy used CDs from places like Discogs, and also enjoy combing through my local library which often has some rare old CDs on hand.
Now I’m wondering if I need to get a little CD player again, hook it up to a good amp and make myself a critical listening rig.
No need. I rip everything to FLAC immediately and go from there. On-the-go I actually just use high bitrate VBR MP3s made from the FLAC “masters”.