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Mobile Fidelity Analog Vinyl Controversy

MattHooper

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Why not just buy the SACD that will be released at the same time?

I don't have an SACD player, nor do I play SACD files on my system.

But more to the point: I enjoy vinyl records as a playback medium. I like owning the physical copies, the turntable, all that stuff. Otherwise I'd just be streaming everything. Also, I often enough have preferred the vinyl version of albums that came from excellent digital masters. It seems the process of putting the music on vinyl, and getting it back off, can add something to the sound I enjoy. So I don't think the SACD and the vinyl version would sound exactly the same anyway.
 

Jaxjax

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But the rumble and hiss is always there, not to mention the 10 other defects.
No rumble here even with odd TT placement. I can go wayyy stupid loud with those active monitors & sometimes do from time to time.
Most know AD/DA is transparent...
but the whole dang point is if I want full analog chain source & just payed for it... it better had be.
I run DSP active & definitely care if my chosen record to be played is full on analog or not, who wouldn't......
Music Direct should sell MoFi to Chad....
 

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killdozzer

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Speaking for myself, it comes down to the much richer tactile experience of a 12" gatefold record jacket with liner notes and high quality photos you don't have to boot up the computer to see.
Ah, there's this argument again. Did you know it didn't exist at the dawn of the debate. Back then it was far superior natural sound.

I'm curious about this argument. I have tons of records and know only a few come with what you described. So, do you buy all other albums on CD or SACD because they don't come with: "the much richer tactile experience of a 12" gatefold record jacket with liner notes and high quality photos"? Or do you just switch to some other argument then?

Sorry, maybe it's just wording, but most of these sound so insincere to me. And I do have a TT and like it.
 

Robin L

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I got my hands on my first record playing device back around 1970 and gave up on the LP format in 2019. I've had all stages of the record collector's disease, gone through all sorts of phases before finally giving up on the format altogether three years ago. Audiophile reissue imprints, white label promos, early mono pressings, Japanese vinyl, Soviet vinyl---I've been through the mill, can't buy a thrill. I guess it was more of a thrill hunting down 78s. Nothing quite like gently picking up a collectible disc and feeling it crack in half, just like that.

I only tried a few "Mobile Fidelity" titles---Aretha Franklin's "I Never Loved a Man" on CD and the LP of the Beatles' "Magical Mystery Tour" come to mind. The Aretha CD had the channel balance off by -6db and something very weird going on as regards timbre in the more attenuated side. The Beatles LP used Capitol's fake stereo for side two. I already had the German Magical Mystery Tour LP with George Martin's stereo mixes of side 2, not to mention superior German vinyl---that's the way to go if you still play LPs. Of course, MMT is something of a Frankin-album anyway. The original mono LP of Aretha was the best I've run across, and it really wasn't all that good sounding. Those early Atlantic LPs are a sonic mess anyway. After that, I no longer thought of Mobile Fidelity as a premium label. I did like a couple of Steve Hoffman's projects. He'd tend to roll off the top a touch for his CD reissues which makes sense to these ears. The Hoffmann reissue of the Duke Ellington/Billy Strayhorn transformation of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite was one of the best transfers of anything I've owned.

In any case, this brouhaha has been quite the double-blind test, eh? Face it, the things that make LPs sound like LPs are distortions of various sorts that some people find attractive. Those distortions are of sufficient magnitude as to mask any potential additional distortions that a digital step might add.
 

MakeMineVinyl

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Ah, there's this argument again. Did you know it didn't exist at the dawn of the debate. Back then it was far superior natural sound.

I'm curious about this argument. I have tons of records and know only a few come with what you described. So, do you buy all other albums on CD or SACD because they don't come with: "the much richer tactile experience of a 12" gatefold record jacket with liner notes and high quality photos"? Or do you just switch to some other argument then?

Sorry, maybe it's just wording, but most of these sound so insincere to me. And I do have a TT and like it.
I know I've mentioned this aspect several times. We probably listen to different types of music - I listen mainly to jazz and classical, and those usually at least have a full back side of liner notes, and many classical albums are gate fold with perhaps a dozen full size pages of notes, pictures and musical analysis. The few rock albums I have usually have no notes at all, and usually just have a picture on the back. I also buy deluxe edition reissues such as the Acoustic Sounds Jazz series, and these are rich in notes and pictures, and the outer jacket is almost always a coated with a very nice glossy film. I have several operas on CD, and they do come with thick booklets, but the fonts are so small that even with glasses, they are a pain to read, and the pictures are of course very small relative to the space on a 12" record sleeve.

Another tactile experience with premium vinyl is that they are always at least 180 gram vinyl, which is thick and substantial feeling. Whatever the technical advantages of thick records, they do feel very satisfying to handle compared to a super thin and floppy RCA Dynagroove record from back in the day. This aspect may go completely over your head, but it means a lot to many people, which is why the manufacturers bother in the first place.
 

Robin L

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. . . Another tactile experience with premium vinyl is that they are always at least 180 gram vinyl, which is thick and substantial feeling. Whatever the technical advantages of thick records, they do feel very satisfying to handle compared to a super thin and floppy RCA Dynagroove record from back in the day. This aspect may go completely over your head, but it means a lot to many people, which is why the manufacturers bother in the first place.
That would be the thin and floppy Dynaflex issues. Dynagroove LPs had some sort of audio compression, the Dynaflex series followed a few years later. Plenty of peak warp wow with those issues.
 

MattHooper

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Another tactile experience with premium vinyl is that they are always at least 180 gram vinyl, which is thick and substantial feeling. Whatever the technical advantages of thick records, they do feel very satisfying to handle compared to a super thin and floppy RCA Dynagroove record from back in the day. This aspect may go completely over your head, but it means a lot to many people, which is why the manufacturers bother in the first place.

I agree. I find a nice, shiny, new substantial feeling record really satisfying.

In fact, for me, the whole 'physical aesthetic appeal' of vinyl wasn't that much of a thing, for a long time. That's because I'd long moved on to enjoying digital sound, and records were relegated to the past. I had a turntable I kept around to occasionally set up and spin some of my old records that I was too lazy to get rid of. But it was always more of a trip to the past (though I did enjoy certain aspects of the sound as well, as a change from digital, but still preferred my digital system). So records as a physical thing were the old creased things-of-the-past I had sitting in a pile, and the only record stores I knew tended to be some stragglers from the record age selling second hand vinyl. So vinyl was a "found in dusty old record shops" thing.

What really hooked me was once the vinyl revival got up to steam, I started noticing lots of new vinyl being produced. As a soundtrack fan I found some fabulous re-issues of soundtracks, and many being pressed for the very first time, so I started grabbing some of those. The packaging they do for soundtracks in particular tends to be stellar. So receiving and opening a beautifully designed cover (which even felt great to hold) and then slipping out
utterly pristine, new vinyl to play on the turntable felt like a whole new experience. The beauty of the object and the fact so much new vinyl was being produced, made vinyl feel fresh and new again. For quite a while I only bought new vinyl. Later once my habits turned more to vinyl listening I upgraded my turntable and started tracking down old, hard to find LPs as well that I really wanted (many of which never made it to digital).

I know there is the vision of the vinyl lover sitting, listening to a record lovingly holding the big cover reading the cover notes, but I rarely do that. My turntable is in a separate room from my speakers and I listen with the lights really low, so reading while listening would be a struggle anyway.
 

Jaxjax

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I know I've mentioned this aspect several times. We probably listen to different types of music - I listen mainly to jazz and classical, and those usually at least have a full back side of liner notes, and many classical albums are gate fold with perhaps a dozen full size pages of notes, pictures and musical analysis. The few rock albums I have usually have no notes at all, and usually just have a picture on the back. I also buy deluxe edition reissues such as the Acoustic Sounds Jazz series, and these are rich in notes and pictures, and the outer jacket is almost always a coated with a very nice glossy film. I have several operas on CD, and they do come with thick booklets, but the fonts are so small that even with glasses, they are a pain to read, and the pictures are of course very small relative to the space on a 12" record sleeve.

Another tactile experience with premium vinyl is that they are always at least 180 gram vinyl, which is thick and substantial feeling. Whatever the technical advantages of thick records, they do feel very satisfying to handle compared to a super thin and floppy RCA Dynagroove record from back in the day. This aspect may go completely over your head, but it means a lot to many people, which is why the manufacturers bother in the first place.
Agree, liner notes for me are a big deal, most all my albums have them along with cool live pic or studio pics. The art work alone is is very very cool on some.
. Now classical liners notes are extra cool as a wealth of info is the norm. . Knowing the recording chain & where it was recorded is on a heck of a lot of albums right down to the mic's used & much more.
 

Blumlein 88

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I got my hands on my first record playing device back around 1970 and gave up on the LP format in 2019. I've had all stages of the record collector's disease, gone through all sorts of phases before finally giving up on the format altogether three years ago. Audiophile reissue imprints, white label promos, early mono pressings, Japanese vinyl, Soviet vinyl---I've been through the mill, can't buy a thrill. I guess it was more of a thrill hunting down 78s. Nothing quite like gently picking up a collectible disc and feeling it crack in half, just like that.

I only tried a few "Mobile Fidelity" titles---Aretha Franklin's "I Never Loved a Man" on CD and the LP of the Beatles' "Magical Mystery Tour" come to mind. The Aretha CD had the channel balance off by -6db and something very weird going on as regards timbre in the more attenuated side. The Beatles LP used Capitol's fake stereo for side two. I already had the German Magical Mystery Tour LP with George Martin's stereo mixes of side 2, not to mention superior German vinyl---that's the way to go if you still play LPs. Of course, MMT is something of a Frankin-album anyway. The original mono LP of Aretha was the best I've run across, and it really wasn't all that good sounding. Those early Atlantic LPs are a sonic mess anyway. After that, I no longer thought of Mobile Fidelity as a premium label. I did like a couple of Steve Hoffman's projects. He'd tend to roll off the top a touch for his CD reissues which makes sense to these ears. The Hoffmann reissue of the Duke Ellington/Billy Strayhorn transformation of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite was one of the best transfers of anything I've owned.

In any case, this brouhaha has been quite the double-blind test, eh? Face it, the things that make LPs sound like LPs are distortions of various sorts that some people find attractive. Those distortions are of sufficient magnitude as to mask any potential additional distortions that a digital step might add.
I happened to find the same Nutcracker suite sealed at an estate sale. Mixed in with some Vietnamese vinyl. Vietnamese vinyl was about 3/4 normal LP size. Lp collections can be strange.
 

MakeMineVinyl

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I happened to find the same Nutcracker suite sealed at an estate sale. Mixed in with some Vietnamese vinyl. Vietnamese vinyl was about 3/4 normal LP size. Lp collections can be strange.
10" used to be a record size used in some albums and EPs, and 78s are 10", but I haven't seen an album in that format since forever. Weird.
 

MakeMineVinyl

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I agree. I find a nice, shiny, new substantial feeling record really satisfying.

In fact, for me, the whole 'physical aesthetic appeal' of vinyl wasn't that much of a thing, for a long time. That's because I'd long moved on to enjoying digital sound, and records were relegated to the past. I had a turntable I kept around to occasionally set up and spin some of my old records that I was too lazy to get rid of. But it was always more of a trip to the past (though I did enjoy certain aspects of the sound as well, as a change from digital, but still preferred my digital system). So records as a physical thing were the old creased things-of-the-past I had sitting in a pile, and the only record stores I knew tended to be some stragglers from the record age selling second hand vinyl. So vinyl was a "found in dusty old record shops" thing.

What really hooked me was once the vinyl revival got up to steam, I started noticing lots of new vinyl being produced. As a soundtrack fan I found some fabulous re-issues of soundtracks, and many being pressed for the very first time, so I started grabbing some of those. The packaging they do for soundtracks in particular tends to be stellar. So receiving and opening a beautifully designed cover (which even felt great to hold) and then slipping out
utterly pristine, new vinyl to play on the turntable felt like a whole new experience. The beauty of the object and the fact so much new vinyl was being produced, made vinyl feel fresh and new again. For quite a while I only bought new vinyl. Later once my habits turned more to vinyl listening I upgraded my turntable and started tracking down old, hard to find LPs as well that I really wanted (many of which never made it to digital).

I know there is the vision of the vinyl lover sitting, listening to a record lovingly holding the big cover reading the cover notes, but I rarely do that. My turntable is in a separate room from my speakers and I listen with the lights really low, so reading while listening would be a struggle anyway.
Like you, once digital CDs became available, I changed to that format exclusively and only played a record once in a great while for no particular reason (keeping the bearing grease limber on the turntable platter???). When I noticed that some very desirable and very high quality vinyl was becoming increasingly available, I jumped on it. As a bonus, I found that the quality of the pressings was far superior to even the classical vinyl I bought in the day, and the surfaces were very quiet, with none of the crackle I took for granted when vinyl was pressed for the masses. I have bought a few lower priced albums at Amoeba and generally they are just like the vinyl in the old days, crackle and pop and all, which makes me think that the first 1000 or so pressings go to the premium bin and then they press thousands more for budget packages. So it really is an issue of you get what you pay for.
 

Robin L

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10" used to be a record size used in some albums and EPs, and 78s are 10", but I haven't seen an album in that format since forever. Weird.
There have been a few "Big" 10" releases around the post-punk hangover and some Indy releases sprinkled here and there. I think the first release of Black-Market Clash was 10". I used to be drawn to 10" records, also a few 45 rpm 7" EPs. I recall a pair of Sinatra ten-inch records on Capitol, got squeezed on to one 12" LP by dropping a few songs.
 
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MakeMineVinyl

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There have been a few "Big" 10" releases around the post-punk hangover and some Indy releases sprinkled here and there. I think the first release of Black-Market Clash was 10". I used to be drawn to 10" records, also a few 45 rpm 7' EPs. I recall a Sinatra ten-inch record on Capitol.
I have a friend who has The Andromeda Strain original soundtrack and they pressed it as a hexagonal shape. The actual playing area looks like about 10". The sticker warns not to play the record on an automatic record changer. Good advise.

Andromeda Strain_Styrous_8426.jpg
 

Blumlein 88

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The Vietnamese records were pressed for GI's in the war. They were maybe 8 inches or some such. Whatever American music was popular. I had one for the Doors, one for the Stones both Rolling and Sly. Full length album, noisy, noisy vinyl and not great sound otherwise. I picked up a handful just for the novelty at 50 cents per copy. I think I had the Jefferson Airplane and a couple others.
 

mhardy6647

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You ought to look into Cinderellas, that's the most fascinating aspect of stamp collecting for me: fake stamps that make a point about being fake.

View attachment 220955

And I don't even collect stamps.

You mean, like vehicle restorations carefully performed to make the vehicle look unrestored?


52246190739_3cfa3edf19_k.jpg


52245903646_0ff339acc3_c-1.jpg
 

spigot

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As long as the process is as transparent as the digital intermediate, then all is good.
 

Waxx

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10" used to be a record size used in some albums and EPs, and 78s are 10", but I haven't seen an album in that format since forever. Weird.
10" is a niche format, used in reggae & dub for instance as singel to have higher quality pressings with more bass than a 7" can do. Jungle used to be similar before they moved to 12" singles. I also see jazz singles down here often on 10"
 
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