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Mobile Fidelity Analog Vinyl Controversy

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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.

  • It won't. Vinyl colours the sound, no matter the source - this, in addition, but not referring to the OBVIOUS disadvantages of vinyl. And I admit this, because this is ASR and I am after all an ASRer, so no magical thinking here.

  • This is not about vinyl vs. digital, objective vs. subjective, science vs. magical thinking or even about whether those records sound good or not. This is about truth and corporate transparency.

  • One of the best analogies I have heard on this is the Kosher analogy! :D- When a customer (vinyl buyer) goes to the Kosher Deli (MoFi) and order a pastrami sandwich, if that sandwich is the best pastrami sandwich EVER the customer will be happy.
    • However, if the reason turns out to be that the sandwich has bacon bits in it, then that is an issue.
    • It doesn't matter if the customer did not notice because there was not enough bacon to overwhelm the pastrami flavour (vinyl coloration).
    • It also doesn't matter how harmless, after all, the customer won't be poisoned or anything like that - assuming no allergies, of course ( customer got a great sounding record) or if an atheist (ASR) tells the customer that nothing will come out of the customer breaking the rules, because, your know... what atheists think...
    • The customer wanted Kosher. The customer should get Kosher and not be deceived. Period. No matter you and I, or anybody else thinks of their preference.
  • Now, the interesting question is regarding the pricing of those records. Their top of the line, the One Step is priced similarly to other top of the line records from other companies, like AP's UHQR (not One Step, though) and the Craft Recordings One Step... thinking Impex are also about to get into the game, at the same price point. Of those, in general, think we can trust AP and Impex to be all analog. So the question is: Is all-analog a requirement to consider a record a premium product?
    • Part of the controversy is that the market could bear MoFi's pricing because they were an all-analog premium product. Would the market have bear the same price if people knew they were not all analog?
    • Now, these are great sounding records. Will they be still considered premium products? Only time will tell. If MoFi have to reduce prices due to a decrease in sales and/or the very expensive items in the secondary markte (Abraxas! :D) drop in price, then we have our answer.
      • Is that fair, if by all accounts those records are still premium products, apart from the controversy?
  • Now my own take is what I hope you would expect of an ASR member that is ALSO a vinyl fan. I won't sell my MoFi or stop buying them, when they issue something I like. They are still great to incredibly sounding records. In fact, this whole controversy reminded me to pre-order the regular (not One Step) 2X45RPM "I Robot" from MoFi just in case it is re-pressed. Disclaimer, never have bought One Steps, my limit for a record that is not a multi set or box set does not go to $125.
    • But out of principle I think we should still demand transparency and truth in labeling from MoFi - or from any company for that matter. That what this is all about. Not anything else.

v
 

Somafunk

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Been done, and that site is subscription only
 

DVDdoug

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I don't get the controversy but I grew-up with vinyl and I'm NOT going back. But, I don't get the attraction to (inferior) vinyl. Back in the vinyl days the Mobile Fidelity records were better than average but it was still analog vinyl.

This was funny -
“They were completely deceitful,” says Richard Drutman, 50, a New York City filmmaker who has purchased more than 50 of MoFi’s albums over the years. “I never would have ordered a single Mobile Fidelity product if I had known it was sourced from a digital master.”
Apparently he was happy with the product, satisfied enough to keep buying 50 of them until he found out some detail of how it's made. :D :D :D

I think MAYBE the point is that there is no digital PROCESSING so you're getting the original analog sound. Well. not really the original sound because vinyl doesn't match-up the pro studio analog tape. CD (or other digital formats) CAN do that!

But of course, I'm not opposed to digital processing... It could make sense to do some noise reduction or maybe some EQ or other processing if that can improve the sound. (And they might be doing some analog EQ.)

...But it doesn't make sense to be making analog records in 2022. ;P
 

Katji

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1659737415671.png
 

DMill

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At least Fremer knew another “half dozen” worthy of getting invited instead of him. I would’ve guessed the number be far less.
 

Xulonn

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An unintentional massive blind test in the heart of subjectivists holiest of holies analog world.
Exactly my thoughts after hearing about this debacle.

People should be aware that, given a truly excellent release of a recording on both vinyl and CD, one could make a digital recording of the vinyl that would be indistinguishable from listening to the vinyl record itself, but the reverse is not possible. It seems that the MoFi problem illustrates this beautifully.

For sentimental reasons, I own a used copy of George Shearing's 1956 monaural LP "Latin Escapade" which I have never played - because I don't own a turntable. It was never remastered in stereo. I purchased a new copy of it 1958 while still in high school, and it was the first record I ever bought. I also have a digital MP3 ripped from the mono vinyl that I downloaded. Like the LP, with the MP3, the sound is anchored in the center - right in front of me as if I had a monaural system. I can hear clicks and pops during soft passages, but unlike listening to violin solos and chamber music, the surface noise is not intrusive. I am listening to the album as I write this post.

latin escapade.jpg

I made the switch to CD's shortly after they arrived on the scene, and have never looked back. The purported deficiencies of CD's were for me, like many other people, outweighed by the disadvantages of vinyl LPs. For me, the convenience and lack of surface noise, and what I perceived as clear and clean CD sound that did not degrade over time were a great advance.

Before moving to Panamá in 2012 at age 70, I ripped all of my CD's to high-VBR MP3, and that is the format of almost my entire collection now - 3,600 MP3's stored on a 10TB NAS unit.

Many posts from vinyl fans in this thread have noted the pleasure associated with a physical interaction with the media, enjoyment of the liner notes to learn about musicians and their music, and the relative minimal surface noise and pops and clicks with some of the very best LPs. I am glad to see that happening for some audio enthusiasts. If you enjoy vinyl, and have the space and budget for a decent turntable, cartridge, and phono preamp, go for it.

Those who desperately insist that the sound of a vinyl system is inherently "better than digital" seem to be the only ones getting their knickers in a knot in this thread. However, I believe that recording, mixing and mastering are the keys to good sound. Get those three elements right, and a good digital recording is the best and most "accurate" possible.
 
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kchap

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...
Those who desperately insist that the sound of a vinyl system is inherently "better than digital" seem to be the only ones getting their knickers in a knot in this thread. However, I believe that recording, mixing and mastering are the keys to good sound. Get those three elements right, and a good digital recording is the best and most "accurate" possible.
Nicely summed up. I started serious LP purchasing and playing in 1972. I moved to CDs at the first opportunity.
 

DonH56

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There's a link to Mobile Fidelity's response on page 7 or 8.
 

Ken1951

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My phono setup is good but not extravagant. Turntable = Thorens TD-125 MKII, arm = SME 3009, cartridge = Ortofon M2 Black LVB, and phono preamp = ProJect RS2. I've owned the Thorens and SME since I bought them in the early 70s. I have had to mount the turntable on the wall in order to avoid LF disturbance and feedback from the subwoofers which are about 10' away - although the RS2 has a low frequency rolloff, I've found I don't need to use it because the wall mounting isolates so well. I like the ProJect RS2 because it is extremely quiet and has a good deal of gain and loading options from the front panel.
You make some excellent points in your posts. I admit I abandoned LPs out of laziness and my appreciation for the sound of CDs. I also had the same TT and arm for several years, I think I bought them in 1974. Wonderful quality pieces. I have no doubt that LPs do still sound great and I wish the two sides didn't shout past each other so much. It should be about the love of music, not format. Like what you like. And there's lots of music out on the edges that have never been reissued and likely never will. I do however somewhat enjoy the rationalizations piling up on other forums. If you thought it sounded great two months ago, it should still sound great to you.
 

Blumlein 88

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Definitely a blind test, and nobody figured it out with their golden ears. So much for digital having a sound.......LP on the other hand...........
 

restorer-john

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Been done, and that site is subscription only

A great paper and really inexpensive to subscribe. It costs me AUD$0.99 every 4 weeks, so 25 cents a week...
 

beefkabob

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Scammers gonna scam. Do they include an NFT with every analog album? NFTs are the vinyl of crypto! That analog bored ape, yo!

If you were suckered into thinking a 100% analog chain was a good thing, then perhaps you deserve to be suckered when there isn't actually a 100% analog state. You might even be smart enough to look i the mirror and say, "Perhaps this album I loved was good enough?"

Suckers gonna suck.
 

Vacceo

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Some day I'll have to, again, explain my students Marx's concep of commodity fetishism and this is a most excellent example of that.

The whole thing about MoFi is not the récord or even the music.
 

amirm

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A great paper and really inexpensive to subscribe. It costs me AUD$0.99 every 4 weeks, so 25 cents a week...
It has really good articles but I am too cheap to buy it. I read the few free articles they allow per month and then wait until next month when I can do that again. :)
 

Vladimir Filevski

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Jeff Bezos owns it
So what?!
The only logical decision to read it (buy it), or not, is whether the content in The Washington Post is truthful and well written.
For others, seeking something else, there always are better choices: Enquirer, InfoWars, ...

and a quarter a week is way too much.
For some other newspapers and magazines, free is way too much.
 

Digby

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I think I understand what is going on here.

I have bought recent vinyl releases, mostly small releases on tiny labels, where they have obviously used an inferior source (a poor transfer from cassette or a vinyl rip through someone's laptop ADC). This, along with a low quality pressing, has been both a waste of money and somewhat diminished my love for that particular music. It is a deflating feeling to not see something you were searching for, for many years, done proper justice.

I think what the whole 'analogue from master tape to vinyl' thing is trying to suggest to buyers high quality control. There are people in the vinyl world that think anything digital is bad, this is wrong, but the totally analogue chain is their way of assuring that people care more than just making a quick buck.

It isn't completely logical, but I suppose it assures the source won't be going through someone's laptop ADC or some less than optimal digital transfer. It is a demonstration of effort and wherever extra effort is needed, you can (usually) expect those looking for a quick buck to dip out.

The kind of people that will use DSD are likely to ensure quality control more than good enough for vinyl, but if the people you are selling to expect (irrationally or not) analogue from source to final product, then you have a problem on your hands.
 
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