Mobile Fidelity - the digital step in MFSL vinyl debacle

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kfbkfb

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(looks like MoFi has a long history of using digital copies of OMRs for manufacturing [prerecorded cassettes in this case] - interesting trivia about the Dark Side of the Moon album)


Kirk Bayne
 

4-earredwonder

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If we were ALL billionaires or multi multi millionaires, how would we approach this hobby? Build a house from scratch incorporating a massive state of the art room designed exclusively for SOUND [and VIDEO], hire an elite high end boutique audio designer to outfit this space with megabuck components made of the finest materials money can buy and then after all this was said and done...we'd still be at the mercy of the Major Record Companies and/or 'boutique' reissue companies to supply us with music to power this extraordinary audio space!

And how do we REALLY discern what is THE BEST replication of a particular piece of music????? BOUTIQUE MoFi One Step Vinyl, 180/200g Quiex vinyl, Direct Disc Vinyl ....... or in the case of digital Streaming, MLP DVD~A 5.1/Stereo/SACD/BD~A, all those Japanese SHM, UHQ, Blue Spec RBCD formulations, JVC's XRCD 24/32 b RBCDs, FIM 99.99% PURE silver RBCDs [mastered at 32 bit} et alia?

And then what do we play these discs on and through: And here is where it REALLY gets STICKY: Do we spend $100~125 on MoFi One Step Vinyl to play them through an under $1K TT/tonearm/Cartridge combo plugged directly into a receiver with at best, a VERY mediocre phono stage or do we have one of those megabuck TT with pricey step up transformers plugged into a SOTA pre~amp equipped with a SOTA phono stage .......and in the case of digital, Universal Players costing under $2K plugged into a receiver or a highly regarded pre~amp into a SOTA set of amps [in the case of ATMOS ...MULTIPLE high end amps? Or do we have separate higher end components for SACD, DVD~A...but still depending at that under $2K Universal Player for 4K, BD~A video/audio. AFAIK, there are NO Megabuck Universal Players to do ALL of the above in SOTA!

And of course, there is a question of speaker choice..... bookshelf or full range .....do they ALL match for center, rear, side and ATMOS? Are they properly imaged front, side, rear, overhead ...... and most importantly.....can they be played at extremely loud levels and still sound incredible even at low volume?

But after all is said ... and done...we still have to return to that ultimate query: What is the DEFINITIVE replication of our very favorite piece of music? Is it the original Vinyl/CD pressed upon release, remastered vinyl/RBCDs, boutique vinyl/RBCDs, Japanese imports up the Wazoo in almost every formulation imaginable [we still haven't ascertained whether those newer Japanese formulations have any effect on the sound other than finding better masters] or lossless DVD~A, SACD, stereo and Multi and BD~A or streaming which is contingent upon what those services are ultimately supplied by the majors....and bandwidth restrictions.

My advice: instead of spending hundreds and thousands re~buying the same ole music you love .... perhaps ensure your system is properly set up and spend some of that hard earned cash upgrading said system and then replay what you do have and sometimes the answers are simple....the copy you have is FINE .... it's your system that needs TWEAKING!
 

jimfisheye

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Yeah, the notion that everything and anything digital (all formats apparently) is poor. Wire recorder territory if you read some of this stuff! Even if it's unstated, the effort put into analog delivery is as though digital wasn't a reasonable option that existed.

There are some exceptionally damaged digital masters made. People see the logo and it's loud and bright and no one thinks twice apparently but some of this stuff sounds like straight up bootlegs! You'd need a 78rpm victrola broadcast over old-timey radio before the format made an impact.

Some people have a setup problem for sure. But if you heard something you called good and then heard something else that you thought was bad, you probably heard something and it was probably right. Even if your setup isn't textbook.

I have fond memories of a good handful of MFSL pressings. They sounded good in a way that usually can't be processed (eq'd, etc) into something not so great sounding. (I said "usually".) You can tell the sound of analog generational and these all sounded 'upstream' as it were.

And now... Every last one that has a 24 bit HD digital counterpart (I mean a real one where you can look at the wavforms and there's no brick wall and it's not blasted out loud or eq'd weird), the digital copy sounds even better. The digital copy sounds like the recording all the rest of them were made from originally and including the MFSL vinyl. All of the MFSL vinyl sound very close. Closer than other copies. Some of them sound really really really close. Benz Micro cartridge & Mark Leninson phno preamp battling Apogee AD converters here. Same monitor system.

It all lines up with certain people doing a good job with mastering and delivery along the way and HD digital is that much better. (DSD is pretty much equal to HD PCM as well. And vice verse.) And vinyl can still be exceptionally good. And the playback system still costs $$,$$$.

And it looks like MFSL had to start using digital technology to keep up that level of delivery with analog! Imagine that.

There can be some really subjective stuff sometimes. Maybe some mastering engineer who worked on the vinyl edition back in the day made a couple golden decisions that really made the mix sound great. Now you listen to the flat transfer from the bluray and it sounds a little 'flat'. Now what are you gonna do? (Start writing reviews of how digital is inferior, of course!)
 
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Cyber 1

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So here is a few things wrong with mofi, this is the 2004 release of Plastic Ono. in the insert you can clearly see the path used from the master to the pressed disc.
No digital here if you are to believe this but the fact is this is digital from the same source as the 2000 CD box edition.

Second you are told the stylus will travel around and clean up the pressing that is still rough, well I can tell you this
pressing is pop and click city and yet I can put on a speaker corner pressing and have no such:poop:

The current mofi one set boxes carry the exact same "original master recording" on the top just like this older pressing, one would
expect it to be true and just like the new boxs they do not show DSD in the chain with the current insert.

Why would I believe any claim from mofi in the future? Will there be a buy back program offered from Mofi?

lennon-1.jpg
 

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ssully

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Yes Sir. And my corollary would be: "if it sounds bad but measures good then your measuring the wrong thing."
That's possible. What do you suggest needs to be measured?

It's also possible that the 'bad sound' has more to do with nonaudio factors. When that happens, the 'bad sound' miraculously goes away if you compare blind.


This whole MoFi thing is far from a debacle, more like a tempest in a tea pot. DSD was invented by Phillips for long term archiving where if there is data corruption it can never be more than one bit off. Easy to correct. DSD is transparent in function & I'll agree that MoFi should have been also. In fact it could have worked to their advantage. Always returning to an analog tape for new releases will inevitably bring degradation to that original source. Digitizing freezes that audio quality at an optimum point

Hmm.... it is claimed that Mofi always cut its records directly from original master tapes i.e., entirely 'flat' except for whatever mastering moves are performed during cutting itself? And then repeating that process whenever they had to cut a new lacquer?

Meaning no tape copy containing any 'remastering'? Nor even a production master?

Is that what Mofi claimed to do?
 
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madscot

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Last night I bought the 4 disc edition of Rick Wakeman’s Journey to the centre of the earth on ebay, I noticed the dvd has a quad version and a mobile fidelity version, can someone tell me what this means as I have no clue?
 

ummagumma

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Last night I bought the 4 disc edition of Rick Wakeman’s Journey to the centre of the earth on ebay, I noticed the dvd has a quad version and a mobile fidelity version, can someone tell me what this means as I have no clue?
Haha, what?? The quad version comes on the DVD?

I've been hauling this CD-4 record around for years, thinking that was the only way to play it back! Lol
 

DuncanS

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Last night I bought the 4 disc edition of Rick Wakeman’s Journey to the centre of the earth on ebay, I noticed the dvd has a quad version and a mobile fidelity version, can someone tell me what this means as I have no clue?
The MoFi is their remaster in stereo, and the Quad is as on the CD4 LP release (it may even be a demod of the CD4, I can't remember!)
 

marcb

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um...how so? I call out pearl clutching over DACs , 'hi rez', etc. too.
Look at the forum you’re posting on - and the often irrational OCD voiced here over countless things related to surround music.

Glass houses...
 

markshan

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Why would I believe any claim from mofi in the future?
I never believed anything before. I listen to things and let that be my guide. Our hobby is so full of half truths to straight up bullsh*t that you can't believe anything you read, especially but not exclusively from someone who is trying to sell you something. Trust your ears. MOFI isn't really any different in that regard. The only difference is that they admitted to their lie. Paul Klipsch had it right.
 

M-K

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As I always supposed, no one would hear any difference if there was a digital step in between the "analog" vinyl production or not. And personally I never liked the campfire romanticism of a vinyl. Not even in the vinyl age.

When I did my first vinyl production (as a job) I wondered that they did not want to have a some inch master tape nor 24 bit digital files. No, they took 44/16 wav files or better a DDP CD for reproduction. Very similar to a CD mass production. You can believe me: all the analog myth was gone immediately!
May be different to the vinyl factories. But this is my experience so far. I've done not much, only two LPs.

For me it is for sure that you even could not distinguish between a DSD (SACD) and a DVD-A/Blu-Ray-Audio using 24 bits. Although I know
my opinion may result in bad comments, it does not matter. I always found that discussion more or less esoteric. Do a blind comparison
and the louder one wins always. Even is only 0.1dB.

But: I can say, vinyl sounds better especially for loud heavy metal music, because those vinyl have usually more dynamic range than CDs.
Reason: technical limitations of LPs. Incredible! And I know a lot of 16bit CDs that sound fantastic. Often I wanted to have CDs
but those should use the vinyl master with more dynamic range instead.

BTW: I buy sometimes LPs. Especially "louder" music.;)
 

newslane

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But isn't it true that CDs actually have far more dynamic range than LPs?

I have seen statements that indicate the difference is substantial, with CDs having up to ten times the dynamic range.

This cemented my move to CDs given the time and money I spent on my system to achieve the highest possible fidelity.
 

windhoek

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Format wars on forums are daft and totally pointless as mastering engineers can make or break a given format release with a simple flick of a switch. I've got some CDs that sound superb and some records that sound superb as well, with some other CDs and records sounding rough on the ears, shall we say.

Theoretical potential means very little if the mastering engineer has other plans.
 

JediJoker

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But isn't it true that CDs actually have far more dynamic range than LPs?

I have seen statements that indicate the difference is substantial, with CDs having up to ten times the dynamic range.

This cemented my move to CDs given the time and money I spent on my system to achieve the highest possible fidelity.
*Available dynamic range. Few CDs make use of much more dynamic range than is available on vinyl, and few vinyl masterings make use of their full range, either.
 

JediJoker

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I seem to remember the sticker on my first CD player (a Philips CD101) mentioned a dynamic range of: >90 dB...
The theoretical dynamic range of 16-bit audio is ~96dB—i.e. from 0dBFS down to -96dBFS. That's more dynamic range than is actually usable for music. If you turned up the volume high enough to hear sounds at -95.9dBFS, the sounds at 0dBFS would deafen you. In practice, though, no converters—be they analog-to-digital or digital-to-analog—achieve perfect conversion, so a good modern 16-bit converter might have a noise floor of -92dBFS or so; early converters would have fared worse. Still not an issue.
 

M-K

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But isn't it true that CDs actually have far more dynamic range than LPs?

I have seen statements that indicate the difference is substantial, with CDs having up to ten times the dynamic range.

This cemented my move to CDs given the time and money I spent on my system to achieve the highest possible fidelity.
It is. ~96dB in theory. Much more than vinyl, compact cassette and other analog storage.
But it's about mastering and loudness war. If you prefer classical music your decision was 100% right.
Rock & Pop: depending on your taste. Often I prefer the "not remastered" versions with more dynamics.
But not always. As an example: My Pink Floyd remastered CDs sound always fine. But as I went into
surround I prefer DVD-A, BD-A and SACD in 4.0, 5.1 etc.

And I found out that almost every surround mix has more DR than the stereo version.
 

mlrocker

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The revelation generated controversy over not only Mobile Fidelity's integrity, given the stigmatization of digital audio in audiophile circles, but also the extent of analog audio's perceived merits over digital audio, with lawyer Randy Braun commenting that "These people who claim they have golden ears and can hear the difference between analog and digital, well, it turns out you couldn't."[6](wikipedia)

that should be the end of it.
 
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