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The Rolling Stones - Sticky Fingers

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: rollistick_mofi_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

The MoFi pressing of this album is a joke. It’s so compressed, lifeless, and lacking in bottom end that it would hardly interfere with even the most polite conversation at a wine tasting. I consider it one of the worst sounding versions ot the album ever made. It’s an Audiophile Record in the worst sense of the word.

More Sticky Fingers


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Chicago Transit Authority on MoFi

Or Is It The Glade Spray Mist Septet?

  (Item #: chicachica1_letter) 



Our good customer Roger wrote to tell us of his Chicago shootout which included the MoFi, some later pressings and our Hot Stamper. Here is his story.

HI Tom

Got a chance to listen to your Chicago Transit Authority hot stamper and compare it to regular US and MFSL pressings. It has been a while since I last listened to this recording, but I listened to a lot of Chicago; Blood, Sweat, and Tears; and The Ides of March when I was in high school and college. I loved this music back then, as short-lived as it was, unfortunately.

More Chicago


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Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin II

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: ledze2_mofi_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

This pressing has to be one of the worst audiophile remastering jobs in the history of the world. There is NOT ONE aspect of the sound that isn't wrong. Not one! The highs are boosted, the upper midrange is boosted, the mid-bass is boosted, the low bass is missing -- what part of the frequency spectrum is even close to correct on this pressing? The answer: none.

More Led Zeppelin


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The Beatles - With the Beatles

MoFi Reviewed

  (Item #: beatlwitht_mofi) 



Sonic Grade: C+


Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises.

The Mobile Fidelity pressing of this album has so many problems it would take an hour to describe them all. Suffice it to say, it’s thinner and brighter, with voices that are grittier and grainier. The overall effect is the sinking feeling that you are listening to a cheap reissue and not the real thing. Don’t the Beatles sound better than this? To be fair, some tracks are okay, others a disaster.

More With the Beatles


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Foreigner - Double Vision

MoFi Half-Speed Debunked

  (Item #: foreidoubl_mfsl) 



Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

There is a Mobile Fidelity Half-Speed Mastered version of this album currently in print, and an older one from the days when their records were pressed in Japan (#052).

We haven't played the latter in years; as I recall it was as lifeless and sucked-out in the midrange as some other famous MoFis of that period, notably The Doors (#051) and Trick of the Tail (#062). Is there any doubt that the new MoFi will be every bit as bad or worse?

More Foreigner


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Rickie Lee Jones - Rickie Lee Jones

MoFi Reviewed

  (Item #: jonesricki_mofi_reviewed) 



Sonic Grade: B

Another MoFi LP reviewed, and this one's pretty good for a change.

As I recall -- it's been a while, a very long while in fact -- the MoFi pressing is natural and musical. The bass is flabby and out of control as expected; the silly half-speed mastering Mobile Fidelity was promoting back in the '80s made a mess of the low end on practically every record they cut. But the midrange is mostly right, and you sure can't say that for the new heavy vinyl pressing.

More Rickie Lee Jones


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Mussorgsky - Pictures at an Exhibition / Muti

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: mussopictu_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

The MoFi mastering here is a joke. All that phony boosted top end makes the strings sound funny and causes mischief in virtually every other part of the orchestra as well. Not surprisingly, those boosted highs are missing from the real EMIs.

More Pictures at an Exhibition


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Gino Vannelli - Powerful People

What Was I Thinking?

  (Item #: vannepower_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

At the time of our last shootout in 2014 I still had the MoFi pressing of Powerful People in my personal, very small (at this point) record collection. Almost all the best sounding records from my collection had long ago been sold off, going to good homes that I can only assume would play them more than I had in the last ten years. If it's a record you see on our site, chances are good I have listened to it until I'd practically turned blue in the face.

More Gino Vannelli


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The Band - Music From Big Pink

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: band_music_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

In 2012 the new MoFi put out another remastered Big Pink. Since their track record at this point is, to be honest, abysmal, we have not felt the need to audition it.

It's very possible, even likely, that they restored some of the bass that's missing from the originals. But bad half-speed mastered bass -- poorly defined, never deep and never punchy -- is that the kind of bass that would even be desirable?

More by The Band


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Bob Seger - Night Moves

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: segernight_mofi) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Half Speed debunked.

The last time I played a copy of the MoFi I could not believe how ridiculously bright it was.

More Bob Seger


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Simon & Garfunkel - Bridge Over Troubled Water

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: simonbridg_mofi_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

Pure mud. One of the worst versions ever made. (The CBS Half-Speed is actually quite good by the way.)

More Simon and Garfunkel


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Bloomfield / Kooper / Stills - Super Session

MoFi Reviewed

  (Item #: bloomsuper_mofi) 



Sonic Grade: B

Another MoFi LP reviewed.

Super Session is one of the best-sounding MoFi pressings. The midrange sounds wonderful -- silky sweet and transparent. Not having been cut by Stan Ricker, the top end doesn't have that SR/2 boost. Overall it's a very nice sounding record, and the music just can't be beat.

More Super Session


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Grateful Dead - American Beauty

Hot Stamper MoFi

  (Item #: grateameri_mofi) 



Sonic Grade: B

Another MoFi LP reviewed.

This is a very nice looking Mobile Fidelity LP with SURPRISINGLY GOOD SOUND. The transparency and presence in the midrange is OUT OF THIS WORLD. The bass actually sounds in control on this copy, there''s no typical bloated MOFI bass to be found here. This is the best sounding Mobile Fidelity American Beauty we have ever heard. It's not perfect by any means, but it's hugely better than we expected.

More Grateful Dead


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Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young - Deja Vu on MoFi

Live and Learn

  (Item #: crosbdejav_mofi_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

Just for fun about 10 years ago I pulled out a MoFi pressing of Deja Vu I had laying around. I hadn't played their version in a long time. I could have gone a lot longer without playing it, because what I heard was pretty disappointing. Playing their record confirmed all my prejudices. The highs sizzled and spit. The heart of the midrange was recessed and sour.

More on Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young's 1970 Masterpiece, Deja Vu


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Traffic - The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: trafflowsp_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

Of course our Hot Stamper pressings are going to be better than the Anadisq LP from the mid '90s. How much better? Words fail me. The MoFi was an out and out disaster. Perhaps some of the MoFi collectors didn't notice because they had nothing to compare it to. God forbid they would ever lower themselves to buy a "common" pressing such as one of our domestic Islands.

More Traffic


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Are All MoFis Created Equal?

A Pair of Pink Floyd LPs Proved They Aren’t

  (Item #: pinkfdarks_mofi_2016) 



Many if not most audiophiles are still under the misapprehension that Mobile Fidelity, with their strict ’quality control’, managed to eliminate pressing variations of the kind we discuss endlessly on the site.

Such is simply not the case, and it's child's play to demonstrate how false this way of thinking is, assuming you have these four things: good cleaning fluids and a machine, multiple copies of the same record, a reasonably revealing stereo, and two working ears. With all four the reality of pressing variations for ALL pressings is both obvious and incontrovertible.

See all of our Pink Floyd albums in stock


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Supertramp - Crime of the Century on MoFi

What to Listen For

  (Item #: supercrime_mofi_debunk) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises with specific advice on What to Listen For (WTLF) as you critically evaluate your MoFi copy of COTC.

Listen to the vocals at the end of Dreamer. If they are bright, the bells at the end of the song sound super-extended and harmonically rich. But at what price? The vocals are TOO BRIGHT. Which is more important, good vocals or good bells? There has to be a balance. This is something audiophiles and audiophile labels, who should obviously know better, often have trouble understanding.

See more commentaries as well as our in-stock Supertramp albums


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Genesis - A Trick Of The Tail

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: genesatric_mfsl_debunk_2015) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Half Speed debunked.

The last time I played the MoFi I could not believe how ridiculously COMPRESSED it was. On top of that, the midrange is badly sucked out (as is the case with most MoFi's) making the sound as dead as dead can be. You think 180 gram records are lifeless? Play this piece of crap and see just how bad an audiophile record can sound.

More Phil Collins and Genesis


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The Beatles - The White Album

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: beatlwhite_mfsl) 



Sonic Grade: D

Another MoFi LP debunked.

The last time I played the MoFi I could not believe how ridiculously phony and compressed it was. And to think I used to like their version when it came out back in the '80s!

Take Yer Blues. The MFSL pressing positively wreaks havoc with all the added bass and top end The Beatles put on this track. The MoFi version is already too bright, and has sloppy bass to start with, so the result on this track is way too much BAD bass and way too much BAD spitty 10k-boosted treble, unlike the good imports, which have way too much GOOD bass and treble.

See more of our in-stock copies of The Beatles albums


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The Beatles - Please Please Me

MoFi Reviewed

  (Item #: beatlpleas_mofi) 



Sonic Grade: C

Another Half Speed reviewed.

By the way, if you own the MoFi LP, do yourself a favor and buy one of our Hot Stamper pressings. (Actually any good British import pressing will do.) What's the first thing you will notice other than correct tonality, better bass and a lot more "life" overall?

No spit! As we've commented elsewhere, because of the wacky cutting system they used, MoFis are full of sibilance.

See all of our Beatles albums in stock


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Mobile Fidelity and the Limited Edition Pressing

  (Item #: beatlsgtpe_limited) 



Many audiophiles are still under the misapprehension that Mobile Fidelity, what with their strict ’quality control’, managed to eliminate pressing variations of the kind we discuss endlessly on the site.

Such is simply not the case, and it's child's play to demonstrate how false this way of thinking is, assuming you have these four things: good cleaning fluids and a machine, multiple copies of the same record, a reasonably revealing stereo, and two working ears (I guess that's actually five things, my bad). With all five the reality of pressing variations for ALL pressings is both obvious and incontrovertible.

See all of our Beatles albums in stock


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Mobile Fidelity's Approach to Mastering

I Have a Theory

  (Item #: littlwaiti_theory) 



This particular MoFi pressing -- the best of three copies we played -- is actually a pretty good sounding record, considering who mastered it. I have a theory about why MoFi's mastering approach here tended to work for the album when it failed so miserably for so many others. It goes a little something like this.

Back in their early days MoFi tended to add bass and treble to practically every record they mastered, regardless of whether or not the master tape they were using needed any such boost. A little extra sparkle up top and a little extra slam down below was what the audiophile public seemed to want. Truth be told, I was a member of that group and I know I did.

More Little Feat


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George Benson - Breezin’

Hot Stamper MoFi Reviewed

  (Item #: bensobreez_mfsl) 



Sonic Grade: B-

Another MoFi reviewed, and surprisingly this one isn't awful.

It has an excellent side two backed with a pretty good side one. Side two has excellent bass -- for a MoFi -- and lots of energy -- for a MoFi. It’s slightly smooth but overall it’s very musical. The best domestic copies are going to eat its lunch, but try to find one that sounds good. Most of them are awful.

This MoFi copy, though lacking in many ways, is MUCH BETTER sounding than the other MoFi copies we played it against, which were muddy and compressed.

More George Benson


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Supertramp - Crime of the Century on MoFi

We Was Wrong - It Can Sound Great

  (Item #: supercrime_wrong) 



This MoFi Crime of the Century has two superb sounding sides. I have to admit I was DEAD WRONG about MoFi’s Crime of the Century -- on this pressing, anyway. But I can tell you that this is one of the few I have ever played that sounded right to me.

It's not that MoFi couldn't cut a record that's tonally correct. It's just that most of they time they didn't. This time they did.

More Crime of the Century


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Linda Ronstadt - Don’t Cry Now

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: ronstdontc_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi Audiophile LP debunked.

You're looking at one of the worst audiophile disasters in recent memory. Talk about dead as a doornail sound, folks, if you own this pressing, take it from us, you don't know what you're missing. Buy the next domestic copy you spot at your local record store for five bucks and find out. No way it can sound as bad as this compressed, lifeless, dull "audiophile" record.

More Linda Ronstadt


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The Beatles - Let It Be

MoFi Reviewed

  (Item #: beatlletit_mfsl) 



Sonic Grade: B or B-

Although I haven't played my copy in quite a while -- it might have been as far back as 2007 or 2008 if memory serves -- I recall that it struck me as one of their better titles.

All things considered, it's actually pretty good, assuming your copy sounds like mine (an assumption we really can't make of course -- no two records sound the same -- but for the purposes of this review we're going to assume it anyway). I would give it a "B" or "B-". It can't hold a candle to the real thing, but at least MoFi didn't ruin it like they did with so many of the other Beatles albums.

See other commentaries as well as our in-stock copies of Let It Be


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The Moody Blues - Days of Future Passed

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: moodydayso_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: C

The MoFi pressing has a boosted top end, making everything sparkle and causing the string tone for the orchestral parts to become exceedingly hi-fi-ish. In our Hot Stamper commentary we noted:

The sound is fundamental to the experience. The strings of the orchestra sound as sweet as any Decca, the soundstage wide and deep as any symphonic recording. For those of you who still think Mobile Fidelity is the king on this one, here’s a record that demonstrates what truly natural highs really are. The Moodies used Decca’s classical engineers, not their pop ones, and those guys know what orchestral instruments actually sound like.


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Hall and Oates - Abandoned Luncheonette

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: hallaaband_debunk_) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

Those of you who have had the misfortune to play the MoFi LP know that they absolutely ruined this album. They boosted the hell out of the top end, the last thing in the world this recording needed.

Actually, that’s probably not true. People who collect MoFi records probably like the kind of phony sound found on the MoFi of this title.

More Hall and Oates


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Andre Previn & His Pals - West Side Story

MoFi Reviewed

  (Item #: previwests) 



Sonic Grade: B-

Another MoFi LP reviewed.

I played this record a while back -- it's one of the Mobile Fidelity's I remember liking from the old days -- and sure enough it still sounds good. It does not have the phony boosted bottom and top that most MoFis do. Since it's such a well recorded album, the sound is very impressive. Also the music is great. This is one of Previn's best piano trio records. And Shelly Manne drums up a storm here.

More Andre Previn


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Santana - Abraxas

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: santaabrax_mofi_debunked) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi Half-Speed Mastered Audiophile LP debunked.

The remastered Abraxas never got past the first elimination round; it had to have been one of the worst half-speeds I have ever heard. Dead dead dead as a doornail.

More Abraxas


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Aimee Mann - Bachelor No. 2

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: mann_bache_mofi_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

I had never actually played the LP when I reviewed the MoFi CD (my bad, apologies to all), noting that the CD sounded great and that I expected the vinyl to be even better. Was I ever wrong, sorry! The vinyl has a bad case of sucked-out half-speed MoFi mids. It’s far too polite and lifeless to be taken seriously.

The comments about the music of course still apply -- it's brilliant -- but I recommend the Gold or regular CD over this audiophile Heavy Vinyl pressing.

  more Info











Borodin, Glinka & Mussorgsky / Romantic Russia / Solti

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: borodroman_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D

Another MoFi LP debunked.

A well-known reviewer has many kind things to say about this pressing, but we think it sounds like a hi-fi-ish version of a '70s London, which means it's opaque and the strings are badly lacking in Tubey Magic. The bass is like jello on the MoFi, unlike the real London which has fairly decent bass.

More orchestral music conducted by Georg Solti


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The Band - Music From Big Pink

Thoughts on MoFi's Midrange Suckout

  (Item #: band_music_mofi_midrange_suckout) 



I was a big Mobile Fidelity fan in 1982 when they released this album, which, for some strange reason, I knew practically nothing about. I was 15 when the second album came out and I played that album all the time, but the first album had eluded me. How it managed to do that I cannot understand, not at this late date anyway. A major malfunction on my part to be sure.

At some point in the early '90s I got hold of an early British pressing of the album. Comparing it to my MoFi I was shocked to hear the singers in the band so present and clear. Having only played MoFi's remastered LP I had never heard them sound like that. The MoFi had them standing ten feet back; the Brit put them front and center. There was no question in my mind which presentation was right.

More by The Band


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Emmylou Harris - Quarter Moon In A Ten Cent Town

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: harriquart_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

I comment below about the ridiculous sound of the MoFi pressing. When you have a recording that is already plenty bright, adding more top end and taking out more lower midrange is the last thing in the world you should be doing. Since that is standard operating procedure for MoFi (and other Half-Speed mastering outfits), that's exactly the approach they ended up taking.

  more Info











Al Stewart - Year Of The Cat

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: stewayearo_debunk) 




Sonic Grade: D to B-

If you own the typical MoFi version of this album you happen to own one of the All Time Mastering Disasters of the modern era. Ridiculously boosted at both ends, their version is all but unlistenable on a high end stereo.

Some copies are worse than others, so we are conservatively giving MoFi's pressing a sonic grade of D. We've played some in the past that clearly deserved an F (F as in Failing), but we also once played one that sounded pretty good, which we describe below. If you've played half a dozen MoFi copies and plucked out the best one, yours might be good too. If you haven't heard a bunch, chances are slim that yours is any better than awful.

More Al Stewart


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Holst / The Planets / Solti / LPO

MoFi (and UHQR) Debunked

  (Item #: holstplane_debunk_) 



Sonic Grade: Regular MoFi LP: F / UHQR: D

Both Hall of Shame pressings.

We recently auditioned an excellent sounding Decca Purple Label British import LP, the same performance, the same recording that Mobile Fidelity remastered (#510), but, thankfully, it sounded A WHOLE LOT BETTER!

I just listened to both and a catalog of the faults of the MFSL pressing would be quite lengthy. I won’t waste your time listing them. Although this recording is not perfect, the Decca pressing shows it in its proper light.

More of the music of Gustav Holst


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Traveling Back in Time with Cat Stevens on MoFi

To Hear It on Vintage Equipment

  (Item #: steveteafo_badstereo) 



Our good customer Roger wrote us a letter years ago about his MoFi Tea for the Tillerman, in which he remarked, "Sometimes I wish I kept my old crappy stereo to see if I could now tell what it was that made these audiophile pressings so attractive then."

It got me to thinking. Yes, that would be fun, and better yet, it could be done. There are actually plenty of those Old School systems still around. Just look at what many of the forum posters -- god bless 'em -- are running. They've got some awesome '70s Japanese turntables, some Monster Cable and some vintage tube gear and speakers going all the way back to the '50s.

See more commentaries as well as our in-stock copies of Tea for the Tillerman


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Little Feat - Waiting for Columbus

MoFi Reviewed

  (Item #: littlwaiti_5013_0811) 



Sonic Grade: C

Another Mobile Fidelity Pressing reviewed. Our Audiophile Scorecard has plenty more where this one came from.

This is actually a pretty good sounding record, all things considered. We put this one through our cleaning process and gave it a listen. Although our Hot Stamper copies do sound better, they’re also quite a bit more expensive. This copy had the best sound we heard out of the three or four we played, which makes it a Hot Stamper I suppose, but we are instead just calling it a Very Good Sounding Copy.

More Little Feat


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Frank Sinatra - Nice and Easy

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: sinatnicea_mofi_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

A piece of garbage that gets Frank's voice completely wrong, thinning it out and boosting at it the top of his range. No one else besides MoFi ever managed to make Frank Sinatra's voice sound this way, so what are the chances that they're right and everybody else is wrong? Slim? None? Put us down for "none."

More Frank Sinatra


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David Bowie - Ziggy Stardust

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: bowieziggy_mofi_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: C-

The MoFi pressing is decent, probably better than the average domestic copy I suppose. The colorations and the limitations of their cutting system make it painful for me to listen to though, especially the sloppy bass. Compressed too. You can do worse but you sure can do a lot better.)

MoFi did two of the greatest Bowie albums of all time, Ziggy and Let's Dance, and neither one can hold a candle to the real thing. If you want to settle for a pretty poor imitation of either or both of those albums, stick with your MoFi. If you want to hear the kind of Demo Disc sound that Bowie's records are capable of, try a Hot Stamper.

More Ziggy Stardust


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Beethoven - Symphony #9 - Solti (2 LPs)

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: beethsymph_mfsl) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

Bright phony string tone, MoFi's trademark sound for classical recordings. Anyone who has ever attended a concert knows that strings in real life simply do not sound anything like they do on these MoFi records.

The London pressing of this recording is no great shakes either; any pressing should be avoided.

More music by Ludwig van Beethoven


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Muddy Waters - Folk Singer

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: waterfolks_mofi) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

The MoFi is thick and fat sounding, with much less transparency than the Classic release, which is no award winner either. Check out our Heavy Vinyl Scorecard to read all about the latest winners and losers.

  more Info











Fleetwood Mac - Fleetwood Mac

MoFi Reviewed

  (Item #: fleetfleet_5012) 



Sonic Grade: B

Another MoFi LP reviewed, and this one is actually pretty good.

The Mobile Fidelity pressing of this album can actually sound quite good (if you get hold of a decent copy that is). Audio perfection it ain't, but all in all it's a very enjoyable record. Its strengths are many and its faults are few. Let's give credit where credit is due; the MoFi is rich, transparent, sweet, and natural, and you won't hear us saying that about very many MoFi pressings.

More Fleetwood Mac


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The Beatles - Abbey Road

A Fun and Easy Test: MoFi Versus Apple

  (Item #: beatlabbey_mofi_test) 



Another in our series of Home Audio Exercises.

There is a relatively simple test you can use to find out if you have a good Mobile Fidelity pressing of Abbey Road. Yes, as shocking as it may seem, they actually do exist, we've played them, but they are few and far between (and never as good as the best Brits).

More Abbey Road


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Strauss - Also Sprach Zarathustra

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: straualsos_mofi_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

Can you believe this bright and phony sounding piece of junk was once on the TAS Super Disc List? Sad, isn't it? At least Harry had the good sense to delete it way back in the '80s, along with all the rest of the awful MoFi's that were on it at the time.

Hey, I sure liked a lot of my MoFi's in the '80s too. Thank god I didn't have my own Super Disc list at the time. It would be every bit as embarrassing as Harry's list is these days, of that you can be sure.

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Boston - Boston

MoFi Half-Speed Debunked

  (Item #: bostobosto_mfsl_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

The MoFi Anadisc has the same problems that plague the whole series: turgid, thick, blobby, murky, mucky sound. A real slogfest. Audiophile trash of the worst kind. People still pay money for this kind of bad sound? Yes they do! Go to ebay and see the high prices these records are fetching. (This is equal parts shocking and disgusting.)

More Boston


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Moody Blues - Every Good Boy Deserves Favour

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: moodyevery_mfsl_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

Pure Anadisc mud, like all the Moody Blues records MoFi remastered and ruined. Completely worthless to those of us who play records and want to hear them sound good but, unsurprisingly, they're still worth money to those who collect this sort of audiophile trash. Folks, seriously, you really have to work at it to find pressings of the Moody Blues albums that sound worse than the ones MoFi did in the '90s.

More Moody Blues


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The Moody Blues - To Our Children’s Children’s Children

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: moodytoour_mfsl_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

The muddiest, tubbiest, most worthless records in the world.

Well...

Worthless to those of us who play records and want to hear them sound good. But, worth money to those who collect that sort of audiophile trash. Folks, seriously, you really would have to work at it to find worse sounding pressings of the Moody Blues albums than the ones MoFi did in the '90s.

More Moody Blues


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The Crusaders - Chain Reaction

MoFi Hot Stamper

  (Item #: crusachain_mofi) 



This is a Minty looking Mobile Fidelity LP with VERY GOOD SOUND. We just did a mini shootout and this copy killed the competition. Obviously it won’t sound as good as one of our regular Hot Stampers but they go for quite a bit more money. Depending on what you listen for, this MoFi should be quite a bit better than yer average domestic pressing.

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Bernard Herrmann - The Fantasy Film World of...

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: herrmfanta_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

Obviously our customers know by now that a Hot Stamper London pressing is going to be far better than the Anadisq MoFi cut in the mid ’90s. How much better?

Words fail me.

That record was a complete disaster. Perhaps some of the MoFi collectors didn’t notice because they had nothing to compare to it.

More of the music of Bernard Herrmann


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Pink Floyd - The Dark Side of the Moon

MoFi Reviewed

  (Item #: pinkfdarks_mofi_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D- to B+ (depending)

Now that we’ve had a chance to hear scores of the best import pressings of Dark Side, we know -- better than anyone, if I can be so bold -- just how good that record can sound. No MoFi is ever going to compete with one our our White Hot Stamper pressings -- they have energy and rock power that is nothing less than astonishing.

Playing so many MoFi copies this time around made one thing very clear: the average MoFi pressing of Dark Side is really a piece of junk. So COMPRESSED, so THIN, so PHONY in the upper midrange and BOOSTED on the top end. The typical MoFi is as artificial sounding as the average store bought CD. (Or phony audiophile recording by the likes of Chesky or Audioquest.)

More Pink Floyd


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Blind Faith - Blind Faith

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: blindblind_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: C-

Our latest shootout this time around (07/09) left us with a fairly large serving of egg on our face concerning the commentary we had written for the MoFi pressing of Blind Faith, a textbook example of We Was Wrong.

It’s rich and sweet with SHOCKINGLY GOOD SOUND. MFSL did a masterful job with this one, I’d put it in the top 10 MOFIs of all-time!
I regret to say none of that is true.
More Blind Faith


 
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David Bowie - Let’s Dance

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: bowieletsd_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D

Another MoFi LP debunked.

The MoFi pressing is decent, probably better than the average domestic copy I suppose, but c’mon, this album is about punchy bass and drums. Since when does any half-speed mastered LP have punchy bass and drums? Blurry blobby bloated bass and drums is more like it. Compressed too.

More David Bowie


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Yes - Close To The Edge

A MoFi Winner (?)

  (Item #: yes__close_mofi) 



Sonic Grade: Side One: B to B+ / Side Two: C

A few years back we wrote the commentary you see below. We can't say if we would still agree with the sentiments expressed, so take what you read with a grain of salt, and remember that no two records sound the same. If your copy is better or worse on either side it will not come as a surprise to us here at Better Records!

More Yes


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Supertramp - Breakfast In America

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: superbreak_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: C-

The MoFi Standard Operating Procedure of boosting the top end does this album no favors; it’s positively ruinous in fact. How dull does a system have to be to make this record sound right? Pretty damn dull. And the bad bass definition just adds to the phoniness. The average domestic copy is not that great either, so let’s give the MoFi a somewhat forgiving grade of C minus.

More Breakfast in America
.

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Alan Parsons Project - I Robot

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: parsoirobo_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: MoFi Regular LP: F / UHQR: D

Hall of Shame pressings and two more MoFi Half-Speed Mastered Audiophile LPs debunked.

The MoFi is a textbook example of their ridiculous affinity for boosted top end, not to mention the extra kick they put in the kick drum, great for mid-fi but a serious distraction on a high end system with low end.

More Alan Parsons albums (and albums he engineered)


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Pink Floyd - Meddle

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: pinkfmeddl_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

Same problems as the MoFi Thick As a Brick: The MoFi is super-TRANSPARENT and OPEN, and the top end will be lush and extended. If you prize clarity, this is the one!

But if you prize clarity at the expense of everything else, you are seriously missing the boat on Meddle (and of course Thick As A Brick too). The MoFi is all mids and highs with almost nothing going on below.

More Meddle


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Metallica - Ride The Lightning (45 RPM)

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: metalridet_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another Half-Speed Mastered Audiophile Pressing Debunked.

Compressed, sucked-out mids, no deep bass and muddy mid-bass, the mastering of this album is an absolute disaster on every level. If you want to know how clueless the average audiophile is a quick Google search will bring up plenty of positive comments from listeners and reviewers alike.

This is the Warner Brothers 45 RPM 180g Double LP Half-Speed Mastered at Mobile Fidelity from the original analog master tapes.

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Classic Records Has an Epiphany

UHQRs Actually DO Sound Good!

  (Item #: hobson_1) 



Mike Hobson finally figured out why his pressings often don't sound good and/or are noisy. We'll let him explain it. If you want the whole story (which goes on for days) you can find it on the Classic Records web site. While you're there, remember the sound.

One day, while out for a run, I had an epiphany and rushed home to dig out a JVC pressing from the 1980's pressed for Herb Belkin's Mobile Fidelity. The Mobile Fidelity UHQR pressings were always revered as sounding better than the standard weight pressings from JVC – but why I thought? To find out, I cut a UHQR pressing in half and guess what I found? First, it weighed 195 grams and IT WAS A FLAT PROFILE! I cut a 120g JVC pressing in half and found that it had the conventional profile that, with small variations, seems to be a record industry standard and is convex in it's [sic] profile – NOT FLAT.

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MoFi Mastering Variations

Will the Real Sgt. Pepper Please Stand Up?

  (Item #: beatlsgtpe_mofi) 



This can be a pretty good sounding MoFi when it’s mastered by the right guy.

Say what? Yes, dear reader, this album was mastered by two different engineers at Mobile Fidelity, and one of them did a much better job than the other.

This copy, which is far more rare by the way, has the better mastering -- much less top end boost was added. As an aside, I used to like the other version better, but as I’ve gotten older and wiser, I realize that this pressing is superior, being noticeably less phony sounding, more like a good Parlophone and less like the typical Mobile Fidelity album.

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The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

UHQR Debunked

  (Item #: beatlsgtpe_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D

We charge hundreds of dollars for a Hot Stamper Sgt. Pepper, which is a lot to pay for a record. But consider this: the MoFi UHQR typically sells for more than the price we charge and doesn’t sound as good.

Of course the people that buy UHQRs would never find themselves in a position to recognize how much better one of our Hot Stampers sounds in a head to head shootout with their precious and oh-so-collectible UHQR. They assume that they’ve already purchased the Ultimate Pressing and see no need to try another.

See all of our Beatles albums in stock


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Sergio Mendes - Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: mendesergi_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

So spitty and thin! Why, in God's name, why?

More Sergio Mendes


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Elton John

MoFi and DD Labs Debunked

  (Item #: john_goodb_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F (DD Labs) / D (MoFi)

Hall of Shame Pressings and two more Half Speeds debunked.

If you have the Direct Disc Labs half-speed you have one truly awful record in your collection, so sucked out in the midrange, so compressed everywhere, what the hell were they thinking making this rockin' album sound like that? It’s positively disgraceful. It makes MoFi look like they knew what they doing, and we know that sure isn’t true.

More Goodbye Yellow Brick Road


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MoFi Cat Stevens & TAS List Thoughts

This Is Your Idea of a Super Disc?

  (Item #: stevetease_tas) 



We here at Better Records would like to give a shout out to The Man, Harry Pearson, for putting one of the worst MoFis of all time on his so-called Super Disc List, which, as we all know, is still the delight of nitwits around the world.

In case you don’t already know, one of the worst sounding, if not THE WORST SOUNDING VERSION OF ALL TIME, is the Mobile Fidelity Anadisq pressing that came out in the ’90s. If you own that record, you really owe it to yourself to pull it out and play it. It’s just a mess and it should sound like a mess, whether you have anything else to compare it to or not.

See more commentaries as well as our in-stock copies of Cat Stevens' albums


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Blood Sweat and Tears

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: bloodblood_debunk) 



Sonic Grade - MoFi: C

We found a Hot Stamper copy for one of our best customers a while back and he wrote an incisive commentary which may be of interest to you. To see the results of his comparison between the Direct Disc Labs Half-Speed, the MOFI Anadisq, his original domestic pressing, and the Hot Stamper he bought from us, check out his letter.

1/13

[I want to thank Roger Lawry for his extensive commentary on the BS&T’s second album. His critical listening skills are obviously quite well developed, especially since he agrees with me about what is the best sounding BS&T -- the one I sold him! I will be adding some caveats in places to clarify a few issues, but basically Roger's assessment is right on the money. I added the underlining below for emphasis.]

More Blood, Sweat & Tears


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Linda Ronstadt - What’s New

Wait, How Exactly Is This an Audiophile Record?

  (Item #: ronstwhats_debunked) 



Not having played this record in more than a decade, it’s interesting to hear this Mobile Fidelity pressing with much better equipment than was previous available to me. The first thing I noticed was the amazing transparency of the recording, no doubt the reason audiophiles have always liked it.

Next on the list, and a bit of a surprise, is the correct tonality -- this record is tonally right on the money, something Mobile Fidelity rarely achieves. This MOFI was mastered by Jack Hunt, not Stan Ricker, which may explain why the top end is more correct than usual.

More Linda Ronstadt


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Blondie - Parallel Lines

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: blondparal_debunk) 



Audiophile Versions of This Album Suck (The Life Right Out of the Music)

As previously noted, the MoFi, one of those Jack Hunt turgid muckfests (check out City to City #058 for the ulitimate in murky MOFI sound), is incapable of conveying anything resembling the kind of clear, radio-friendly pop rock sound that Chris Thomas and the band were aiming for. The recording has copious amounts of Analog Richness and Fullness to start with. Adding more is not an improvement; in fact it’s positively ruinous.

More Blondie


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Gerry Rafferty - City To City

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: raffecityt_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

The MoFi pressing of this album is a complete disaster -- it’s fat, muddy and compressed. It was mastered by Jack Hunt, a man we know to be responsible for some of the thickest, dullest, deadest MoFi recuts throughout their shameful catalog. With mastering credits on this album, Michael McDonald (149) and Blondie (050), you have to wonder how this guy kept getting work.

More Gerry Rafferty


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Bad MoFi Mastering - Part One

Cat Stevens and His Sparkling Acoustic Guitars?

  (Item #: steveteafo_sparkle) 



In the commentary for America’s first album we noted that:

The guitars on this record are a true test of stereo fidelity. ... most of the pressings of this record do not get the guitars to sound right. ... on a copy with a bit too much top end they will have an unnatural hi-fi-ish sparkle.

This kind of sparkle can be heard on practically every record Mobile Fidelity made in the ’70s and ’80s. Tea for the Tillerman, Sundown, Year of the Cat, Finger Paintings, Byrd at the Gate, Quarter Moon in a 10 Cent Town -- the list of sparkling MoFis would be very long indeed, and these are just the records with prominent acoustic guitars!

See more commentaries as well as our in-stock copies of Tea for the Tillerman


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Cat Stevens - Tea For The Tillerman

MoFi (UHQR too) Debunked

  (Item #: steveteafo_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: MoFi Regular LP: D / UHQR: F

This is, I hope it goes without saying, one of the greatest rock records of all time, music that belongs in any collection. I’ve been playing this album for 30 years and I can honestly say I’ve never once been tired of hearing it. I do get tired of hearing bad copies. I become absolutely incensed when I have to play the Mobile Fidelity version of this album, because what they did to this record is a travesty. If you want to know what the guitars on this album are NOT supposed to sound like, play the MOFI. And if you want to hear an even worse version, play the UHQR.

See more commentaries as well as our in-stock copies of Tea for the Tillerman


  more Info











Cat Stevens - Teaser & The Firecat

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: stevetease_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

In case you don’t already know, one of the worst sounding, if not THE WORST SOUNDING VERSION OF ALL TIME, is the Mobile Fidelity Anadisq pressing that came out in the ’90s. If you own that record, you really owe it to yourself to pull it out and play it. It’s just a mess and it should sound like a mess, whether you have anything else to compare it to or not.

See more copies of Teaser and the Firecat


  more Info











Charlie Byrd - Byrd at the Gate

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: byrd_byrda_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

This is a title Mobile Fidelity ruined, and having just played an early Riverside LP I can see how their mastering approach was -- as is so often the case -- misguided to say the least. First off, the guitar and the drums on the original are tonally right on the money. They sound like bass and drums should. They sound, in a word, correct. Mobile Fidelity felt it necessary to brighten up both and the results are a phony sounding guitar and phony sounding drums, with tizzy cymbals thrown in for good measure.

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Donald Fagen - The Nightfly

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: fagennight_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame Pressing.

More phony MoFi EQ on the top and sloppy bass. You can do a whole lot better and you sure won't have to try very hard to do it.

Yet another Mobile Fidelity Pressing Debunked. Our Audiophile Scorecard has plenty more where this one came from.

More Donald Fagen


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Jethro Tull - Aqualung

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: jethraqualdebunk) 



Sonic Grade: D

We noted in our Hot Stamper review for Aqualung that the MoFi is a disaster, with the murky bloated DCC even worse. (We didn’t like the Classic either.)

But we used to like the MoFi and DCC just fine. What could possibly have changed?

See all of our Jethro Tull albums in stock


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Letter of the Week

Boston MoFi = Crappy Soggy French Fries!

  (Item #: bostobosto_letter) 




This week’s letter comes from Ed, another satisfied and enthusiastic Hot Stamper fan. Apparently one of our Killer LPs made him want to take his MoFi pressing and turn the damn thing into a frisbee. When you hear what MoFi did to Boston you might want to toss their version out the window yourself. That pressing is bunk! We have a whole section of records like that that we've debunked to date, and if we had the time we could put hundreds more in it.
More Boston


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Michael McDonald - If That’s What It Takes

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: mcdoniftha_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

The MoFi pressing of this album is a complete disaster -- it’s even fatter, muddier and more compressed than the standard domestic copy, as improbable as that may seem. It was mastered by Jack Hunt, a man we know to be responsible for some of the thickest, dullest, deadest MoFi recuts in the history of their shameful catalog. With mastering credits on this album, Gerry Rafferty (058) and Blondie (050) you have to wonder how this guy kept getting work.

More Michael McDonald


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Mobile Fidelity

The Little Label That Couldn’t

  (Item #: mobilefidelity_debunk) 



MOBILE FIDELITY remastered a large number of classic Rock and Jazz albums. Some of them are good, some not so good, but they all have one thing in common: they sell for a lot more money than most other pressings. (Except ours of course!)

In my opinion the primary reason for this is that audiophiles as a whole still believe that MOFI’s meticulous care with their half-speed mastering approach, as well as the dead quiet Japanese vinyl they originally pressed on, are the Gold Standard of record production.

And their pressings often do sound better than run of the mill domestic product. But are they really the best version ever?


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MoFi Half-Speed Mastering

A Technological Fix for a
Non-Existent Problem

  (Item #: halfspeedbash) 



We do a lot of MoFi bashing here at Better Records, and for good reason: most of their pressings are just plain awful. We are shocked and frankly dismayed to find that the modern day audiophile still flocks to this label with the expectation of a higher quality LP, seemingly unaware that although the vinyl may be quiet, the mastering -- the sound of the music as opposed to the sound of the record’s surfaces -- typically leaves much to be desired.

Hence the commentary below, prompted by a letter from our good friend Roger, who owned the MoFi Night and Day and who had also purchased a Hot Stamper from us, which we are happy to say he found much more to his liking.

  more Info











Respighi / Pines Of Rome / Maazel

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: respipines_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

MoFi’s version of this recording (#507) is one of the worst sounding classical records they ever made, and that’s saying something, because most of their classical catalog is awful. Thin, bright, with sloppy bass and completely unnatural string tone -- the MoFi makes the typical Classic Record sound good! And that’s REALLY saying something. The UHQR is somewhat better, especially in the lower octaves, but it’s maybe a D+ or C-, not a Better Record by any means.

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Ry Cooder - Jazz

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: coodejazz_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D

As you probably know, the MoFi of Jazz goes for big bucks nowadays -- $500 and up. Is it worth it?

Are you kidding? It’s a nice record as far as it goes, but it suffers from the same shortcomings as just about every Mobile Fidelity pressing we take the time to play these days (with some obvious exceptions of course). We have a test pressing, and knowing that the MoFi is the standard against which many audiophiles would prefer to judge our Hot Stampers, we listened to it first before going about our comparison test.

More Ry Cooder


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Santana - Santana

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: santasanta_debunked) 



Sonic Grade: D

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

Santana is a record we admit to having liked a bit when it first came out. Since then we have changed our minds. As embarrassing as it may be, clearly We Was Wrong.

It’s just too damn compressed and lifeless. The Whomp Factor on this pressing is Zero. Since whomp is critical to the sound of Santana’s music, it’s Game Over for us. The review below is exactly what we wrote at the time the record came in.

More Santana


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Steely Dan - Aja

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: steelaja__debunked) 



Sonic Grade: F

A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.

More Mofi Bashing, But Boy Does The MOFI Deserve It.

I remember back in the ’70s when I thought this album sounded pretty good on my plain old ABC original. Then I got a copy of the Mobile Fidelity pressing and I thought it sounded even better. Side two of the MOFI had bass that was only hinted at on my domestic copy.

More Aja


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The Beatles - Abbey Road

We Was Wrong -- The MoFi Can Sound Great!

  (Item #: beatlabbeywrong) 



This Minty MoFi is the Killer MFSL Abbey Road of All Time. We’ve never done a shootout like this in the history of Better Records. Picture it: five Mobile Fidelity copies of Abbey Road, ostensibly identical limited editions, pressed on premium virgin vinyl in Japan. Longtime readers of the site will not be surprised to learn that they all sound different, and in very different ways.

Why is this shootout a first? Simple: we never had five open copies in stock at any one time. Having done a big shootout for the Brit copies in January (2007), we knew how good this album could sound. How would the MoFi stack up to the best Brits? We decided to find out.

More Abbey Road


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The Doors - The Doors

MoFi Debunked

  (Item #: doorsdoors_debunk) 



Sonic Grade: D

Another MoFi LP debunked.

If anyone still thinks that pressing is anything but a bad joke played on the audiophile public -- so sucked out in the midrange, bass-shy and compressed to death -- that person has a way to go in this hobby. A very long way. You can hear how bad it sounds from another room.

But wait a minute. I liked the MoFi just fine when it came out. I guess I had a way to go in this hobby too. That was back in the early ’80s. I like to think I’ve learned a thing or two in the last twenty five plus years. I’m pretty sure we can offer you a better record now.

See more of The Doors' albums


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