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The Beatles - Abbey Road

We Was Wrong -- The MoFi Can Sound Great!

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

Sku # : beatlabbey_mofi_wrong
Manufacturer : Mobile Fidelity

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We Was Wrong!

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The Toughest Nut to Crack

It's practically impossible to find a properly mastered Abbey Road. For whatever reason -- probably because this recording is so complicated and required so many tracks -- Abbey Road is the toughest nut to crack in the Beatles' catalog. (I'm guessing Sgt. Pepper would be next, followed by Revolver and maybe Help. If you have great sounding copies of those titles your Beatles collection is looking very good indeed.)

The Typical MoFi Sucks, But Not This One

We discovered pretty quickly that the typical MOFI copy still has the sound we know all too well: flabby, tubby bass, muffled, sucked-out mids, slightly boosted upper-mids and that patented MoFi sparkle at the very top. No surprise there.

But wait -- there's more here than just the confirmation of longstanding prejudices and the kind of MoFi bashing we love to indulge in. The most shocking finding by far was how good the best MOFI copy sounded.

It sounded so good you would never know it was a Half-Speed! It actually sounded like one of the good Brit copies we played recently. Let me tell you, I was dumbfounded. I kept expecting to hear the MOFI mastering problems I know so well, but almost none could be found. Holy Smokes. How did they get this copy right and so many others wrong? Beats the hell out of me. But I know a good sounding Abbey Road when I hear one, and this is a very good one indeed.

This Copy Rocks

Both sides have OUT OF THIS WORLD sound! They're silky sweet with TONS of ambience and super low distortion. There's a breathy quality to the vocals, so sweet, gentle and delicate on a track like Because. You will be knocked out by the quality of the midrange.

The top end is nicely extended without sounding boosted or phony in any way. The clarity is superb throughout.

The bottom end is fairly meaty and well-defined. Let's be clear: There is no such thing as a Mobile Fidelity with deep bass. I've never heard one, and I doubt any such animal exists. Moreover, few MOFIs have anything approachng well-defined bass. The average MOFI just plain sucks in the lower registers. But not this one! It's so good you wouldn't know it was a MOFI. The best Brit copies are better, they actually have the lower octave that's missing, and are no doubt even better defined, but hey, copies like that fetch $800+ around here. They don't grow on trees; we get about one a year that sounds that good, and somebody snaps it up pretty quickly as you can imagine. The demand is high and the supply is low.

Both sides start out a little ticky, but quiet down within ten or fifteen seconds into the music. Super-quiet Abbey Roads are practically impossible to find -- there are just too many quiet passages on both sides.

A Big Speaker Album

One more thing. This is a BIG SPEAKER RECORDING. If you're trying to squeeze the nine tracks of Beatles' voices in the song Because through some little box, you are wasting your time. This is the final statement from The Beatles. To take away the power of this album by playing it through inadequate equipment makes a mockery of the effort they put into it.

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