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Mobile Fidelity: Uh-Oh, Spaghetti-Os


Mark Stryker
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I wondered if this story would attract mainstream attention. Geoff Edgers does a nice job of sorting it out for those who aren't necessarily record geeks or audiophiles. Sonic issues aside, MoFi's deception is inexcusable. . 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/music/2022/08/05/mofi-records-analog-digital-scandal/?fbclid=IwAR2dh8EOy7fPHRK3-wrVw9mt7jgCZ3QyaXu2ig9lvcrJ19AZRIAj6hYdWKs&fs=e&s=cl

Edited by Mark Stryker
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Audiophiles having an existential crisis over an abstraction like having DSD added to the sound reproduction chain is one of the reasons that I am not an audiophile.

Not that I don't enjoy excellent musical AQ.  I do.  But I think this "scandal" is just another case of folks putting the cart (sound) in front of the horse (music). 

My 2 cents.  ;) 

 

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This is funny and sad at the same time. MoFi knew what they were doing at the highest level and the engineers didn’t see the problem because the SQ was great. Fetishizing AAA needed to end. It’s been well known digital can sound as good. 

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Frankly, I haven't been all that impressed with the high end vinyl that I've heard, in spite of the promises. You still get pressing defects and you pay a premium price, often for music that you've already owned for years.

I've long since sold off most, if not all of the original Mobile Fidelity LPs that I acquired and never have invested in any of the relaunch LPs.

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10 hours ago, HutchFan said:

Audiophiles having an existential crisis over an abstraction like having DSD added to the sound reproduction chain is one of the reasons that I am not an audiophile.

Not that I don't enjoy excellent musical AQ.  I do.  But I think this "scandal" is just another case of folks putting the cart (sound) in front of the horse (music). 

My 2 cents.  ;) 

 

This "scandal" isn't really about the sound, though. Most people engaged in this discussion agree that many MoFi releases sound great. And, others...not so great. The discover that they are sourced from DSD doesn't, and shouldn't, change that. It's the deception that most people are upset about.

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44 minutes ago, street singer said:

This "scandal" isn't really about the sound, though. Most people engaged in this discussion agree that many MoFi releases sound great. And, others...not so great. The discover that they are sourced from DSD doesn't, and shouldn't, change that. It's the deception that most people are upset about.

Hmm.  I would say that the deception is an aspect of the uproar.  Mo-Fi lied.  No doubt about that.

But the REASON that Mo-Fi lied is because a large segment of their customer base wants an exclusively analog sound reproduction chain.   So I would say that sound IS very much a part of the scandal.  It's not the sound of the records; it's people's ideas about the sound of the records.

People are quoted in the article as saying they wish they hadn't purchased the records, now that they know Mo-Fi used DSD.  Why?  The sound of the records hasn't changed.  The only thing that has changed is their knowledge of how the records were made.  

That's the abstraction that I was referring to.  And that's the part that strikes me as odd.

 

Then again, there are plenty of people who look at all my CDs and LPs  and say, "You know that you can stream music now.  No need for all that stuff cluttering up your basement."  They think I'm crazy.  So I guess I'm a guy living in a glass house who needs to be careful about throwing stones. :P 

 

Edited by HutchFan
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7 hours ago, HutchFan said:

Hmm.  I would say that the deception is an aspect of the uproar.  Mo-Fi lied.  No doubt about that.

But the REASON that Mo-Fi lied is because a large segment of their customer base wants an exclusively analog sound reproduction chain.   So I would say that sound IS very much a part of the scandal.  It's not the sound of the records; it's people's ideas about the sound of the records.

People are quoted in the article as saying they wish they hadn't purchased the records, now that they know Mo-Fi used DSD.  Why?  The sound of the records hasn't changed.  The only thing that has changed is their knowledge of how the records were made.  

That's the abstraction that I was referring to.  And that's the part that strikes me as odd.

 

Then again, there are plenty of people who look at all my CDs and LPs  and say, "You know that you can stream music now.  No need for all that stuff cluttering up your basement."  They think I'm crazy.  So I guess I'm a guy living in a glass house who needs to be careful about throwing stones. :P 

 

This might be my favorite breakdown of everything. Spot on Hutch!

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1 hour ago, Teasing the Korean said:

This story is hilarious on so many levels.  I don't have enough keys on my teletype machine.

I feel much the same, and I scarcely know where to begin to comment.  I have no patience for many (most?) 'audiophiles'.  I've known a tiny handful in real life, and I could barely sustain a conversation with most of them about the music, because they seemed so obsessed with collecting music for the sake of (and the 'purity' of) the "object" that was "the music" -- while seemingly have no appreciation for the history of the music and the musicians themselves.  A couple were also obsessed with who'd they'd seen live (and maybe 'seen' is a better way to say it, than 'heard').  It was maddening talking to these people most of the time, though I did occasionally find common cause with a couple of them every now and then.

Edited by Rooster_Ties
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36 minutes ago, Rooster_Ties said:

I feel much the same, and I scarcely know where to begin to comment.  I have no patience for many (most?) 'audiophiles'.  I've know a tiny handful in real life, and I could barely sustain a conversation with most of them about the music, because they seemed so obsessed with collecting music for the sake of (and the 'purity' of) the "object" that was "the music" -- while seemingly have no appreciation for the history of the music and the musicians themselves.  A couple were also obsessed with who'd they'd seen live (and maybe 'seen' is a better way to say it, than 'heard').  It was maddening talking to these people most of the time, though I did occasionally find common cause with a couple of them every now and then.

Starting out with the notion of an audiophile pressing of, say, Thriller.  How do you get audiophile quality out of something that is largely recorded through electronic circuitry rather than acoustically in a room? 

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48 minutes ago, Rooster_Ties said:

I feel much the same, and I scarcely know where to begin to comment.  I have no patience for many (most?) 'audiophiles'.  I've know a tiny handful in real life, and I could barely sustain a conversation with most of them about the music, because they seemed so obsessed with collecting music for the sake of (and the 'purity' of) the "object" that was "the music" -- while seemingly have no appreciation for the history of the music and the musicians themselves.  A couple were also obsessed with who'd they'd seen live (and maybe 'seen' is a better way to say it, than 'heard').  It was maddening talking to these people most of the time, though I did occasionally find common cause with a couple of them every now and then.

 

1 hour ago, Teasing the Korean said:

This story is hilarious on so many levels.  I don't have enough keys on my teletype machine.

Agreed. The last musical/audio thing this hilarious was the "Joyce Hatto hoax" in classical recordings.

A delightfully ironic aspect is that the non-analog nature was not discovered by audiophiles' discerning ears, but by deduction (duh, if the records are being pressed this way, the source can't be analog). 

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My favorite post from the Hoffman thread:

It’s impossible that they are digital because so many people on here can ‘sense the naturalness’ of analog over the ‘harsh superficial glare’ of digital. So they would have known already and told us.

I don't think MOFO lied, per se, but they could have been more transparent about their process. In the end, customers got what they  were looking for - a superior sounding recording. They mistakenly believed the only way this could be achieved was through an all-analog process. They were wrong, and they're embarrassed and angry. It reminds me of the A/B or A/B/C comparisons I used to do with a friend. Once in a while I'd play the same CD twice, and he swore he could hear a difference. Luckily, he took my deception with his usual good humor. 

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2 minutes ago, sonnymax said:

My favorite post from the Hoffman thread:

It’s impossible that they are digital because so many people on here can ‘sense the naturalness’ of analog over the ‘harsh superficial glare’ of digital. So they would have known already and told us.

I assume that post was made in jest?  Then again, we are talking about the Hoffman forum...

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46 minutes ago, JSngry said:

Anxiously waiting the MoFi version of this:

My0yOTU2LmpwZWc.jpeg

In stereo!  Wiith the entire wall of sound in one speaker, the vocals in the middle, and the strings - unbearably high in the mix - in the other speaker.

One of the funniest thread titles at Hoffman was something along the lines of "Audiophile Masterings of Punk Albums."  I stopped lurking at that point.

Edited by Teasing the Korean
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Mike Esposito had a way of getting under a lot of people’s skin. He did several videos on ERC that caused waves, especially with Fremer. They did a video together; I think Acoustic Sounds moderated it. It was funny to see Fremer squirm.

Mike’s YouTube channel is a worthwhile watch.

The people at Hoffman amply discussed the MoF issue; I think the thread is up to 710 pages. 

Edited by Brad
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6 hours ago, Brad said:

Mike Esposito had a way of getting under a lot of people’s skin. He did several videos on ERC that caused waves, especially with Fremer. They did a video together; I think Acoustic Sounds moderated it. It was funny to see Fremer squirm.

Mike’s YouTube channel is a worthwhile watch.

The people at Hoffman amply discussed the MoF issue; I think the thread is up to 710 pages. 

Esposito’s YouTube is a good watch most of the time and he does irritate a lot of people. I started watching him when he was dragging ERC for their quality. He made a good argument. The beef with him and Fremer was hilarious. Fremer is a tool imo. He’s the quintessential audiophile dork. 

I just can’t believe Esposito is only 37… I would have guessed much older. 

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2 hours ago, jcam_44 said:

Esposito’s YouTube is a good watch most of the time and he does irritate a lot of people. I started watching him when he was dragging ERC for their quality. He made a good argument. The beef with him and Fremer was hilarious. Fremer is a tool imo. He’s the quintessential audiophile dork. 

I just can’t believe Esposito is only 37… I would have guessed much older. 

That’s when I started watching him then too. I agree with you about Fremer. When Mike said he had a conflict of interest because he received free product from ERC he claimed that had nothing to do with anything. Although Mike is a retailer he still strikes me as a straight shooter.

Do you ever watch 45 RPM Audiophile’s channel. It can be interesting although there is a certain sameness to it after awhile. However, he has developed a name and does have good guests. 

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