Do Mobile Fidelity Vinyl Re-issues Have a Digital Step in the Process?

microstrip

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Or maybe it explains why so many of us have long stopped buying MOFI vinyl, they mostly sound like shit ! :rolleyes:

Probably a few of us have long stopped buying MOFI vinyl, but googling through this site shows a very positive feeling for the sound of MoFi pressings since long. A few exceptions, but most people loving vinyl in WBF showed real enthusiasm with their recordings.
 

mtemur

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Mar 26, 2019
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Thank you very much for posting this.

What is your take on this?

On a quick read of this e-mail I think this contains some of the oft-repeated statements which seek to dance between the raindrops and arguably are technically accurate, but which we now know are at least materially misleading.
Dear Ron Resnick,
you asked the question to @Ed.P but I would like to say a couple of words.

mofi's response in general is total deception and fraud if not lie. for example this sentence
"Any product that bears the ORIGINAL MASTER RECORDING stripe on the jacket lets the customer know that the Original Master Tape was used to produce the release."
does not mention the occasionally used digital process and makes you believe it was cut from tape.

but at the beginning of the response there is another sentence and mofi says
"there is no analog to digital conversion in our vinyl cutting process."
now we learned that it's not true. they're simply lying because some releases are cut from dsd files and involvement of A/D and D/A conversions are inevitable.

in addition to misleading there is pure lie in that response.
 
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Ron Resnick

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It will be very interesting to see how the CEO of Music Direct, which now owns Mobile Fidelity, decides to handle this. Will he/she:

A) Take the high road and (i) acknowledge the misleading statements and charts which Mobile Fidelity has used to market its vinyl re-issues; (ii) explain candidly, transparently and without further obfuscation the true mastering chain for each of the various classes of LP re-issues; and (iii) promise to be clear and transparent in the future when a vinyl re-issue is not AAA; or

B) Take the cover-their-butt low road and rely on a technical, legalistic and caveat emptor approach and (i) argue that there were no misrepresentations and that Mobile Fidelity never directly and explicitly stated that there was no digital step in their vinyl re-issues; (ii) claim that a digital transfer used to cut a lacquer satisfies the representation of “made from the original master tape”; and (iii) argue that if a consumer jumped to a conclusion that a vinyl issue was AAA, then it is the fault of that consumer misinterpreting Mobile Fidelity’s statements and charts; or

C) Take a middle road and (i) argue that they never made any misrepresentations; but (ii) concede that they understand how consumers could have misinterpreted Mobile Fidelity’s representations; and (iii) promise to be clear and transparent in the future when a vinyl re-issue is not AAA.
 
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Ron Resnick

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They sure seem to flunk the 10b-5 standard: “To make any untrue statement of a material fact or to omit to state a material fact necessary in order to make the statements made, in the light of the circumstances under which they were made, not misleading.”

I deliberately have avoided getting too technical in my posts here (one of my earlier drafts went into detail about this rule but I did not post that one) but I agree with you that the Securities and Exchange Commission Rule 10b-5 standard is the one I would apply to this situation.
 
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Macattack

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I find it humorous that some of their analog releases are ‘detuned’ DSD digital.
 

Audire

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It will be very interesting to see how the CEO of Music Direct, which now owns Mobile Fidelity, decides to handle this. Will he/she:

A) Take the high road and (i) acknowledge the misleading statements and charts which Mobile Fidelity has used to market its vinyl re-issues; (ii) explain candidly, transparently and without further obfuscation the true mastering chain for each of the various classes of LP re-issues; and (iii) promise to be clear and transparent in the future when a vinyl re-issue is not AAA; or

B) Take the cover-their-butt low road and rely on a technical, legalistic and caveat emptor approach and (i) argue that there were no misrepresentations and that Mobile Fidelity never directly and explicitly stated that there was no digital step in their vinyl re-issues; (ii) claim that a digital transfer used to cut a lacquer satisfies the representation of “made from the original master tape”; and (iii) argue that if a consumer jumped to a conclusion that a vinyl issue was AAA, then it is the fault of that consumer misinterpreting Mobile Fidelity’s statements and charts; or

C) Take a middle road and (i) argue that they never made any misrepresentations; but (ii) concede that they understand how consumers could have misinterpreted their representations; and (iii) promise to be clear and transparent in the future when a vinyl re-issue is not AAA.
Well said!
 

Audiophile Bill

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I find it humorous that some of their analog releases are ‘detuned’ DSD digital.

It really isn’t a humorous matter at all and I don’t or haven’t even collected Mofi.

To think that such a wide scale and long standing deception has been occurring on such a scale is such a sad indictment of the company and makes one question the industry at large even if the latter are innocent. Whether they get into hot water with legal cases or not, I really hope the entire community ditch buying any Mofi product moving forwards.
 

Macattack

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It really isn’t a humorous matter at all and I don’t or haven’t even collected Mofi.

To think that such a wide scale and long standing deception has been occurring on such a scale is such a sad indictment of the company and makes one question the industry at large even if the latter are innocent. Whether they get into hot water with legal cases or not, I really hope the entire community ditch buying any Mofi product moving forwards.
Sure, there may liability there but separating that for moment, I was really commenting on the boring ‘digital vs analog’ debate.

Step back a minute and take it in.
 

hvbias

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Jun 22, 2012
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It will be very interesting to see how the CEO of Music Direct, which now owns Mobile Fidelity, decides to handle this. Will he/she:

A) Take the high road and (i) acknowledge the misleading statements and charts which Mobile Fidelity has used to market its vinyl re-issues; (ii) explain candidly, transparently and without further obfuscation the true mastering chain for each of the various classes of LP re-issues; and (iii) promise to be clear and transparent in the future when a vinyl re-issue is not AAA; or

B) Take the cover-their-butt low road and rely on a technical, legalistic and caveat emptor approach and (i) argue that there were no misrepresentations and that Mobile Fidelity never directly and explicitly stated that there was no digital step in their vinyl re-issues; (ii) claim that a digital transfer used to cut a lacquer satisfies the representation of “made from the original master tape”; and (iii) argue that if a consumer jumped to a conclusion that a vinyl issue was AAA, then it is the fault of that consumer misinterpreting Mobile Fidelity’s statements and charts; or

C) Take a middle road and (i) argue that they never made any misrepresentations; but (ii) concede that they understand how consumers could have misinterpreted their representations; and (iii) promise to be clear and transparent in the future when a vinyl re-issue is not AAA.

I believe this gentleman is talking about Jim Davis in this video, the clue for me being he said the executive he spoke to hated Michael Fremer. It looks like they are going to hire someone for social media/online PR/marketing to address this.

 

Audiophile Bill

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Sure, there may liability there but separating that for moment, I was really commenting on the boring ‘digital vs analog’ debate.

Step back a minute and take it in.

Yes the good old boring analogue vs digital debate. Well one very interesting finding - I never enjoyed Mofi recordings and as such didn’t buy them. They didn’t have the magic I was used to with my other LPs. Little did I know the real reason - it was some shitty digital lol.
 

Macattack

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Yes the good old boring analogue vs digital debate. Well one very interesting finding - I never enjoyed Mofi recordings and as such didn’t buy them. They didn’t have the magic I was used to with my other LPs. Little did I know the real reason - it was some shitty digital lol.
Well played.
 

Ron Resnick

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This is the question I would like to have answered authoritatively by Jim Davis, owner of Music Direct which owns Mobile FIdelity Sound Lab:

Since the founding of Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab ("MFSL") in 1977 which of MFSL’s individual vinyl releases were mastered from an analog tape with no analog-to-digital conversion, no digital step and no digital process of any kind, and thus are AAA according to the SPARS Code classification system?

Let's just get the list!
 
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XV-1

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I’m excited for this new spoken word one - step
4AE8A70A-CC67-40E5-A19B-096C557105B1.jpeg
 

beaur

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Oct 12, 2011
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Strapping myself to the whipping post,

1. I’ve never bought a record because it’s AAA or DDD or whatever. May come into play if deciding between pressings but I have to like the music to buy it. Not holding any Records to sell on eBay.
2. I had the chance to hear a test pressing of the Santana and put my $$ down. Never asked the provenance and if I ever sell it will have to list it as “well played”. Have more than a few LPs that have sketchy provenance but great performances/music make me quickly forget that.
3. Sure they were intentionally deceiving people but if they are drawn and quartered that’s one less source of possibly great music. It’s buyer beware for reissues. Heck, sometimes it hard to figure out if it’s a 33 1/3 or 45 from the packaging.
4. The ironic part of this is that the AAAAA nerds want quality and provenance but when someone gives it to them they usually whine about the price.
 

Bergm@nn

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Aug 14, 2021
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from: MOFI Customer Service <cs@mofi.com>
date: 9 Oct 2020, 07:16
subject: mastering question
mailed-by: mofi.com

Thank you for your email, there is no analog to digital conversion in our vinyl cutting process. Any product that bears the ORIGINAL MASTER RECORDING stripe on the jacket lets the customer know that the Original Master Tape was used to produce the release.

Any product that bears the MOBILE FIDELITY SOUND LAB stripe on the jacket lets the customer know that, although it is possible that what we have is the original master, that tape could not be fully verified as such and, in the interest of honesty, is not granted the ORIGINAL MASTER RECORDING stripe. As information on the tapes boxes for non-master sources are sometimes wrong or not present, we will not be listing what generation the source is. It may only be a guess and thus could not be consistent from title to title. If a non-master source meets our standard we will use it. If it does not, we will reject it.

In addition, all titles on our main label are sourced from the original master tapes while; although the majority of Silver Label titles are sourced from the original tapes, there are some exceptions where the best available source is used. We do not use digital sources except in cases where the title’s original master was digital itself.

Customer Service

Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab

cs@mofi.com
Hours: M-F 9am-5pm

Beat me to posting the very same thing.

I think the sentence that MoFi lawyers might weasel around is -

there is no analog to digital conversion in our vinyl cutting process

With the emphasis on ‘cutting process’…
 

adrianywu

Active Member
Nov 15, 2021
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Saw a new YouTube video by Chad Kassem earlier today and he was browsing through a collection he just bought. Here's a screenshot of one of the many Japanese pressings of that collection, look what it says on the OBI, can't get more transparent than this;

View attachment 95922
Indeed. The photo comes from my Billy Joel Songs In The Attic album. The Sony Mastersound reissues state clearly the whole production process. DR = digital recording DM = Digital Mastering DD = Direct Disk HM = Half Speed Mastering
You can see from their catalogue that the technology is clearly labelled on each LP.
 

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tima

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If anyone knows the Mofi chaps, I'll work for master tape copies (real analog on reel please) :p


I have not read all of this somewhat overwrought thread, so maybe my analysis is crocked. I am not an apologist for Mobile Fidelity.

In this pictoral the "Ultradisc One-Step Process" (UD1S) shows the Lacquer derived from the Original Master Recording. The latter is depicted by a hard disk. That suggests the OMR is digital doesn't it? Is there a digital feed to the lacquer cutter? (Note the text above the picture refers to original master tapes.) The above email from mofi customer service states "there is no analog to digital conversion in our vinyl cutting process" and " We do not use digital sources except in cases where the title’s original master was digital itself." The picture does not contradict that - maybe UD1S records use digital masters. The marketing focus is on the step reduction not on the creation of the lacquer. The picture may not be plainspoken but are there outright lies?

The Traditional Three-Step Process shows the lacquer derived from what I gather is a representation of tape and labeled 'source material'. I don't know much about MoFi - was there a time they recorded to tape and produced AAA records? If so, could that be the traditional process?

Does this suggest the writers and the pictoralist are not in sync about the UD1S process? Presumably they are both in marketing. If the original master recording is on disc, maybe the marketing writers don't understand what actually happens if they claim the source is tape, but the one making the picture does. Is this a case where ignorance is mistaken for deceit?
 
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Audiophile Bill

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I have not read all of this somewhat overwrought thread, so maybe my analysis is crocked. I am not an apologist for Mobile Fidelity.

In this pictoral the "Ultradisc One-Step Process" (UD1S) shows the Lacquer derived from the Original Master Recording. The latter is depicted by a hard disk. That suggests the OMR is digital doesn't it? Is there a digital feed to the lacquer cutter? (Note the text above the picture refers to original master tapes.) The above email from mofi customer service states "there is no analog to digital conversion in our vinyl cutting process" and " We do not use digital sources except in cases where the title’s original master was digital itself." The picture does not contradict that - maybe UD1S records use digital masters. The marketing focus is on the step reduction not on the creation of the lacquer. The picture may not be plainspoken but are there outright lies?

The Traditional Three-Step Process shows the lacquer derived from what I gather is a representation of tape and labeled 'source material'. I don't know much about MoFi - was there a time they recorded to tape and produced AAA records? If so, could that be the traditional process?

Does this suggest the writers and the pictoralist are not in sync about the UD1S process? Presumably they are both in marketing. If the original master recording is on disc, maybe the marketing writers don't understand what actually happens if they claim the source is tape, but the one making the picture does. Is this a case where ignorance is mistaken for deceit?

Hi,

Based on the *totality of evidence* pertaining to their overall communications and verbiage with respect to the process, it is without doubt in my mind, attempted deceit. It isn’t ignorance. I really hope a formal legal investigation occurs because every single company email / meeting minute would be open to legal investigation where one would start to learn more about the culture of this organisation and all the decisions made to obfuscate the truth of their process.

Best.
 
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hvbias

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Hi,

Based on the *totality of evidence* pertaining to their overall communications and verbiage with respect to the process, it is without doubt in my mind, attempted deceit. It isn’t ignorance. I really hope a formal legal investigation occurs because every single company email / meeting minute would be open to legal investigation where one would start to learn more about the culture of this organisation and all the decisions made to obfuscate the truth of their process.

Best.

Without question it is deceit. Their engineers might try and spin this as "it allows us to make more accurate LPs," if that was the case why not tell us about that when you started doing it?
 
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Audiophile Bill

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Without question it is deceit. Their engineers might try and spin this as "it allows us to make more accurate LPs," if that was the case why not tell us about that when you started doing it?

Exactly. I have no doubt either.
 
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