The Beatles / With the Beatles – The MoFi Half-Speed Reviewed

Sonic Grade: C+

The MoFi 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.

If you own the MoFi, play it. Listen to it carefully. Make notes of which songs sound better than others and why. That’s how we spend our days, evaluating the relative merits of various pressings, and it’s that and that alone that has given us the critical listening skills necessary to recognize and appreciate the differences among the records we play.

One of the biggest problems with the average Parlophone copy is just the reverse of the MOFI. They tend to have rolled off highs, which emphasizes the harshness in the upper midrange and causes a loss of transparency. (The best Hot Stamper copies are of course as smooth, sweet, and transparent as they come.) Even with those shortcomings though, I would still rather listen to a typical Parlophone pressing. I wouldn’t be frustrated by the sound of somebody fooling with the EQ and screwing it up. 

Generic Audiophile Bashing

The most serious fault of the typical Half-Speed Mastered LP is not incorrect tonality or poor bass definition, although you will have a hard time finding one that doesn’t suffer from both.

It’s Dead As A Doornail sound, plain and simple.

And most Heavy Vinyl pressings coming down the pike these days are as guilty of this sin as their audiophile forerunners from the ’70s and ’80s. The average Heavy Vinyl LP I throw on my turntable sounds like it’s playing in another room. What audiophile in his right mind could possibly find that quality appealing? But there are scores of companies turning out this crap; somebody must be buying it.


Some Relevant Commentaries

A Technological Fix for a Non-Existent Problem

How to Make All Your Records Sound Like Mobile Fidelity Pressings – For Free!

A Half-Speed that Actually Beats Most Originals

Adding 10k Was a Dumb Idea, But They Did It Anyway

Half-Speed Stamper Variations Are Real

Another Classic Album Ruined

Where Did All the Musical Information Go?

Why Is This Album So Compressed?

Why Is This Album So Spitty?

This Beatles’ Albums Are Consistently Spittier on Mobile Fidelity – Why Is That?

Head to Head It’s No Contest

Visit our Hall of Shame (300+ strong) to see what, in our opinion, are some of the worst sounding records ever made.

Note that most of the entries are audiophile remasterings of one kind or another.

The reason for this is simple: we’ve gone through the all-too-often unpleasant experience of comparing them head to head with our best Hot Stamper pressings.

When you can hear them that way, up against an exceptionally good record, their flaws become that much more obvious and, frankly, that much more intolerable.

FURTHER READING

Half-Speed Mastered Disasters

Half-Speed Mastered Mediocrities

Half-Speed Mastered Winners

Half-Speed Masters – The Complete List

To learn more about records that sound dramatically better than any Half-Speed ever made (with one rare exception, John Klemmer’s Touch), please consult our FAQs, found here:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)