Sonic Grade: B
Another MoFi LP reviewed, and this one’s pretty good for a change.
The Mobile Fidelity pressing of this album can actually be pretty decent (if you get a good one, 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 dynamic, transparent, sweet, and open, and you won’t hear us saying that about very many MOFI pressings. It belongs in their Top Ten, toward the bottom I would guess, due to its own sloppy bottom, but that’s half-speed mastering for you. Like most new audio technologies it was a giant step in the wrong direction: backward.
We suppose you could live with the blubbery MoFi bass found on their remastered LP — most audiophiles seem more than happy to, right? — but instead, we’re happy to report that it will no longer be necessary. All our Hot Stamper copies are guaranteed to trounce it.
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, a subject we discuss in greater depth here.
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.
Badly Mastered LPs
Visit our Hall of Shame to see what are in our opinion 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.