Sonic Grade: F
The remastered Abraxas never got past the first elimination round; it had to have been one of the worst half-speeds I have ever heard. Dead dead dead as a doornail.
Santana’s first album on MoFi is a record we admit to having liked a bit when it first came out. Since then we have changed our minds. It’s just too damn compressed and lifeless. The Whomp Factor on this pressing is Zero. Since whomp is critical to the sound of Santana’s music, it’s Game Over for us. The review below is exactly what we wrote at the time the record came in. We tried to like it, but it’s clear to us now that we tried to like it too hard. Please accept our apologies.
I noted in my old blog: “But now I would have to say that the MoFi LP is far too lifeless to be acceptable to anyone, even those with the worst kinds of audiophile BS systems.”
We also mentioned a while back (4/29/08) on our blog how bad the latest crop of MoFi vinyl was, with the heading: “Mobile Fidelity, Ouch.
On another note, we played some godawful sounding MOFI pressings over the last few weeks: Linda Ronstadt (which appears to be out of phase, more on that down the road); Metallica (with blobby bass at 45 RPM no less; only half-speed mastering can guarantee muddy bass under any and all circumstances!); and Rush (nothing even resembling a top end. How do these things happen?).
These three albums have to be some of the worst sounding vinyl I have ever heard in my life. I won’t waste any more of your time or mine talking about them. Buy them if you feel the need, and if you like what you hear, drop us a line. Maybe the copy we cracked open was a “bad” one, unrepresentative of the general pressing run in the same way that the latest Crisis half-speed was.
Well, maybe so, but we are going to have to leave that conundrum unsolved for the time being. To crack open more copies to see if they are all as bad as the first one we played is not something we are particularly inclined to do. We call that throwing good money after bad around here at Better Records.
This is a label making some seriously bad records these days.
But why single them out? They all are.