Sonic Grade: F (or not!)
A Hall of Shame pressing and another MoFi LP debunked.
Just for fun about 10 years ago I pulled out a MoFi pressing of Deja Vu I had laying around. I hadn’t played their version in a long time. I could have gone a lot longer without playing it, because what I heard was pretty disappointing. Playing their record confirmed all my prejudices. The highs sizzled and spit. The heart of the midrange was recessed and sour.
Know what it reminded me of? A bad Japanese pressing. (Since most of them are pretty bad I could have just said a typical Japanese pressing, but that’s another story for another day.)
And if that’s not bad enough, the bass definition disappeared. Bass notes and bass parts that were clearly audible and easily followed on our Hot Stamper copies were murky, ill-defined mud on the MoFi.
If you own the MoFi you owe it to yourself to hear a better sounding version. You really don’t know what you’re missing.
But Then, A Few Years Later We Played This Copy…
Hot Stamper Sound on the MoFi pressing of Deja Vu, can it be possible? I have NEVER heard the MoFi sound this good, not even close. This just KILLS the other copies I’ve heard. I wrote a scathing review of their badly mastered pressing which you can read below, and I still stand behind every word, because this copy is not your average MoFi. The average one still sucks. What we are selling here is a FLUKE. Here is the story from our Hot Stamper shootout we just did.
This week we picked up a very clean looking MoFi pressing and decided to throw it in the shootout just for fun. We were shocked — this one actually sounded good! Not as amazing as our best Hot Stampers, but much better than we had expected. We checked our old copy and heard the same bad sound described above.
Pressing variations exist for audiophile records as well, and here was another example. It just goes to show that nothing short of playing a record will tell you how it sounds — except for reading our website! Who besides us could spend so much time playing so many bad records? It’s a dirty job, but we’re happy to do it. Hearing one amazing record makes up for playing 10 bad ones, so we’ll keep at it.
A classic case of Live and Learn.
Keep in mind that the only way you can never be wrong about your records is to simply avoid playing them. If you have better equipment than you did, say, five or ten years ago, try playing some of your MoFi’s, 180 gram LPs, Japanese pressings, 45 RPM remasters and the like. You might be in for quite a shock.
It’s all good — until the needle hits the groove. Then you might find yourself in need of actual Better Records, not the ones you just hoped were better.