Below is a link to a review Robert Brook has just written for the MoFi One-Step pressing of Abraxas, the price of which now far exceeds what even the hottest stamper copies would sell for. Luckily he managed to borrow one from a friend. Had he paid good money for it, you can imagine that his review would have included a lot more exclamation marks. Bad sounding audiophile records upset me too, so I know how the man feels.
Review: Mobile Fidelity’s ABRAXAS ULTRADISC ONE STEP
We’ve written quite a bit about Abraxas, played copies of the album by the score as a matter of fact, and you can find plenty of our Reviews and Commentaries for the album on this very blog.
Moments ago I did a search for this title on the web, and I could not find a single review that was less than a rave, and some audiophile reviewers were calling the One-Step one of the best sounding records they had ever played. They all agreed: analog nirvana, or something like it, has finally arrived. Thanks Mobile Fidelity! You da bomb.
I myself have never heard the pressing, and have no intention of buying one or borrowing one in order to do so.
The sound that Robert Brook describes in his review is a sound I know all too well from playing other Mobile Fidelity pressings, some of which sound bad enough they defy all understanding. After playing one of their remastered records, I frequently find myself asking the same two questions: Who are these idiots and how are they still in business?
The Linda Ronstadt record this label released in 2008 is so awful we put it on our list of Audiophile Pressings that Are the Worst Version of the Album We’ve Ever Heard. You might even think we created that category of awfulness just to have a place for records of its ilk to get the attention they deserve. You would not be far off the mark.
The Genesis album MoFi released in the early ’80s is every bit as bad, and the best part of the story we tell about their pressing is how much I used to like it. 
You think Modern Heavy Vinyl pressings are lifeless? Play this piece of crap and see just how bad an audiophile record can sound.
And to think I used to like this version! I hope I had a better copy back in the ’80s than the one I played a few years ago. I’ll never know of course. If you have one in your collection give it a spin. See if it sounds as bad as we say. If you haven’t played it in a while (can’t imagine why, maybe because it’s just plain awful?), you might be in for quite a shock.
As I never tire of pointing out, for the first twenty years I spent in audio I was completely lost. I sure didn’t think I was lost. I thought I had a really good system and I thought I knew a lot about records and audio.
But clearly I did not. When I read the posts of those on audiophile forums or the comments of those discussing our approach to finding better sounding records on videos and articles, I see a reflection of the foolish audiophile I used to be all those years ago. Thank goodness I didn’t have a internet access in the ’80s. I still have copies of my embarrassing catalogs from back then. Thankfully they are in a file cabinet and not up on the web for all our critics to feast upon.
Back to Robert Brook
Based on everything I am reading these days from Robert Brook, he has a good stereo, two working ears, and knows plenty about records and what they are supposed to sound like.
His story is not that different from my own. At the start of his journey, he found himself going in a particular audio direction. He was making some progress, but felt that he needed to take a different approach to get the sound he imagined was still eluding him.
Fighting the inertia that holds us all back in our lives, he reversed course and now finds that he is making progress by leaps and bounds, progress that surely would have been impossible had he stayed on the road he was on.
I did the same thing. I simply stopped believing what I read or was told and started testing everything for myself.
By 2004, after only 30 or so years in the hobby, that approach paid off. I had made enough progress in audio to officially start doing regular shootouts for vintage pressings I knew from experience to have top quality sound, potentially anyway. Teaser and the Firecat was the first Hot Stamper pressing we put up for sale. Our customers were ecstatic to pay ten times the going rate to get a pressing of Teaser that sounded better than they’d ever even imagined the album could sound. They wrote us lots of nice letters, more than 300 to date.
From that point on, we never looked back. Why would we? Our customers were buying Hot Stampers like they were going out of style. Records would go up on the site and sell in minutes.
Now, with a staff of ten, and having discovered much better ways of doing practically everything involved in finding Hot Stampers, not the least of which is using the knowledge we have gained from the thousands and thousands of different pressings we’ve played over the years, we feel confidant our records can hold their own against any and all comers. Especially those being produced today.
Bring it on, we say, and some audiophiles do. Most do not, but we’ve long been resigned to the fact that there’s little we can do about that situation. Even with a money back guarantee, the idea of Hot Stampers is just too absurd for some folks to wrap their heads around.
And the MoFi One-Step? I do not doubt for a minute that it’s every bit as awful as Robert says it is.
Down the road, A.B., our letter poster and source for the pressing Robert played, will no doubt come to recognize the faults that Robert lays out so clearly.
It took me a long time too.
 As far as Trick of the Tail goes, Live and Learn, right?