Labels With Shortcomings – Mobile Fidelity (Anadisq 200)

Cat Stevens and the Mobile Fidelity Hall of Shame

More of the Music of Cat Stevens

More Reviews and Commentaries for Teaser and the Firecat

Our Mobile Fidelity Hall of Shame listings totaled more than 40 back in 2010, and we noted at the time that the real number would be at least double that and probably more than triple that figure if we took the time to make listings for all the bad records this label has released, It stands at 50 or so as of 2022.

In case you don’t already know, one of the worst sounding, if not THE WORST SOUNDING VERSION OF ALL TIME, of our beloved Teaser and the Firecat is the Mobile Fidelity Anadisq pressing that came out in the ’90s.

If you own that record, you really owe it to yourself to pull it out and play it. It’s just a mess and it should sound like a mess, whether you have anything to compare it to or not.

If I were in charge of the TAS Super Disc List, I would strike this record from it in a heartbeat.

Here are some others that we do not think qualify as Super Discs.

We offer a number of Hot Stamper pressings of TAS List titles that actually have audiophile sound quality, guaranteed. And if for some reason you disagree with us about how good they sound, we will be happy to give you your money back.


FURTHER READING on Half-Speeds

Here’s a good question:

How come you guys don’t like Half-Speed Mastered records?

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Neil Young / Old Ways – Another Anadisq Disaster

More of the Music of Neil Young

More Country and Country Rock

Some time in the 2000s we reviewed this pressing from 1996.

The MoFi is a muckfest, as was to be expected from a record mastered by this awful label during the Anadisq era, the darkest chapter in the disgraceful history of Mobile Fidelity.

We guarantee any Hot Stamper LP will make your MoFI pressing sound like the bad joke it was even as far back as 1996, the stone age in audio, or your money back including shipping.

As of 2015, this label may have entered a new and even more disgraceful era, but considering how bad their records have been from the very start, (something that should be obvious to any audiophile with a high quality playback system, the kind of system that should have no difficulty exposing the manifold shortcomings of their remastered pressings), how much lower can they possibly fall?

Only time will tell!


FURTHER READING on Half-Speeds

Here’s a good question:

How come you guys don’t like Half-Speed Mastered records?

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:

More Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Below you will find our breakdown of the best and worst Half-Speed mastered records we have auditioned over the years.

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Boston’s First Album on MoFi Anadisq

More of the Music of Boston

Reviews and Commentaries for the Music of Boston

Sonic Grade: F

The MoFi Anadisc of Boston’s first album has the same problems that plague the whole Anadisq 200 series: turgid, thick, opaque, blobby, murky, mucky sound.

A real slogfest. Audiophile trash of the worst kind.

Do people still pay good money for this kind of awful sound? Yes they do!

Go to ebay and see the high prices these kinds of records are fetching. This is in equal parts both shocking and disgusting. 

Here is what is available for the MoFi pressing on Discogs today (2/2/2022). If you have $400 you can order one there.

Marketplace 3 For Sale from $399.99

And people complain about our prices? At least we send you a great sounding record for all the money we charge.

Herrmann / The Fantasy Film World of… “Did MoFi bother to listen to this before they ruined it?”

More of the Music of Bernard Herrmann

Bernard Herrmann Records We’ve Reviewed

Sonic Grade: F

Obviously our customers know by now that a Hot Stamper London or Decca pressing is going to be far better than the Anadisq MoFi cut in the mid ’90s.

How much better?

Words fail me.

Their record was a complete disaster. Perhaps some of the MoFi collectors didn’t notice because they had nothing to compare to it. 

God forbid they would ever lower themselves to buy as common a pressing as a London. Had they done so, what they would have heard is huge amounts of musical information that is simply nowhere to be found on the MoFi.

There is a place on this album, I failed to note exactly where, in which a group of tubas play a descending scale that is somewhat buried in the mix. On the London, they can clearly be heard and recognized as tubas. On the MoFi, I don’t think they can be heard except as some general group of low notes, and anyone thinking that they were tubas would be guessing, the sound is that murky, muddy, and ill-defined.

Robert Pincus once left a Post-It note stuck to the MoFi jacket of a copy he was playgrading for me that rather pithily summed up our thoughts on the quality of their mastering: “Did MoFi bother to listen to this before they ruined it?”

It’s positively shameful. This music is so good! On top of that, it’s custom made for audiophiles. Audiophiles are the ones who can appreciate the new colors Herrmann created, using what a wise man once called the single greatest instrument ever invented: the symphony orchestra.

The Moody Blues / To Our Children’s Children’s Children on Mobile Fidelity Anadisc

More of the Music of The Moody Blues

Reviews and Commentaries for The Moody Blues 

Sonic Grade: F

We here present yet another MoFi pressing found seriously wanting.

If any record belongs in our Audiophile Hall of Shame, this one does. The Moody Blues albums produced by MoFi in the ’90s as part of their Anadisc series are some of the muddiest, tubbiest, most worthless records in the world.

Well… 

Worthless to those of us who play records and want to hear them sound good.

But, worth money to those who collect this sort of audiophile trash.

Folks, seriously, you really would have to work at it to find worse sounding pressings of the Moody Blues albums than the ones MoFi did in the ’90s.

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Cat Stevens on Mobile Fidelity and Thoughts on the TAS List

More of the Music of Cat Stevens

I Ask You: In What Possible Way Is This Awful Record a Super Disc?

We here at Better Records would like to give a shout out to The Man, Harry Pearson, for putting one of the worst MoFis of all time on his so-called Super Disc List.

Many many years ago we wrote:

In case you don’t already know, one of the worst sounding, if not THE WORST SOUNDING VERSION OF ALL TIME, is the Mobile Fidelity Anadisq pressing that came out in the ’90s. If you own that record, you really owe it to yourself to pull it out and play it. It’s just a mess and it should sound like a mess, whether you have anything else to compare it to or not.

More Reviews and Commentaries for One of the Worst Remastering Houses of All Time: Mobile Fidelity

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Traffic – The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys – Another Disgraceful MoFi Anadisq Release

More of the Music of Traffic

More of the Music of Steve Winwood

Sonic Grade: F

Another MoFi LP debunked.

Of course our Hot Stamper pressings are going to be better than the Anadisq LP from the mid ’90s.

How much better?

Words fail me.

The MoFi was an out and out disaster. Perhaps some of the MoFi collectors didn’t notice because they had nothing to compare it to. God forbid they would ever lower themselves to buy a “common” pressing such as one of our domestic Islands.

Had they done so what they would have heard is huge amounts of musical information that is simply missing from the MoFi pressing.

The MoFi has no leading edges to any of the transients; they’re shaved off, how they achieved this I cannot begin to fathom. Bad cutting equipment using a dull needle?

Blunted and smeared, their version is positively unlistenable. Robert Pincus once left a Post-It note stuck to a MoFi jacket of a record he was playgrading for me that pointedly summed up our shared thoughts on the quality of their mastering: “Did MoFi bother to listen to this before they ruined it?”

Boston Hot Stamper Testimonial – Shooting Out the Big Three

More of the Music of Boston

Reviews and Commentaries for the Music of Boston

This week’s letter comes from our good customer Roger, who did a little shootout of his own among three very different sounding pressings: two Half-Speeds, one by MoFi and one by CBS, probably the two most popular pressings among audiophiles, and our very own Hot Stamper LP.

Here are his findings. Keep in mind that Roger bought a copy priced at $125, half the price of the best copy in our shootout.

“Hi Tom,

I got your Boston hot stamper today and enjoyed comparing it to MFSL and CBS half-speed versions in a shootout. I had long since given up on listening to this record since it became part of a communist ploy to brainwash us by playing Boston repeatedly on the radio until we would give up any information they desired. “Deep Purple Lite” was what my college buddies and I used to derisively call it. Now I only wish we had this type of music still around. So I had fun reliving my college days and listening to this LP.

“For a pop recording, it is a pretty good recording soundwise, and all 3 pressings were indeed good, if not interesting. I tried the CBS half-speed first, and it was tonally lean with good speed and detail, and bass was extended and quick. However, its Achilles heel was that it had too much energy on top and excessive brightness, something that couldn’t hide from my speakers’ ion tweeters.”

Roger, you seem to be using the phrase “tonally lean” unpejoratively (if I can make up such a word), whereas for us here at Better Records, that is the kiss of death for Half-Speeds, and in fact Audiophile Records of All Kinds. Lack of weight down below, lack of Whomp Factor, is the main reason half-speed mastered records are so consistently and ridiculously bad. If not bad, certainly wrong. You can be very sure that Boston would not want, nor would they put up with, that kind of anemic sound for a minute.

“The CBS is cut clean from a good tape, so it easily beats the bad domestic pressings, of which there are many. But it can’t rock. What good is a Boston record that doesn’t rock? It’s a contradiction in terms; the band, as well as their debut album, have no other reason to exist.

“So the MFSL was somewhat of a relief in that regard, being more sweet and rolled-off on top. However, it sounded bland, blah, slow and murky by comparison. It was still OK sonically with a fuller midband, but didn’t have the midrange energy or dynamics of the CBS and it just seemed slow and plodding, no other way to put it. Bass on the MFSL copy was weightier but more midbass than the quick and extended bass on the CBS.”

Agreed. The MoFi Anadisc had the same problems that plagued that whole series: turgid, thick, blobby, murky, mucky sound. A real slogfest. In short, audiophile trash of the worst kind.

“Now for the hot stamper, it was closer in tonal balance to the CBS, tending to be leaner, but the bass was quicker and more impactful, and the treble, while still as extended, was more balanced with the rest of the sonic spectrum. There was more instrumental detail, like on the rimshots on More Than A Feeling, better dynamic range, and a more transparent soundstage than with either half-speed copy. I actually had a great time listening to Smokin and the other cuts on side 2 that I actually haven’t heard in a while.

“I would highly recommend anyone who can still stand this record to get a hot stamper and get their feet tapping.”

Here here. I would recommend the same. Thanks for taking the time to do your own shootout and writing up your results.

Best, TP


FURTHER READING

New to the Blog? Start Here

More Letters Comparing Hot Stamper Pressings to their Half-Speed Mastered Counterparts

More Letters Comparing Hot Stamper Pressings to their Heavy Vinyl Counterparts

Oscar Peterson Trio with Milt Jackson / Very Tall and Very Awful on MFSL Anadisq

Reviews and Commentaries for Mobile Fidelity Records

If you made the mistake of buying the atrocious Anadisq pressing MoFi put out in the ’90s, our Hot Stamper pressings will let you hear what a wonderful recording Val Valentin cooked up with these cats back in the day.

FURTHER READING on Half-Speed Mastered Records

The best place to start is here:

How come you guys don’t like Half-Speed Mastered records?

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:

More Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Below you will find our breakdown of the best and worst Half-Speed mastered records we have auditioned over the years.

(more…)

Blood Sweat and Tears – An In-Depth Review of the 1996 MoFi LP

More of the Music of Blood, Sweat and Tears

Reviews and Commentaries for Blood, Sweat and Tears

Sonic Grade: D

We found a Hot Stamper copy for one of our best customers a while back and he wrote an incisive commentary which may be of interest to you. To see the results of his comparison between the Direct Disc Labs Half-Speed, the MOFI Anadisq, his original domestic pressing, and the Hot Stamper he bought from us, check out his letter.

I want to thank Roger Lawry for his extensive commentary on the BS&T’s second album. His critical listening skills are obviously quite well developed, especially since he agrees with me about what is the best sounding BS&T — the one I sold him! I have added some caveats in places to clarify a few issues, but basically Roger’s assessment is right on the money.

Hi, Tom:

I listened to 3 versions of the BS&T record and here is what I found (I wrote up a little review–you can use it on your website or laugh and delete it, whatever). (more…)