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Sonic Grade: F
Mobile Fidelity released their version of Diamonds and Rust on Anadisq in 1995, and if you want to hear a pressing that’s not murky, compressed and opaque, you would be wise to avoid their Heavy Vinyl Half-Speed.
Somehow it ended up on the TAS Super Disc List, but we could find nothing “super” about it. We felt it more properly belonged on our list of Records that Have No Business Being Called Super Discs.
It was a real 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, which, considering the consistently dismal quality of their output, is really saying something.
Ken Lee Strikes Again
Many of the worst of them were mastered by a Mr. Ken Lee. If you happen to come across a record in a store with his name in the credits, or his initials in the deadwax, you are best advised to drop it back in the bin and keep moving. Anything else is just asking for trouble.
To be fair, MoFi made some reasonably good sounding records too. For those of you whose budget is on the limited side, if you find an affordable copy of any of these MoFis, you are probably not wasting your money.
Our advice for the longest time has been that, while you are actively improving your stereo, room and setup, the best way to use your remastered audiophile pressings is as stopgaps and benchmarks. As you make more and more progress, eventually you will find the vintage pressing that can show you what your audiophile pressings don’t do well, or at the very least, not as well as they should.
They were falling short in many ways for all the years you’d owned them, but until you improved your playback, those problems were hidden from you.
As your stereo improves, you can actually chart your success by how many of these kinds of records you are able to eliminate from your collection. Once you can count the number of modern reissues you still own on one or at most two hands, there is a good chance you have reached a much higher level of playback quality.
Although I had a long way to go in this hobby in the early days of my audiophile record business, even then I could tell how bad the Anadisq series that Mobile Fidelity released in the ’90s was. They produced one awful sounding record after another, with not a single winner that I knew of. I sold them — my bad — but I sure never recommended them or had anything good to say about them.
The typical album MoFi remastered on Anadisq suffered from many or most of the laundry list of shortcomings you see below. If you want to avoid records with these faults, we advise you to avoid any of the records we’ve linked to here.
- More titles that are dark,
- More titles that are murky,
- More titles that are recessed,
- More titles that are compressed,
- More titles that are thick,
- More titles that are veiled, and
- More titles that are opaque.
We play mediocre-to-bad sounding pressings so that you don’t have to, a public service from your record loving friends at Better Records.
You can find this one in our Audiophile Hall of Shame, along with more than 250 others that — in our opinion — qualify as some of the worst sounding records ever made. On some records in the Hall of Shame the sound is passable but the music is bad. These are also records you can safely avoid.
Is this the worst sounding pressing of Diamonds and Rust ever made?
That’s hard to say. But it is the worst sounding version of the album we’ve ever played, and that should be fair warning for any audiophile contemplating spending money on this kind of trash.
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