MoFi controversy

I see this hasn't been mentioned here yet, so I thought I'd put this out here.  Let me just say that I haven't yet joined the analog world, so I don't have a dog in this fight.

It was recently revealed that Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs one step LPs are being cut from digital masters (DSD) rather than being straight analog throughout the chain.

Here is one of the many Youtube videos that discusses it


To me, it seems that if MOFI is guilty of anything, it's "deception by omission."  That is, they were never open about the process and the use of digital in the chain. 

One thing to mention is that hardly anyone is criticizing the sound quality of these LPs, even after this revelation.  Me personally, I wouldn't spend over one hundred dollars for any recording regardless of the format.



I don’t buy vinyl but there are some facts that should be stated before this takes off.

MoFi takes a modified tape deck to wherever the master tapes they are going to reissue are stored (I’m sure that most labels don’t let the master tapes of their best selling albums out of their sight any longer). They play the tapes on their tape player/analog to digital recorder and record them at 4X DSD. The guys that do this are very highly regarded mastering engineers. 4X DSD is very transparent digital. It’s not like CD quality.

The MoFi engineers say that this gives them a better quality recording to work with than making a tape to tape copy would.

The albums made this way are said to sound very good, for the most part, and nobody has said that they don’t sound right until the digital step was revealed.  Michael Fremer had some of them on his 100 best records list.  He has since removed them.

Now, many people are very angry and say that they were duped into buying records they thought were all analog but now find included a digital step in the process.

It is true that MoFi did not tell people about this digital step and gave the impression that it was an all analog process.

The records sound the same as they did before the revelation, but some people want MoFi’s head over the deception by omission.

That’s what I know about this and I don’t buy vinyl so I’m not taking sides.

The price of the ’One Steps’ has a lot to do with the packaging (box) and the expected profit. Whether they are originally cut from a digital file is questionable, but as the gentleman in the video states, in order to make 40K records, something has to give...and in the case of the ’Thriller’ LP, that is not going to be the master tape.

The Fagen release on the ’One Step’ is absolutely digital, as it is known that the master tape was recorded digitally. The question of whether the others still unknown. However, personally I have no issue with whether the ’One Step’ is cut from a digital file if it sounds superb and better than any other release. My Allison Krauss ’ARKUS’ MoFi is cut digitally, yet it sounds superb and is one of my best sounding LP’s.

The issue of ethics does play into this, as the OP brings up the aspect of ’deception by omission’, which is a very good point. The question of full disclosure when it comes to these vinyl a’phile limited edition releases is where I think maybe MoFi has erred....maybe??

@lewm The MOFI LPs in question here are called “Ultradisc One Step” and do indeed sell for $125 new and sealed from the usual new LP vendors.

@lewm The MoFi One Steps are typically $125 for a 2 45rpm box set. The single 33 ONE STEPS are $100. 

The One Step is a higher end product over the General $40 Mofi Lp

In order to be transparent (very important in this discussion),, I have learned that Chad Kassem, owner of Analogue Productions, only does reissues of albums that he can get the master tapes for at his facilities. So, I was mistaken in my earlier post when I said that most labels wouldn’t let them out of their sight. Chad has said that his request for the masters does get turned down, though, and in those cases he just won’t do a reissue.