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.



@blisshifi - I'm certainly far from a hifi expert.  I do a little reading and watch some videos and try to pick out the commonalities and things that seem to be common sense to me.

The idea that the mastering for vinyl (70 dB dynamic range) and CD (100 dB dynamic range) and SACD (120 dB dynamic range) would be expected to yield different sonics making it impossible to truly compare them directly.  It's always going to be an apples to oranges comparison starting with the media.

It seems reasonable that the best mastering for each format would result from the mastering being done with that format in mind.  Even though the mastering for vinyl could be placed on on either CD or SACD, maybe the sound could be improved by better utilizing the full dynamic range.

I doubt they will do it, but I suggested that PS Audio include their masters for vinyl on SACD.  This would allow listeners to compare SACD mastered for SACD to SACD mastered for vinyl to vinyl mastered for vinyl.

My personal opinion is that the more limited dynamic range of vinyl leads to a specific sound that is very pleasing to the ear for most people and the mechanical process of the stylus also adds some of the smoothness that's associated with the format.  I couldn't find the video, but I think it was Paul from PS Audio that described the methods of "compressing" the master onto vinyl where it can be done by squeezing top and bottom (bad) or just increasing the level of the bass (good).

In the end, there's so many factors the impact the final result that I don't think it's possible to make a definitive statement.  The best that I've heard in an A/B was vinyl, but the digital was also fantastic.


I was told once by a legend in the recording/record business that the "art" of recording and mic placement is different if recording in analog vs recording in digital. I've also been told that editing in DSD is a pain...doesn't much matter to me. I hope MoFi continues to thrive and continues to put out great sounding recordings. Same goes for Jack White...


If it sounds good it IS good.

I don't care which way the disc was created/recorded. If it sounds good to me that's all it matters, specially if I'm able to say whoa!!!

Having say that, I was all this time under the impression that my MoFi were all a strictly analog business, but reading and learning some stuff here, I'm actually glad that it's not all an analog business, and that that 4x DSD technology helps to create those awesome Ultra Disc LPs. 👏 


"I only care about the SQ."

I see you are also deep into the rabbit hole of vinyl.😉

I used to think the same. During many years of optimizing and evolving my system to just getting it better and better. Learning how production process of a LP and their steps. Going deep into LP rabbit hole. With the mental drive force that I am only after SQ..


But after all upgrades, refinements and increasing knowledge. I now know that vinyl is not a way to obtain the BEST SQ after all my learning and experience but during the time going down to the hole and staying there the LP has rubbed off and i noticed that it is far from best SQ but other aspects than SQ that I value.

So more correct is to say. I care only about the best LP SQ. 

But it is a long journey with a lot technical knowledge (maybe it has helped me to been working in the process industry and later software developer and software tester so LP process is nothing magical or digital for that matter with critical thinking as tester) to come to that conclusion.



Hey @optimize  -

That was just to put this issue to bed. MOFI is now showing the sources for the mastering of the One Steps, unless they are not sure of what they'll use yet for ones not yet released. Most are 1/4" 15ips from its master to DSD 256, although they vary a bit. (Thriller is 1/2" 30ips, although I can't see them selling 40K of these).


A lot of guys are a lot deeper down the rabbit hole than I am. I've spoken with a guy who has 5-6 copies of the same record from different labels. And  he wouldn't sell me his second best copy! That's a deep hole. At least he's not trying to scalp them. Also, I don't know if you've ever heard of Better Records, but their customers are WAY down the rabbit hole. They sell normal pressings for hundreds of dollars. Cheapest are $169. Check this out - 

How about $900 for a regular copy of Aja? I am sure it sounds great, but $900? Hey - if you've got $$ to burn, more power to you, and they do guarantee satisfaction.

BTW - just to put this issue to bed, MOFI is explaining the sources of the UD 1 steps on their web site now, unless they don't know what they are going to use on the new ones.