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.



OK. So, go to In Groove Mike’s page on YouTube. Before this controversy, I had not realized how much people rely on Internet videos for guru-ism. In Groove Mike is not a slick guy, and was characterized as a "strip mall record salesman." He’s not. He owns his own building in Phoenix, and knows records- apparently his store is a lot of fun, with all the audiophile warhorses (yawn, but I get it). He loves MoFi and collects it.

He did an expose video on July 14, he flew out to the Mofi mastering lab on July 19, met with the three engineers and video recorded a discussion, which he posted on July 20. (Again, if you go to his YT channel, you’ll find it). This is where the MoFi engineers conceded that they did a lot of the mastering from the 4XDSD. Mike then posted a follow up on July 21--kind of a post-mortem of what went down at the "bunker" session the day before. Mike was crushed since he loves MoFi. Obviously (or not), he and the engineers spent time talking about the landscape of what they would cover before the bright lights glowed at the mastering lab.

MoFi is now providing supplemental information on its sources on line, starting with the recent and soon to be released stuff. They will apparently work backwards into the legacy stuff that is sold out. My understanding was, all the One Steps were based on a 4xDSD file, but don’t take my word for it-- check the interview video. There are over 400 pages and somewhere near 10k posts on another site, but my mission is not to divert traffic. What’s interesting is that the MS Audio M hasn’t said anything yet- a few minions said, "get over it," but they only proved who they were beholden to.

Hope that helps.

So you often have to go back to the label and request such a file. The reason is simple: digital release files are compressed since there is an expectation they will be played in a car.

For this reason the LP frequently has greater dynamic range than the CD (or other digital format). About the only way you're going to get that is if you get an LP that was mastered without the compression.

For those that argue that digital has greater dynamic range, why would anyone do that, that sort of thing; in theory yes in practice no.


That is totally false. CD has greater dynamic range in theory and in practice. 

Why many THINK that it is the opposite is just of the reason you told.

When LP is the analog equivalent with the digital MP3 but even worse in some cases. With that I mean that LP is in data terms a lossy format and worse is it adds random click and pops that were not in the source so it is worse than MP3 that do not add those artifacts. 

Do some of the mentioned steps add any sound quality:

  • Lacquer cutting does it add Sound quality?
  • Plating and additional plating (father, mother..) does it add Sound quality?
  • Pressing when first LP is different than the last when the stampers is worn out. does it add Sound quality?
  • Vinyl compound different is more or less noisy does it add Sound quality?
  • Profile of the stampers flat profile does it add Sound quality?
  • More or less excentrisy does it add Sound quality?
  • Better TT with more or less wow and flutter does it add Sound quality?
  • Better tone arm does it add Sound quality?
  • Better cartridge does it add Sound quality?
  • Using better canteliver does it add Sound quality?
  • Better stylus shape does it add Sound quality?
  • Uni-din, Löfgren A/B, Bergwall and so on does it add Sound quality?
  • Better adjusted SRA, anti scate, VTA, zenith and so on  does it add Sound quality?

No NOTHING of the above does add Sound quality!

But what vinyl production and playback does is it just try to do each point with as little harm as possible in other words all steps tries to lose as little sound quality as they possible can so we see all is lossy and add clicks and pops.


With all that said when we hold a LP in our hands it is a physical copy protection when it is not possible to go back by digitalization, to the digital source that the LP were produced from when it is NOT lossless.


So you often have to go back to the label and request such a file.

When label know that above and LP need all they can get when it is lossy. Then often the digital files that are used for lacquer cutting is allowed from the labels that supply a less or not at all compressed digital file.


So many comparisons between CD and LP is not appels to appels when they are two different files one more compressed than the other (but yes it is still the same mastering engineer and so on).

And on the other hand the digital media (CD and the others) there is no problem to do a bit perfect copy so the label don't want us to have to good sound quality wise copy from them (otherwise also it would be harder to sell a reissue down the road).


So in theory and in PRACTICE CD are better than LP in every possible way. And many comparisons that shows otherwise is flawed when the one that compare thinks that they compared the same version when it were the same mastering engineer.. And not knowing that LP pressing plants are getting a more dynamic copy of that digital file than the CD pressing plants got.

And this is why CD got bad reputation when if we put crap on it then it will still be crap coming out from it. And it doesn't matter if CD can in practice contain more dynamic range if the CONTENT is not having any dynamic range..


(As a side note regarding LP. Is it is satisfying to get better sound quality when going from spherical stylus to line contact. But most of us thinks naturally that wow we have increased the sound quality, now we have not we are only having and doing LESS losses than we had before. The degraded sound quality were always in the grooves. And we can't enhance that in any way just to preserve it as good as possible.)



The only thing that bothers me is the lie by omission. I prefer forthright behavior.

Exactly! The final buyer must be informed of what he is buying, without omissions.