“Mofi-gate”

Discussion in 'Vinyl Nutjob World: Turntable and Related Gear' started by recstar24, Aug 1, 2022.

  1. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    Yes, I think I understood you. A painting can still be a forgery just because it is claimed to be the work of some artist. There doesn't have to be an original. It isn't what it is made out to be.

    I am cynical about the superiority of no-digital stage. Every so often someone tells me how long ago it was that digital stuff started being used in studios. And I forget. But it's quite a while. They also tell me how tape degrades, leaks, etc etc, and how it is a major job to restore them, let alone use them as a good analogue source.

    But... Honest description of the goods is the keypoint.
     
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  2. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    It is precisely because of the fragile nature of tape that AAA records command a premium. More time, effort, and expense are put into cutting a record from the original tapes than from a copy tape or a digital copy. Even if the sound quality at the end isn’t heads and shoulders above a copy with a digital step, the process itself represents value.
     
  3. recstar24

    recstar24 Friend

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    Just saw that two individuals have filed a class-action lawsuit against mofi/music direct. One class is for Washington (state), and the other is a National class lawsuit
     
  4. YMO

    YMO Big Pooh & Buttcracker

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    RIP Music Direct
     
  5. recstar24

    recstar24 Friend

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    I do have a certain sense of sympathy for them (I’m a softie) but ultimately it was their hubris that got them into this situation in the first place. They could have easily hyped up their DSD process from the beginning and their ADC and DAC used in their cutting, and I doubt it would have impacted sales too bad at the time (2011?).
     
  6. mkozlows

    mkozlows Friend

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    I agree with this, but I think @Beefy has a legit point: If the selling point was "look, no digital!" and the people buying the albums were like "these sound great, it's incredible how good pure analog sounds without the corrupting influence of digititis" and then it turns out that there was an A/D->D/A step all along, then every single person who used these as an example of analog's virtues and digital's downside is empirically full of shit on the topic, and should be completely ignored going forward.

    Yeah, they got scammed and MoFi should be punished, but also everyone who believed in the badness of digital and yet liked these albums now needs to reckon with the fact that digital is actually great.
     
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  7. Beefy

    Beefy Almost "Made"

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    Yeah, I'd be really careful about saying anyone is full of shit, or should be ignored, that's a bit unfair. Especially when they were legitimately scammed. But the situation is still a great opportunity for self-reflection, and I hope people can learn something from it.

    The one thing that really bums me out...... analog or digital, it's obviously so important to have good mastering. And here I am listening to MQA-tainted files on Tidal. It would be so great if all music could be treated with some proper respect.
     
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  8. wbass

    wbass Friend

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    I guess I see this as an all-around bummer, something along the lines of food being marketed as "organic, all-natural, grass-fed, etc" and then turning out to be not quite as purely sourced as advertised. Many might not be able to taste the difference, but the provenance was part of the pitch.

    I'm also a little bummed to see that the couple of MoFi platters I have--Sketches of Spain and In a Silent Way--had DSD in the chain. My memory is that both sound good but not amazing. In some ways, I prefer noisier regular old Columbia pressings, but whatever. The MoFi are good and certainly quieter.

    Analogue is weird, and a PITA a lot of the time. To me, when your analogue chain all comes together, from LP through to phono pre, it's a great experience. But there are a lot of things to go wrong in between. This seems like another hiccup in a funny business, in both senses of the word funny.

    FWIW, I've been up to Music Direct (in Chicago) a few times to hunt through their sort of record store (mostly vintage stuff and returns that end up playing fine) and found them to be okay to quite friendly folks. I know that Music Direct bought MoFi back in 1999, and that MoFi is out in CA, so the business aren't synonymous exactly. I'd guess that MD will be fine--they move a lot of boxes--but who knows how MoFi will come out of this.

    I also think that Blue Note, in particular, is putting out some great AAA stuff these days. Definitely way superior to their digitally sourced 75th-anniversary stuff.
     
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  9. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    I would say the responses from most people (on the Steve Hoffman Forums, which is the only other place I go to that would care about this at all) is that yes, digital can sound great, and that's also beside the point. Additionally, MoFi isn't giving us AAA releases of the same titles so while we can say that digital can sound great (which almost no one was contesting anyway), we can't say that digital sounds as good or better than a AAA release on the same mastering chain.

    Some people like Michael Fremer sure are getting egg on their face over this, though. And that doesn't bother me so much. :)
     
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  10. mkozlows

    mkozlows Friend

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    Yeah, that I'd agree with, but man, I've seen a lot of people over the years just insist that any touch of digital is corrupting, and that only the purest of analogue-everything can get you good sound.
     
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  11. Beefy

    Beefy Almost "Made"

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    That's such an important difference. I respect those people who say "I want bespoke music, and I am willing to pay for it", even if I don't necessarily understand it. I find it harder to have sympathy for the "DiGiTaL sUcKs, AlL aNaLoG rOcKs" crowd.
     
  12. Erroneous

    Erroneous Friend

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    These same people were probably also jizzing in their pants while listening to their One Steps too though.

    My take is IDGAF as long as it sounds great.
     
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  13. wbass

    wbass Friend

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    My feeling is... If it went through the A/D - D/A conversion on its way to being an LP, then what's the point of getting it on vinyl? In such circumstances, it's purer (a tricky concept, I know) just to listen to it as a file. Some might say, "Better mastering." But in the case of the MoFi releases, you'll have a pretty well mastered DSD file already, so might as well get their digital version and not put a bunch of mechanical impediments in the way.
     
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  14. shotgunshane

    shotgunshane Floridian Falcon

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    Don’t they do the mastering after the D/A step?
     
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    Last edited: Aug 8, 2022
  15. Beefy

    Beefy Almost "Made"

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    I've always figured that vinyl is as much about the ritual of listening to music, as it is about the music itself. The anticipation when firing up the phono stage, thumbing through the records, enjoying the look and feel of the cover, visually inspect the record and dust it off, feel it in the hands, pick up the tonearm, and then finally, FINALLY the release of dropping the needle.....

    It's not for me. But I 'get it'. I can see how even digital-sourced vinyl scratches the ritual itch.

    Then again, with how bad my internet connection is for streaming today, it wouldn't take much to get me to switch teams.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2022
  16. wbass

    wbass Friend

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    I'd also add that analogue, especially pre-1982 analogue, does sound different. I'm a jazzhead, so Rudy Van Gelder recordings and masterings are a touchpoint. Listen to a record like Joe Henderson, Mode for Joe, on Spotify, then get a decent copy, mastered by RVG, on LP. The streamed version is a bit polite. The record has bite. RVG pushed the mid-range pretty hard, but, damn, do those horns sound good. And real and present. It's not the most hi-fi, even-tempered sound, but it connects. In a way, these old jazz records sound kind of punk rock. B/c they kind of were. Aggressive, sometimes angry, intellectual, often quite abrasive music, played to sound as such. And recorded and mastered to catch that vibe.

    That's why I like all-analogue. It's hard(er) to get that from files, for whatever reason. Often, but not always, b/c the mastering is more polite for digital. Even the stuff that RVG did for CD is kind of staid. He was more aggressive with his choices back when.

    Modern audiophile mastering sometimes captures that vibe, but just as often, it tends toward polite and smooth and clear, etc.

    But I'm a weirdo record collector in that I'm 85% focused on 50s-80s small-group jazz. Most everything else, I prefer to hear on digital.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2022
  17. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    This is the way I see it. For example, I had the Dylan Blood on the Tracks MoFi SACD and 33 RPM release, and to my ears they sounded absolutely identical. Why bother with the hassles of vinyl if the SACD gives me the exact same sound? I sold the MoFi and bought a US first press and it sounds different, not necessarily better or worse, but at least if I'm putting it on vinyl now I'm getting a presentation that I can't get digitally.
     
  18. wbass

    wbass Friend

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    I know this isn't the referendum on all things analogue thread, but...

    I sort of get the notion that vinyl lust is this hipster-pretension, johnny-come-lately, people-are-fooling-themselves-that-it's-"better," etc.

    But, on the other hand... If you want to express your love of an artist or an album--to yourself, to friends, to that special someone coming over for dinner--it's kind of hard to do that with... files. "Hey! Come over and check out my... erm, DSD collection."

    Or it's album-night with the fellas... "I scored this NM copy of Tony Joe White's debut in some crazy dude's garage sale! Still in the shrink and everything!"

    Versus: "Oh, yeah, I downloaded this from HD Tracks last night. And it even makes this little green light on my DAC come on. Wow. So cool."

    Sometimes my own vinyl lust brings me down. Especially when I have to move apartments. And some of those reckids can smell or dusty or get moldy, and it feels like you're living in that crazy dude's garage. And way more often than I'd like that $45 "minty" Discogs score turns out to be crackly as shit.

    But when it comes to feeling like you have some, any, even the tiniest bit of ownership (whatever that is) over your music, Spotify and Tidal and Quobuz and files ain't even the same building as big old albums. Not even CDs get close.

    Plus, I remain endlessly annoyed by Web/World 2.0 and the idea that everything is "content" and "information." LPs get me away from that mindset.

    The downside, of course, is that some people can't control themselves and collect just to collect, and they fall for "limited edition" everything. And then they feel incredibly burned by something like Mo-Fi gate.
     
  19. ColtMrFire

    ColtMrFire Writes better fan fics than you

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    If the person in question and their guests are interested in music and not peripherals, then the format is pretty much irrelevant. Just like I don't need a 35mm projector to wax poetic about the qualities of a Hitchcock film to my cinephile friends, I don't need a vinyl copy of an album to get people into the headspace of enjoying the music more. Hell, I got addicted to classical music listening to it driving with my dad on his garbage Ford Taurus car stereo. And we never spoke about it, just listened.

    On the flip side, if people like sharing music with their circle using vinyl to do so, more power to them. But the idea that this is more "authentic" or something to the same digital copy is... not accurate, and just adds fuel to the "pretentious analog hipster crowd elitism" that make hobbyists look ridiculous.
     
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  20. wbass

    wbass Friend

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    Sure, and I agree, of course, that the music matters far, far more than the medium.

    And, as I say above, I like digital plenty and LP only for some things. What I was trying to express (semi-humorously, I hope) is why some folks (audioheads and otherwise, mostly otherwise) are drawn to records. Heck, a lot of the folks I know who have a modest LP collection are about as far from pretentious hipsters as you can get. I just think that LPs have a vibe to them, more so than files or streaming. Feel free, naturally, to disagree.

    Some of my best listening experiences were had in a Toyota Tercel with two blown out speakers and a cassette deck that gently mangled every tape you put into it.

    Sometimes I think we should have a thread about our favorite lo-fi listening experiences.

    And I'd, personally, love to see Hitchcock on a 35mm print, even though I pretty much exclusively stream video (a Blu-Ray now and then). Maybe it's just ceremony at the end of the day, but ceremony can be a lot. As can convenience.

    However folks are listening out there, more power to them. I just wanted to highlight a more nuanced view as to why I think vinyl has had a renaissance. Some would call it blind fashion-following, but I, obviously, think there's more to it than that.
     

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