“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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    Speaking of high frequencies, I've never understood why the Old Farts object, on principle, to digital stages, but no-one ever complains about how the music is hacked about by all the RIAA-curve stuff, so so that it becomes possible to put onto a record, which is then restored by the phono pre-amp.

    I've never complained about it either. But if I was some kind of musical-purist nutcase of an old fart (instead of just an ordinary one), vinyl would not be on my flag. It hardly flows, untouched, from the artist to the ear: very far from it!
     
  2. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    Then consider how many master tapes from the 70s on had Dolby noise reduction applied as well. :)
     
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  3. Qildail

    Qildail Friend

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    Hilariously impossible. The Federal Trade Commission might slap some wrists on the company itself (as a civil action); a state Attorney General might huff and puff to flash some re-election bona fides. But short of proving something really actionable like bank fraud or securities fraud, nobody's going to be prosecuted.

    The class action suits will drag out for a a year or two, and then be settled with something laughable like a $10/record refund if you can produce the original receipts and fill out a three-page claim form.
     
  4. wbass

    wbass Almost "Made"

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    Probably true for individual consumers. But retailers and distributors might feel pretty stung by MoFi's slippery marketing of their product. They might be sitting on a lot of unsaleable stock now.
     
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  5. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    Maybe MoFi can salvage things by pivoting to a new audience. Ditch audiophiles and market their records as the perfect pairing for that $150 turntable with a bluetooth receiver you bought to class up your studio apartment.
     
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  6. mkozlows

    mkozlows Friend

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    So I guess my question is: If there's a discernible difference, and given that MoFi has had the digital step in the middle the whole time, were there people out there who were listening to these discs and saying "idk, something's off, this doesn't have the pure analog sound that it should" before it was known that they did this?
     
  7. recstar24

    recstar24 Friend

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    It’s hard to quantify such a thing, clearly, but various statements from mastering engineers like Bernie Grundman, to a Joe Harley of Tone Poet series and music matters fame, they’ve thrown out “numbers” of 90-95% on how much a quality produced vinyl record can represent from the original analog tape through a traditional 3 step plating process (again, done well, and of course this is a silly thing to try and quantify). Considering very few people have actually heard a master tape, I value their opinions on this topic.

    As for what kind of loss one could expect taking a analog tape and going through an ADC of which we have no idea what kind of quality, I feel like there’s bound to be a chance for some significant change and loss in that step from the original source.
     
  8. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    That being said, the MoFi engineers feel confident that DSD256 is transparent to the source, and even Kevin Gray has said he thinks DSD256 is the best digital he's heard. So it may be a pick your poison kind of situation. I doubt any copying method is wholly transparent to the source, so it's more about what sound qualities do you value and what process retains those qualities the best.
     
  9. recstar24

    recstar24 Friend

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    One thing that really hasn’t been discussed too much in all of this mofi gate was who were the original sources that broke this info to Mike E record store guy that broke story on his channel? Some have speculated a disgruntled worker, and others have mentioned a whistleblower type scenario where someone internally felt ethically bound to leak this to a source. Before any of that could take place, mofi themselves fessed up to it in their follow up interview.

    Regardless, I think it be safe to assume there was some internal pushback when DSD was considered for their cutting process, and the powers to be clearly felt it was the best decision moving forward.
     
  10. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    If we go back through various reviews of MoFi title on sites like Steve Hoffman and on YouTube and the like, there are definitely some people who said a lot of MoFi titles sounded off in some way, or not as good as other AAA releases by Analogue Productions or Speakers Corner etc. At the time no one was thinking the culprit could be digital because it was basically accepted that MoFi worked AAA unless the master was digital to begin with.
     
  11. recstar24

    recstar24 Friend

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    Great point. I would also add at this point, i feel way more comfortable with a Kevin Gray, BG, or RKS handling the analog to digital step. KG uses some crazy Pacific Microsonics and Meitner gear for A/D and D/A conversion, I believe these are like $100k pieces of gear. Someone online found a pic possibly of mofi’s ADC, a Horus piece priced around $5k.
     
  12. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    At this point, Kevin Gray, Steve Hoffman, Bernie Grundman, Ryan K Smith, and Chris Bellman are the mastering engineers I trust the most. They all do consistently great work and the few misses they have often seem to be at the behest of the label. I don't always prefer their masterings above all others (for example I find the DCC Van Halen I release to be far too warm and lacking top end), but they're the safest bets I know of. I would also add Doug Sax before he passed away.
     
  13. wbass

    wbass Almost "Made"

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    Yeah, there's never been universal acclaim for MoFi (or MFSL) vinyl. Far from it. Even for the One-Steps. The respected reissue labels all have their duds. Classic Records: some sides are too bright. Blue Note Tone Poet/Classics: some albums marred by pitch flutter and drop outs. And so on...

    LP is a pretty compromised playback system, with plenty of room for less than stellar results, but it when it works, it's fantastic.

    I'm sympathetic to those who don't see the point, and, again, I like digital plenty. But I can think of many albums that, even with all of the fidelity and detail of digital, just connect with me more, personally, on LP.

    Tube amplification is supposed to be hopelessly compromised, also. To a certain extent, it is. But many/most (?) of us on this forum still seem to prefer it.

    The truth is that any kind of recorded music represents an enormous series of compromises and tweaks to what came out of an instrument or someone's throat. Even in the best recording studios, a drum set, for example, often (I'm trying to use relative terms here) sounds just okay played live. *Often*, after it goes through a series of compressors and eq units and reverb (digital or chamber), only then does it start sounding fat and lively and "real."

    So maybe it's... pick your compromise? Digital has come a long way, but there are still plenty of examples of digital sounding hard and flat and lifeless. Where to turn to then? A better DAC? More upsampling? The sonic wonder of, ahem, MQA?

    Or a different kind of source altogether?
     
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    Last edited: Aug 9, 2022
  14. netforce

    netforce MOT: Headphones.com

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    Got it, for me in the case of Mofi I always end up seeing the Mofi/distribution/Music Direct teams as one entity in my head. If it was say Mofi acting independently and then say someone at Music Direct handling marketing I can see getting mixed up or not communicated well. But that also seems unlikely.

    My internal conflict in me is wanting to think there was maybe a lapse of judgement but the more I see and read reactions, its difficult see how Mofi could justify their actions.

    Hope they clean house and are honest going forward though those who will refuse buying from Mofi again in the future I completely understand.
     
  15. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    Damon Kruokowski of Galaxie 500 writes about the issue here: https://dadadrummer.substack.com/p/all-listening-is-analog

    This part seems particularly relevant:

    This is particularly germane to the question of the supposed superiority of one step records. It sounds like a lot of master tapes recorded in the analog era were intentionally goosed to compensate for the expected losses in the high frequencies from the pressing to vinyl process. Now of course MoFi can dial back the highs in mastering if they know the lacquer is going to a one step plating but it’s worth noting nonetheless.

    The whole article is good and worth a read.
     
  16. Biodegraded

    Biodegraded Friend

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    And you can hear exactly this on a lot of early CDs - the engineers would do it just the same as they did for vinyl so the result was something horribly treble-heavy, often with tape hiss, and would sound pretty nasty on a lot of cheap delta-sigma players.

    Don't particularly care about the MoFi thing. I'm a fan of mastering for the medium, and of the medium for the era. Original or at least early versions of vinyl from the vinyl era, same with CDs from the CD era, with the exceptions of the earliest ones for the reasons mentioned above and before the loudness wars made everything stupid. For contemporary music, it'd feel odd to me to buy it on vinyl; less so on CD.
     
  17. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    Doesn't vinyl still have all the same limitations now as it did forty years ago?

    Has the refinement and advancement in decks (or am I imagining this?) make the situation of vinyl frequency restraints worse or better?
     
  18. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    Steve Hoffman mentioned that one step plating is useful for limited runs of around 500 as it saves cost to remove the additional plating steps, which are also unnecessary because the purpose of the additional plating steps are to be able to press record in bulk. He also said the one step process does not improve the sound.

    https://forums.stevehoffman.tv/thre...-long-time-ago.1150351/page-764#post-30177690
     
  19. winders

    winders boomer

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    This is hard to believe. How can removing 2 copy steps not result in more accurate reproduction? Getting rid of the Father and Mother steps has to be good, right?
     
  20. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    I'm assuming when mastering properly for three step plating, the differences are negligible.

    Edit--Steve reiterates:
     
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    Last edited: Aug 9, 2022

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