Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab

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Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs
Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab logo.svg
Parent companyMusic Direct
Founded1977 (1977)
FounderBrad Miller
GenreVarious
Country of originU.S.
LocationVision Street, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Official websitemofi.com

Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab (MFSL or MoFi) is a record label specializing in the production of audiophile issues.[1] The company produces reissued vinyl LP records, compact discs, and Super Audio CDs and other formats.

History[edit]

Recording engineer Brad Miller (1939–1998) released the first recordings on the Mobile Fidelity label in March 1958, a recording of a Southern Pacific steam locomotive.[2] Later LPs included other steam trains, environmental sounds and orchestral music, and a few pop and orchestral recordings. In 1977 Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs was founded and began releasing Original Master Recording LPs, using a half-speed mastering process.[3]

In November 1999, Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab shut down after the bankruptcy of M. S. Distributing.[4] In 2001 MFSL's assets were acquired by Jim Davis of Music Direct.[5]

Products[edit]

LPs[edit]

Original Master Recordings banner

In 1977, Mobile Fidelity began to produce a line of records known as "Original Master Recording" vinyl LPs.[6] These albums were previously released by other companies, licensed by Mobile Fidelity, and remastered using half-speed mastering from the original analog master tapes, without compression, and with minimal equalization.[7] The recordings were pressed in Japan using a plastic compound, invented by JVC, and marketed as "Supervinyl" by Mobile Fidelity.[8]

In 2016, Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab launched a new vinyl series called Ultradisc One-Step, releasing titles including Santana's Abraxas and Bill Evans's Sunday at the Village Vanguard.[9]

Cassettes, CDs, and SACDs[edit]

During the mid-1980s, Mobile Fidelity began to sell CDs and cassettes. In the 2000s, it began to sell SACDs.[10]

MoFi Electronics[edit]

In 2016 an audio electronics line was introduced under the MoFi banner.[11] MoFi Electronics offices and turntable manufacturing are based in Ann Arbor, Michigan.[12]

Audio sourcing controversy[edit]

On July 14, 2022, Michael Esposito, a record store owner and YouTuber, released a video on his YouTube channel "The 'In' Groove" stating that "pretty reliable sources" informed him that, contrary to the company's official statements and marketing, MFSL had been using digital masters instead of analogue for years. John Wood, the label's executive president, saw Esposito's video and then invited him to California for a tour of their business. A second video was produced with Esposito interviewing MFSL staff, where they confirmed that they were using Direct Stream Digital files when creating their vinyl masters for duplication. The staff members stated that at least 60% of all titles used this process by the end of 2011, and that the process was also being used for the label's Ultradisc One-Step releases, which were previously marketed as coming directly from the original master tapes. The revelation generated controversy over not only Mobile Fidelity's integrity, given the company's marketing and the stigmatization of digital audio in audiophile circles, but also the extent of analog audio's perceived merits over digital audio.[13][14] The scandal became known as "MoFi Gate" (combining an abbreviation of "Mobile Fidelity" with the "-gate" suffix derived from the Watergate scandal) in audiophile communities.[15] In August 2022, Adam Stiles, a longtime customer of Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab, filed a class action fraud lawsuit against the label over the revelations.[16][17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "MoFi Sued Over Claims Its All-Analog Albums Were Actually Made With Digital Mastering Tech". Rolling Stone. Retrieved August 26, 2022.
  2. ^ "Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab Inc.| Audiophile Vinyl, CD, SACD". www.mofi.com. Archived from the original on 2012-06-30.
  3. ^ "History". Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs.
  4. ^ "Industry News November 1999". www.enjoythemusic.com. November 25, 1999. Retrieved November 12, 2010.
  5. ^ "The Return of Mobile Fidelity". SoundStage. Retrieved August 28, 2022.
  6. ^ "The Return of Mobile Fidelity". SoundStage!. Retrieved August 28, 2022.
  7. ^ Guttenberg, Steve. "MoFi remasters, perfects LP sound". CNET. Retrieved June 23, 2016.
  8. ^ "Back In The Groove". Hi-Fi News. Retrieved August 28, 2022.
  9. ^ "Audiophile Jazz Vinyl Pressings". eCoustics. Retrieved August 28, 2022.
  10. ^ "40th Anniversary Mobile Fidelity One-Step". Analog Planet. Retrieved August 28, 2022.
  11. ^ "High-end turntable makers Mo-Fi debut 'entry-level' turntable". August 20, 2018.
  12. ^ "Mobile Fidelity Electronics". Mobile Fidelity Electronics. Retrieved September 30, 2019.
  13. ^ Geoff Edgers (2022-08-05). "How a Phoenix record store owner set the audiophile world on fire". The Washington Post. Washington, D.C. ISSN 0190-8286. OCLC 1330888409.
  14. ^ Sinclair, Paul (6 August 2022). "Saturday Deluxe / 6 August 2022". SuperDeluxeEdition. Archived from the original on 9 August 2022. Retrieved 9 August 2022.
  15. ^ "A different take on the MoFi scandal". Darko.Audio. Retrieved August 12, 2022.
  16. ^ "MoFi Faces Fraud Lawsuit for Selling Vinyl Reissues as "Purely Analog" While Using Digital Masters". Pitchfork. Retrieved August 26, 2022.
  17. ^ "MoFi Sued Over Claims Its All-Analog Albums Were Actually Made With Digital Mastering Tech". Rolling Stone. Retrieved August 26, 2022.

External links[edit]