Mobile Fidelity Vinyl Controversy


LP12 Newbie
Feb 7, 2019
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
Over the last week or so a controversy has blown up for Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs with the revelation that some percentage of their "Original Master Recordings" are not cut directly from the original analog master to the lacquer's that will ultimately become albums. The two primary methods that have been cited by MoFi engineers as being used to produce MoFI releases for vinyl. These are:

  • A copy of the true master tape (usually created on a meticulously set up Studer A80 at the clients location and recorded to digital at x4 DSD). These x4 DSD files serve as a source to cut the lacquer master that produce the vinyl albums we would purchase. There is no mention of the rest of the mastering chain.
  • A copy of the true master tape may/is be made to a new "tape" based working master, but this is of course on generation down. The engineers feel the x4 DSD method is truer to the original than the generational loss tape copy.

The reasoning MoFI gives is sound. Labels in 2022 will most likely not ship out valuable masters to be played back over and over again in the pursuit of a new vinyl release. I tend to feel the approach and reasoning for using 4x DSD in the process is reasonable, especially if once the signal is converted back to analog, any "mastering" that is performed is in the analog domain and it is this signal that is feed to the preview and program channels of the lathe. The approach allows for predictable and repeatable lacquer creation for various production methodologies. It also prevents undue wear and tear on masters that are not replaceable.

What some in the vinyl community seem upset about is the apparent lack of "transparency" on MoFi's part. They offer some but not all the details which could be proprietary to their process. Having watched a number of YouTube videos on this ,I have come to the conclusion this is not as big a deal as audiophile YouTuber's want to make this out to be. While the explanations and semantics of "Original Master Recording" could be better, I tend to feel this is not the deception these videos want one to believe. At the end of the day, you either like the results or you do not.

Plus - until these videos started to surface over the last week or so, I saw no video from these very same people saying "their ears suspect this was a digital source" until they were told it was. So their indigent responses to the controversy are somewhat suspect.

Any thoughts for the vinyl fans on the forum?

Blue skies.


Jul 26, 2008
Llandudno (ex Oz)
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
It is deceptive marketing and whether the album sounds good or not doesn't change that. Mofi deserves everything they have coming their way, I stopped buying records at the start of the year so it won't affect me but I would not be buying any of their stuff in the future because of their greed and bad faith, they will now be fighting to recover their reputation and deservedly so.

Would Mofi get >$100 for a one-step release if they marketed them as being from a partly digital mastering chain - No. That is the crux of the matter.


Mummies little ray of sunshine🖕
Wammer Plus
Apr 9, 2020
Guiseley, Leeds,
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
There is a thread running about this in 2 channel a couple of pages long 👍

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