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Mobile Fidelity, ‘One Step’ etc

Discussion in 'music' started by Tony L, Jul 15, 2022.

  1. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    The classic ‘when in a hole keep digging’ approach. Fremer really has destroyed himself IMO. To recap: by his own admission he knew as early as anyone about the digital rumour, yet he chose to sit on the story to schmooze the industry/allow PR management. He calls this “professionalism”. I call it anything but journalism. Then when the story inevitably broke he viciously attacked Mike for exposing it calling him all kinds of things, and has endlessly attempted to back-track and rewrite history ever since. He’s toast.
     
    Yank, Rob998, alan967tiger and 3 others like this.
  2. paulfromcamden

    paulfromcamden Baffled

    I didn't know In Groove Mike's background. Even more respect for him now.
     
    alan967tiger and Tony L like this.
  3. Graham H

    Graham H pfm Member

    I’d agree, although he is still professing in one interview that he can hear a digital step when used with analogue master as source. Interesting that his 2018 list of best AAA reissues contain at least 8 titles that have a digital step.
     
    sideshowbob, Rob998 and gavreid like this.
  4. Sloop John B

    Sloop John B for more years than I care to remember

    That thing about MOFI that I dislike is the engineered scarcity of product that means silly money needs to be spent.

    >>Hey let’s do the best mastering possible but only press x amount of CDs /LPs so that only those with deep pockets will hear our work.<<

    Of course it’s very amusing to witness golden ears being found out.

    I think most reasonable people agree that mastering trumps format.

    .sjb
     
  5. crimsondonkey

    crimsondonkey pfm Member

    Do you have a link to that interview in question?
     
  6. Weekender

    Weekender pfm Member

    What is his background?
    (I can't see the Washington Post article)
     
  7. paulfromcamden

    paulfromcamden Baffled

    He’s a record geek who grew up in foster homes after his father was murdered when he was 11. (His mother, he says, has had drug and alcohol problems.) Over the years, Esposito, who didn’t finish high school, has sold sports collectibles and started a chain of mattress stores. In 2015, he opened the ‘In’ Groove in Phoenix.

    Here's an archive version: https://archive.ph/z83rO
     
    alan967tiger, gavreid and Weekender like this.
  8. gavreid

    gavreid pfm Member

    It's tough over there in that sh1thole USofA.
     
  9. Gerard124

    Gerard124 pfm Member

    Watched the latest video and Fremer really should stay away from the camera at this time, he just can't help himself with his petty little put downs aimed at Mike Esposito.

    Watched plenty of Fremer's content over the years and I've always been a bit 50:50 on the guy (the naff sense of humour and stupid voices/accents etc). He's got a seriously over inflated opinion of himself and has shown his true colours here and it really ain't a good look.
     
  10. krenzler

    krenzler pfm Member

    Live now.

     
    ToTo Man likes this.
  11. Sloop John B

    Sloop John B for more years than I care to remember

    Michael 45 has a real “Jurgen Kloop” like likeability about him.

    I was totally unaware of any of these guys except a passing knowledge of Fremer, who really comes over as a self obsessed narcissistic type of guy.

    .sjb
     
  12. Graham H

    Graham H pfm Member

    One example - from about 32m in the long interview with Michael 45 posted here by Tony L.
     
    crimsondonkey likes this.
  13. Graham H

    Graham H pfm Member

    ToTo Man, paulfromcamden and gavreid like this.
  14. paulfromcamden

    paulfromcamden Baffled

    I thought these were really interesting points. I'd been wondering about tape machine calibration etc.
    • LoVerde explains that transferring to another format before mastering to vinyl is necessary in some cases, because there are different calibration tones for each track. He cites Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On as an example. The master takes could also be split across multiple reels. In both cases, one can’t easily master directly from the tape to the lacquer.
    • The engineers stress the necessity of reading previous engineering notes carefully due to things like reverse channels. (Something I encountered when writing the TBVO on Tears for Fears’ Songs from the Big Chair.)
    • Sometimes extra leader is inserted into master tapes to make it easy to master for singles. However, if they don’t account for that, the gaps between tracks won’t match the original album. So they have to go back to the original album to measure the silence between the tracks.
    • There’s a fascinating discussion of how the uncompressed versions of the released takes sometimes sound like a remix, due to the drastic effects that compression had on the original release. (I definitely experienced this when writing the TBVO on Peter Gabriel’s So.)
    Just out of interest, have Mo-Fi said what converter they use for the tape transfer?
     
    sideshowbob and Graham H like this.
  15. Graham H

    Graham H pfm Member

    Not to my knowledge, but I’m sure it will be documented somewhere.
     
  16. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator



    Monster three and a half hour live-stream from Mike last night. I had it on whilst doing other things and he covers a lot of ground including the Washington Post article, his family background and obviously more on the Mo-Fi thing. He comes across as honest, straight and funny on all of it as usual. It is obvious the whole thing has tipped him out of his comfort zone to quite some degree but he is handling it exceptionally well IMO.

    One of the things that came out is it looks like there will be lawyers and maybe a a class-action suit against Mo-Fi. As Mike points out that would likely help no one bar the lawyers and would almost certainly finish Mo-Fi. I don’t think anyone wants that. I’m also struggling to see what the damages are here as even now after the revelations I’d bet on most Mo-Fi pressings still being worth more now than the original new buyer paid. If some of the more crazy priced ones have taken a hit to some degree that is on the speculators/flippers, they’ll still be worth far more than original retail. I hope it doesn’t come to this as life is just too short. It should just be taken as a industry-wide warning shot that you shouldn’t ever bullshit your customers. Most businesses fully understand this, and in fairness there is still some ambiguity to what Mo-Fi were doing, the processes they were describing, and ultimately the product was very well liked. I’d be sorry to see them taken out this way anyway.
     
    Weekender likes this.
  17. ToTo Man

    ToTo Man the band not the dog

    Having watched 45 rpm Audiophile's recent and interview with Chad Kassem (owner of Analogue Productions) and Kevin Grey (renowned mastering engineer), I am still not clear about what is involved in an AAA remastering session. It's obviously not simply a case of threading up the master tape, pressing play and dropping the cutting needle on the lacquer. Presumably the tape must be played through so that they can note the average and peak output levels of each track, and analyse the frequency content of each track, so that the lacquer is cut optimally? And, if 'season to taste' EQ adjustments are required to make the latest remaster sonically superior to previous releases, the tape will need to be played through again, perhaps several times, as EQ adjustments are made and agreed upon. Then, when the lacquer is being cut, if there's a mishap that's identified either during the cutting process or later on in the production process when the test pressing is rejected, then a new lacquer may need to be cut and the tape must be played again.

    You could conceivably have a situation where the original master tape is played many times before even a single vinyl unit is printed. Is this acceptable from a tape preservation POV? Wouldn't a safer and easier method be to digitise the master tape upon first playback, figure out all of your level optimisation and EQ tweaking based on this digital file, cut lacquers, rinse and repeat until the lacquer gets the seal of approval from a sonic POV, then when you come to do the final lacquer THEN you cut it from the master tape? That way you have the best of both worlds, infinite access to the digitised file as a "work in progress" on which to perfect your EQ tweaks etc, and a final product cut directly from the master tapes that will have been saved from potential degradation by having multiple play-throughs. I'd love to know how far this is from reality?!
     
  18. krenzler

    krenzler pfm Member

    Will the 40.000 copies of Thriller all be ready on release day or do they press them over time when stock runs out?
     
  19. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    All valid questions and I’m sure ones with no fixed answers as different labels and artists will hold different views. You are certainly correct that mastering a finished product from a tape is never a single run-through, there will be multiple tape runs to set levels, EQ, compression etc before firing the lathe up.

    It is a fascinating subject. I’m a little distanced from it as I’m not a analogue supremacist, I don’t really care if digital is used if the end result is worth the asking price. As an example the Scofield & Metheny Tone Poet is a digital recording and it sounds absolutely stunning. The Charles Lloyd may well be too and that thing is jaw-dropping sonically. I don’t care. I’ve always felt mastering > format. My instinct is always a first pressing from country of artist/label origin, but obviously that is not possible with a lot of classic albums without a hefty price tag unless one already has them from cheaper times.

    My problem is that a lot of modern reissues just don’t sound very good to my ears. They don’t hold up to the originals. Some do, many don’t.



    It is nice to see Michael 45 starting to compare reissues with originals, though maybe we shouldn’t tell him his UK WYWH is a reissue (originals have die-cut corners on a heavier card inner). It will still be a nice fully analogue copy, likely very late-70s early-80s. He likes the reissue here, though didn’t rate the Abbey Rd Roxy. This sort of reviewing is useful IMO.
     
    paulfromcamden likes this.
  20. krenzler

    krenzler pfm Member

    So what do we think of the decision to remove the compression on the new Thriller release? It's going to sound different for sure. I have the LP without the MJ line on the back so an early one and particularly Billie Jean is cut very hot.

    From 10:40 in this video.

     

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