Tapestry Mobile Fidelity One-Step Versus ORG Standard Pressing (Time Line Correction)

<i>Tapestry</i> Mobile Fidelity One-Step Versus ORG Standard Pressing (Time Line Correction)
"So Far Away" Version 1
37% (265 votes)
"So Far Away" Version 2
63% (454 votes)
Total votes: 719
Thanks to a reader's generosity I was sent a copy to audition of Mobile Fidelity's One-Step release of Carole King's Tapestry album. It's clear to me I'm on Mo-Fi's "bad dog" list. I've not been offered for review any of the company's turntables, phono preamps or cartridges. When I ask, I'm met with stone silence. Over the past few years I've gotten only one record for review (that was wrong and to Mobile Fidelity music side I must apologize. I've gotten more than a few records to review since I reviewed and raved about the One Step Monk's Dream in April of 2020. My timeline was stunted by "Covid compression". Actually more than a few records did show up after that and I apologize to Mobile Fidelity for getting the timeline wrong. It's been quite a while since I got a record from them but that's mostly because nothing's been released in some time. Though after I asked for a copy of Jeff Beck's Truth album I got a copy and gave it a well-deserved great review). This audio product review shunning can't be accidental. What did I do to be cut out of the equipment? I have no idea and it's none of my business.

So, thanks to a reader's generosity here's a comparison of "So Far Away" from Tapestry as a One-Step Mobile Fidelity release and the ORG edition from a few years back cut by Bernie Grundman and Chris Bellman. Both of these editions are at 45 rpm. I'm not going to foul the waters by giving you my take. At least not until the votes are in and perhaps not at all. Polls will be open for 1 week.

BTW: turntable was OMA K3, Frank Schröder K3 arm, Lyra Atlas Lambda SL cartridge, CH Precision P1/X1 phono preamp, Lynx HiLo A/D converter.

File "1"

File "2"

jazz's picture

that this relates to rather historic review/opinion damage they feel, maybe related to much earlier Mofi releases out of the 1xx and 2xx serial times? The only later negative opinion I remember was your statement that you clearly prefer the AP SRV to the Mofi One Step.

Michael Fremer's picture
drumbot's picture

Was there a formal comparison of the two 45rpm editions?

jazz's picture

Michael just mentioned his preference for the AP SRV Couldn’t stand the weathers a side note of a different topic recently without any further details.

Jazz listener's picture

of my audio equipment purchase decisions are influenced by reviewers such as yourself. That goes double for vinyl purchases. If MoFi has in fact blacklisted you for some reason, it is a very poor business decision on their part. Out of sight, out of mind as they say…

Hoppy1's picture

In all likelihood a high percentage of your vinyl collection has been "free" for review from record labels. Nothing wrong with that! That's the way the business goes! I trust your reviews and most of my collection is from your recommendations! MOFI, in my opinion, is good not great! Who does review their titles, One Steps, and such? Your reviews are honest and helpful to the collector and listener. I don't think you have to "knock" MOFI or feel bad about reviewing their catalog...Keep up the great reviews for Analogue Productions, Acoustic Sounds, and Tone Poets.

Michael Fremer's picture
Most of my collection has been purchased by me and I continue to buy many (probably too many!) records. I do get some "Tone Poet" releases for instance, but not all so I buy the ones I'm not sent. I find it difficult to buy reissues like the "One Step" series that I have on original or other great pressings. While I'd like to let readers know how they stack up, it's a lot of money to spend and I'd rather buy new music. Readers are asking about the Tone Poet Ornette Coleman box but I have originals of "Empty Foxhole" and "New York Is Now" and later RVG cuts of Golden Circle Vols 1&2 so find it difficult to justify spending $229 on the box to get "Love Call" and "New and Old Gospel".....
my new username's picture

Same. These reissues are important but more to completists or collectors willing to give up old copies. At some point a library becomes a giant collection of a handful of titles ... not interesting.

I'd much rather see these specialists work with modern execs to school them on how to get better sound and raise the bar on regular titles.

MalachiLui's picture

unless it's an album i really, really, REALLY love, i don't feel the need to buy tons of copies. i don't NEED a meh digitally-sourced reissue of an album that i have an AAA original of, even if i'd love to tell readers how they compare. really the only times i buy multiple copies of an album these days are when i'm looking for improvement over a copy i already have, or if i'm in completist fan/collector mode and must have all important (let's say US, UK, german, japanese, and xyz reissue, or whatever) pressings. i try to make smart purchases so i don't have to buy something more than once. and even if i don't end up with the best pressing, all that matters is i'm happy with it. is an original UK pressing of PiL 'second edition' (or the UK 'metal box') better than the sterling-cut island/warner US original? probably, yes. but for $15 in VG+ condition, i'm more than pleased with my US sterling copy and don't feel like spending more money at the immediate moment.

Leonthepro's picture

(Feel free to remove this comment if you dont want anyones opinions out before the weeks end.)
Number 1 as its more dynamic and captures the depth of the recording more.
The vocals are what especially drag it down on Number 2, even though they have been boosted along with some room acoustics they sound slightly hollow and artificial, not capturing that full frequency range like Number 1 did.
It almost makes me wonder if Number 2 uses a worse tape and I assume its the ORG as MFSL typically like to preserve the depth of the sound in their versions.
As number 2 is slightly more compressed it may have a leg up in a short one track comparison however, where that balance of hearing everything more equally with the added tape hiss can be satisfying at first.

arcman67's picture

Maybe they do. Most MoFi record reviews I see are by people who actually purchased or by retailers that had the record come thru their distributor and they kept one and reviewed it. Now as far as equipment goes, I do not know. I can tell you I purchased a MoFi StudioPre and returned it (loose connectors, all around cheapness) and exchanged for an ELAC PPA-2 and could not be happier

MalachiLui's picture

yes, they do send promo records (i've gotten a few MFSL promos before), and they keep a supply of unnumbered jackets/boxes for those promo copies, so that review copies don't take from the numbered retail supply

Michael Fremer's picture
I have been getting them since Herb Belkin started the Anadisc series. I had dinner with him when it was introduced. And when the current Mobile Fidelity went back to vinyl it too sent me many records for which I'm very grateful though the early ones were pretty poor. Comparing the original "Waiting For Columbus", pressed on JVC super vinyl to the more recent one was pretty shocking. Over time Mo-Fi greatly improved the sound quality of their records and I reviewed many but they stopped sending and that's their right of course. Most of the titles have already been released on high quality reissues so I can't see the value of buying yet again. And some of the One Steps they did sent were a mixed bag. The "Abraxas" was stupendous, but some others that they did send, less so. I reviewed them honestly.
arcman67's picture

I have quite a few Mofi's including One Steps. Analogue Productions and/or Classic records will win most of the time. I feel AP wants you to hear what the master tape sounds like without having the limits of typical 1950's/1960's phonographs (needle jumping due to bass, etc). Where I feel MoFi wants to modernize the records to sound current. For example, MofFi's Kind of Blue is way too "bassy" vs the perfectly balanced and smooth AP/Classic versions.

samman's picture

I'm surprised that so far people have chosen number 2 over number 1. I'm listening on inexpensive computer speakers, but to me, the very obvious clear winner is number 1. Clear vocals and instruments in comparison to number 2, which has a bit more echo with the vocals somewhat muffled in comparison to 1. I'd be shocked if the MFSL was NOT number 1.

Leonthepro's picture

to see the current scores.

Steve Edwards's picture

with your observations of the vocals on number 2. While listening, I was thinking "a more reverb / muffled sound."

MX5Bob's picture

The vocal isn't muffled, the instruments have more clarity.

anomaly7's picture

I'm calling the second file the MoFi disc. In my experience they're pretty well known for their bass accentuated reproductions. And for me, the second file, on my computer speakers, smooths out Ms. King's slightly nasally voice on this recording.

Leonthepro's picture

the One Steps seem to often be an exception to this and I think they would want to keep all the dynamics intact so Im guessing 1 is the MFSL.

pessoist's picture

either of the two don't impress me, both have pro and counter elements in their sound to my RME-DAC BT880 covered ears.

MrRom92's picture

It’s not particularly clear what we’re actually voting for - which one we think is better? Which one we think is the MoFi?

Without hearing either of the samples personally (I have not voted) but just thinking about it - I trust Bernie to do a better job than I typically expect from MoFi, who are still very good though often on the conservative and quiet side. A 45rpm LP should be cut even hotter than the equivalent 33 if possible. MoFi cuts at any speed are cool and reserved and rely on the quiet surfaces of the RTI supervinyl so as to not have intrusive surface noise in their quieter than standard masterings. This has never been Bernie’s style and his records sound better for it IMO. On the other hand, that supervinyl formulation is nice to have and definitely earns some points in MoFi’s court.

Michael Fremer's picture
I just want to know which readers prefer sonically and why. I'll lay out my preference and why next week.
Chemguy's picture

...because they both sounded the same to me. Computer speakers, though...

Mannfred's picture

To be blunt, they don't need you. Their titles generally sell out before the first production run, for both hot SACD and LPs. 2nd, I have it on good word they find many promo copies on ebay for incredible prices. That does not include you Mr. Fremer, it is clear that is not your game, but other reviewers have done it sadly.

On the gear, they have numerous home run reviews, on Tone, and other outlets, so they have nothing to gain by sending you anything. Lastly, just my opinion, not an attack on you, but airing your industry dirty laundry is unprofessional, and you seem to have a sense of entitlement.


Michael Fremer's picture
First of all, I've stated above that it's their business to whom they send review samples. And yes, other reviewers sell their Mo-Fi promos on Ebay and elsewhere and I would never do that. If you think a good review from Tone is equal to a good review from AnalogPlanet, that's your opinion as is the suggestion that they have nothing to gain from a good review here. I'd say that's a faulty opinion. However, what I have aired is hardly "dirty laundry". Many readers ask me all the time why I've never reviewed any of Mobile Fidelity's audio gear. I think letting them know here is hardly "dirty laundry". And I do not have a "sense of entitlement". You sound like you don't like me and resent me for some reason so perhaps analogplanet is not for you.
Mannfred's picture

No resentment. At all. I generally enjoy your blog. I am not sure why a positive review any where else would be less valid however.

I am also putting the word out, Apple should be boycotted for what they did today.


Michael Fremer's picture
All reviews are reviewers carry equal weight?
Mannfred's picture

No, certainly not. But why would your review carry more weight than Tone, HiFi+, TAS, Hometheaterhifi etc?

Michael Fremer's picture
I don’t answer foolish questions