Mobile Fidelity Announces Ambitious "TBA" "One Step" Series

Mobile Fidelity recently announced a new series of "One Step" vinyl box sets that includes titles from Miles Davis, Van Halen, CS&N, Eric Clapton, The Eagles, Carol King, Cannonball Adderley, James Taylor and more mostly aimed at Baby Boomer hearts and wallets. We counted 23 in all on the Music Direct website.

Most of the boxed sets are priced at $125, though a few are curiously priced at $124.99. With the exception of Miles Davis's Bitches Brew, which is at 33 1/3 the new One Steps are double 45rpm sets. As you surely know, these are "one-step" productions where the plated lacquer's pulled metal part is used to stamp records rather than being again plated to produce a "mother" that's again plated to produce a stamper. Eliminating the second and third steps produces a stamper that's two generations earlier than usual "three-step" stampers.

These records are pressed on "Mo-Fi SuperVinyl", which was developed by NEOTECH and RTI (Record Technology Incorporated pressing plant) and is for all intents and purposed either identical to or similar to what the Blue Note reissue label Music Matters called "SRX".

"One-Step" record production offers a theoretical advantage over standard record production techniques but is no guaranty of sonic superiority as every step in the chain is critical to the final result. Muddy Waters Folk Singer is among the titles. It would be interesting to compare the "one step" to the now out of print Analogue Productions version. These records are limited editions, mostly to 10,000 numbered copies, so best to order now.

Since Mo-Fi no longer offers AnalogPlanet One-Step promotional copies (not sure if our site is "singled out" or if that's a new policy) we are contemplating purchasing a few to review. Any suggestions? Of course, when these releases will actually ship is strictly "TBA".

COMMENTS
USCGRetired09's picture

a boomer, and I want every one. My first choice is the 45 RPM version of IRobot. I have to say I would like to hear the entire VH catalog. I know every song, and I would love to hear the differences from what I know.

BSonmor's picture

I have the Pearl one step and I think it sounds fantastic. I compared it with the Sony/Legacy release and it’s noticeably better. I do not have the standard mo-fi version of it but would like to compare it to that as well.

drdarkfish's picture

But why do Mofi and other leading Audiophile houses refuse to release audiophile vinyl for music recorded in the last 30 years?.. I can count on one hand the mofi releases from the late 80s or 90s (Pixies, Nirvana for example)

Don't get me wrong... I love a majority of the music that mofi release, but there are only so many copies of Miles Davis or Muddy Waters I need to own.

I think these "industry-pillars" need to take more responsibility for engaging with a 'younger' generation and help foster the vinyl resurgence for the long term.

I can think of hundreds of fantastic albums from the 90s and 2000s that are dying to be released as a 1 step / UHQR - many of which I know to have been recorded analogue.

When Mofi first started out, the albums they released were mostly no older than 10 or 15 years at that stage (Think the original UHQR series - Cat Stevens, Beatles, etc..)... Why wouldn't there be a market for music released from say Radiohead or Smashing Pumpkins or even more recently BADBADNOTGOOD?

Is there a licensing issue here that Im not getting?

USCGRetired09's picture

from the 50+ crowd? I know I buy more now than I ever have.

Tasingegade's picture

I second that, Dr. Dark. They know what will sell given the demographics of this hobby. Some part of it may be that recordings from the past 30 years might be digital and generally past saving (*not suggesting digital is bad, only saying some of the recordings are probably quite bad to start irrespective of medium/methods). That said there has to be some worthy analog recorded material out there which was a hit.

I wish they would take a chance on just one or two recent albums. How about something with wide appeal to graying audiophiles, younger audiophiles, and some titles to bring some fresh blood in the mix? I feel like something by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Black Keys, Radiohead, The War On Drugs, Smashing Pumpkins... something in this neighborhood surely has a wide appeal.

Michael Fremer's picture
The Nightfly "One Step" was a digital recording so that's not the stumbling block. They have chosen a safe passage. Can't blame them but it leaves a gaping opening for a more adventurous enterprise to step in.
Tasingegade's picture

I second that, Dr. Dark. MoFi know these dusty repeats will sell given the demographics of this hobby and I can't fault that. Some part of it may be that recordings from the past 30 years might be digital and generally past saving (*not suggesting digital is bad, only saying some of the recordings are probably quite bad to start irrespective of medium/methods). That said there has to be some worthy analog recorded material out there which was a hit.

I wish they would take a chance on just one or two recent albums. How about something with wide appeal to graying audiophiles, younger audiophiles, and some titles to bring some fresh blood in the mix? I feel like something by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Black Keys, Radiohead, The War On Drugs, Smashing Pumpkins... something in this neighborhood surely has a wide appeal.

MalachiLui's picture

this is why i'm more interested in what VMP is reissuing than whatever MFSL/analogue productions/etc are doing. not every VMP reissue is great or necessary (and there are many VMP reissues i don't buy), but i'll take wu-tang, grimes, and erykah badu over van halen, the eagles, or alan parsons any day. when the baby boomers (and older gen x'ers) buying these bland UD1S titles die out, half of the customer base will have vanished.

thankfully, most records i get these days, audiophile label or not, sound pretty good or great as is.

ChrisM's picture

about the boring Eagles, Van Halen, etc choices. What is the urge of a penultimate version of Folk Singer or Bitches Brew ?
In the audiophile record world the musical spectrum seems so narrow, self centered, reduced to a few names, a few titles, a few years. The luxury business of cultural poverty...

Andy18367's picture

... penultimate. It does not mean last or final.

Anton D's picture

I think people see the word, and it is longer than ultimate, which must make it the ultimate.

Andy18367's picture

..deleted

rexlibris's picture

My daughter, in her twenties, loves Eagles, etc. (And they are not bland). Also, I work part-time in a record store and see lots of young people seeking out older groups. New is fine. Old is fine. Stop pitting them against each other.

drdarkfish's picture

Just because younger people appreciate older music doesnt mean that all good music existed pre- 1990...

Further, I never pitted new vs old against one another I simply made the point that these audiophile releases seem to always be from the boomer or earlier generation.

Also, what is the "younger generation"? If someone grew up in the 90s that makes them potentially 40-50+ years old... likely with "younger" kids of their own...

rexlibris's picture

I agree that there is good music in every generation. To say that only music from one era or another is any good is to severely limit yourself. I don't disagree with you. Also, someone in their 50s isn't going to croak in the next 10 years necessarily and deserve to buy what they've worked so long to be able to finally afford.

rexlibris's picture

You would be surprised how many young people walk out with both Adele and Van Halen.

Glotz's picture

There is no accounting for taste.

Regarding the VH, outside of Boomers with retirement savings I really don't see younger generations looking to spend $125 per title. Perhaps a standard MOFI release would have been smarter. Then again, Boomers have money burning a hole in their pockets..

rexlibris's picture

I'm in my 50s. Generation X. The money burning a hole in my pocket is somewhat irritating. I went to college, grad school, moved away from extended family and worked 30+ years to have a bit of extra cash to spend on records or concerts. And I, and others, don't apologize for that.

jstrube's picture

I agree wholeheartedly...

FOr me, I do love the old Jazz, I bought the Monk set. I absolutely can't stand the Joplin/Dylan type music, it never spoke to me. I am super excited about Van Halen, as this is some of the first music I ever got excited about. I would love to see Pearl Jam Ten on a 45RPM release, you just can't do this record justice at 33-1/3. I dig modern rock and other music too, and would gladly spend money on it. I'd even spend money on Silver label MoFi issues of plenty of music, vs. trying to actually find a nice copy of some stuff. Maybe step up into the 80's a bit more... Then the 90's... I mean, we are as far from 1980 as 1980 was from 1938...

jazz's picture

from bankruptcy as far as expensive US reissue buying is concerned, is the folk, country, classic rock and golden era jazz focused US taste. The many thousands of US reissues of the last 20 years probably just make 300-500 different albums ;-)

elmore244's picture

Hank Mobley, Dexter Gordon, and Thad Jones over wu-tang, grimes, and erykah badu any day of the week. So what is the point? Everyone has their music they enjoy. I don't call out my son because he's into Tyler the Creator or Lil Nas X. Music is music and everyone has their own vibe. That doesn't mean it's 'bland' or 'shit'. Just means you got your thing and I've got mine. Also, many 'boomers' and 'gen x'ers' have worked their asses off to get to a place where dropping $250 - $600 for music they enjoy isn't a big deal. We don't have to understand, we just have to know that everyone has a right to enjoy what ever the hell they want.

King Of Dirk's picture

Well said, young man. I only intend to be around another 40 years or so, so MFSL better start thinking about their projected sales for 2060. After all, we know once those kids who caught Beethoven's symphonies live died out, his record sales went to shit.

It's fun to watch people fret over the economic viability of a series that is 100% sold out.

Jake's picture

Yep, licensing, fees and lots of lawyers. Plus, interest from Mofi itself. Theg are making more money than they ever have so why take a risk?

Misternuvista's picture

There are many audiophiles here who would love some or many of these discs, but all these UD1S and Analogue Productions discs are a total rip off here. $125 retail would seem like a bargain!!

The current going rate for a typical Mofi UD1S is £165, which at current exchange rates is $224! They started out at £125 with the earliest issues, which seemed fair. I recently saw some dealer selling the UHQR Kind of Blue 33rpm at £195, which is a total piss-take for a single disc.

A $125 UD1S should be £92 before tax and shipping, but I presume dealers buy wholesale and get them cheaper than that.

I get that there is shipping, possibly customs and VAT to add, but honestly, somebody must be making a mint out of us somewhere in the food chain, as in the US the manufacturers and dealers are making a decent profit at $125. If someone can start bringing these in to the UK at sensible prices they will do very well and allow ordinary people with a keen interest in great vinyl to afford them.

Wymax's picture

I was interested in the recent Miles Davis UQHD relase... 100 USD would end in 2+ times that in Denmark if I import it myself, buying from a Danish vendor would result in 2.5 times that. Even other European prices on eBay matched that.

Importing it myself would mean postage of 60 USD, and then 1.30 in taxes on top of that, plus some import and taxing handling fee. The small Danish vendors probably also buy directly without vendor prices, but they can buy more and split the postage. However, their profit comes on top of that.

Other releases such as Patricia Barber's Cafe Blue 1Step share the same fate, even though going through my preferred vinyl vendor in Germany, they should be able to get adequate big vendor pricing. So specialty US releases are not attractive outside of the US when it comes to pricing, I would have no trouble paying 100-125 for premium releases, but more than 2+ times that? No. It becomes a principle. But I am sure the manufacturers really don't care, their only market interest is the US, it is not about making a release available, it is about making money, and they will surely get sold out anyway.

But hey, the same goes the other way around, European products often cost more in the US.

bvanpelt's picture

This way an American can buy 2 copies of say, Kind of Blue, for $100. The American then charges you $100 plus shipping to send you 1 copy.

On the other hand, when a European audiophile pressing comes out, you buy 2 copies at your prices, and charge the American for 1, plus shipping.

Instant money transfers make this completely do-able as the cost of shipping to foreign countries is nowhere near the price difference in the products. Plus, you gain a new friend.

Every audiophile should have audiophile pen pals all over the world.

Jake's picture

Eh, it goes both ways. Conclusion: Shipping charges suck now a days. And it aint gonna get any better. Probably worse. Audiophile labels to survive are now upping prices by $5-$10 for an album. Not their fault. National and world affairs impact records just like chicken or gasoline.

fruff1976's picture

But you have access to all of the old great UK pressings that are harder for us to obtain.

otaku2's picture

And I Robot, which appears to be available as both a 33 and a 45, the former "only" $100.

vinyl listener's picture

:D

analogdw's picture

I’m a huge fan (born 1975 so not a boomer), already pre-ordered all six. If you don’t buy that one Michael I can review it for you once it arrives!

Roy Martin's picture

…is the Cannonball Adderley “Somethin’ Else” with Miles.

rich d's picture

I would bet that three years from now we'll still be waiting for at least one or two of these records, by which time much of the target market will have joined the choir invisible.

God help us when they are finally released; there'll be no escaping the non-stop Eagles demos at audio shows.

Anton D's picture

I feel your anticipated pain.

That version of "Hotel California" was more played to death than Patricia Barber multiplied by Nora Jones.

On the plus side, no One-Step of "Jazz at the Pawnshop," yet!

They seem to have overlooked "The Look of Love," too.

rich d's picture

...for someone to record "Keith Please Just Go Already".

Jake's picture

I think we will see them come out at a faster pace. Especially Eagles and VH. The powers that be didnt make deals for entire catalogues in order for Mofi to drag their heals. Might be wrong, but I think these will come out fairly quick.

Glotz's picture

My guess is late 2022, given the current material shortage and current backlog.

I am rather glad they are doing it this way instead of their previous efforts.

Russo7516's picture

The early UHQR from MOFI in the 80's and I have most of them was made in 33 1/3 and they where done well .Why the 45's?

Analog Scott's picture

greater groove velocity and less inner groove adds up to better sound. These are supposed to be assaults on state of the art sound so it follows that they would be 45 rpm.

Jake's picture

Licensing

larson manor's picture

I thought a lot of the Original Master Tapes were lost in the 2008 Universal fire? As I remember the Eagles and Van Halen were on that list. How do we really know what tapes Mofi uses?

Glotz's picture

I find that sense of jadedness more annoying than getting taken by MoFi, IF they were scamming consumers.

Ps- They ain't.

larson manor's picture

Why can't we be a little civil and not attack someone for a few simple questions. And you have proof they ain't? To shell out $125 per copy might not be a lot of money for you, but it is to me. Hopefully Michael can answer the question, I trust his opinion and he's not rude.

DaveyF's picture

Particularly the Folk singer release. The old Anadisc release of the same title is extraordinary, if the One Step beats that…
I am also looking forward to EC Unplugged, as the original master is superbly recorded. Anyone know if the rumor is correct, Unplugged is a digital master?

Jake's picture

Yeah until they go back to the multis and leave that damn echo off or at least tame it? Muddy Waters FolkSinger imo will always sound weird. Plus its not even one of his best albums IMO

Steve Edwards's picture

CSN please

antonmb's picture

There are many very fine 33 releases that demonstrate state-of-the-art sound can be achieved at this speed. 45 rpm records do a disservice to the music by interrupting the flow and mood of the music - and even if the sound is a wee bit better, is it worth it just so we can ooh and aah over the sound quality instead of being immersed in the music? 45rpm is best left for singles, not albums - especially not albums with a concept for a side that should be listened to uninterrupted.

Anton D's picture

I'm surprised there isn't some new 50 RPM niche product.

78 RPM again?

Must be better.

estimatedprophet's picture

yeah, we know ... 45rpm sounds better ... I'll gladly sacrifice a tiny amount of sound quality (2-3%, maybe?) for a HUGE bump in convenience. Changing the turntable belt position, flipping a side every 10-minutes ... 45's aren't worth the hassle.

I'd buy several of these releases if they were 33's. Since they're not, I won't. Period.

Vinylghost's picture

Very curious to know if they were allowed access to the master tapes.

This is the one I'd choose to review.

Andy1974's picture

...I don't think I would need anything better

Vinylghost's picture

I too would prefer the speed to be 33 1/3.

I wish they'd give us that option.

fmena's picture

If MOFI is listening out there in electron land....Please Please ...If there ever was an aural landscape that begged the "One Step" treatment, this would be the one in my opinion. Its a shame this recording isn't on the radar for may folks.

Thanks
Frank M

DFacobbre's picture

There's about $1200 worth I'm after.

Donn Rutkoff's picture

maybe the kids of the current people at MOFI, or RTI, or Dow or duPont or whoever actually makes the vinyl will press music from the last 2 decades. If . . .they can find any. ba-boom, rimmmshottt.

I am trying to get Campion Records U.K. to press some vinyl of Inessa Galante. If you are not familiar, from 1990 to around 2010 they issued about 10 CDs. Opera soprano. Ave maria on utoob has 10 million ++ views. Sang lovely Russian, Italian, Latin, French, Yiddish. The Russian Recital at Wigmore Hall is my fav.

I will probably spring for one or 2 of the new One take box sets. John Mayall "Turning Point" would be nice, Poco "Poco", "In-a-Gadda-da-vida", Rafael Mendez "Trumpet Extraordinary", Bach "Jesu der du Meine Seele" BVW 78, anything with Duane Allman, "Delany & Bonnie & Friends on Tour with Eric Clapton". And Beethoven "Hammerklavier", Late quartets, Missa Solemnis. OK, enough wish list.

Greyrider's picture

As a constant buyer of Mobile Fidelity pressings, including (all) of the One Steps...do they really need to release SIX of the first Eagles albums and SIX of Van Halen?? I mean, I do like these groups and enjoy them, but with all the OTHER great albums out there could they not just pick ONE "eponymous" album from each group and move on? Maybe release another from the catalog down the road a bit? MoFi had a good thing going...now it's becoming a bit tedious.

Russo7516's picture

We can go back and forth with this. Mike ,I am aware Universal Music lost a lot of tapes due to a fire. So are we getting an Original master to platter or Digital Master to platter . It is a simple question? GO to work DET . Mike lol
If it is a digital master to vinyl then why the 45 rpm ?
Also have you listened to any of the SACD from MOFI can you compare them to the Ultra One step they usually release them at the same time ?
Also MOFI should do Bridge of Sigh Robin Trower and a better Led Zeppelin 2 . The MOFI LZ II form the 80's was not that great.

mkus's picture

.... long time listener here (at least 25 years)...

Irving Azoff manages both The Eagles and VH. I have read that Mofi dealt with him to license only a few titles from those bands, but he would only agree to a deal if ALL the titles were done. Of course, I read this on Hoffmann's forums (if I recall), so it's just "word on the street". Michael, maybe you would know more about this..

Also.... my vote is the ELVIS one step! I own the first MFSL 80's pressing, and it would be interesting to read any comparisons (of that or any other pressing!)

Another also... If this was Sgt Pepper, there would be no question!

jkrussell's picture

I thought that the Van Halen studio recordings were not really that great because the band didn’t give a shit about making records. They just wanted to tour, party and play live music. So I guess I’m very curious to know if 1984 sounds that much better than the original pressing. I’m sure it must, but by what degree? I am not a boomer, but my parents are and I’m still holding out for an audiophile reissue of Tracy Chapman’s debut.

Tom L's picture

Ted Templeman produced seven Van Halen albums, mostly with engineer Donn Landee. Those guys are real pros, and I'll bet the Mobile Fidelity LPs sound fantastic. Templeton's autobiography is fascinating, well worth reading.

Jake's picture

After being in the audiophile world for 30 yrs (and especially apparent in the last 20 years) its quite evident why there are certain repeats of titles. Easier to license and tried and true. And as the years have went by the former is getting more and more difficult as the majors tighten grips on master tapes. Master tapes transfered to digital and then pressed to vinyl? Perfect in their opinions.

So as the years have went by we simply see the same titles whether it be from Mofi, AP, ORG or whomever. The days of the 1980s will never come back where Zeppelin, Stones or Beatles are done from the master tapes by Kevin, Bernie, Chris, Ryan etc. Aint gonna happen.

And as far as modern recordings from the 90s thar havent been "audiophiled" its probably the same story. Ultra fancy boxsets that are mastered so so and have tons of crap buyers may listen to a couple of times are the carrot now. Why should they care about sound? Its selling.

But even if say The Smashing Pumpkins were one stepped how much benefit would there be? The production of so many 90s and 00 albums are so dense and layered.

What exactly are fans thinking they will hear that is an improvement?

So many bands from the 90s and 00s do not lend themselves to "audiophile sound" Only so much can be done in remastering these densely recorded albums. And the list is long. Sure, there are many recordings from the last 25 yrs that arent so layered sounding but then one is back to the question:

Which to do that would sell well as $60.00-125.00 product of a single album?

For these reasons we will see mostly the same ol jazz and pop titles done over and over. Plus the new influx of newbies to the hobby encourages the audiophile lables to simply reissue the same ol same ol. After all its new to them and they will eat it up.

Cam08529's picture

I will stop when I looked at the 2022 offerings in the new Music Direct catalog. There’s about 20 new titles announced in this catalog. It’s been kind of nice to have a compete set but there’s too many new titles announced that I’m not interested in owning. Based on prior output from MoFi, no way all of these new titles will be released this year. As an example of MoFi’s output, my copy of Tapestry ordered last January is due to arrive tomorrow. I think about 8 were released in 2021. These are great pressings but I will pick and choose what I order going forward. Regardless, if you want any of these you should preorder as soon as you are able. They often sell out before or within days of being released.

Anton D's picture

I agree, it will be hard to keep up. Which is OK, now we can relax and pick and choose!

Cheers!

Hackmartian's picture

Yes, it's well known that younger listeners are (thankfully) less concerned with era than previous generations and will happily listen to Fleetwood Mac alongside H.E.R., which is a wonderful thing. What's wrong with these releases is the lack of imagination in choosing which albums would have appeal and benefit from this process, not to mention the cynicism involved in selling the same records to the same people over and over and over again, at higher and higher prices. I admit I've bought into this myself as a consumer but as someone who has been involved in this professionally as well, I've always tried to add things to reissues to justify their existence to fans and not make them feel like the word "remastered" itself justifies a brand new purchase. MoFi could be more adventurous with their album picks based on the highly limited runs as evidenced by Blue Note's success mining their deeper catalog and VMP's more esoteric choices consistently selling out. MoFi could also step up their game by adding supplementary tracks, leveling up their packaging, and maybe some notes and photography. The few of these I've bought sound great (What's Going On with its janky side-splits notwithstanding) but I always felt like the total package didn't justify the cost and I don't see myself going back to the well until they start getting creative.

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