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Are these good MFSL's?


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17 replies to this topic

#1 of 18 Tyler T

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Posted December 23 2002 - 11:29 AM

Hi,

I was looking through e-bay and noticed quite a few Gold MFSL's I wanted to get. I then found a great site that had listings of both MOFI LP's, Cassetts, and CD's. (That's www.aurealm.com, BTW) I noticed that there were some great discs I wanted to buy...

...But I do not know if some are wise choises. For example, I was reading that the Who's MOFI's were just the Jon Astley remixes. So, I will be naming a few artists and discs that I like and want to know if they are worth buying. I do have some of those discs and I'll put which ones I have:

The Beach Boys-Surfer Girl/Surfin' USA

Cream-Diserali Gears (like how they have both mono and stereo on the disc!)

*Peter Frampton-Frampton Comes Alive (supposed to be remastered on SACD and there is the Deluxe Edition.....)

*Don Henley-Building The Perfect Beast, End of The Innocence

Elton John-Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Honky Chateau

*John Lennon and Yoko Ono-Double Fantasy (well, there is the remixed version I haven't picked up yet)

Pink Floyd-Dark Side, Meddle, The Wall (heard that's rare though Posted Image ), and Atom Heart Mother (I have these on the Shine On box already and they sound OK to me)

The Police-Synchonicity (have original AHM Master Series disc; wayyyyy too quiet, IMO)

*Queen-Night At The Opera (though that's in 5.1 DTS)

R.E.M.-Murmur, Reckoning

Rush-2112, Moving Pictures, and Signals (Have remaster of 2112; need to upgrade Moving Pictures from vinyl!)

Santana-Abraxas (see my comment on Moving Pictures)

*Sting-Dream of The Blue Turtles, Nothing Like The Sun

U2-War, Unforgettable Fire, and Joshua Tree (though certain tracks sound good on the Best Of 1980-1990 collection)

*The Who-Tommy, Quadrophenia, Live At Leeds, Who's Next, and Who Are You (I need to know if they are remixed)

*means that I'm unsure of purchase whether of better versions available or purchase worthy

Since I'm still discovering a lot of classic bands, there will probably be even more of the MFSL discs I want. I am aware that these are rare and OOP and catch outrageous prices, but I'd like to get the ones that are actually worthy, though opinions do matter... And I do not want to start on the MOFI LP's as, or so I've heard, they are only worth it if they are either sealed or in mint condition.

#2 of 18 Ryan Spaight

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Posted December 23 2002 - 12:06 PM

Whew, that answer could take a long time and be very contentious.

The short answer -- many believe most MFSL titles are superior to even the latest remasters from the majors. The major label remasters tend to make everything loud and bright, while MFSL *in general* sounds more natural and balanced.

Each individual title is a minefield of controversy, so I won't make blanket judgements, but the rule of thumb above is a starting point. Maybe you could get one or two and see if you like their approach. If you do, then get more. If you prefer the loud and bright approach, the major label remasters are around and cheap.

Quote:
*The Who-Tommy, Quadrophenia, Live At Leeds, Who's Next, and Who Are You (I need to know if they are remixed)

On the Who discs, Live At Leeds and Who's Next are practically *exactly* the same as the 1995 remix/remasters. Don't waste your money -- if you like the remixes, just get the standard MCA discs. Otherwise, get the Canadian budget Who's Next (mastered by Steve Hoffman) for the best original mix version. (This is available from www.hmv.com -- get catalogue number MCABD37217. It's only $6.50!)

Tommy, Quad, and Who Are You on MFSL are the original mixes, and most feel they're better than the (original mix) standard MCA discs. Some think the import Polydors give them a run for their money, though. Plus, there was a single-disc MCA Tommy available for a couple years that some like a lot. (The two-disc MCA Tommy wasn't very good.)No easy answers here.

Ryan

#3 of 18 Tyler T

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Posted December 23 2002 - 02:51 PM

Quote:
Each individual title is a minefield of controversy, so I won't make blanket judgements, but the rule of thumb above is a starting point. Maybe you could get one or two and see if you like their approach. If you do, then get more. If you prefer the loud and bright approach, the major label remasters are around and cheap.


I agree with buying one or two now. Synchronicity and maybe the Beach Boys twofer sounds nice for now. I hate that the Pink Floyd MFSL's are so expensive, not to mention all that Ultradisc and Ultradisc II crap.

Quote:
On the Who discs, Live At Leeds and Who's Next are practically *exactly* the same as the 1995 remix/remasters. Don't waste your money -- if you like the remixes, just get the standard MCA discs. Otherwise, get the Canadian budget Who's Next (mastered by Steve Hoffman) for the best original mix version. (This is available from www.hmv.com -- get catalogue number MCABD37217. It's only $6.50!)


I've heard about it and from what I've heard it's great. But, shame on MFSL for using Astley's tapes on both LAL and Who's Next!

Quote:
Tommy, Quad, and Who Are You on MFSL are the original mixes, and most feel they're better than the (original mix) standard MCA discs. Some think the import Polydors give them a run for their money, though. Plus, there was a single-disc MCA Tommy available for a couple years that some like a lot. (The two-disc MCA Tommy wasn't very good.)No easy answers here.


I've heard bad things about the MFSL Quad, but I seriously don't care, just as long as it's the original mixes. I can rebuy the best sounding versions. Heck, I'm already being forced to re-buying all of the albums because they aren't the original recordings!

I say that I should take this one artist at a time as this will most likely be a continous thread. BTW, I don't like harsh sounding music, but I don't like quietly mixed music either.

#4 of 18 mike_decock

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Posted December 24 2002 - 05:00 AM

The only one I have heard is the MoFi of DSOTM. I think it sounds better than the "Dream On" version, but not as good as the 20th anniversary version. None of them come close to the original UK Harvest LP, though.


-Mike...

#5 of 18 Ron Reda

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Posted December 27 2002 - 08:10 AM

I collect MFSL discs as well (57 and counting), so hopefully I can turn you on to some of the better ones. However, please keep in mind that I haven't heard the "redbook" counterparts of some of these CDs, so I have nothing to compare them to. With that, I'll comment on the ones I've heard or own:

The Beach Boys-Surfer Girl/Surfin' USA - haven't heard it

Cream-Diserali Gears (like how they have both mono and stereo on the disc!) - haven't heard it

*Peter Frampton-Frampton Comes Alive (supposed to be remastered on SACD and there is the Deluxe Edition.....) - haven't heard it

*Don Henley-Building The Perfect Beast, End of The Innocence - haven't heard them, but in the case of the EOTI, I would imagine the MoFi would sound great as I remember the redbook sounding well above average

Elton John-Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Honky Chateau - I haven't heard HC, but GYBR sounds amazing given the age of the original material. I particularly enjoy "Bennie and the Jets."

*John Lennon and Yoko Ono-Double Fantasy (well, there is the remixed version I haven't picked up yet) - haven't heard it

Pink Floyd-Dark Side, Meddle, The Wall (heard that's rare though), and Atom Heart Mother (I have these on the Shine On box already and they sound OK to me) - I haven't heard M or TW, but DSOTM is phenomenal! I have heard quite a few versions of it and have listened to it many times before, but each time I spin this one, I hear something new. Excellent micro dynamics and detail. A must own, although it tends to get a bit pricey as does M. In order to own TW in decent condition, you'll probably need to spend *at least* $75.00

The Police-Synchonicity (have original AHM Master Series disc; wayyyyy too quiet, IMO) - I own this one and, to be quite honest, it's not all that great. Of course, the original recording was never exemplary, so don't expect MFSL to make it sound great (even though it does sound better than the redbook)

*Queen-Night At The Opera (though that's in 5.1 DTS) - haven't heard them

R.E.M.-Murmur, Reckoning - haven't heard them

Rush-2112, Moving Pictures, and Signals (Have remaster of 2112; need to upgrade Moving Pictures from vinyl!) - haven't heard them

Santana-Abraxas (see my comment on Moving Pictures) - I really enjoy this one! MFSL did a great job on it. I especially like the crispness of the bongos and other percussion. A must have.

*Sting-Dream of The Blue Turtles, Nothing Like The Sun - Both of these sound good (except for some sibilance on Sting's vocals), but being that the original redbook CDs were full digital recordings (DDD), I feel as though they are missing some warmth. To me, they sound a bit "thin." However, I was a big Sting fan a while back and had to have 'em for the collection.

U2-War, Unforgettable Fire, and Joshua Tree (though certain tracks sound good on the Best Of 1980-1990 collection) - I haven't heard them, but good luck touching ANY copy of JT for less than $100.00!!!

*The Who-Tommy, Quadrophenia, Live At Leeds, Who's Next, and Who Are You (I need to know if they are remixed) - haven't heard them

One important thing I try to keep in mind is that MFSL can't make a crappy recording sound great. The rule I go by is, if the original recording was at least fairly good sounding, then I can expect the MoFi to sound pretty good to downright excellent.
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#6 of 18 Grant B

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Posted December 27 2002 - 08:56 AM

remember the Lennon-Yoko cd is half Yoko
"Whatever it is, I'm against it!" G. Marx

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#7 of 18 KeithH

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Posted December 28 2002 - 01:47 AM

Grant said:

Quote:
remember the Lennon-Yoko cd is half Yoko


Posted Image Not quite what I would call a double fantasy. Posted Image
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#8 of 18 Larry Geller

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Posted December 28 2002 - 02:31 AM

Quote:
The Beach Boys-Surfer Girl/Surfin' USA

The new HDCD versions are MUCH better.
Quote:
Cream-Diserali Gears

By FAR, the best version (2-disc deluxe version is forthcoming, also with both mono & stereo, however, so I would wait & see).
Quote:
Queen-Night At The Opera

The DVD-A is much better (original stereo mix PLUS a 5.1 version).
Quote:
The Police-Synchonicity

The best version so far, but wait for the forthcoming SACD.
Quote:
Santana-Abraxas
The SACD (AND the CD remaster) kill the MFSL--much more detail & VERY wide & ambient separation.
Quote:
Atom Heart Mother
STILL the best version.

Mmmm, snout!-Homer Simpson

#9 of 18 Lee Scoggins

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Posted December 28 2002 - 02:39 AM

Quote:
Pink Floyd-Dark Side, Meddle, The Wall


The Harvest import UK CD for DSOTM is the one to get. The MSFL is way overrated IMHO.

I do like Meddle and The Wall but I feel the new remastered Wall is much better.

I think the collector's market for these things is based on a bubble frankly, not good sonics.

As a Police fan, Dream of The Blue Turtles is terrible on MSFL - compressed and muddled dynamics.

Larry is absolutely correct - wait for the Police SACDs and hope for the best.

Queen Night at The Opera IS fantastic on DVD Audio.

Also, try Steve Hoffman's website where there are deep discussion on this topic.

www.stevehoffman.tv

Posted Image
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#10 of 18 KeithH

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Posted December 28 2002 - 03:39 AM

Lee said:

Quote:
I think the collector's market for these things is based on a bubble frankly, not good sonics.


Well, like anything, there are collectors who collect based on rarity. Of course, with the MFSL CDs, there is the perception with many folks that they all sound better than CDs from the major labels. Unfortunately, I am sure there are cases where MFSL CDs were made with lackluster masters (i.e., not the originals) or with stupid EQ'ing. Posted Image

Here's an example of a CD that is highly collectable, even though it sounds like garbage. Back in 1984, RCA released a "fake stereo" CD of Elvis' Golden Records (catalog number PCD1-1707). For this disc, some genius took the mono masters and mixed them to fake stereo. I don't have the disc (I have a CD-R of it that I haven't listened to yet), but from many opinions I have read on Steve Hoffman's forum, it sounds horrendous. In spite of this, the disc, which was made in Japan for distribution in the US, is valued between $400 and $600 in Elvis price guides because it was only in print for a few months in 1984. After a few months, the disc was replaced with a more common version in which some genius (possibly the same one) took the fake stereo masters and converted them back to mono (catalog number PCD1-5196). The first pressing of this version is valued between $30 and $50, so it is still a collectible with Elvis fans. I have this more common version, and it sounds lousy.
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#11 of 18 Ron Reda

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Posted January 01 2003 - 05:30 AM

Quote:
As a Police fan, Dream of The Blue Turtles is terrible on MSFL - compressed and muddled dynamics.


To me, it sounds almost sterile. "Nothing Like The Sun" is not that much better.
"Music is a magic carpet loaded with oils and other soothing potions, it's just what you need when you don't know what you need, when you've got more questions than answers." - Bob Lefsetz

#12 of 18 Lee Scoggins

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Posted January 01 2003 - 02:44 PM

Quote:
To me, it sounds almost sterile. "Nothing Like The Sun" is not that much better.


I agree. I look forward to the Super Audios of these albums. Maybe they will get it right then. Posted Image
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#13 of 18 Scott Merryfield

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Posted January 02 2003 - 01:42 AM

I'll comment on those I own:

Elton John -- Goodbye Yellow Brick Road is quite good and worth the upgrade over the standard release.

Don Henley's two releases -- neither are a noticable improvement over the standard release. I was quite disappointed in TEOTI, as it sounded too compressed.

Pink Floyd -- DSOTM is very good, but I have not heard the Harvest import that Lee recommends.

#14 of 18 Ron Reda

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Posted January 02 2003 - 09:12 AM

Lee,

How difficult is it to find the Harvest version of DSOTM on CD?
"Music is a magic carpet loaded with oils and other soothing potions, it's just what you need when you don't know what you need, when you've got more questions than answers." - Bob Lefsetz

#15 of 18 mike_decock

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Posted January 02 2003 - 09:34 AM

Do a search on www.gemm.com.

Go to Detailed Search.

Artist/Band: Pink Floyd
Album: Dark Side
Format: CD
Label: Harvest


-Mike...

#16 of 18 Ron Reda

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Posted January 02 2003 - 01:59 PM

mike_decock,

Thanks for the link...I was unaware of that one!
"Music is a magic carpet loaded with oils and other soothing potions, it's just what you need when you don't know what you need, when you've got more questions than answers." - Bob Lefsetz

#17 of 18 Paul.S

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Posted June 24 2003 - 10:38 PM

Tyler et al.:

A few more, brief comments. I own all of the following Ultradiscs. (Note re comparative listening: IF I had the original CD release of these titles, I have long since sold 90% of them after comparing them to the Ultradisc due to my preferring the latter.)

Building The Perfect Beast - Good.

Note re The End of The Innocence: I wasn't that impressed with Shelly Yakus' original engineering of this album (hear those compressors pumping 20 seconds into "I Will Not Go Quietly" on the original CD?). At the time the Ultradisc was released, I had already come to a similar conclusion as Ron Reda expresses in the last paragraph of his post #5 above. In other words, I expect MoFi's more revealing mastering to show me even more clearly how much I don't like the original engineering. Perhaps the surround mix of the TEOtI DTS CD is worth checking out?

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road - Outstanding.

Dark Side Of the Moon and The Wall - Outstanding.

Synchronicity - Outstanding. Not unlike Moving Pictures, this was an early, good digital recording. (Of course, since the initial post of this thread, the majority of the Police discography has been released on SACD.)

Murmur and Reckoning - Good. Since there are now many R.E.M. DVD-As, I'd expect these two titles to be announced 'soon' for DVD-A.

2112 - Good; Moving Pictures - Outstanding; Signals - Very good.

Note re Signals: If you are a fellow Rush hound, you may want to go ahead and pick up Mercury's remaster, as there is a lyric 'missing' in the bridge after the second chorus in "The Weapon." (Then) Mobile Fidelity engineer Krieg Wunderlich and (then) director of product development Joe Bermudez explained in response to a letter I sent about this issue that Ged singing "And the things that he fears/Are a weapon to be held against him..." in the bridge was not on the original multitrack master, but rather was added to the 2-track mixdown tape in post production. Ergo, since MoFi is all about the original master, that lyric does not appear on the Signals Ultradisc. Interesting, no?

Dream of The Blue Turtles - Perhaps I'm in the minority, but I say "Good" on this one.

Note re . . . Nothing Like the Sun: Steve Winwood's Back In the High Life--released the year before NLtS--was another well-reviewed (in terms of sound quality), outstandingly well-engineered recording that got the MoFi treatment. After buying and comparing the High Life Ultra to its original CD, I found that--on my system and to my ears--I decided the improvement (mainly, an added 'warmth') was noticeable, but not overwhelming. On that basis, I passed on the NLtS Ultra, as there are always too many discs I wanna buy. Again, perhaps the 'novelty' of the surround mix makes the NLtS DTS CD worth a listen.

War, The Unforgettable Fire, and The Joshua Tree - All good (although I have engineering issues with Tree).

Paul

#18 of 18 BrentPollard

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Posted June 25 2003 - 11:01 AM

IMHO of the ones I've heard or own
Cream Disraeli Gears, DSOTM, Elton John GYBR are all very good. You may also want to consider the Ten Years After SSSSSH / Cricklewood Green twofer, as I think these are the best of these two title so far. I also agree with Ryan Spaight, that for Who's Next, go for the Canadian budget version you won't find a more faithful version for that kind of $.Posted Image


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