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Mobile Fidelity Back?


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#1 of 19 OFFLINE   JerryLA

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Posted March 21 2003 - 05:02 PM

I keep getting catalogs from a company called Music Direct with limited listings of the old Mobile Fidelity catalog. I also saw an ad that said new releases coming in 2003. Is Mobile Fidelity back in business? Is it the same company? Will they be releasing vinyl or just CD's? Anyone have any info on this?

#2 of 19 OFFLINE   Brian E

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Posted March 21 2003 - 06:11 PM

Don't know if it's the same company per say. It uses the same logo & same/similar packaging. They really have no info on their website http://www.mofi.com other than a link to Music Direct http://www.amusicdirect.com

All I've seen for sale so far are SACD's, haven't seen any vinyl.
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#3 of 19 OFFLINE   Lee Scoggins

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Posted March 22 2003 - 01:48 AM

Quote:
Don't know if it's the same company per say.


It is the same company and the owner of Music Direct purchased it and it is alive and well.

Some observations from a recording engineer:

1. Jim Anderson is the engineer and many audiophiles consider him to be one of the best in the business,

2. Some of the new Patricia Barber SACDs have some of the best sonics I have heard on the format.

3. The forward calender looks good - see www.highfidelityreview.com for a story on upcoming releases.

4. This new incarnation has for the moment an audiophile incarnation so LP is very possible and SACD seems to be mainstay of the new version so far.

Posted Image
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#4 of 19 OFFLINE   Lee Scoggins

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Posted March 22 2003 - 02:31 AM

Here is some discussion about the Aimee Mann release Lost in Space as a new release on MFSL:

http://www.stevehoff....threadid=13051

Posted Image
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#5 of 19 OFFLINE   Marc Colella

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Posted March 22 2003 - 04:46 AM

Do we know that Aimee Mann's "Lost in Space" will be a SACD release?

It's may favorite CD of 2002, and I'd love to hear if SACD will make much of a difference to the recording.

How is MoFi with packaging usually? The Lost In Space CD has some fantastic artwork/booklet... will MoFi keep it simple not include what's on the CD packaging?

#6 of 19 OFFLINE   Travis Kolesar

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Posted March 22 2003 - 05:23 AM

Patricia Barber's website had a little announcement here that her albums would be re-released on vinyl by Mobile Fidelity at some point in the future. It has been a couple of months since her site has been updated, but I hven't seen anything further about these releases anywhere. I'd imagine it'll take a bit of time if MoFi is jsut getting back on its feet.
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#7 of 19 OFFLINE   KeithH

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Posted March 22 2003 - 05:44 AM

The name and artwork are the same, but it remains to be seen whether or not the current incarnation of MFSL will be able to offer the breadth of titles that the original did. I don't think the current MFSL will match what the previous MFSL accomplished. For example, I don't expect that the current MFSL will be able to offer SACDs from as many record labels as the old MFSL did with its CDs. For one thing, some of the labels today are themselves releasing SACDs, and I don't see the major record labels granting the rights to MFSL to release competing SACDs. The SACD market is too small at this point for a major label to allow competition for its titles from another label. As an example, the old MFSL (twice) released Steely Dan Aja on a gold CD. I don't expect the current MFSL to release Aja on SACD given Universal's commitment to SACD (although Aja has not been announced by Universal for release on SACD).

Another potential hinderance to MFSL gaining access to a number of quality titles for release on SACD is that some labels are currently pursuing DVD-Audio. The obvious example is Warner Bros. While the old MFSL released Eric Clapton Slowhand on a gold CD, I don't see Warner allowing the current MFSL to release Slowhand on SACD.

Finally, I see the current MFSL being geared to the audiophile, and the breadth of titles could be limited as a result. You might view my "audiophile" classification to be a bit strong, but let's look at the situation. For one thing, MFSL's SACDs are not available at the large chain stores like the old MFSL CDs once were. Furthermore, a number of the artists appearing on MFSL SACDs are not what many would consider to be mainstream. While it may not be just, Patricia Barber and Sonny Rollins just don't grab a lot of folks. In addition, MFSL's SACDs, while actually being priced cheaper at the retail level than the old MFSL gold CDs, are priced at the high end of the scale for SACDs. While one can pick up quality Universal SACDs at Best Buy for $14.99, MFSL's offerings remain priced at $24.99, and are difficult to find. Even SACDs from Audio Fidelity, another audiophile label, are considerably cheaper than the MFSL discs.

I think the older MFSL could better justify the higher prices for its CDs than the current MFSL can for its SACDs. Most titles released by the old MFSL on gold CDs were readily available on cheaper "silver" CDs from the major labels. MFSL's marketing hook was that you were getting a better-sounding CD from them because of their proprietary technology (e.g., Gain2), and many folks over the years were willing to pay the premium price for the better sound quality (some continue pay exhorbitant prices for MFSL gold CDs on eBay). By contrast, the current MFSL is releasing its own SACDs, and while it has no competition for its titles (on SACD, anyway), it cannot as easily take the position as offering a better product than a major record labels' SACDs. In other words, the labels producing SACDs are more in competition on price, not on sound quality. If you want Diana Krall on SACD, you can get it for $14.99. However, if you want Patricia Barber on SACD, you have to pay $24.99. While it's true that there is no other show in town for Barber on SACD, I am more inclined to buy her CDs than her SACDs based on price. Given that the only Krall SACDs are priced $14.99 each and the only Barber SACDs are priced $24.99, I have to say that the Barber SACDs are overpriced. Admittedly, I am not a die-hard Patricia Barber fan.

Finally, I also wonder if Music Direct, as an audiophile dealer, has the pull or even the interest to grow the current MFSL into a widely recognized record label of the type the old MFSL was. We shall see. I doubt it will happen. I see Music Direct continuing to put out quality music with great sound, however, at a premium price. There is not necessarily anything wrong with that. It's just that the name is the same, but I don't think the actions will be. Perhaps I will be proven wrong.

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#8 of 19 OFFLINE   Marc Colella

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Posted March 22 2003 - 06:57 AM

Somehow I doubt that if MFSL releases Lost In Space, that it'll use the same packaging/artwork (other than the cover) as the CD.

I just noticed that the price of MFSL SACDs in Canada are (once again) ridiculous. It's bad enough that you cant find these in any stores, but also Amazon.ca has it priced at $39.99 CAD.

I think I'll stick to the CD versions instead. The very small improvement in sound quality doesn't justify me spending 3x the amound for a SACD.

#9 of 19 OFFLINE   Lee Scoggins

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Posted March 22 2003 - 07:26 AM

Quote:
Finally, I also wonder if Music Direct, as an audiophile dealer, has the pull or even the interest to grow the current MFSL into a widely recognized record label of the type the old MFSL was.

Keith, all valid points, but my understanding is that Music Direct is financially healthy which is something that the old MoFi certainly was not.

So perhaps by longevity standards, there could be the same number of titles. I do agree that conflicts with current hi-rez commitments could be a problem, but here's the silver lining: the majors will release those titles in hi-rez anyway (DVDA or SACD) and MoFi will go with other, possibly titles so the consumer winds up with more title selection at the end of the day. Not a bad outcome.

Posted Image

Marc,

Canadian prices seem high for everything..Posted Image I do think most will agree that the sound quality improvement is material and usually significant, even on a midfi system.
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#10 of 19 OFFLINE   Lee Scoggins

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Posted March 22 2003 - 07:40 AM

Here's any interesting interview with a key person from MoFi:

http://www.greatgig.com/quad/mofi.htm

Enjoy!
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#11 of 19 OFFLINE   Marc Colella

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Posted March 22 2003 - 07:57 AM

Quote:
Canadian prices seem high for everything..


DVDs are very affordable in Canada.

#12 of 19 OFFLINE   JerryLA

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Posted March 23 2003 - 11:27 AM

I have not really kept up with the news on SACD disks. Am I correct in assuming that is requires a special player other than a DVD audio player? I got rid of most of my MOFI vinyl years ago... sorry to say. Do you guys find that the older vinyl releases on MOFI sound better than the current "regular" CD releases. Just curious. I've heard both arguments but have not had the opportunity to do a sound test in both formats, side by side.

#13 of 19 OFFLINE   KeithH

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Posted March 23 2003 - 11:43 PM

Jerry, yes, SACD requires a special player. Some SACDs are called "hybrid" discs, in that they have both a CD layer and an SACD layer. The CD layer on hybrid discs can be played on most CD players. For more on the SACD format, go to the following web site:

http://interprod5.im...on-637/home.asp
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#14 of 19 OFFLINE   KrisM

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Posted March 24 2003 - 09:23 AM

Quote:
Canadian prices seem high for everything

Not only are DVDs affordable, but regular CDs are as well if you go to the right places. Its just the high-rez releases that are priced poorly.
Canadians also do really well on PSB and Paradigm speakers.Posted Image

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#15 of 19 OFFLINE   Marc Colella

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Posted March 24 2003 - 10:34 AM

Quote:
Its just the high-rez releases that are priced poorly.


Which is one of the many reasons Hi-Rez is a failure in Canada.

#16 of 19 OFFLINE   KeithH

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Posted March 24 2003 - 12:25 PM

Marc, how have you gauged the acceptance, or lack thereof, of SACD in Canada? SACD prices are lower in the US, and I would have to say that in the grand scheme of things, SACD has been, let's say, unsuccessful.
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#17 of 19 OFFLINE   Marc Colella

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Posted March 24 2003 - 03:06 PM

Quote:
Marc, how have you gauged the acceptance, or lack thereof, of SACD in Canada?


At the risk of being too off-topic, I have no hard data for SACDs acceptance (or lack thereof) in Canada.

But you know there's something wrong when seeing SACDs on store shelves is rare, and whatever is available is 2-3 times the price of the same recording on CD.

SACD players are rare also.

DVD-A is pretty much in the same boat.

#18 of 19 OFFLINE   KeithH

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Posted March 24 2003 - 11:23 PM

Marc, the situation you describe is not too unlike what I see in the US. Granted, SACD prices are cheaper here, and some SACDs are priced comparable to the corresponding CDs, but SACDs are still relatively difficult to find here. Many chain stores still do not carry SACDs, except for single-inventory releases like the Stones, Police Classics, and Dark Side of the Moon hybrids. In those cases, the stores have no choice but to carry the SACDs. Of course, they are hybrids.

SACD hardware is somewhat difficult to find in major stores in the US still. I was at a Best Buy store a couple of weeks ago that had no SACD player in its kiosk. They had a Sony DVP-NS755V DVD/SACD player there before, but it's gone now.
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#19 of 19 OFFLINE   JerryLA

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Posted March 25 2003 - 12:22 AM

I live in an area where hybrid product is not available at all, except by mail order. I think its kinda like the widescreen, fullscreen dvd dillema. If people can buy new release CDs at Sams or Wal-Mart for $12.99 will they pay $20- $25 for a hybrid of the same disk? My thoughts are that most will not. I don't know if it is the actual extra cost of the software or if it is a lack of understanding as to what that extra few bucks gives them. I was recently at a dinner party where the discussion turned towards widesreen/full screen. No one else had the equipment to take advantage of widescreen, in fact the conversation was that no one could understand why anyone would want those bars at the top and bottom of the screen. There will always be some of us who appreciate the extra bang we get from hybrid product but until there is an education of the public and the prices come down,(yeah right!) I don't think these new formats will every fly. I remember in Dallas years ago, Hillcrest Hi Fi was about the only source for MOFI releases. On days of new releases there would be a handful of audiophiles anxiously waiting, sometimes when the store first opened, to get their hands on a $20.00 "Steely Dan/ Aja" while most of the customers in the store were amazed because they bought the "same recording" for $5.99 at K-Mart.
I have what I consider to be a nice home theater system and the best audio set-up I've ever owned. Am I willing to go drop another $1000 bucks for a SACD player for a format that may or may not be around in a couple of years... I don't think so.


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