Mobile Fidelity is seen as the gold standard in vinyl production and the series Original Master Recordings is just that, a series where vinyl pressings are produced from either the master recordings or from the analog tapes.
In July 2022, Pheonix record store owner Michael Ludwig questioned the validity of Mobile Fidelity’s original source material and in a YouTube posting, provided compelling evidence that Mobile Fidelity may be pressing vinyl from a digital source. For vinyl purists this suggestion is akin to the biggest imaginable betrayal and for vinyl dissenters, this was proof that you can’t hear a difference between an analog and digital source.
While Mobile Fidelity initially discounted the claim, MoFi engineers eventually confirmed the allegations. For record collectors with prized analog pressings, their collection may not be nearly worth as much as thought, nor as authentic as they wished.
And this being America, it only took a month (August 2022) for a class-action lawsuit to be filed in North Carolina by plaintiff Adam Stiles arguing that, “even the most high quality digital to analog transfer diminishes the quality and collectability of a recording compared to an analog to analog transfer.”
Earlier this month, U.S District Judge James L. Robart agreed to what could be a $25 million settlement, although it was contested to be grossly low, that will provide refunds, returns and discounts to the estimated 40,000 MoFi customers that have purchased digitally pressed vinyl.
In a strange twist, it appears that the cost of these questionable pressings are rising on the used market as they in turn become collectible.
So the big question remains, that guy, and we all know that guy, who goes on and on about the superiority of vinyl to digital, are they really hearing something that the rest of us don’t?