help_outline Skip to main content
audiophile foundation logo 

News / Articles

A controversy is brewing right now regarding MoFi.

Qua Veda | Published on 7/15/2022

Breaking News! (sort of) :
Today (July 14, 2022) questions are being raised in the audiophile community regarding Mobile Fidelity (MoFI)’s process for producing their high-quality records. Is it truly a 100% analog process, and in some cases just 1-step from the analog master tape? Or is it from a DSD or other digital file?

Transparency, or lack thereof, is not breaking news, but what re-ignited concern in the community has been MoFi's recent announcement of a 40th anniversary edition of Michael Jackson's "Thriller".

From MoFi’s website:


Mobile Fidelity's UltraDisc One-Step 180g 33RPM LP set is mastered from the original analog master tapes, pressed at RTI, and strictly limited to 40,000 numbered copies. 


This promotion begs the question, How do they produce 40,000 copies from a 1-step process without exposing the original master tape to excessive wear and possible irrevocable harm?  


Mike Esposito pulled the trigger, and describes the 1-step process very well, and how it practically limits in the numbers of pressings you can create.  E.g. a few thousand copies before you need a new stamper, and thus a new lacquer from the original master tape.  Mike'a YouTube posts:

BREAKING NEWS: ALL Mobile Fidelity titles since 2015 Are digital? My thoughts   (original post)

Mobile Fidelity UPDATE New details on the current Controversy  (updated July 16)

Mike Esposito, of The In Groove records made his concerns known today on his YouTube channel "The In’Groove” –  sells rare and collectable audiophile records in Phoenix AZ.   His channel has 38K subscribers.   


Based on reliable sources that Mike has, he speculates that since 2015 MoFI has included some digital steps in its process.   (e.g. cut from DSD file, or digital tape instead of from the original analog master tape – not 100% in the analog domain).  He still feels that MoFi’s records are excellent with a few 1-step issues being among the very best records he has ever heard.  He also acknowledges that he reached out, but has not received a definitive response from MoFi on this and that he could be speculating at this point.

On another audiophile YouTube channel Doug Bianco added his perspective today. 



The question for us as audiophiles is “Does 100% analog matter?”.  Many feel it does. How valuable would it be for us as consumers to know the provenance of the media we listen to? I'm all for transparency and clarity so we can judge for ourselves which version of a recording we actually have, and which ones we feel sound best (and why). 

On July 21
 (2022), Mike Esposito (The In Groove) followed up his original video, and his subsequent face-to-face interview with engineers at MoFi, with a video summarizing his findings..  I feel this is an excellent perspective on the situation. 
Mike Ludwig, The In Groove


And on July 22, our esteemed Advisory Board member, Michael Fremer weighed in, on this latest round of debate and concern about transparency.   At 18mins into the video he makes a powerful point that illustrates why this controversy has arisen in the first place. "Somebody was not straight with you!"

OK, so where does all this leave us ?  MoFi has updated their website with this announcement on their home page.:

 We recognize our conduct has resulted in both anger and confusion in the marketplace. Moving forward, we are adopting a policy of 100% transparency regarding the provenance of our audio products. We are immediately working on updating our websites, future printed materials, and packaging — as well as providing our sales and customer service representatives with these details. We will also provide clear, specific definitions when it comes to Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab marketing branding such as Original Master Recording (OMR) and UltraDisc One-Step (UD1S). We will backfill source information on previous releases so Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab customers can feel as confident in owning their products as we are in making them.

I think this is a great outcome so far, and I give a lot of credit to Mike Esposito for bringing it to our attention. 

Ed: Let us know what you think by posting your comments at the following Forum: Forum Link