Mobile Fidelity Abraxas reissue

Robert Harley -- Tue, 06/17/2008 - 22:42

This reissue of Santana's classic Abraxas is stunningly great sounding. I listened to it for the first time today and was amazed at the clarity and transparency. Mobile Fidelity, working with the original producer, corrected the reversed channels that had appeared on every previous issue in any format. The surfaces are also remarkably quiet.

BG -- Mon, 06/23/2008 - 15:40

With just a few exceptions, MoFi has been doing excellent LP pressings of late. And I agree that hearing the album with the channels correctly reversed is worth it in and of itself.

Bob Gendron
Music Editor, TAS and Playback

Argus1 -- Thu, 08/28/2008 - 20:46

I have this disc and love it. I just wish there were more of them.

BG -- Fri, 09/05/2008 - 15:08

MoFi has done two Santana titles and has done a superb pressing of Rush's Permanent Waves as well, so there are a few other newer titles out there.

Bob Gendron
Music Editor, TAS and Playback

mtaylor -- Thu, 10/02/2008 - 15:02

"Idlewind South" is pretty damned good also.
Agree totally respects the above comments regarding "Abraxas".

Wasatch -- Mon, 03/02/2009 - 20:00

I have this on my list, thanks for the info.

Consultant with 30 years of direct interation with MOFI (not verified) -- Tue, 03/03/2009 - 19:38

It appears I will be the contrarion in part. Yes, the Abraxas recording "sounds good". That being said, it is NOT sonically accurate which is most evident in the details. For example, listen to the cymbals and how they trail-off....or should I say fall-off and die. Cymbals do not die, they fade out with grace. Similarly, listen to the drums. Here the Tom Tom and the soft Snare. The Tom Tom is missing that hollow, bongo-like resonance and the softly hit snare fails like the cymbals. Listen to the bass guitar. Once again, the resonance qualities of a real bass are overshadowed by the thump. Essentially, mofi made some great recordings. Mostly vinyl. A number of their cds are stellar and better than many competitive releases. But if you want to see how badly their cds fail when compared to the source (or as close as one is likely to get to the session master), Plsy the MFSL UHQR Cat Stevens Tea For The Tillerman (if you dont have it or want to pay for it, utilize the regular mfsl vinyl) and play it against the UDII. After listening to the NEW MOFI, it is clear that Music Direct bought a well-known brand with significant loyalty. It is also clear from blind listening tests, current MFSL production quality it not significantly better than current Japanese productions. Matter of fact, many prefer the Japanese releases for accuracy. I would bet that if any reader undergoes a blind taste, I mean listening, test they will validate the assertion. Why would I make such bold statements, Simply because:

  1. I am a die-hard audiophile who owns most every MFSL made as well as DCC, Pony-Canyon, etc. as well as Nimbus Supercut, Nautilus, JVC Super Disks and Mastersound releases (my addiction is finding the most sonicaly accurate recording available)
  2. Looked very forward to the the resurrection of MOFI and interacted with the team as they put together the initial releases
  3. AND most importantly
  4. I conduct blind listening tests all the time with muscians, audiophiles and regular people in my sound room who provided the comments above

Keep the comments coming.

mecolwell -- Thu, 03/05/2009 - 09:24

I, too, have the MoFi "Abraxas" LP.
I find it to be a well recorded and sounding analog recording.
I would hope, that, keeping it all analog from the "Original Stereo Master" would keep the "trail-offs"  true to the original sounding analog tape.
Digital noise reduction schemes, to "get rid of hiss" (bad, leave it there if it was there!!), tend to trail off reverb and low level details, making it sound a bit lifeless. The remaster of "Let It be-Naked" is a prime example, with all hiss gone, and all the air with it. "Let It Be-Naked with a Condom" should more accurately describe it.
I have wondered, what percentage of the "remastered" LP's use the original analog master, or an archived digital source. The "From The Vaults" series from Capitol come to mind. I can't imagine they use the stereo analog master, but a digital archival source.
So, kudos to MoFi for using analog sources and being so meticulous in their preservation of the tapes.
I, of course, have no way to listen to the original tapes, but hope MoFi and others will try and preserve the sound as much as possible. Keep it up!


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