Tapestry Mobile Fidelity One-Step Versus ORG Standard Pressing (Time Line Correction)

<i>Tapestry</i> Mobile Fidelity One-Step Versus ORG Standard Pressing (Time Line Correction)
"So Far Away" Version 1
37% (265 votes)
"So Far Away" Version 2
63% (454 votes)
Total votes: 719
Thanks to a reader's generosity I was sent a copy to audition of Mobile Fidelity's One-Step release of Carole King's Tapestry album. It's clear to me I'm on Mo-Fi's "bad dog" list. I've not been offered for review any of the company's turntables, phono preamps or cartridges. When I ask, I'm met with stone silence. Over the past few years I've gotten only one record for review (that was wrong and to Mobile Fidelity music side I must apologize. I've gotten more than a few records to review since I reviewed and raved about the One Step Monk's Dream in April of 2020. My timeline was stunted by "Covid compression". Actually more than a few records did show up after that and I apologize to Mobile Fidelity for getting the timeline wrong. It's been quite a while since I got a record from them but that's mostly because nothing's been released in some time. Though after I asked for a copy of Jeff Beck's Truth album I got a copy and gave it a well-deserved great review). This audio product review shunning can't be accidental. What did I do to be cut out of the equipment? I have no idea and it's none of my business.

So, thanks to a reader's generosity here's a comparison of "So Far Away" from Tapestry as a One-Step Mobile Fidelity release and the ORG edition from a few years back cut by Bernie Grundman and Chris Bellman. Both of these editions are at 45 rpm. I'm not going to foul the waters by giving you my take. At least not until the votes are in and perhaps not at all. Polls will be open for 1 week.

BTW: turntable was OMA K3, Frank Schröder K3 arm, Lyra Atlas Lambda SL cartridge, CH Precision P1/X1 phono preamp, Lynx HiLo A/D converter.

File "1"

File "2"

Glotz's picture

Big fat liberal nuts, pussy.

Mannfred's picture

Your vulgarity speaks to your lack of class.

What is next, will you threaten to beat me up lol?

Glotz's picture

I thought you don't worry about these types of insults... troll??

You thin-skinned, weak-willed, hypocritical twat.

And you know I would if I saw you... limp-wristed coward.

LMAO.. Run!

shawnwes's picture

You've outed yourself as a troll and should be banned.

2_channel_ears's picture

1 seems flatter and not as much detail. 2, as someone pointed out, had more forward vocal, maybe boosted? But also clearer backing vocals, more complete "sonic picture". To me at least. First impressions.

pchristian's picture

I preferred file 1 on my B&W (I know they hate being called that), computer desktop speakers. To my (drummers) ear, I was hearing some snap crackle and pop on track 2 that I did not hear on track 1.

Robin Landseadel's picture

I've owned this recording in various incarnations. Last time I had a copy on my shelf, it was a single-layer SACD. This is one of those early 1970's productions that is essentially a collection of panned mono sources. The piano's imaging is firm but has no sense of space, the vocals sound covered---not an N95 mask's worth, more like a thin, blue surgical mask. Nothing is in real perspective. This simply is not audiophile stuff.

Both of the files sound worse to these ears than the Vevo YouTube version, which sounds less distorted on top and more filled out on bottom.


MX5Bob's picture

Some engineers, producers and musicians did great work. Others? Not so much.

While I prefer File 1, both exhibit faults from how the original recording was done, including mic setup, levels and mix down EQ. Or perhaps the mix down was aimed at what AM radio could handle.

PeterPani's picture

The Simon & Garfunkel One Step box "Bridge.." was the last one I bought. I never had luck with my buys of MFSL. And the information about sources and mastering are not always satisfying.

Spencer's picture

My initial impression was that file 1 is the MF version. It is more sterile and cleaner to my ears. That said, I actually prefer file 2. And, forgive me, for I feel no need to bust anyone's balls.

MikeT's picture

I prefer File 1 - and I own both of the pressings of this LP as well. I have the MF One-Step and the ORG (both at 45RPM), and based on my own comparison I did, the Mofi is file 1 and the ORG is file 2. The Mofi has a more open sound, where the bass, especially the kick drum is more powerful (a bit too powerful), but everything else points to the Mofi being better.

kimi imacman's picture

Okay, let me start by saying I played both of these files before reading any comments or reacquainting myself with my mofi 33 or my Epic Ode U.K. pressing.

File 1. Horrible! I’ve no idea which one this is of course but immediately it struck me as a revisionist attempt to enhance a known difficult album to sound like an audiophile disc. First, the sound stage is collapsed, Carol’s voice sets my teeth on edge, the acoustic guitar sounds like it has a plastic body and the piano lacks weight and richness of tone. Utterly emotionless. Then when the kick drum with the muted hihat comes in, WTF? And people used to complain about the mofi Aqualung! I have a deep suspicion this is the One-Step

File 2. Much more like it. Well balanced with some decent warmth. Bearing in mind that this is just a file being streamed it sounds pretty good. Soundstage opens up and some emotion has been added at last, it is a love song FFS.

Mofi 33 More like file 2 with a slightly hard voice. Lots of detail (but bear in mind this is an actual record) and an expansive soundstage. Very nice.

ODE Not as detailed perhaps as the mofi but fuller and at last when Carol soars the hairs raise, nice. After all is this is what it’s all about, music over Hifi.

In order of preference:

MoFi (close call)
File 2
Vile 1 (not a typo)

Records played on a Well Tempered Versalex with an as new Fidelity Research FR-1mk3f

kimi imacman's picture

Additionally, I meant the say that going back to ‘Vile 1’ the initial impression was of compression I assume to make it sound tight but the effect to to destroy the song as an love song.
Also, playing You’ve Got A Friend on both my LPs I then strongly preferred the Mofi so I’d switch my ranking for the top two.

vmartell's picture

I just KNEW that Mike's comment re: getting the record from a reader as opposed to buying it himself was gonna cause some controversy, specially looking back at, for example, some of the arguments thrown during the "war of the Mikes - Mike (In Groove)/Michael (45RPM)/Mikey (Fremer)".

On the surface, yes, one could feel that Mikey could buy the record if not provided, specially that given Mikey's profession, it could even be considered a business expense.

BUT ON THE OTHER HAND, isn't one of the arguments against, for example, owners of very high end/expensive equipment, that having to spend the money on the items creates confirmation bias? In the end, Mikey getting the item for free (either from the company or from a generous reader) protects against that bias.

However, I do have a strict policy (and I have it since I was a teenager) of NEVER lending my records, so I am glad someone else is lending to Mikey so we can have the review! :D


hnphnp's picture

I find that the top end is rolled off on File #1 and that it sounds suspiciously like it's been de-hissed.
The vocal seems muddy and of poor resolution on #1 compared to #2. However, I think I might prefer the sound of the piano on #1.
But #2 is overall much, much better. It is striking that the first thing that hits me after hearing #1 is the tape hiss on #2, but atop that hiss is a really nice lay-down of the track. The vocal is particularly pretty on #2.

rom661's picture

I was very excited when the 1 Step of Cafe Blue was released. I was disappointed. I had another premium pressing that was clearly superior. I assume the 1 Step is #1 here.

audiotom's picture

I would prefer reading the reviews about music

Not demo, purchase, gift sagas

What do I know

I am so far away

audiotom's picture

I have those two records at home
Rather than play guessing games with samples on an ipad

On my system the One Step is too bass and kick drum heavy on most of the songs.
The Mofi does add detail - particularly James Taylor’s guitar
But sometimes the music sounds better in the mix - not significant separation of instruments

The ORG is a little “muddy” by comparison but sometimes that fits Carole’s shriller singing.

The Mofi without the bass boost would have been ideal

mendps's picture

#2 for me.

bdp24's picture

that interests me is the one between the still-in-print (though most-often out-of-stock) "standard" MoFi edition (33-1/3 RPM, single disc) and the 1-Step. Does anyone have both?

MikeT's picture

I have both Mofi (as well as the ORG). I actually preferred the original 33rpm Mofi to the One-Step. The 33rpm Mofi was more balanced with just the right amount of bass and overall sonic presentation from top to bottom. The One-Step was second best, and the ORG, for me, was the least desirable.

In Mike's files, I listened over and over through my home system, and file 1 sounded more like the Mofi One-Step with it's deeper bass.

But comparing records is very hard to do, and I really don't like doing it.. I prefer to listen to music even if I have multiple copies of the same album.

But I don't think anyone can go wrong with the 33rpm Mofi version of this album.

MGorm's picture

I cheated and played files through Roon into my very good audio system. File 1 had an artificial sound, lacked ambience, vocal more distant and less involving. File 2 sounded much like my recent purchase of the Sony/Epic/Ode reissue of Tapestry, which I expect it is. Pretty similar to the sound of the orginal, which is now full of tics and pops. I also played the Qobuz 24/96 version, which sounded between the recent vinyl on my turntable and file 1, lacked a little of the life of the record. Save your money and get the Sony reissue (believe it was pressed in the UK). File 1, which is probably Mobile Fidelity sounds like they tried to doctor up the analog tape into a audiofile record. The original record is artistically very good, but no more than an average quality recording for its day. The reissued LP (unless you have a very good copy of the original) is the most natural sounding and emotionally involving music.

AnalogJ's picture

I do not own nor have I heard the ORG, but I own the OneStep and have heard it once. #1 is far more tonally close to it in my system. Carole's is not pushed front and center as it is on #2. And her voice and piano aren't as full sounding as it is in #2. There's greater spaciousness in the soundstage, the guitar has its own space, and the space breathes more.

I'm listening through my B&W P5 headphones, so not the most resolving or neutral, admittedly, but there are clear qualities such as the thinner sounding piano that is more like the OneStep.

Keen Observer's picture

I started listening using my computer speakers (Yamaha HS7) and right off the bat, the opening piano is in a different location of the soundstage. This is likely due to a shift in spectral content rather than other factors (certainly not a remix). I was careful to hold my head still in the exact same position and orientation while switching back and forth between the two. When the acoustic guitar comes in, #2 has a wider presentation and the guitar sounds a bit more natural. #2 also has more surface noise. I only played and compared the first 15 seconds. I'll listen later to the full tracks on a better setup before voting. Initial preference is for #2.

Tom L's picture

It seems strange to me that people with perfectly good home systems will rate samples of music here using their computer speakers, phones or other dubious means of reproduction. I know there are a variety of excellent speakers sold for use with computers, but some of these comments are clearly based on hearing whatever comes out of a 9-ounce plastic piece of crap.

jazz's picture

if they were wrong, they have a good excuse.

I stopped bothering with such quests after several were never resolved as well as other announcements to clarify something in the background were never realized or published.

Ham Sammich's picture

In File 1, her voice seems withdrawn, smaller, higher, and pinched tonally. The opening noodling of the doubled keyboard (?) on the right and guitar the left are buried in the mix. The performance plane is set well-back. Sounds "transistory," in the old PS Audio PSIV sense. Grainy and gray, with desiccated jowls and haunches.

In file 2, she's tonally and spatially more forward, as are the upper mids, but creamy. A bit like a C-J Premier 3 preamp. But more brightly lit. Also, the sense of space is grotesquely bigger, and the strings ring longer. How much is different EQ, though and how much is signal chain, I couldn't say. You could EQ the first to *resemble* the second, but not to match its special sauce, whatever that is.

jrampoldi's picture

File 2. I thought it was more airy with a wider soundstage. The drum sound in the right channel had slightly more detail.

LyndonSoulGroove's picture

Playing then back on my Apple mac through its built in speakers I can spot a difference..

LyndonSoulGroove's picture

on my Laptop with built in speakers I can spot a difference between the File 1 & File 2