I really wonder about myself sometimes. Right now I’m wondering why the hell I haven’t been buying every damned Mobile Fidelity disc that’s been released for bands that I love over the years. After being astounded by the sheer awesomeness of MoFi’s treatment of Rush’s Permanent Waves (seriously, if you’ve heard the other three Rush titles, this one completely blows them away,) today I’ve been enjoying the hell out of their take on XTC’s Skylarking and, seriously, it destroys the remaster from 6 or so years ago. There’s not only a really fun, much wider soundstage, there’s also a beautiful sparkle to the top end and, what’s best, there’s depth and texture on the low end of the sound spectrum that is completely absent in the remaster, stuff that I have never heard in the original version (but I admit that I last heard that back in 2001.) It is pure audio joy.
I’ve seen that MoFi has released Aimee Mann’s Lost In Space, an album I bought once, then bought again when it was re-released by her (as opposed to her label) with a second disc of extra songs, and that experience really pissed me off – I really feel she took advantage of her fans there. So when I saw this MoFi hybrid SACD version was coming out, I really had no interest in purchasing a third version, and had serious doubts that it could sound that improved being such a new album. Now, however, I’ve read a bunch of reviews from what appear to be “regular Joes” on Amazon, people who don’t appear to be audiophiles in any sense of the word, and also seen qualified audiophile comments about it, and they all agree that it is a tremendous improvement on the original. So, fine, I’ll buy another version of this luckily great album.
But that’s not enough – MoFi has also, previously unknown to me, given the treatment to my favorite album of hers, Bachelor No. 2, and it is getting equally rave reviews. I don’t feel any qualms about a second version of that – mine is so “well loved” that it might be time for a new one. The package, at least, certainly could use an upgrade, and I’m sure the disc looks pretty beat up after so many visits to various cars’ CD players – those things can be abusive.
So, from now on, I don’t skip MoFi’s releases of titles I care about. But don’t go looking on Ebay for older titles unless you’ve got a strong heart, a strong will, or deep pockets.