Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab has been perfecting the art of remastering audio since 1977. It currently offers a broad catalog of music, from Frank Sinatra and the Pixies to Yes and Little Richard on LP, SACD, and CD.
I recently chatted with Rob LoVerde, one of MoFi's mastering engineers, about how the company's remasters differ from the original label's product.
First and foremost, he said that every MoFi LP--which was originally recorded to analog--is cut from an analog master tape. That's interesting because ever since digital came onto the scene, most, probably about 99 percent, of LPs for sale now are cut from digital masters. So unless you're already buying MoFi LPs, you still haven't heard what a pure analog recording sounds like--older LPs, pressed before the 1980s are all-analog.
Second, LoVerde said that MoFi never uses dynamic range compression. Virtually every new recording is compressed during recording, mixing and mastering. But MoFi eliminates the last compression stage. He also said that equalization is either avoided completely or used sparingly.
LoVerde came to MoFi from Sony, so I was curious about how the two companies approached mastering. At Sony, LoVerde worked within a team, at MoFi each mastering project he takes on is controlled entirely by him. And at Sony, LoVerde had to work fast and complete one or two projects a day. At MoFi he can take his time and track down the best possible master tape. I was surprised to learn that LoVerde doesn't go out of his way to listen to previous remasters. Instead, he's trying to transfer as much of the original master's sound to the final product as possible.
The analog master is also used for MoFi's SACDs and CDs. That means MoFi's analog sourced SACDs are totally PCM-free, which is extremely rare. Most SACDs on the market have at least some PCM digital in them, which means they're not really delivering the format's true potential. MoFi SACDs are the real deal, pure SACD--using Direct Stream Digital DSD coding.
LoVerde said he knows that MoFi customers expect the best possible transfer, so he can't let a "good enough" mastering leave the plant. MoFi has occasionally bailed on a project because the sound wasn't up to its standards.
I listened to a stack of MoFi vinyl and the sound was awesome. Yes, there's more bass, a near absence of vinyl's old friends--clicks and pops--but it's the clarity improvements that were the most impressive. … Read more
In an effort to spread its Flash technology as widely as possible, Adobe Systems has joined the LiMo Foundation, a group devoted to putting Linux on mobile phones.
Adobe's Flash Player is ubiquitous on computers, but the company's Flash Lite effort hadn't met with much success extending the programming foundation to mobile phones. With a new generation of relatively powerful smartphones on the market, Adobe is trying again with a full-featured but lightweight version of the computer software, Flash Player 10.1, due in the first half of 2010.
Flash is missing from the highest-profile smartphone, Apple'… Read more
Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo is set to demonstrate a prototype handset based on high-speed wireless data technology LTE later this month, according to its handset partner, NEC.
NEC said on Monday that NTT will demonstrate the handset receiving streaming high-resolution video across an LTE network at Mobile World Congress, which kicks off February 15 in Barcelona. According to NEC, the handset uses an LTE chipset that was developed by Fujitsu, NEC, NTT DoCoMo, and Panasonic, and first sampled in October.
LTE, the "long-term evolution" of 3G, is the successor to HSDPA and is roughly 10 times faster, providing … Read more
If you don't think plastic is fantastic, here's some good news: Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo has created a new prototype cell phone made from cypress wood.
The Touch Wood handset is crafted from surplus wood culled during forest maintenance work.
DoCoMo teamed up with Sharp and Olympus to create the prototype (seen bottom right, with an ergonomic mockup above). More Trees, a reforestation group supported by musician and actor Ryuichi Sakamoto, was also involved.
Olympus contributed "three-dimensional compression molding" that made the wood usable for phones, according to DoCoMo. The molding also made the cypress shiny … Read more
Maybe that's why I find this Bamboo Charcoal Deodorizer appealing. Created by Kiyoshi Nishio, its charcoal and clay mineral powder construction is designed to absorb odors instead of mask them. Because the surface area exposed to the air is critical to … Read more
Considering many MVNOs have failed or been acquired in recent years (Helio, Disney Mobile, Virgin Mobile, just to name a few), we can't help but think they're a bad idea. (MVNOs are Mobile Virtual Network Operators that sell their own service plans and handsets, but piggyback on another carrier's network). Still, that apparently hasn't stopped Japan's NTT DoCoMo from thinking about starting one up in the U.S.
Indeed, it seems that the Japanese company is contemplating leasing capacity from either T-Mobile USA or AT&T. While we can't imagine it'll make … Read more
The British Army is currently considering a new vehicle that features an interior "survivability" capsule strung from the ceiling and "tunable" armor, both designed to cushion soldiers against improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and other blasts.
In addition to the cushy interior, the Ranger sports the now-popular boat-shaped hull, armored belly plates, floating floor, and energy-absorbing suspended seats, providing soldiers with an unprecedented level of protection, according to the producer Universal Engineering.
Hoping to land a sale, Universal is pitching the Ranger as a solution to other problems, which it identifies as redundancy and over-specialization.
"Currently, … Read more
It's no secret that Japan has better mobile phones than the rest of the world. The country has also had access to better phone-based Internet services since the launch of NTT DoCoMo's i-mode service all the way back in 1998.
Recent data from japan.internet.com (translated by whatjapanthinks.com) suggests that Japan's mobile phones offer users enough functionality that 49 percent of the respondents to a recent survey say a "mobile phone is enough" when asked what kind of mobile device they would most like to carry.Mobile phone is enough 49.2 percent Smartphone 22 percent Netbook 16.3 percent Notebook computer 8.9 percent MID/UMPC 0.3 percent Other 0.3 percent Don't want to carry anything 3 percent
In addition to the wealth of services and games, with the character-based typing you really don't need an iPhone or other smartphone unless you need to access corporate e-mail. While this can also be delivered directly to mobile phones, in my experience most companies don't allow access unless it's through a VPN. … Read more
Panasonic and NEC announced nine new cell phone on Tuesday that use the open-source, Linux-based mobile operating system called LiMo.
As the mobile phone market evolves, software is becoming more crucial to handset development.
Apple set the bar high with its iPhone, which uses a form of Apple's own proprietary operating system used in its computers. Other companies have followed suit with advanced software of their own, namely Google with its Android mobile software. Like LiMo, Android is based on open source Linux. So far only two devices have been introduced running the Android software, but several handset makers … Read more