Dylan - MoFi 45 rpm "Love and Theft"

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Jeremy Bunting, Sep 12, 2020.

  1. Jeremy Bunting

    Jeremy Bunting Forum Resident Thread Starter

    My copy of Dylan's "Love and Theft" on MoFi 45 rpm vinyl landed today, and I’ve just finished my first listen.

    This is one of my favorite Dylan albums of any decade. I probably don't have anything to add here but for me this is the last Dylan album that stands not just as a great album, but one of the greatest albums. It's also the last Dylan album that was recorded to tape (though I remember reading an interview with the engineer where he reported that he corrected a few little mistakes by transferring the offending portions into ProTools, correcting, and then rolling the corrected portions back onto the reel—whatever).

    I've also got the MOV LP set, which I've always thought sounded really great despite coming from 24/96 files, minus some sibilance on Floater and most distractingly on Sugar Baby. Despite this set being at 45 rpm, it maintains the same sequencing as other pressings at 33 rpm. Gotta love that.

    My copy is *perfect.* I've been having such massive issues with warped records this summer (looking at you Analogue Productions--I love you; stop sending me dished records) and so it was amazing to put records from the internet on that actually touched the platter all the way around the rim. Off topic, but audiophile labels really need to drop 200 gram records. The records RTI churns out for MoFi are proof that 180 is more than enough, and I almost never need to return one for dishwarping or nonfill.

    Let's get to sonics. This record is a good example of the MoFi house sound--muscular bottom end, sparkling highs, and a slightly recessed (or “romantic” if you like) midrange. Tube-y, if not the most neutral. Personally, I like that sound—but I’ve also got six Mullard CV4003’s in my amp at the moment so I’d better.

    For the most part, it sounds great here. There's more detail on this release than the MOV, and I can hear further into the mix. Had you ever noticed how incredible the acoustic guitar harmonics on Sugar Baby are? Bob’s voice doesn't cut through quite as much as on the MOV. He sounds a bit quieter in the mix, which I'd attribute to the less forward midrange on this release. I don’t see that as a point against the MoFi; it’s just a different presentation. The guitars in particular sound fantastic here, but you can better appreciate what everyone in the band is adding to the mix on the MoFi than on any other version I’ve heard.

    No sibilance on this one.

    The bass does sound a bit bloated for my taste on a couple tracks. It only detracts from my enjoyment on Summer Days. The bass drum has far too much sub-bass on Summer Days, and since the drummer is hitting quarter notes on it for 85% of the track, it must sound like EDM to my downstairs neighbors. I had to turn my stereo down because the bass was so huge and I'm listening at night in an apartment building. I've never noticed that issue on the MOV release. Full disclosure, I am using a pair of REL T7i’s, but I’ve got them set pretty carefully to sound right across a wide range of music, including to be tame enough to not blow out my windows when I’m listening to rap. Summer Days should not shake my living room more than King Kunta, but it does on this release. I don’t think that’s what Bob was going for. Elsewhere, the bass sounds just right, even on the heavier tracks like Honest With You and Lonesome Day, so I’m not sure what happened with Summer Days (and to a lesser extent Bye and Bye, which isn’t exactly a rocker). Switching to headphones, Summer Days sounds better with my Focal Utopia’s—but no sub bass with those, so. I could turn my subs down (or off), but I shouldn’t have to when they sound just right with most everything else, including the rest of this release.

    That one quibble aside, the album sounds incredible, demo quality even (in particular: Floater, Bye and Bye, and Po Boy). It’s a clear upgrade over the MOV release, and the original CD. If you love this album, and you love vinyl, you must get it. 3,000 records isn’t very many and I can guarantee this one will be worth mega money among procrastinators looking to show off their stereos. If you’re meh on the album and you’re happy with a prior release, you’re wrong, but the MOV still sounds pretty good. Sonic standouts on the MoFi are any of the acoustic guitars. They shimmer.
     
  2. Tommyboy

    Tommyboy Senior Member

    Location:
    New York
    I tried to order today by freaking Music Direct has already sold out. Ugh.

    I’ll have to preorder with them or someone else
     
  3. SJR

    SJR Senior Member

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  4. Tommyboy

    Tommyboy Senior Member

    Location:
    New York
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  5. fluffskul

    fluffskul Forum Resident

    Location:
    albany, ny
    Thanks for the great review @Jeremy Bunting . Have you (or anyone else who wishes to chime-in) compared the 45 RPM LP to the MoFi SACD?
     
  6. drift61603

    drift61603 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Peoria, IL
    Does this version have the "stadows" flub intact? I've heard of one version that does.

    From Chris Shaw, the audio engineer on Love & Theft:

    "...the thing was, there’s a lyric on [Moonlight] where Bob sings, 'The leaves cast their shadows on the stones,' and, when he was singing it live, he was reading his lyrics off a piece of paper, and, I guess, for a split-second, he got dyslexic, because on the live take, he actually sang, 'The leaves cast their stadows on the stones.' So, the only time I did any editing on that song, was when I heard this word 'stadows' go by, I knew he meant shadows, because I had the lyric sheet in front of me. So, when I tried a remix, I took the vocal, and I found a 'sh' from somewhere else, and I chopped the 'st' out and put that in, so he was singing 'shadows,' y’know. And Bob was listening to all these mixes, and he kept saying, 'Nah, man, I really wanna use that rough mix.' Finally, I said, Well, you know, on the rough mix, you don’t sing 'shadows,' you sing, 'stadows.' And he took a long hit on his cigarette, and he kind of looked at me deadpan, and he went, 'Well, you know: stadows.'"
     
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  7. AnalogJ

    AnalogJ CMO (Chief Musical Officer)

    Location:
    Salem, MA
    I have an original US. I haven't played it in eons, although I pulled my copy out to play later. Columbia Records obviously thought enough about it to put it out on 2 LPs to begin with.
     
  8. CBackley

    CBackley Chairman of the Bored

    My copy should be here soon. I had a piece of paper embedded right in the grooves on Electric Warrior, which really upset me because otherwise the copy was perfect. I ended up ordering a copy from Elusivedisc. The disc in question was very slightly warped, but that’s better than paper stuck in the groove. (During “Get It On” too!!) Anyway, I’m hoping that Love & Theft is in better shape. My copy of Oh Mercy was perfect.
     
  9. Stone Turntable

    Stone Turntable Dedicated Listener

    Location:
    New Mexico USA
    Would like to hear this comparison too.

    The 2003 Columbia SACD Dylan box gets little love around here but that set’s Love and Theft sounds stellar IMO.
     
  10. Jeremy Bunting

    Jeremy Bunting Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Hah! Actually, yes. Dylan says "stadows" on the MFSL. I'm sure it's shadows on the MOV release. I wonder what that says about which tape MFSL used.
     
  11. CBackley

    CBackley Chairman of the Bored

    I believe this is discussed in the main Dylan MoFi thread.
     
  12. Chemguy

    Chemguy Forum Resident

    Really looking forward to my copy that’s coming this week! Great review, thanks!
     
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  13. DPC

    DPC Forum Resident

    Location:
    Virginia
    Nice review.
    Mine is due tomorrow.
    I have the MOV and really enjoy it (replaced my orig)...so this should be fun.
    I've got just about all the Dylan MoFi's and have yet to be disappointed, even with very high expectations.

    (OT, but gave in and got in the queue for "Oh, Mercy" repress, too, even though my orig sounds swell. I think having read the recent autobiography influenced that...)
     
  14. AnalogJ

    AnalogJ CMO (Chief Musical Officer)

    Location:
    Salem, MA
    So my US original 2LP set was mastered by George Marino and cut by Ray Janos. That's a pretty good pedigree.
     
  15. jumpinjulian

    jumpinjulian Forum Resident

    Ordered. It cost me $128 Australian but I couldn’t resist. Didn’t want to risk waiting and missing out.
    It’s one of my favourite Dylan albums, and one of my favourite sounding albums of all time too- I think Chris Shaw did an outstanding job capturing the sound of Bob’s voice and excellent band.
    I have the MFSL SACD, the Sony SACD and the MOV vinyl. All sound fantastic, but I’m hoping this one will blow them away!
     
  16. fluffskul

    fluffskul Forum Resident

    Location:
    albany, ny
    Sorry guys. This thread inspired me to listen to both the MoFi and Sony SACD-Stereo layer last night. The Sony 2003 SACD does not sound stellar or fantastic. It is compressed, loud, and brickwalled. The 5.1 layer is the only reason to own this disc.

    Also, I never noticed the flub on "moonlight," but that is in-tact in MoFi SACD, and not the Sony SACD. I would highly recommend the MoFi SACD. And it sounds like the 45-RPM is also cut from the same source material, so I'm certain it also sounds amazing, for those who prefer vinyl.
     
  17. Purplerocks

    Purplerocks Forum Resident

    Location:
    IN
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  18. Chemguy

    Chemguy Forum Resident

    True...but it is around 58 minutes, too.
     
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  19. AnalogJ

    AnalogJ CMO (Chief Musical Officer)

    Location:
    Salem, MA
    Right, but if they had been real bean counters, they would have put it out on a single LP at 29 minutes per side. That's been done before. See Columbia's release of Miles Davis's, Four and More.

    In any case, I wouldn't bet against the original sounding very good next to the MoFi. I won't be surprised if the MoFi is better, but with George Marino and Ray Janos doing the 33...
     
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  20. Groovy

    Groovy Forum Resident

    One of my favorite Dylan albums, so thank you so much for posting. I was unaware of this release and would have been so bummed to miss getting a copy.
     
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  21. Vinyl Archaeologist

    Vinyl Archaeologist Forum Resident

    I’d love to hear how an original compares because I already have one of those.
     
  22. Jeremy Bunting

    Jeremy Bunting Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I wouldn't either! Even the MOV still sounds great, but the MoFi is clearly superior.

    When I got into vinyl in 2010, the original press was a $200 record, so in any case we should all be thankful that we've got some great options now.
     
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  23. Stone Turntable

    Stone Turntable Dedicated Listener

    Location:
    New Mexico USA
    Thanks for listening and replying.

    I’m puzzled by this “compressed, loud, and brickwalled” impression for the 2003 Sony SACD. The dynamic range for the SACD layer is virtually identical to the MFSL SACD. It’s true that the Sony CD layer has a relatively poor dynamic range measurement, but I don’t hear what you’re reporting for the SACD.

    But as I said, I know I’m facing severe headwinds in saying anything positive about the 2003 SACDs here in MoFiVille...
     
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  24. fluffskul

    fluffskul Forum Resident

    Location:
    albany, ny
    Dynamic range is important, but rarely tells the whole story. I defer to others on those matters, but could a treble boost to the 2003 disc explain this? Listening to the two back-to-back I had to turn down my stereo 2 cranks to even out the loudness.

    I like some of the 2003 Dylan SACDs (slow train!), just not this one. And it is fair to suggest confirmation bias plays a role. But not in this case. I am quick to praise Sony's Mono Redbook CDs. I got the MoFi too because I'm a hardcore Dylan fan. But a non-completist, obsessed fan, would be done no wrong with the Sony discs.

    But I truly believe that if you are a fan of Love and Theft and the 2003 SACD is your go-to you should get the MoFi SACD and/or 45 RPM, and you will be glad that you did. I think sometimes you don't realize how much better an album can sound until you listen to two masterings back to back.
     
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  25. AnalogJ

    AnalogJ CMO (Chief Musical Officer)

    Location:
    Salem, MA
    One thing to consider, and it's going to be a somewhat subtle factor, but the record times at 57:25. It was smart to put on two LPs at 33. At about 14:20 on average per side, that's plenty of real estate to let the cutting engineer to stretch out.

    But at an average of 14:20 per side, that's not optimal for cutting at 45rpm. It certainly depends on the dynamics of the music, but I'd certainly be kneading l interested in comparing my original to a MoFi sometime. I'm not going to go and purchase the MoFi in order to do so. My original sounds really good, through my Grado 325is headphones anyway.
     

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