I’m blaming Andrea House for this but she’s right – a cup of coffee a comfy seat and a new record to listen to – is there anything better – unless it was a nice dram.
We’ll see how it goes but here’s a quick review of MOFI’s latest deluxe audiophile pressing – Simon and Garfunkels; Bridge Over Troubled Water – 180g 45rpm 2 Lp (MFSL45US1S-004) pressing using their ultradisc one-step (UD1s) process. Limited to 7,500 copies, they’re all sold out during pre-order process. This was number 2325 if you’re interested.
Like previous UD1S issues, the box is substantial, containing 2 x LP’s, large photograph of S&G, a sheet detailing the ID1s process and of course a copy of the original artwork, on the rear of which is the lyrics, just like the original LP.
Annoyingly, like their previous delivery (Donald Fagen – the Nightfly), the same issue has arisen during shipping – both inner card sleeves have serious scuffing from rubbing together during transportation; a call has been made and replacement cards have been ordered. For the price that you pay for this release (£80 + shipping, which in my case totals £115), I find that unacceptable – it should be perfect; just ship the LPs in their vinyl bags without putting them into the inner card sleeves would fix the problem but MOFI obviously didn’t learn the lesson on their last release.
It’s been 48 years since it was released in 1970; how was this issue going to improve over various high class recordings from the original master tapes that currently exist, Classic Records pressing as an example or even MOFI’s own 180g version.
Settling down to listen to side one, on the title track I’m somewhat underwhelmed with what I’m hearing; the dynamics of the song are lacking, as it progresses through it does open up and begins to come alive. The vocals are exquisite, separated and clear but the string section at the end of the title track is still somewhat distorted; Spectors Wall of Sound anyone ?
The Boxer, to me is an outstanding track and it starts off beautifully- the horn, the vocals, guitar, everything just works providing an excellent soundstage and bringing out the most in detail, however as the chorus comes in there’s that wall of sound compression coming in again. I wonder if the limiters were set incorrectly ?
Baby Driver and Why don’t you write me I don’t believe you’re hear a better version anywhere. Song for the asking has dynamics and to me appears to be audibly more listenable above the others with one exception.
Keep The Customer Satisfied has some outstanding and I mean outstanding horns playing, but my favourite track musically on this album is The Only Living Boy In New York – it’s just lovely – it’s perfect.
Overall – throughout the four sides, the sound quality varies; the poorest for me, whilst still lovely sounding (and really it’s a minor gripe) is the title track; I’m blaming the original master recording for that. That’s really the only negative I can provide on the whole LP – if this is not the definitive pressing of the record then please tell me which one is; it’s outstanding.
Is it worth the money ? I’d say this was now the definitive pressing of the record although some may gripe at paying over £100 for a copy. The UD1S copies are probably THE ‘inexpensive’ reference record to own when compared to previous UHQR pressings – although with the forthcoming release of Jimi Hendrix – Axis of Love on UHQR by Analogue Productions, it’ll be interesting to see if the UD1s pricing will change.
If you like Simon and Garfunkel, especially Bridge Over Troubled Water, get it.
Equipment used :
Turntable : Linn LP12 – Klimax version (with Ekos 2 instead of SE)
Amps : Naim 52 Pre-amp / Supercap / 4 x 135 Power Amps
Speakers : B&W 804 D3