4.1 Are Ultradiscs really better than normal CD's?
Yes, they are better. Are they worth the cost? Well, that's up to you.
Before closing operations in November 1999, Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab released eight of the Moodies' albums in their "Ultradisc"/"Ultradisc II" lines: Days of Future Passed, In Search of the Lost Chord, On the Threshold of a Dream, To Our Children's Children's Children, A Question of Balance, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, Seventh Sojourn and Long Distance Voyager. Ultradiscs were 24K gold-plated CDs (to prevent corrosion) made from the original master tapes. They included all of the original artwork and photography, and were included in a special case, which ensures the CD won't come loose. Mobile Fidelity is back in business now at www.mofi.com, but the Moody Blues CDs appear to be out of print. When in print, list price was about $30.
What MFSL did was remaster the tape supplied to them by the record company. Their high quality analog and analog-to-digital conversion equipment is what you're able to hear that makes the album sound "better" or "worse." The higher price also paid for MFSL's license to use the master tape, which also limited the number of CDs they were allowed to make, and, hence, raised the price per CD. The fact that they used a gold substrate is dubious, as bits really don't care if they're stored on aluminum or any other metal. By MFSL's own admission, the gold disc was more of a "consumer appeal" point. However, be aware that some older CD players (mid-1980s vintage) might not be able to play gold CDs as the reflectivity is lower than silver CDs and the laser pickup may not respond to the reflection of the laser off the gold surface.
Most people who have purchased these CD's are very pleased with them. In an unscientific, side-by-side comparison between an Ultradisc and a normal CD several members of LC noted that the sound quality is noticeably better on the MFSL CD. If you're a serious collector, these are highly recommended.
On to Section 4.2
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