Van Halen Partners with Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab & Warner Records …

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This topic has 14 voices, contains 49 replies, and was last updated by  ron 12 days ago.

December 29, 2023 at 7:53 pm Quote #67445

ron
(11569)

The folks at Mobile Fidelity are set to release new, high quality pressings of the Van Halen catalog — the David Lee Roth years, at least — over the next year or so, and karate kicked it into motion earlier this month with an Ultradisc One-Step edition of the Southern California quartet’s 1978 self-titled debut. At the time, this album was the great leap forward for a group that cut its teeth in the backyard party circuit and nightclubs of L.A. What elevated them beyond the rabble was the dual presences of Roth, the consummate frontman, and the god of the electric guitar, Eddie Van Halen. Produced by Ted Templeman, Van Halen remains one of the greatest debut albums of all time — a cocksure ode to backseat lovin’, runnin’ with the devil and, well, ice cream. As expected, the MoFi team have breathed new life into these 45 year old rockers, with a welcome boost to Michael Anthony’s underappreciated bass work (listen to him rip it up on album closer “I’m On Fire”) and ample room for EVH’s solos to tear through the speakers like swipes of a katana.


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January 2, 2024 at 10:51 am Quote #67456

ron
(11569)

https://www.goldminemag.com/columns/mobile-fidelity-erupts-with-their-first-of-six-van-halen-one-steps-a-full-analysis
Mobile Fidelity erupts with their first of six Van Halen One-Steps: A full analysis
The long awaited One Step and SACD releases by MoFi, of the iconic Van Halen debut, are here. See what Goldmine has to say about its absolute brilliant sound, presentation and more


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January 5, 2024 at 2:57 pm Quote #67479

tommyv
(353)

As wonderfully excellent as the source material was, this release is magical. It’s quite likely the best vinyl recording that I have ever listened to. The sound is breathtaking.

Listening to it almost makes me forget about the $257 CAD that I spent to get it to Toronto..

Reasonably sure that I’ll be back for the next 5.


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January 5, 2024 at 5:26 pm Quote #67480

ron
(11569)

tommyv: Listening to it almost makes me forget about the $257 CAD that I spent to get it to Toronto..

Hopefully next time you can spend a little on gas and come to the border, grab a copy from the US, and drive it back home?


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January 14, 2024 at 3:09 pm Quote #67504

rockphantom
(171)

Any word on when Amazon will stock the first VH MFSL SACD?
Thanks!


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January 14, 2024 at 5:29 pm Quote #67505

ron
(11569)

rockphantom: Any word on when Amazon will stock the first VH MFSL SACD? Thanks!


MoFi and other retailers have been out of stock since they shipped the first batch, so I think everyone that didn’t get one will have to wait for the next pressing. (I have no insider knowledge) AFAIK the SACD’s aren’t limited in number like the LPs are.


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January 18, 2024 at 5:38 pm Quote #67514

Vince G.
(2255)

Mine arrived over a month ago.

#004379.


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January 18, 2024 at 6:39 pm Quote #67515

rockphantom
(171)

Thanks for the info Ron! As, the song goes, I’ll Wait…


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January 20, 2024 at 3:29 pm Quote #67525

mrmojohalen
(6406)

I wonder if the SACD / CD will sound as good as the vinyl ?


When you turn on your stereo, does it return the favor?


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February 13, 2024 at 4:48 pm Quote #67572

ron
(11569)

https://www.stereophile.com/content/recording-march-2024-van-halen

Recording of March 2024: Van Halen
Robert Baird | Feb 13, 2024

Van Halen: Van Halen
Warner Bros./Mobile Fidelity UD1S 2-032 (2 45rpm LPs). 1978/2023. Ted Templeton, prod.; Donn Landee, Krieg Wunderlich, engs.
Performance ****½
Sonics ****½

Never Mind the Bollocks was out, on a major label. A few months before, the Ramones had released their third album, Rocket to Russia. Elvis Costello’s My Aim Is True had been out for a while, but it was still a game changer. Soon, Darkness on the Edge of Town and Some Girls would all be vying for attention. That was college radio circa 1978. And amongst all this progressive talent was even a flash of hope for mainstream metal bands.

I remember the day I walked into radio station WTGP, “The Great 88,” at Thiel College and saw the Van Halen jacket for the first time. Drummer Alex Van Halen was a stereotypical blur. Bassist Michael Anthony acted the part of the metal bro. But that guitarist holding a ramshackle Stratocaster crisscrossed with electrical tape? On the back cover was a hairy-chested dude in profile, athletic tape on his knuckles, bent over backward in high-heeled boots.

Intrigued, I cued up the first track. Out came that descending car horn blare and the ominous opening pulse of “Runnin’ with the Devil.” Eddie Van Halen’s phat, overdriven guitar tone, which defines the entire record, followed.

Cut in only two weeks by a rowdy bar band from Pasadena, which didn’t have a lot of material, so they recorded their live setlist, Van Halen sold a million copies the first year and quickly became an early metal classic. It would stand forever as the band’s finest recording. Other than four tracks with guitar overdubs and another, “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love,” with electric sitar added, the album was tracked live in the studio. The result was a sonic immediacy the band’s later, more processed records lack.

The album also has two musical quirks that work in its favor. First is the inspired choice of cover tunes. The beefed-up crunch of Eddie’s guitar and the manic energy of David Lee Roth’s vocals remake Ray Davies’s “You Really Got Me,” the album’s first single, heftier and more anthemic than the Kinks original. Some fans took the inclusion of “Ice Cream Man” as a sign that the band respected the blues, but to me, the band’s soft-loud, acoustic-electric cover of bluesman John Brim’s lascivious tune sounds more like an opportunistic romp.

The other bizarre, memorable musical twist captured on Van Halen is the album’s second track, “Eruption,” an explosive, purely instrumental guitar solo. Eddie’s tapping technique, his mastery of feedback, of holding and smearing chords, and his relentless, serrated attacks make this perhaps the only guitar solo to ever be played as often as an album’s pop singles. Those three singles–”Runnin’ With the Devil,” “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love,” and “Jamie’s Cryin’”–all with songwriting credited to the entire band–were wisely sequenced near the beginning. All three are solid, hooky, midtempo hard-rock tunes that allow both the band’s heavyweights, singer David Lee Roth and guitarist Eddie Van Halen, plenty of room to stretch out. Much to the band’s credit, the album contains no long power ballads, the usual, boring refuge of hard rockers running short on material (taken to extremes by many yet-to-come hair bands).

Van Halen went on to sell more than 10 million copies in the US alone, yet it never got higher than #19 on Billboard’s Top Albums chart. It has reappeared occasionally on Billboard album charts since, most recently in 2020. Alas, my original LP copy, with the Warner Bros. palm-tree labels, is now an over-loved veteran of too many altered states, misjudged needle drops, and unbalanced, groove-grinder phono cartridges.

Happily, the original album has had three essential vinyl reissues since 1978 at 33 1/3. In 1998, Steve Hoffman remastered the album from the two-track master mixes for the DCC label. The results are available on gold CD and 180gm LP, with vinyl pressed at RTI. In 2009, Hoffman and Kevin Gray teamed up for another remaster, this time at Acoustech, which was then pressed on 180gm vinyl, also at RTI. In 2015, it was remastered again by Chris Bellman, who also cut the lacquer, at Bernie Grundman Mastering in Los Angeles. That version was pressed at Record Industry in the Netherlands.

This new Mobile Fidelity two-LP, 45rpm Ultradisc One-Step reissue, mastered by Krieg Wunderlich, is beautifully packaged in the One-Step series’ new, slimmer slip-box packaging. The mastering chain is prominently displayed on each LP jacket: “¼” / 30ips analog master–DSD 256–analog console–lathe.”

The stereo image and the level of detail are extremely good, but neither is radically better than what’s heard on the earlier Hoffman reissues. On the other hand, the Mobile Fidelity release’s faster running speed pushes more air into the soundstage, adding space to the already expansive mix. The pressing is stable and quiet.

The quest to improve the classics never rests.–Robert Baird


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February 15, 2024 at 4:57 pm Quote #67580

ron
(11569)


SACD is back in stock at MoFi


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February 20, 2024 at 6:32 pm Quote #67601

ron
(11569)


That leaves VH II and Fair Warning for release this year.


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February 27, 2024 at 12:52 pm Quote #67615

Vince G.
(2255)

I cannot wait to hear what they’ve done with Fair Warning. It’s the most bass-laden album that the band has ever done.


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March 5, 2024 at 7:39 pm Quote #67664

ron
(11569)




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March 5, 2024 at 7:41 pm Quote #67665

ron
(11569)

Mastered from the original analog tapes, pressed on MoFi SuperVinyl, and limited to 7,500 copies, Mobile Fidelity’s UltraDisc One-Step 180g 45RPM 2LP set of Van Halen II lets it all hang out. Never before has the five-times-platinum record sounded as close to Van Halen’s original intent — that of music recorded live in one big room, Marshall amplifiers turned all the way up, and resonating with the purity, excitement, and interaction of three instruments and voices. Since MoFi’s unique SuperVinyl compound allows you to crank the decibels to your wildest desires without risking noise-floor interference, prepare to not only hear but feel Van Halen II in your chest.

Every aspect of this 2LP edition veritably takes you to Sunset Sound Recorders and lets you watch Eddie Van Halen, Alex Van Halen, Michael Anthony, and David Lee Roth as they rip through the songs in just a few takes. Created with minimal overdubs and afforded massive dynamics, air-moving energy, and palpable solidity on this audiophile edition, Van Halen II is rock ‘n’ roll at its most direct, straightforward, taut, and electric. Every track pulses with what Eddie Van Halen once referred to as a “vibe, feeling, and pocket” that only these four individuals could establish and maintain.

The premium packaging and gorgeous presentation of the UD1S Van Halen II pressing befit its select status. Housed in a deluxe slipcase, it features special foil-stamped jackets and faithful-to-the-original graphics that illuminate the splendor of the recording. Aurally and visually, this UD1S reissue is made for discerning listeners who prize sound quality and production, and who desire to fully immerse themselves in everything involved with the album, from the cover art to the meticulous finishes and, naturally, Eddie Van Halen’s transformative playing and his brother Alex’s pugilist-ready percussion.

Indeed, if ever there was an indication of the spirit and enthusiasm ready to leap from a record’s grooves, it’s the photo montage that originally graced the LP’s back cover. Captured in mid-flight, legs splayed so wide the tips of his feet approach the height of his shoulders, Roth somehow still clutches the microphone stand all the while remaining unconcerned with how his body could possibly stick a safe landing — especially since he’s wearing Capezio dance shoes. The reward for his to-hell-with-consequences stunt: A broken foot and a classic inner-sleeve shot of him standing, cane in hand, as attending nurses come to his aid.

Roth and his mates approach every cut on Van Halen II with like-minded vibrancy, animation, humor, and bravado. Featuring more subtleties than the group’s powerhouse debut, and fuller and smoother tones, the material reflects Van Halen’s soaring confidence and standout musicianship. Van Halen II also puts a brighter spotlight on the still-underrated abilities of Alex Van Halen and Michael Anthony, both of whom stand on equal footing with their more celebrated colleagues. Not that Eddie Van Halen or Roth take a breather.

Introduced with a clinking cowbell and pneumatic riffs that seemingly float on air, the irresistibly catchy and feel-good sway “Dance the Night Away” serves as a benchmark of the one-for-all, all-for-one mentality behind Van Halen II. Arena-bound hooks and pop melodies also emerge on “Beautiful Girls,” a hit whose upbeat sound mirrors its subject matter — and which crystallizes the band’s unique blend of surf-and-sun California temperament and virtuosic technicality. Roth’s rhymed couplets, shoobee-doobee harmonies, and shuck-and-jive deliveries make evident his expert showmanship and desire to entertain. In a brilliant move, the tune also frames the group’s famed debauchery and sexual swagger in understated fashion.

There’s nothing downplayed about the crunchy, swinging, high-times-are-here-again rush of “Somebody Get Me a Doctor,” whose thick, leathery guitar foundation and freewheeling solo — which earns Eddie Van Halen applause from his cohorts — reflect the non-commercial overdrive and progressive force that define a majority of Van Halen II. For further evidence, cue up the rhythmic stop-and-start conflagration that is “Light up the Sky” and dive-bombing “D.O.A.” The latter comes complete with blazing Eddie Van Halen passages whose mean-streak attitude is in line with the song’s punk-reared thrust, outlaw blues, and fugitive mood.

Van Halen II also proves the band reached a crucial point where it could both crack jokes and laugh at itself. See “Women in Love…,” prefaced by Eddie Van Halen’s clean and gentle harmonic-based intro, and boogie-laden “Bottoms Up!,” riding atop Alex Van Halen’s bounding percussion and the group’s trademark splashy harmonies. You can hear the laughter and practically see Roth and Anthony losing it as Eddie Van Halen launches six-string rockets into outer space.

In a turn of pace, the guitarist picked up a nylon-stringed Ovation acoustic to record “Spanish Fly.” Every bit as revolutionary and dizzying as “Eruption” on Van Halen, the instrumental finds him channeling flamenco strains into what Roth properly called “a wall socket. In the middle it sounds like someone speeded up the album to 45 all the sudden, but this guy does it live.” That he did, Diamond Dave. That he did.


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