Acetates and Test Pressings – Souvenirs of Record Production

Acetates and Test Pressings – What Are They?

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Most record collectors, like any other buyers of phonograph records, are primarily interested in commercial releases; that is, copies of records that were manufactured with the intention that they be sold at retail to the public. These are the kinds of records that are likely to comprise the bulk of anyone’s record collections

Serious collectors are usually interested in owning just about anything and everything produced by artists that they admire, and unusual items such as acetate pressings (also known as “acetates” or “lacquers”) or test pressings. These are records or components of record production that were manufactured not for sale, but to evaluate the process of making the commercial record itself.

As both acetates and test pressings are fairly rare, they tend to command a lot of interest in the collector market. While such pressings by any artist are rare, there is generally a lot of interest in acetates and test pressings by artists who are themselves popular with collectors, such as the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and so on.

In this article, we’ll discuss the nature of acetates and test pressings, how they are made, why they are made, and what makes them of interest to collectors.

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Acetates and Lacquers
Uses for Acetates
Collector Interest in Acetates
Counterfeit Acetates
Test Pressings
Collector Interest in Test Pressings
Counterfeit Test Pressings
Conclusion

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Acetates and Lacquers

While acetate pressings are usually referred to by record sellers and collectors as “acetates,” the term used to describe them within the industry is “lacquers.” That term makes more sense, as there isn’t any acetate used in the production of these records. For purposes of this article, however, we’ll call them “acetates,” as that’s the popular term used in the record collecting world.

Acetates represent the first step in the physical manufacture of a record, be it a single or an album. While acetates are technically “records” in the sense that they can be played on a turntable or phonograph, they are not pressed out of plastic using mechanical stampers, as are commercial records.

Acetate cutting lathe (photo credit: JacoTen)
Acetate cutting lathe (photo credit: JacoTen)

Instead, acetates are individually created using a cutting lathe, which is a device that loosely resembles a turntable. Acetates are lacquer-coated aluminum discs that are entirely smooth when first manufactured. They are “cut” by placing them on a cutting lathe that has a signal fed to the cutting head from either a live audio source or a performance recorded on magnetic tape. As the music plays, the cutting head cuts a groove in the soft lacquer surface.

The lacquer-coated disc rotates while the music plays, and the recording engineer controls the lathe, which must be periodically adjusted to compensate for changes in volume during the performance and to allow for gaps in between tracks.

In the early days of recording, music was played live in the studio and recorded directly to acetate discs. Since the 1940s, most performances are recorded first to magnetic tape and then transferred to acetates at the convenience of the record company.

Once the cutting process is complete, the disc is playable on any turntable to evaluate the performance, if necessary. Due to the softness of the lacquer coating, acetates are not particularly durable and will wear out and become noisy with repeated play. Acetates that are used for evaluation purposes are not generally used for production. Other discs will be cut for that purpose and then will be nickel-plated as part of the process to produce the stampers that will be used to make test pressings and later, records for sale to the public.

Uses for Acetates

Acetates are made for two purposes – to evaluate a recording and its suitability for pressing records and to use in the production of the finished product itself. For production, an acetate is first nickel plated and the plating is removed to create a negative image known as a father.

beatles acetates
A genuine Beatles acetate

This process can be repeated by plating the father to produce a positive image known as a mother. The mother can be duplicated to create stampers. Typically, a father can be used to create about ten mothers and each mother can create ten stampers. A stamper can be used to press anywhere from 300-1000 finished records.

If all of the mothers and stampers are exhausted due to high production, another acetate must be cut and the process repeated.

Acetates are considerably heavier than records of a comparable size and usually weigh two to three times as much. While most acetates do have a label, these are generally generic labels with blank lines intended to be filled in by hand. Information found on the labels of acetate pressings usually consist of the name of the artist, the title(s) of the song(s) and perhaps the date the disc was cut and the timing of the song(s) on the disc.

Lacquer-coated blanks used to cut acetates used to have more than one hole near the center. One was the usual centering hole for the cutting lathe and/or turntable spindle; the other was a drive hole that fit a pin on the lathe to ensure that the disc wouldn’t slip on the lathe. More modern cutting lathes use a vacuum pump to hold the disc in place, making the drive hole unnecessary.

On rare occasions, there is a third purpose for acetates – sometimes, when a record company is in a hurry to get their album or single to radio stations, they will send acetates directly to radio. These are usually supplemented with regular vinyl pressings as soon as it can be arranged, as acetates are entirely unsuited to repeated play, as might be warranted by having them played on the radio.

Collector Interest in Acetates

What is the appeal of lacquers and acetates to collectors? There are a few reasons that collectors might be interested in owning acetates by the artists whom they collect:

velvet underground acetate
An original 1966 Velvet Underground Acetate that sold for $25,000

They’re rare. Obviously, as acetates must be cut on a lathe, one at a time, they are going to be extremely limited in production. In general, there are probably fewer than a half dozen acetates cut of any single or album title. Most will be used for record production, and the process of plating them to produce a father destroys them.

A few others will be used for evaluation or promotional purposes, though it’s relatively rare for acetates to find their way out of the hands of record company personnel and into the public market. Their rarity alone makes them desirable. A popular album may sell in the millions, but only a couple of people are likely to ever have the opportunity to own an acetate copy of that album.

Good sound – Acetates sound terrific. While acetates are not suitable for repeated play on a turntable, they are playable and they usually sound better than the finished records sold at retail. Acetates are cut directly from the tape, where records are made from stampers that are made using multiple plating processes. Each step on the process to create a stamper creates a slight loss in quality, so acetates that haven’t been worn out from too much play will almost always sound better than finished records.

Unique content – Sometimes, artists have acetates prepared of songs just to hear how they sound as a record, though they may not have any intention of releasing them commercially. These may be working versions of songs that are later changed before release or songs that aren’t intended to be released at all.

On other occasions, acetates may be cut of “working” versions of albums, where the order of the songs may not be final. In other cases, one or more songs may appear on an acetate made early in the production process of an album but the final version of that album may not include them, making the acetate a rare collectible. We recently saw an acetate of the 1977 album The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl that was a working version of the album that contained two songs that were not on the finished LP. Those two songs have never been commercially released, making that particular acetate a desirable Beatles rarity.

About two years ago, someone found a box containing nearly 150 Bob Dylan acetates in a building in New York. Many of these acetates contained unreleased songs and/or different versions of songs from the versions that have been commercially released. Several of these discs have been sold publicly at prices in the several-thousand-dollar range.

bootleg acetate
A Pink Floyd bootleg album issued as an acetate

A few bootleg albums have been released in acetate form over the years, simply as a gimmick. The only titles we have seen like this originated in Japan, usually in limited editions of no more than twenty five copies. As producing discs one at at time is both expensive and labor intensive, product of bootleg acetates as a commercial product is not a very common practice.

Prices for acetates can vary widely, depending on the artist and the content. Obviously, the more collectible the artist, the greater the interest from the collecting community. While all acetates are rare, collectors will be more interested in (and pay higher prices for) examples that feature unreleased material or versions of songs that are not otherwise available.

An acetate of an album by an artist that isn’t particularly collectible might sell for $10 or even less. On the other hand, an acetate containing unreleased material by a well-known artist might sell for thousands of dollars. About ten years ago, an acetate containing rough versions of the material that became the first album by the Velvet Underground sold for more than $25,000. That material has since been released commercially.

An acetate of Elvis Presley’s first recording sold for $300,000 in 2015 to musician Jack White of White Stripes fame.

Counterfeit Acetates

beatles counterfeit acetates
A counterfeit Beatles acetate

Unfortunately, in the collecting world, nearly anything of value has been counterfeited, and that includes test pressings and acetates. They’re rare, they’re in demand, and they can sell for a lot of money, and that has led unscrupulous individuals to create acetates that appear to be original, record company-produced products but are actually homemade items that have no inherent value.

While counterfeit acetates exist for a number of artists, the most common artist represented by these discs is the Beatles. Many of these fake discs have labels that say either “EMIDISC” or have a representation of the Beatles’ own Apple label.

Since legitimate Beatles acetates turn up infrequently, few potential buyers have enough experience to be able to determine if an item offered for sale is a legitimate item or a counterfeit.

Many of these counterfeits have been artificially aged to give them a look of authenticity, and a number of them have sold for three and four figure prices at auction. The best advice we can offer to potential buyer is to know your seller and to get a guarantee when you make your purchase.

Test Pressings

test pressings
A sample test pressing label

Along with acetates, collector also have a lot of interest in records known as test pressings. It’s not a clever name; a test pressing is exactly what the name suggests – a record manufactured for the express purpose of evaluating the finished product.

Test pressings might be manufactured for the purpose of listening to material that is being considered for commercial release or they might be made as a test of production stampers for a finished commercial record.

Unlike acetates, test pressings are vinyl records pressed from stampers and are physically virtually identical to commercially available records. The only difference is that test pressings usually have custom labels similar to those found on acetates. These labels might have the words “test pressing” pre-printed on them and may include blank lines that can be filled in by hand to indicate the name of the artist, the title of the album, the catalog number and perhaps the date of manufacture.

Like acetates, test pressings are occasionally sent out to radio stations for promotional use if the production discs aren’t yet ready, but most of the time, they’re simply used to evaluate the finished product. This would include making sure that the record contains the correct and intended versions of the songs on it, that the sound quality is acceptable and that the playing order is correct.

Test pressings are usually found without printed covers. They are usually packaged in plain white covers. Often they will be accompanied by a “label copy sheet,” which is a sheet of paper that contains the information that would ordinarily be printed on the label of a finished album – the album title and catalog number, the name of the artist, song titles and running times, the name of the record company and publishing information for the songs themselves.

Collector Interest in Test Pressings

Collectors like test pressings for many of the same reasons that they like acetates. While they are made further along in the manufacturing process than acetates, test pressings are usually the first discs made from production stampers, so they will likely sound better than commercially available, or “stock” copies of the records sold in stores.

Scarcity – Test pressings, like acetates, are also relatively rare. While acetates may be unique or limited to just a couple of discs, test pressings are usually manufactured in larger, though still limited, quantities. Unless test pressings are made to be issued as promotional copies, they are generally limited to no more than twenty copies, though the number of discs manufactured can vary widely.

A colored vinyl album by the Doors, issued only as a test pressing
A colored vinyl album by the Doors, issued only as a test pressing
genesis test pressings
A test pressing of the unreleased Genesis live album

Alternate or unreleased material – Like acetates, test pressings sometimes contain either unreleased material or songs that are different in some way from the commercially available versions of that particular album. The 1972 Beach Boys album Holland was originally intended to include a song called “We Got Love,” but the record company was unhappy with the song selection. The group recorded a song called “Sail On, Sailor” that was used in the place of “We Got Love” on the commercial release. A few test pressings of the earlier version exist and are of great interest to Beach Boys collectors.

A few test pressings of Bob Dylan’s 1975 LP Blood on the Tracks exist with different songs from the released version. The album was close to its release date when Dylan decided to rerecord a large portion of the album. Reportedly, only five copies of the test pressing of the original recording are known to exist. One of them recently sold for $12,000.

Test pressings of Bruce Springsteen’s 1975 album Born to Run were sent to radio stations in a printed gatefold cover that was blank on the inside and which featured the name of the artist and the title of the album in a font that looked like handwriting, rather than the block print used on the final version. Several hundred of these “script cover” test pressings were sent out to radio stations and are quite sought after today, usually selling for upwards of $1500 when they’re offered for sale.

The first live album by Genesis, 1974’s Genesis Live, was briefly intended to be a two record set but was ultimately released as a single album. A few test pressings of the two record set were made in the Netherlands. This set includes material that has otherwise never been released, and the few copies that have turned up over the years have sold for as much as $4000 at auction.

The audiophile label Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs released eight titles in the early 1980s as Ultra High Quality Recordings, or UHQR, as they are known. These titles were made using a then-uncommon heavy-weight 200 gram vinyl pressed with a special “flat” profile that the company did not use for their regular pressings. All eight titles were limited to 5000 copies for commercial sale. The company also made test pressings of a handful of titles that they were considering releasing in the UHQR format, but which they ultimately decided not to release.

These titles included all thirteen of the UK Beatles albums, along with A Trick of the Tail by Genesis, Rickie Lee Jones’s first album, and The Grand Illusion by Styx, among others. These rarely-seen test pressings usually sell for upwards of $1000 each on the rare occasions when they are offered for sale.

Unreleased albums – Occasionally, artists will complete an album with the intention of commercial release, only to have the release canceled for any one of a number of reasons. These unreleased albums usually exist in the form of test pressings, and sometimes they turn up for sale.

One good example would be Läther, by Frank Zappa. The album, intended as a four-record set, was recorded in 1977. Zappa’s record company rejected the finished album, though test pressings exist. The album was finally released officially in 1996.

Another unreleased Zappa album, Crush All Boxes, was intended for release in 1980, but was scrapped in favor of releasing You Are What You Is instead. At least one test pressing is known to exist of that title.

Counterfeit Test Pressings

While counterfeit acetates are fairly common, counterfeit test pressings are not. We have seen a few examples over the years, including the original version of Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks. The most common counterfeit test pressings would be for titles that were otherwise unreleased. Buyers should exercise due diligence when considering a purchase, but as a rule, counterfeit test pressings are relatively uncommon.

The nice thing about test pressings is that they are physically no different from a commercially available album, which means that they can be played as often as any other record. Most collectors don’t buy them to play them, however; instead they tend to buy them as a collectible item in addition to the regular version of the album.

Acetates and Test Pressings Conclusion

While acetates and test pressings could hardly be regarded as something that every collector might find essential, they are unusual and interesting items to add to one’s collection. They’re relatively rare, they usually offer superior sound, and they occasionally offer access to material that otherwise might not be commercially available.

Click here to see our selection of acetates
Click here to see our selection of test pressings

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June Christy – The Intimate Miss Christy 1963 stereo acetate with cue sheet

June Christy - The Intimate Miss Christy 1963 stereo acetate with cue sheet

Offered for sale is an original stereo acetate for the 1963 LP The Intimate Miss Christy by June Christy.

About this copy: This copy of The Intimate Miss Christy is an original 1963 stereo acetate (dated 6-20-63 on the label.) It comes with a plain brown paper sleeve with track listings and timing notations, along with a reference sheet.

The disc is VG++ visually, with some scuffs but no significant marks, though it does play with some noise, as is common with acetates.

Tracks are the same as on the released version of the album:

  • Spring is Here
  • Fly Me to the Moon
  • I Fall in Love Too Easily
  • Time After Time
  • The More I See You
  • Don’t Explain
  • It Never Entered My Mind
  • You’re Nearer
  • Misty
  • Suddenly It’s Spring
  • I Get Along Without You Very Well
  • Ev’ry Time

A beautiful copy of a jazz rarity.

Background: Acetates are the first part of the record production process and are cut individually using a lathe.  After cutting an acetate, they are usually plated with metal to make stampers.  Early in the production process, they are also used for evaluation purposes by record company personnel.  They can be played just like records, though they do not wear well with repeated play.

Acetates rarely come up for sale, as they are often discarded after use.

Allmusic.com gave The Intimate Miss Christy a four star review:

On June Christy’s excellent run of albums for Capitol Records the vocalist was most often backed by Pete Rugolo’s complex orchestral charts or by small, freewheeling jazz groups led by her husband, Bob Cooper. So The Intimate Miss Christy is a special treat for her fans as it finds the cool blonde singer backed only by Al Viola’s guitar and Don Bagley’s bass (though a flutist sits in on a few tracks). This guitar/bass-only approach was first popularized by Julie London and went on to be utilized by many other singers during this era. The backing not only suits the laid-back, cool jazz approach of June Christy perfectly, but it also means that the singer is never forced to strain too hard, as she sometimes did when working with the experimentally inclined Pete Rugolo. And while the vocalist usually put a dark emotional spin on her ballad readings, this album is definitely aimed more toward romantic entanglements than romantic regrets. The Intimate Miss Christy may be a fireside makeout album, but it’s one that merits repeated listens even when the embers die out.

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Jonah Jones – Great Instrumental Hits Styled By Jonah Jones 1961 stereo acetate

Jonah Jones - Great Instrumental Hits Styled By Jonah Jones 1961 stereo acetate

Offered for sale is an original stereo acetate for the 1961 LP Great Instrumental Hits Styled By Jonah Jones by Jonah Jones.  This acetate has tracks in a different playing order than the finished LP.

About this copy: This copy of Great Instrumental Hits Styled By Jonah Jones is an original 1961 stereo acetate (dated 1-19-61 on the label.)  It comes with a plain brown paper sleeve.

The disc is VG+ visually, with some scuffs and a couple of small marks, though it does play with some noise, as is common with acetates.  The disc also has a “haze” on the playing surface, likely from a chemical reaction with the paper sleeve in which it was found.

NOTE:  The playing order on this acetate is different from the released version, as the first track on the acetate is “Third Man Theme,” but that track appears at the end of side one on the released version of the album.  In all likelihood, the 12 songs on the acetate are the same songs as those on the released LP, but simply in a different order.

A beautiful copy of a jazz rarity.

Background: Acetates are the first part of the record production process and are cut individually using a lathe.  After cutting an acetate, they are usually plated with metal to make stampers.  Early in the production process, they are also used for evaluation purposes by record company personnel.  They can be played just like records, though they do not wear well with repeated play.

Jonah Jones was a jazz trumpeter who created concise versions of jazz and swing and jazz standards that appealed to a mass audience.  Great Instrumental Hits Styled By Jonah Jones was his 12th album for Capitol and his 13th album overall.  This album, as the title implies, is an album of covers of tunes made famous by other artists.

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Renaissance – Prologue Capitol Records 1978 LP Acetate

Renaissance – Prologue Capitol Records 1978 LP Acetate

Offered for sale is a genuine stereo Capitol Records acetate for a 1978 reissue of the 1972 album Prologue by Renaissance.

It should be noted that there are many fake acetates for sale on eBay; this one was obtained from someone who received it directly from a Capitol record company employee and is guaranteed to be genuine.

About this copy: The disc is in VG++ condition, with just a few slight scuffs from having been removed from a paper sleeve at some point.  It doesn’t look as if it’s been played more than once or twice..  The surfaces are bright and have no significant marks.  The catalog number SMAS-11116, the date 8-23-78 and the timing are typed in on each side.  This disk is in exceptional condition, especially for an acetate, as they are often found in poor condition.  This one is gorgeous.

This disk was issued without a finished cover, as it was intended for in-house use only.  The cover is a plain white cover with the name of the artist and the title of the album handwritten on it.  There is a small amount of residue on the cover where a price tag has been removed.

If you’re a fan of Renaissance and you’re looking for something extraordinary, this is a great chance to add something unusual to your collection.  It’s likely the only Renaissance album acetate that you’re ever going to see for sale.

Background: After two relatively unsuccessful albums on Island as an offshoot of the Yardbirds, Renaissance underwent a dramatic change, adding singer Annie Haslam, who had a multi-octave range and operatic training.  This version of the band became quite successful during the latter part of the 1970s.  Their first album featuring the new lineup was Prologue, released in 1972.

After the success of Novella in 1977, Capitol reissued the album in 1978.  The disk offered for sale here is a prerelease acetate of the album, cut on a lathe for in-house use.

Acetates are laquer-covered metal disks that must be cut individually using a lathe; they are the first part of the record manufacturing process.  Ordinarily, acetates cut for production use are plated with metal, and stampers are made from them.  Occasionally, acetates are cut for evaluation purposes.  While they may be played like an ordinary record, their soft surfaces do not hold up well to repeated play.

 

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Moody Blues – Days of Future Passed Mobile Fidelity half speed mastered LP

Moody Blues - Days of Future Passed Mobile Fidelity LP

Offered for sale is a limited edition half speed mastered audiophile pressing of Days of Future Passed by the Moody Blues, released by Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs.

About this copy: This copy of Days of Future Passed is a 1981 U.S. pressing on the Mobile Fidelity label of an album that was originally released in 1967.  While technically a U.S. release, the disc was pressed in Japan by JVC using their proprietary “Supervinyl” compound.

The cover is M-.  The posterboard insert is M-.

The disc is M- and looks unplayed.  Clean disc!

A beautiful copy of a great-sounding LP.

Background: Released in 1967, Days of Future Passed was the second album by the Moody Blues.

The album reached #3 on the U.S. album charts (in 1972) and #27 on the UK charts.

Allmusic.com gave Days of Future Passed a 4 1/2 star review:

This album marked the formal debut of the psychedelic-era Moody Blues; though they’d made a pair of singles featuring new (as of 1966) members Justin Hayward and John Lodge, Days of Future Passed was a lot bolder and more ambitious. What surprises first-time listeners — and delighted them at the time — is the degree to which the group shares the spotlight with the London Festival Orchestra without compromising their sound or getting lost in the lush mix of sounds. That’s mostly because they came to this album with the strongest, most cohesive body of songs in their history, having spent the previous year working up a new stage act and a new body of material (and working the bugs out of it on-stage), the best of which ended up here. … With “Tuesday Afternoon” and “Nights in White Satin” to drive sales, Days of Future Passed became one of the defining documents of the blossoming psychedelic era, and one of the most enduringly popular albums of its era.

Every title ever issued by Mobile Fidelity is collectible in its own right; their pressings from 1978 through 1989 were pressed in Japan by JVC on their proprietary Super Vinyl, an exceptionally resilient, dead-quiet vinyl compound, with later issues pressed in the U.S. by RTI on 200 gram vinyl. These records were mastered at half speed; both the tape and the cutting lathe were run at half the normal speed, allowing the cutting head to cut a more accurate groove in the acetate. The finished product featured dead-quiet vinyl, with improved dynamics, better imaging, and tighter bass. By their very nature, all of Mobile Fidelity’s titles were limited-edition pressings, and Days of Future Passed was limited to an unknown quantity of copies.

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Country of origin: U.S.
Size: 12″
Record Label: Mobile Fidelity
Catalog Number:
MFSL 1-042
Year of Release: 1981
Format: Stereo
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Modern Jazz Quartet – Live at the Lighthouse Mobile Fidelity half speed mastered LP

Modern Jazz Quartet - Live at the Lighthouse Mobile Fidelity LP

Offered for sale is a limited edition half speed mastered U.S. audiophile pressing of Live at the Lighthouse by the Modern Jazz Quartet, released by Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs.

About this copy: This copy of Live at the Lighthouse is a 1984 U.S. pressing on the Mobile Fidelity label of an album that was originally released in 1967.  While the album is technically a U.S. release, the disc was pressed by JVC in Japan using their proprietary “Supervinyl” compound.

The cover is VG++ with slight edge wear.  The posterboard insert is M-.

The disc is M- with a few spindle marks on the labels, but no marks on the vinyl.  Clean disc!

A nice copy of a pretty good album and a well-recorded disc.

Background: Released in 1967, Live at the Lighthouse was the twenty eighth album by the Modern Jazz Quartet.

Allmusic.com gave Live at the Lighthouse a 4 star review:

This fairly obscure LP by the Modern Jazz Quartet features fresh material and improvisations that are both swinging and creative. Pianist John Lewis’ “The Spiritual” and “Baseball,” along with vibraphonist Milt Jackson’s “Novamo” and “For Someone I Love,” comprise half the program, and it is Jackson’s influence that seems to be the weightier one here. Jackson and the MJQ always rose to the challenge of a crowd. There are also excellent ballad renditions of “The Shadow of Your Smile” and “What’s New.” The bluesier side of the band is what’s mostly on display here, and the MJQ plays up to its usual level. None of the classic group’s recordings should be passed by.

Every title ever issued by Mobile Fidelity is collectible in its own right; their pressings from 1978 through 1989 were pressed in Japan by JVC on their proprietary Super Vinyl, an exceptionally resilient, dead-quiet vinyl compound, with later issues pressed in the U.S. by RTI on 200 gram vinyl. These records were mastered at half speed; both the tape and the cutting lathe were run at half the normal speed, allowing the cutting head to cut a more accurate groove in the acetate. The finished product featured dead-quiet vinyl, with improved dynamics, better imaging, and tighter bass. By their very nature, all of Mobile Fidelity’s titles were limited-edition pressings, and Live at the Lighthouse was limited to an unknown quantity of numbered copies.

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Country of origin: U.S.
Size: 12″
Record Label: Mobile Fidelity
Catalog Number:
MFSL 1-090
Year of Release: 1984
Format: Stereo
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Modern Jazz Quartet – Blues at Carnegie Hall Mobile Fidelity half speed mastered LP

Modern Jazz Quartet - Blues at Carnegie Hall Mobile Fidelity LP

Offered for sale is a numbered, limited edition half speed mastered U.S. pressing of Blues at Carnegie Hall by the Modern Jazz Quartet, issued by Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs.

About this copy:  This copy of Blues at Carnegie Hall is a 1994 U.S. pressing on the Mobile Fidelity label of an album originally released in 1966.

The cover is M-. this copy is #284 of an unknown number of copies.  The posterboard insert is M-.

The 200 gram disc is M- and looks unplayed.  Clean disc!

A nice copy of a scarce Mobile Fidelity LP.  Good recording, too!

Background: Released in 1966, Blues at Carnegie Hall was the twenty sixth album by the Modern Jazz Quartet.

Allmusic.com gave Blues at Carnegie Hall a 4 star review:

Blues at Carnegie Hall is a live Atlantic set from 1966, with the Modern Jazz Quartet performing eight blues-based compositions. In addition to such familiar pieces as the inevitable “Bags’ Groove,” “Ralph’s New Blues” (dedicated to jazz critic Ralph Gleason), and “The Cylinder,” there are a few newer pieces (including “Home,” which is similar to Lee Morgan’s hit “The Sidewinder”) included for variety. This predictable but consistently swinging set is particularly recommended to fans of vibraphonist Milt Jackson.

Every title ever issued by Mobile Fidelity is collectible in its own right; their pressings from 1978 through 1989 were pressed in Japan by JVC on their proprietary Super Vinyl, an exceptionally resilient, dead-quiet vinyl compound, with later issues pressed in the U.S. by RTI on 200 gram vinyl. These records were mastered at half speed; both the tape and the cutting lathe were run at half the normal speed, allowing the cutting head to cut a more accurate groove in the acetate. The finished product featured dead-quiet vinyl, with improved dynamics, better imaging, and tighter bass. By their very nature, all of Mobile Fidelity’s titles were limited-edition pressings, and Blues at Carnegie Hall was limited to an unknown quantity of numbered copies.

This item is eligible for PayPal Credit financing by PayPal. U.S. customers may choose to pay later at checkout, and may receive up to six months financing with no interest. Click the banner below for more information. (opens in a new window)

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Country of origin: U.S.
Size: 12″
Record Label: Mobile Fidelity
Catalog Number:
MFSL 1-206
Year of Release: 1994
Format: Stereo
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Modern Jazz Quartet – Modern Jazz Quartet Mobile Fidelity half speed mastered LP

Modern Jazz Quartet - Modern Jazz Quartet Mobile Fidelity LP

Offered for sale is a numbered, limited edition half speed mastered U.S. pressing of The Modern Jazz Quartet by the Modern Jazz Quartet, issued by Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs.

About this copy:  This copy of The Modern Jazz Quartet is a 1994 U.S. pressing on the Mobile Fidelity label of an album originally released in 1957.

The cover is M-. this copy is #499 of an unknown number of copies.  The posterboard insert is M-.

The 200 gram disc is M- and looks unplayed.  Clean disc!

A nice copy of a scarce Mobile Fidelity LP.  Good recording, too!

Background: Released in 1957, The Modern Jazz Quartet was the ninth album by the Modern Jazz Quartet.

Allmusic.com gave The Modern Jazz Quartet a 3 star review:

Despite the unassuming title, this features a fine rendition of “Night in Tunisia” and a standout “Bags Groove.”

Every title ever issued by Mobile Fidelity is collectible in its own right; their pressings from 1978 through 1989 were pressed in Japan by JVC on their proprietary Super Vinyl, an exceptionally resilient, dead-quiet vinyl compound, with later issues pressed in the U.S. by RTI on 200 gram vinyl. These records were mastered at half speed; both the tape and the cutting lathe were run at half the normal speed, allowing the cutting head to cut a more accurate groove in the acetate. The finished product featured dead-quiet vinyl, with improved dynamics, better imaging, and tighter bass. By their very nature, all of Mobile Fidelity’s titles were limited-edition pressings, and The Modern Jazz Quartet was limited to an unknown quantity of numbered copies.

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Country of origin: U.S.
Size: 12″
Record Label: Mobile Fidelity
Catalog Number:
MFSL 1-205
Year of Release: 1994
Format: Stereo
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Yes – Close to the Edge half speed mastered Mobile Fidelity LP

Yes - Close to the Edge Mobile Fidelity LP

Offered for sale is a limited edition half speed mastered pressing of Close to the Edge by Yes, issued in 1982 by Mobile Fidelity.

About this copy: This copy of Close to the Edge is a 1982 pressing on the Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs label.

The cover is VG++ with light corner wear.  This album is prone to cover wear, but this cover is exceptionally clean.

The posterboard stiffener is included, as is the original Mobile Fidelity warranty card.

The disc is M- with a couple of spindle marks on the labels, but no marks on the vinyl.  Clean disc!

A beautiful copy of a terrific record and one of the harder to find Mobile Fidelity titles..

Background: Released in 1972, Close to the Edge was the fifth studio album by Yes.  The album reached #4 on the UK charts and #3 in the U.S., where it would be their highest-charting album ever.

Allmusic.com gave Close to the Edge a rare 5 star review:

Close to the Edge comprised just three tracks, the epic “And You and I” and “Siberian Khatru,” plus a side-long title track that represented the musical, lyrical, and sonic culmination of all that Yes had worked toward over the past five years. … In 1972, Close to the Edge was a flawless masterpiece.

Every title ever issued by Mobile Fidelity is collectible in its own right; their pressings from 1978 through 1989 were pressed in Japan by JVC on their proprietary Super Vinyl, an exceptionally resilient, dead-quiet vinyl compound, with later issues pressed in the U.S. by RTI on 200 gram vinyl. These records were mastered at half speed; both the tape and the cutting lathe were run at half the normal speed, allowing the cutting head to cut a more accurate groove in the acetate. The finished product featured dead-quiet vinyl, with improved dynamics, better imaging, and tighter bass. By their very nature, all of Mobile Fidelity’s titles were limited-edition pressings.

Country of origin: U.S.
Size: 12″
Record Label: Mobile Fidelity
Catalog Number:
MFSL 1-077
Year of Release: 1982
Format: Stereo
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Beatles – Magical Mystery Tour sealed U.S. Mobile Fidelity audiophile LP

beatles - magical mystery tour u.s. mobile fidelity lp

Offered for sale is a still sealed limited edition half speed mastered U.S. pressing of Magical Mystery Tour by the Beatles, released by Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs.

About this copy: This copy of Magical Mystery Tour is a 1981 U.S. pressing on the Mobile Fidelity Label, though the discs were pressed in Japan by JVC on their proprietary “Supervinyl” compound.

As the album is still sealed, the record is presumably new and unplayed.

The loose bag wrap is fully intact, with no rips, tears, or holes.  There are no seam splits in the cover, which is unusual for this title.

A beautiful copy of a rare Beatles LP that seldom turns up sealed.

Background:  Released in 1967, Magical Mystery Tour was a collection of songs from the film of the same name combined with some singles that had been released shortly before the album.

In the UK, the material from the film was released as a double EP set, but in Japan, the album was released in the U.S. format.  The album reached #1 in the U.S.

Allmusic.com gave Magical Mystery Tour a 5 star review:

The U.S. version of the soundtrack for the Beatles’ ill-fated British television special embellished the six songs that were found on the British Magical Mystery Tour double EP with five other cuts from their 1967 singles. The psychedelic sound is very much in the vein of Sgt. Pepper’s, and even spacier in parts (especially the sound collages of “I Am the Walrus”). Unlike Sgt. Pepper’s, there’s no vague overall conceptual/thematic unity to the material, which has made Magical Mystery Tour suffer slightly in comparison. Still, the music is mostly great.

Every title ever issued by Mobile Fidelity is collectible in its own right; their pressings from 1978 through 1989 were pressed in Japan by JVC on their proprietary Super Vinyl, an exceptionally resilient, dead-quiet vinyl compound, with later issues pressed in the U.S. by RTI on 200 gram vinyl. These records were mastered at half speed; both the tape and the cutting lathe were run at half the normal speed, allowing the cutting head to cut a more accurate groove in the acetate. The finished product featured dead-quiet vinyl, with improved dynamics, better imaging, and tighter bass.

This item is eligible for PayPal Credit financing by PayPal. U.S. customers may choose to pay later at checkout, and may receive up to six months financing with no interest. Click the banner below for more information. (opens in a new window)

paypal credit
 

Country of origin: U.S.
Size: 12″
Record Label: Mobile Fidelity
Catalog Number:
MFSL 1-047
Year of Release: 1981
Format: Stereo
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