Ok, I’ve gone briefly down this rabbit hole and upon further research, this is what I believe I understand about the MoFi case and settlement, and I’m hopeful that if I have some (or all) of this wrong, someone can correct me:
(a) Original analog masters can only be played/used so many times or they will deteriorate;
(b) To make vinyl you need to press the plates into the raw vinyl disk, and each plate can only be used approximately 2,000-3,000 times
(c) So, if you want to make 5,000 vinyl records, you will need to make multiple plates/stampers for this purpose.
Instead of using the original analog master each time to make a new plate, which would destroy the original analog master over time, what MoFi did was:
(1) Made a very HQ digital copy of the analog master; and then
(2) Used that HQ digital copy to make the subsequent pressing plates
(3) Mis-represented that vinyl records were made from plates created directly from the analog masters, when, in fact, the plates were made from the HQ digital copy.
I certainly don’t view this as an honest mistake, and they were rightly sued for consumer fraud (and settled). However, IMHO, this does seem to be a practical solution to avoid destroying the analog masters. In essence, it appears to me that this was a practical, but deceiptful, way of solving a demand issue.
Accordingly, this does not appear to impact the SACDs, which would have been encoded from the HQ digital copy anyway, and this is why SACD buyers were not included in the lawsuit/settlement.
Therefore, you are fine buying the MoFi SACDs, but if you bought the MoFi vinyl, you were likely deceived. This seems corroberated by the settlement press release:
“This case arises from allegations that Defendants Audiophile Music Direct, Inc. (“Music Direct”) and Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab, Inc. (“MoFi”) falsely marketed and promoted certain MoFi Records as produced with “analog-only” methods, without the use of any intervening digital step, when in fact they were allegedly produced using an undisclosed DSD transfer step in the mastering chain.”
Do folks think I have this right? Any corrections/additions are very welcome!