Mobile Fidelity - UDSACD 2146 - SACD Hybrid Stereo - 821797214667
Numbered Limited Edition - Plays on All CD Players
Mastered on the Mobile Fidelity GAIN 2™ Mastering Technology for Ultradisc UHR™ SACD
The benefits of mastering directly from the original stereo tape are well demonstrated on this release. Played alongside a Columbia two-eye LP, the MoFi SACD betters the sonics of the LP with deeper bass, wider dynamic range, absence of distortion on peaks, and a more vivid presentation of Tony Williams' drums and cymbals. The snare drum and toms have more tone color, and Williams' complex patterns on ride cymbals are revealed with greater detail and clarity. The drum kit was set back from the horns in the spacious 30th Street studios, creating an effect that could be likened to a soundstage. The MoFi transfer significantly expands the depth of that aural space, and reveals greater sonic detail in all the rhythm players. Shawn Britton has done a remarkable job of faithfully representing the sound that Columbia engineers Fred Plaut and Stan Tonkel captured on tape in 1967. At a time when much of the audiophile market is transitioning to downloads, it is gratifying that MoFi continues to produce such high-quality discs for limited release. - Sound 5/5 HRAudio
Nefertiti will always be known as the final all-acoustic record made by Miles Davis’ classic second quintet. A thematic bookend to the preceding Sorcerer, the 1967 set shares much in common with its equally nuanced predecessor yet deviates by way of its focus on rhythm and exploratory soundscapes. The low-key music blooms with colorful bouquets of shadings, gradations, and overtones that on Mobile Fidelity’s SACD bring listeners to closer to the creative passions than ever before.
Mastered from the original master tapes, this collectable audiophile version of Nefertiti joins the ranks of eleven other essential Davis records given supreme sonic and packaging treatment by Mobile Fidelity. Afforded supreme dynamics and full-range extension, cyclical melodies resonate with a moody character and ambience normally only heard in small jazz clubs. Instrumental pitch, too, is spot-on, a measuring stick for how all acoustic-based passages should be experienced.
As he does on Sorcerer, Davis again cedes all compositional duties to his all-star band mates and focuses on his trumpet. Familiar albeit slightly dissonant, rooted in hard bop yet signaling the onset of fusion, the songs are grounded in inquisitive interplay and subconscious impressionism. Nefertiti reveals fresh devices and new directions every time you visit its cerebral worlds. And while each musician is given ample room to solo, the effort stands as an example of groupthink in that no individual stands out or shows off. The groundbreaking title track—during which the horn section recurrently repeats the melody as drummer Tony Williams and bassist Ron Carter improvise, thus inverting the conventional sense of a rhythm section—shines as a textbook example of such chemistry and unity.
Throughout, the players’ confidence, and Davis’ trust in them, stamps every piece with rare self-assurance and authoritativeness. In particular, Williams and Carter bring rhythms to the forefront as the horns hypnotize and Herbie Hancock’s piano points in several different directions like a compass gone crazy. Responsible for “Madness” and “Riot,” Hancock contributes brief bursts of speed and slight aggression, but on a record on which complexity and introspection take precedent over blowing hot, the aural steam ultimately becomes opportunity for burrowing into unpredictable turns and deep grooves.
Indeed, the thrilling sense of interplay and inclination of the ensemble to keep searching, moving forward in a concerted manner to uncover then-unheard jazz discoveries, marks Nefertiti as one of Davis’ quintessential efforts. For historians, it’s the signpost to the pioneering fusion the leader would begin to pursue with greater commitment on the record’s follow-up, Miles in the Sky. For the rest of us, the album is music and music-making at its intriguing best.
Miles Davis, trumpet
Wayne Shorter, tenor sax
Herbie Hancock, piano
Ron Carter, bass
Tony Williams, drums
3. Hand Jive
GAIN 2 Ultra Analog™ is a proprietary cutting system built and designed by legendary design genius Tim De Paravicini, with consultation from one of MFSL’s founding fathers – Stan Ricker, an audio engineer responsible for many of MFSL’s most heralded past releases.
The GAIN 2 Ultra Analog™ system is comprised of a Studer™ tape machine with customized reproduction electronics* and handcrafted cutting amps that drive an Ortofon cutting head on a restored Neumann VMS-70 lathe. (*It is worth noting that independent studies have confirmed that the GAIN 2 Ultra Analog™ system can unveil sonic information all the way up to 122kHz!)
First and foremost, we only utilize first generation original master recordings as source material for our releases. We then play back master tapes at half speed enabling the GAIN 2 Ultra Analog™ system to fully extract the master’s sonic information. Our lacquers are then plated in a specialized process that protects transients in the musical signal. (Due to this process, there may be occasional pops or ticks inherent in initial play back, but as the disc is played more, a high quality stylus will actually polish the grooves and improve the sound). We further ensure optimum sound quality by strictly limiting the number of pressings printed for each release. These limited editions, in addition to being collectors’ items, ensure that the quality of the last pressing matches the quality of the first.
As you can imagine, all these efforts involve a tremendous amount of time, technology, cost and effort. The introduction of GAIN 2 Ultra Analog™ maintains Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab’s position as the world’s leading audiophile record label, where a passion for music with extraordinary sound quality matters most.