Any respectable record lover is familiar with the name Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab. The US company is actually more famous under the name 'MoFi'. In the late 70's it was the first firm to offer really Hi-Fi recordings, known as 'Original Master Recordings'. It went on to develop an even more revolutionary recording process, known as 'Half-Speed'. It relies on a recording at a much lower speed than normal and earned the brand's international reputation. In fact, unlike its competitors, MoFi does not record at the actual speed, but at 12.5 revolutions per minute. It maintains the master's dynamics and frequency response. Naturally, with the best vinyl quality available. The brand started developing many high-end audiophile accessories a few years ago. With analogue back under the spotlight, it was only natural for MoFi to turn to turntables, which they have done! They launched the 'StudioDeck+' turntable and the 'UltraDeck+' turntable!
The design of a vinyl turntable cannot be left to chance! It requires highly specialist expertise! Actually, we have come across very poor products owing to the manufacturers' lack of expertise (I won't give any names here). MoFi called on a mechanical expert, Allen Perkins, who is none other than the founder and chief engineer of Spiral Groove.
We were able to see and test the MoFi Studiodeck+ turntable at the Munich trade show in May 2016! Ultimately, the industrial finalisation of this product took much longer than expected, which evidences the perfect optimisation of this turntable.
The first thing that springs to mind when you lift it out of its box is the rigidity of the StudioDeck+ turntable and the length of its tonearm! The MDF plinth has a damping coat. It rests on feet designed by Michael Latvis, an engineer working for Harmonic Resolution Systems (HRS), specialising in the design of mounts, feet and furniture for high-end Hi-Fi systems. The feet are height adjustable, thus the turntable level can be adjusted to perfection. The 1.75 kg platter is made of Delrin or 'POM'. Polyoxymethylene is a great barrier against vibration and exhibits very little colouration. Thanks to its very low resonance frequency and density, the classic felt platter mat can be left to one side. It sits on a tempered steel spindle and ball bearing. The platter is driven by a high torque synchronous motor via a neoprene belt around it. Playback speed can be changed by moving the belt on the motor pulley (33.3 and 45 RPM).
But the centrepiece of this turntable is definitely its tonearm! A 10 inch tonearm in this price range is quite uncommon! It comprises a polished aluminium tube with a medium effective mass (15 g). It has tracking force, VTA and azimuth adjustment options. The anti-skate is applied using a small weight with a thread. The StudioDeck+ comes factory-fitted with a great MM cartridge, the MoFi StudioTracker. But it will effortlessly be compatible with many high-end MM or MC cartridges. The back panel of the turntable has great gold-plated RCA outputs and a gold-plated ground plug. The power cable is detachable via an IEC outlet. The turntable can therefore be upgraded with a better phono cable, and even with a better quality power cable.
Also, the Mofi StudioDeck+ comes as standard with a dust cover, a phono cable, an IEC cable and a stylus guard and brush.
This vinyl turntable is definitely the event of the year! We can't wait for it to hit the market! It is understated, beautifully designed and plays music! What more could we ask for? Reproduction is transparent and very subtle. The noise level and distortion are very low. The 10" tonearm probably has something to do with these great capabilities. The dynamics and timing are great. The MoFi StudioTracker cartridge yields great results in terms of tracking and precision.
This is truly a beautifully designed product, built by people who really know what they are doing. For the price, the MoFi StudioDeck+ turntable is disrupting the establishment and a true sensation! The US turntable holds its ground against the European leaders. Clearly it stands as a benchmark for less than €1,700! And if you want more efficiency, you should opt for its sibling, the MoFi UltraDeck+ turntable.
Our top pick for 2017! Franck
Platter: 19 mm thick Delrin
Platter weight: 1.76 kg
Feet: HRS isolation
Motor: high-torque synchronous
Tonearm: 10 inches aluminium (25.4 cm)
Spindle/Bearing: tempered steel/brass
Overhang: 1.9 cm
Angle offset: 22.8° (adjustable ± 2°)
Effective mass: 15 g
Weight: compatible with cartridges weighing between 5 and 10 grams
Speeds: 33.3 and 45 RPM
Signal-to-noise ratio: 72 dB
Supplied accessories: phono cable, dust cover, stylus brush
Dimensions: 48.2 x 13.7 x 37.5 cm
Weight: 8.7 kg
Power consumption: < 5 Watts
MoFi StudioTracker MM cartridge
Frequency response: 20 Hz - 20 kHz
Capacitance: 100 pF
Impedance: 47 KOhms
Output: 4.5 mV
Recommended tracking force: 1.8-2.2 g
Weight: 6.4 g