Any respectable record lover has already heard of Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab. However, the US firm is better known as 'MoFi'. In 1977 it was the first firm to offer very high quality recordings, known as 'Original Master Recordings'. It then went on to develop a recording process that is still considered as a reference to date: the 'Half-Speed', based on a much slower master recording speed than usual. It uses 12.5 RPM to retain the dynamics and frequency response of the original master. It also has the best record quality available.
The brand ventured into the audiophile realm a few years ago, developing a wide range of premium accessories. With the return of analogue to centre stage, the US firm has enhanced its product offering with two new turntables: the 'StudioDeck +' and 'UltraDeck +'. Fully aware that designing a turntable requires highly specialist expertise, MoFi called on a specialist, Allen Perkins. He is, amongst other things, the founder and chief engineer of Spiral Groove.
We saw and tested the MoFi UltraDeck+ turntable at the Munich trade show in May 2016! This brings us to say that the product's industrial finalisation took much longer than anticipated. And this is good news as this foretells great product optimisation.
Mofi Ultradeck + : Plinth, platter and feet
At first (if you're not an expert), you could think that it is a MoFi StudioDeck+ turntable! Although they share the same mechanical parts, the UltraDeck+ has several different features that truly depart from its little sister!
It has the MDF plinth with a surface coating with very efficient damping.
The tempered steel spindle sits in the centre with the bronze bearing, built into the platter, around it. It is made of polyoxymethylene, also known as Delrin or 'POM'. This material acts as a great barrier against vibration and resonance. It is twice as thick as that of MoFi's StudioDeck+ and weighs more than 3 kg! With its very low resonance frequency and high density, no platter mat is required.
It rests on feet designed by Michael Latvis. He works as an engineer for Harmonic Resolution Systems (HRS), specialising in the design of mounts, feet and furniture for high-end Hi-Fi systems. The feet can be accurately adjusted in height to adjust the level of the turntable to perfection.
Mofi Ultradeck + : Drive
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).
Mofi Ultradeck + : Tonearm and cartridge
The centrepiece of this turntable is definitely its amazing 10 inch tonearm! In fact, a tonearm this long in this price range is quite uncommon!
It comprises a polished aluminium tube with an effective mass of 35 g. It houses an internal cable with ultra pure Litz wire from Cardas.
It has tracking force, VTA and azimuth adjustment options.
The anti-skate is applied using a small weight with a thread.
The MoFi UltraDeck+ comes as standard with a great MM cartridge, the MoFi UltraTracker. But it will effortlessly be paired with many high-end phono cartridges, MM and MC alike.
Mofi Ultradeck + : Connection and accessories
The back panel of the vinyl turntable has great gold-plated RCA outputs and a gold-plated ground plug.
The power cable is detachable via an IEC outlet.
This MoFi turntable can therefore be upgraded with a better phono cable, and even with a better quality power cable.
However, the MoFi UltraDeck+ turntable comes as standard with a phono cable, an IEC cable, a stylus guard and brush and a dust cover!
Mofi Ultradeck + : Listening and test review
This turntable ranks among the couple of great findings we made at the start of this year! We were anxious to try it and it lives up to our expectations!
It has all the advantages of MoFi's StudioDeck+ turntable: transparency, details, articulation… But it tops it on almost all accounts, especially in regards to dynamics, subtleness and level of detail.
The timbre is also better and has slightly more realism, especially with vocals and string sections.
The frequency response is wider in the low end of the spectrum with more texture and punch than the StudioDeck+.
The MoFi UltraTracker cartridge yields great results in terms of tracking, precision and musicality. After several trials, we were unable to find any faults! For fun, we mounted a high-end MC cartridge worth the price of this turntable! The result was mind-blowing, revealing the great potential of this MoFi turntable and the possibilities in terms of upgrade in the long term. It also has a very low surface noise and very high signal-to-noise-ratio.
Mofi Ultradeck + : Unboxing
You soon come to grips with its operation. It naturally requires tracking force adjustment with a gauge (not supplied) and positioning of the anti-skate weight. Don't worry, because it will come ready set up and ready to go!
This MoFi UltraDeck+ turntable is a perfectly built turntable, designed by people who definitely know what they are doing. For its price, it is a real alternative to the market leaders. It should be considered as an essential benchmark for less than €2,000, cartridge included!
Choc de Classica - 2017 Franck
Platter: 32 mm thick Delrin
Platter weight: 3.1 kg
Feet: HRS isolation
Motor: high-torque synchronous
Tonearm: 10 inches in aluminium (25.4 cm)
Tonearm cable: Carda Litz wires
Spindle/Bearing: tempered steel/bronze
Overhang: 1.9 cm
Angle offset: 22.8° (adjustable ± 2°)
Total effective tube mass: 35 g
Weight: compatible with cartridges weighing between 5 and 10 grams
Speeds: 33.3 and 45 RPM
Wow: 0.017 %
Signal-to-noise ratio: 74 dB
Supplied accessories: phono cable, stylus brush
Dimensions: 48.2 x 15.2 x 37.5 cm
Weight: 10.5 Kg
Power consumption: < 5 Watts
MoFi UltraTracker cartridge
Principle: Moving magnet MM
Housing: aluminium 6061
Stylus: Nude Elliptical
Frequency response: 20 Hz - 25 kHz
Capacitance: 100 pF
Impedance: 47 KOhms
Output: 3.5 mV
Recommended tracking force: 1.5 g
Weight: 9.7 g