Mobile Fidelity Releases First Surround and Los Lobos SACDs

Mobile Fidelity has released their first Surround Sound SACD as well as a new Stereo SACD. The new SACD releases, now available from several web sites, are Good Morning Aztlan by Los Lobos and Ravel: Bolero and Assorted Orchestral Works by Stanislaw Skrowaczewski conducting the Minnesota Orchestra. Both SACDs are Hybrid SACDs, playable on SACD, CD and SACD compatible DVD Video players. Here’s more on these two new Mobile Fidelity SACD releases.

Ravel: Bolero and Assorted Orchestral Works
Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, Minnesota Orchestra
Hybrid Layer Surround Sound SACD

(Mobile Fidelity UDSACD 4002)

The new Ravel: Bolero and Assorted Orchestral Works SACD is the first in a planned series of Surround Sound SACDs from Mobile Fidelity. As I noted in our sneak preview of this album at the Home Entertainment 2003 show (see link below), the SACD was created from the Vox/Turnabout Records original 4 channel discrete analog master tapes from November 1974 by producers Marc Aubort and Joanna Nickrenz.

The new SACD was mastered by Paul Stubblebine on a Sonoma DSD Workstation at his mastering studios in San Francisco. It features five tracks reproduced in 4 channel Surround Sound and a sixth track which features a 5 channel mix with the center channel created by an AGM TSS1 processor that uses Ambisonic algorithms to derive the center channel.

Commenting on the original vinyl album of this recording which used the Sansui «QS» matrix system, Mobile Fidelity Chief Engineer Shawn Britton notes

«What many listeners experienced throughout the years when playing back the folded down stereo version are artifacts from the QS encoded rear channels. Now, for the first time, all four channels are re-created discretely, allowing the recording to be heard as it was originally intended. Additionally, the 2-channel Stereo playback represents the master tape accurately, due to no interference and or artifacts from the QS encoded rear channels.»


I had a chance to listen to the new Surround SACD and was very impressed with what Mobile Fidelity and Paul Stubblebine were able to achieve with these 30 year old analog master tapes. The Surround SACD edition of the tracks features the orchestra performances in the front left and right channels and very effective use of the surround channels for room filling ambient sounds of the recording. Also of note is the use of the rear channels for placement of the choir on «Daphnis and Chloe» in a manner that the liner notes refer to as giving the performance a «great wash of sound».

Album Selections

  1. Bolero
  2. Pavane
  3. Rapsodie espangole
  4. La Valse
  5. Daphnis et Chloe (Suite 2)
  6. Daphnis et Chloe (Suite 2: Segment, Chloe is accosted) [5.0 mix created with AGM TSS1 processor]

Good Morning Aztlan
Los Lobos
Hybrid Layer Stereo SACD

(Mobile Fidelity UDSACD 2022)

Good Morning Aztlan was originally issued by Mammoth Records last year on Stereo CD. It is the most recent album from Mexican-American group Los Lobos. The album teams the group with John Leckie, a producer based in the U.K. who has worked with a number of rock groups including Stone Roses, Spiritualized and Radiohead. The resulting album features the group performing songs in a number of styles including rock, R&B and their trademark latin stylings.

The new Hybrid Stereo SACD was mastered by Mobile Fidelity Chief Engineer Shawn Britton and features new liner notes by Moira McCormick. The SACD features some enjoyable rock tunes as well as some tracks that cover more familiar Los Lobos territory such as the 10th track on the album «Maria Christina». According to the liner notes, producer John Leckie was impressed by the band and noted «It was an honor to work with them».

Album Selections
1. Done Gone Blue
2. Hearts of Stone
3. Luz de Mi Vida
4. Good Morning Aztlan
5. The Big Ranch
6. The Word
7. Malaque
8. Tony y Maria
9. Get to This
10. Maria Christina
11. What in the World
12. Round & Round

The new Ravel Surround and Los Lobos Stereo SACDs are now available from several web sites that carry SACDs including Acoustic Sounds, Elusive Disc and Music Direct. The SACDs are slated for availability in retail record stores on September 23rd (Los Lobos) and October 7th (Ravel) via distribution by Koch International.
Ravel: Bolero and Assorted Orchestral Works by Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, Minnesota Orchestra (Mobile Fidelity UDSACD 4002)