The B52’s – The B52’s (Comparison: MoFi vs. Island)

The B52’s auf Mofi Silver Label oder deutsche Erstausgabe von 1979 – welche Pressung des Debütalbums der B52’s klingt besser? Psst! Es gibt einen klaren Sieger.

B52s B52s MFSL Front
The B52’s – The B52’s, MoFi 2010
B52s B52s I Front
The B52’s – The B52’s, Island 1979

The B52’s: Some background information

The party band from Athens, Georgia, started their recording career with an exclamation mark. The debut album from 1979 appears today in all the important critics’ lists of the best albums of all time. Simple, mostly danceable, rock rhythms and sci-fi sounds form the basis for Fred Schneider’s spoken word vocals and the chorus of Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson. Later albums were more successful, this one remains my favourite.

How good are the Island and MoFi Silver Label pressings?

140g vinyl was used for both pressings. No pressing faults are visible.

How are the two editions of The B52s equipped?

The Island still had a designed inner cover with all the song lyrics and a picture of the four-string guitar (side thought: really impressive how you can make such enchanting music on such a ruin of an instrument).

As with the original, there is only a single sleeve for the audiophile MoFi. Mofi-typical, high-quality inner sleeve, which is in an additional cardboard sleeve (stiffener). No lyrics.

How good does The B52s sound in comparison of the two pressings?

Even the Island’s output sounds powerful and transparent. The (few) instruments separate well in the mix and can be located well on stage. The German first pressing delivers a first-class sound image.

But the MoFi also leaves nothing to be desired in terms of sound. At first it seems minimally louder than the German pressing. There is less groove noise, and details such as percussion come through more clearly. The B52’s bass on the Mofi Silver Label is also a bit louder.

How do the level and frequency response of the two Island and MoFi Silver Label pressings differ?

Frequency spectrogram (areas in the background) and waveform diagram (red graphs) for Planet Claire
Frequency spectrogram (areas in the background) and waveform diagram (red graphs) for Planet Claire

The MoFi was dubbed a little louder. Apart from that, sufficient dynamics and headroom were taken into account for both versions. The transparent mix deserves it. Otherwise, the diagram shows no conspicuous features.

Frequency spectrogram for Planet Claire
Frequency spectrogram for Planet Claire

The frequency spectrogram confirms what was foreshadowed during the listening test: the MoFi has more bass. This can be seen in the darker orange areas in the lower part of the spectrogram, i.e. in the lower frequencies up to about 250 hertz. Frequencies that are louder than those displayed in yellow are shown in orange (see scale on the left).

Which pressing of The B52’s – The B52’s is better?

Even if it wasn’t the original master tape: the audiophile Mofi Silver Label version sounds a tad better than the German first pressing in all respects. More pressure, more bass, more details and less background noise.
The clear winner is the Mofi Silver Label.

The B52's as a Silver Label Reissue differs optically only by the silver stripe on top from the ...
The B52’s as a Silver Label Reissue differs optically only by the silver stripe on top from the …
The Silver Label variant is a numbered Limited Edition.
The Silver Label variant is a numbered Limited Edition.
That's why the Silver Label series got its name. Looking at the groove profile, one notices: The Deadwax area is smaller.
That’s why the Silver Label series got its name. Looking at the groove profile, one notices: The Deadwax area is smaller.
Mofi also makes slightly better use of space on side 2.
Mofi also makes slightly better use of space on side 2.
... German first pressing from 1979. The print quality is also about the same on both covers.
… German first pressing from 1979. The print quality is also about the same on both covers.
No special features on the back of the German LP.
No special features on the back of the German LP.
In Germany, the album was released under the title "Play Loud". Visible on the label and the cover spine.
In Germany, the album was released under the title “Play Loud”. Visible on the label and the cover spine.
The deadwax area is also somewhat larger here.
The deadwax area is also somewhat larger here.
The printed inner sleeve features all the lyrics ...
The printed inner sleeve features all the lyrics …
... und die viersaitige Gitarre von Ricky Wilson.
… and Ricky Wilson’s four-string guitar.
ArtistThe B-52’s
TitleThe B-52’s
LabelMobile Fidelity Silver LabelIsland Records
Released20101979
Catalogue numberMOFI 1-004200 776-320
Format12“12“
Revolutions/minute33 1/333 1/3
TypeAlbumAlbum
CoverSingle SleeveSingle Sleeve
Add-onsStiffenerGestaltete Innenhülle
Mastered by  Krieg WunderlichNot specified
Pressing plant RTINot specified
Matrix-RunoutMOFI 1-004A PS@MOFI 19216.1(3) MOFI 1-004-B2 PS@MOFI 19315.2(3)200776 A-1/79S Made in Germany 200776 B-1/79S Made in Germany
Edition/Limitation
Consecutive number007871
Country of manufactureUSAGermany

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