What are the Original Master Recordings?

The good reputation of Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab is based not least on the Original Master Recordings (OMR). Since 1978, MFSL has been producing this audiophile series of reissues, always striving for the best possible sound of a release.

“Original Master Recording” is written on most covers

Original Master Recording releases are very easy to recognise by a mostly colourful horizontal stripe at the top of the cover with the words “Original Master Recordings”. The cover is usually a gatefold cover made of very heavy cardboard. If the cover of earlier releases is a single sleeve, the inside of the opened cover is often redesigned especially for OMR. For example, with the song lyrics or – if available – photos from the recording sessions. The record is in a high-quality, lined antistatic sleeve, which in turn is in a printed sleeve made of stiff cardboard, the so-called “stiffener”.

Half Speed Mastering from the original master tape

The special thing about OMR releases is above all that the laquer is always cut from the original master tape, whereas conventional reissues often use copies of the tape or even digital files. But since the master tape is not always available, MFSL has created the Silver Label series.

The pressing artwork is always cut using the half-speed mastering process, which allows for particularly high fidelity when cutting the pressing matrix. Pressing is done at RTI and usually on 180g vinyl made from a particularly fine vinyl material mix which, according to MFSL, produces less background noise during playback than conventional vinyl.

OMR releases are available with 33 RPM and 45 RPM

Many OMR releases are limited to small numbers and are often numbered.

The audiophile Original Master Series initially consisted only of vinyl LPs. However at times reel-to-reel tapes, compact cassettes, CDs, gold CDs and SACDs were also produced. Currently, SACDs and LPs are still released, with the vinyl releases distinguished between the 33 RPM LPs and 45 RPM LPs.