Van Halen’s Complete Roth-Era Catalog Set To Get MoFi Treatment On Vinyl, SAC
To jump or not to jump? That’s the question many Van Halen enthusiasts will be asking as they contemplate the prospect of the band’s original series of albums becoming available as pricey but highly collectible premium vinyl box sets later this year.
Mobile Fidelity, the flagship of audiophile vinyl, will release the six albums the band originally recorded with David Lee Roth as frontman in double-LP boxes that involve the lossless “one-step” process, pressed on four sides each at 45 rpm, allowing for the utmost assurance that even with Michael Anthony’s bass at maximum intensity, the needle won’t advance and j…er, skip.
At $125 each from Music Direct, the only site they can currently be pre-ordered from, these special editions aren’t for casual fans…or modern vinyl “lovers” who buy LPs to view the covers without having to turntable connected. But as recent experience with MoFi vinyl releases would prove, it’s entirely possible that the 10,000 numbered copies of each could actually sell out online, or that most retail stores that carry the brand won’t. only get a copy or two.
In other words, while there’s a lot of flipping involved in splitting these albums onto four sides for what is considered by many enthusiasts to be extreme fidelity, that will pale against the flipping that will occur on eBay a once the race is exhausted.
The good or bad news, depending on your perspective, is that the six albums will be released sequentially, not all at the same time, which will only cost when shipped, putting less strain on the wallet.
News of quietly (as opposed to Quiex-ly) vinyl releases crept in early 2022. What was new in Thursday’s announcement from Mobile Fidelity was confirmation of the rumored six-album OG VH will also be released in high fidelity. digital too, pressed like hybrid Super Audio CDs, which include a layer playable on normal CD players for those who don’t have one of the few SACD players in the wild. The SACD releases are also numbered and might end up being almost as collectible, but are more affordable for the average fan, with a $30 price tag on Music Direct.
The titles included in this line will begin with “Van Halen” (1978) in the fourth quarter of 2022, followed by “Van Halen II” (1979), “Women and Children First” (1980), “Fair Warning” (1981), ” Diver Down” (1982) and “1984” (you know the year). MoFi won’t be done with these titles once the one-step versions sell out; a “standard three-step 180g 45RPM 2LP process” for each album will be announced at a later date, the MoFi said.
Artwork for the vinyl boxes will match the original albums, but with the familiar Mobile Fidelity banner portion of the cover embossing.
“Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab is thrilled to release Van Halen’s iconic first six albums in UD1S and SACD formats for the first time,” Jim Davis, president of Music Direct and Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab, said in a statement. “Fans will experience Van Halen’s original blend of raw power and Hollywood flair like never before with these limited-edition audiophile-grade One-Step vinyl sets.” The company claimed that Van Halen titles “have previously been overlooked for UD1S and SACD treatment due to the sheer excitement and raucous intensity of the music”, suggesting that the X-treme cradle and true hi -fi were not always necessarily assumed to be completely compatible.
Mobile Fidelity has previously released audiophile editions of large swathes of artist catalogs, including several classics from Bob Dylan, Miles Davis, Elvis Costello, the Grateful Dead, the Band and the Eagles. And in recent years the company has made one-step box sets an increasing part of its output, with a special release of Donald Fagen’s “The Nightfly” proving how quickly each copy of such a release could be picked up, even at the highest price. But this is the first time the MoFi has announced that a large portion of an artist’s catalog must be processed in one step.
No plans for a premium edition of “Van Halen III” have yet been revealed.