By 1983 MoFi had grown into a company with over 25 employees and grossing over $8 million annually. Then they nearly lost it all. The new darling on the scene was the compact disc. Because MoFi had been putting something on the order of 20% of their earnings back into research, they were prepared for the next wave. In the mid ‘80s, they launched their assault on the CD market with their half-speed
Their first efforts were released on aluminum discs, very much like all other discs at the time. And, in fact, some of these have become quite rare. Recently copies of them regularily go for >$75 on e-Bay. Partly, in an effort to justify the higher price they needed to charge, MoFi began to release their works on gold-plated compact discs called UltraDiscs. Although gold in and of itself isn’t significantly better than aluminum for the reproduction of ones and zeros, it oxidizes roughly ten times more slowly than aluminum. It is also supposed to coat more evenly than aluminum. This last attribute is said to cut down on the pin-holing so common to aluminum CDs, which allows for less error-correction during playback. This means more of the actual recording and less processor interpolation gets to your ears. So there was some inherent advantage to the gold treatment.