LATEST ADDITIONS

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Michael Fremer Posted: Aug 01, 2014 Published: Jul 31, 2014 2 comments
I reviewed Dynamic Sound Associate's $12,000 solid-state phono preamp in Stereophile's "Analog Corner" October, 2013. It was a "Class A" product all the way other than a few "burps".

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Michael Fremer Posted: Jul 31, 2014 Published: Jul 30, 2014 8 comments
Reite Audio is a relatively new company created by electronics designer Bob Reite and musician Ed Sheftel. Sheftel first imported to America and distributed the Welsh-made Tom Evans Audio Design line of electronics. One of its products, The Groove phono preamp had, at the turn of the century, what could fairly be described as a “cult following”.
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Michael Fremer Posted: Jul 30, 2014 Published: Jul 29, 2014 4 comments
Ernst Benz founder of moving coil cartridge manufacturer Benz Micro passed away on July 5th, 2014 in his Neuhausen-am-Rheinfall, Switzerland home at age 82, surrounded by his family.

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Michael Fremer Posted: Jul 23, 2014 Published: Jul 22, 2014 35 comments
Off the audiophile pedestal and into the “real world” we go, with a review of Audio Technica’s easy to set up $250 AT-LP120-USB turntable.

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Michael Fremer Posted: Jul 22, 2014 Published: Jul 21, 2014 37 comments
Thanks to all who downloaded and listened to the same track played using 8 different mats. That's a great deal of heavy lifting, hopefully made somewhat lighter by Mike Valentine's excellent Decca tree recording of a nimble performance of Vivaldi's "Concerto For 2 Mandolins". I hope you downloaded and enjoyed the "gift" track too.

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Michael Fremer Posted: Jul 19, 2014 Published: Jul 18, 2014 2 comments
Analogplanet.com readers requested we post the "rebook" version of the Vivaldi Mandolin piece so there's a reference at the same sampling and bit rate as the "needle drops".

Michael Fremer Posted: Jul 18, 2014 Published: Jul 17, 2014 61 comments
This is hardly a scientific comparison, but I spent a few days comparing, in order of price, the Audioquest carbon fiber brush ($24.99), the AcousTech The Big Record Brush ($36.95) ($52.95 with grounding wire) and the Levin Design ($335 appx.).

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Michael Fremer Posted: Jul 17, 2014 4 comments
Eschewing both retro and modern musical gestures, the remarkable young jazz singer Cécile McLorin Salvant manages here to make new and fresh an album of mostly very old songs.

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Michael Fremer Posted: Jul 16, 2014 Published: Jul 15, 2014 0 comments
Sorry, this is not a giveaway contest. However, if you have sufficiently deep pockets ($3499 if you sign up now, $3999 after August 1st) you can spend a four day, extended weekend, Thursday, November 6th through Sunday November 9th, 2014 with four of the greatest producer/engineers of our time (or any time) at the Power Station/New England Studios in Waterford, CT.

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Michael Fremer Posted: Jul 11, 2014 50 comments
Here are eight excerpts of Vivaldi's "Concerto for 2 Mandolins" from the audiophile sampler record Chasing the Dragon (VAL007) produced and engineered by Mike Valentine. Also find the entire 96k/24 bit file generously provided by Mr. Valentine that you can enjoy as well as use as a "control" in helping you determine which mat (if any) helped produce the most accurate vinyl rendering of the file.

The original 96/24 Nagra digital recording used three Neumann M50 tube microphones in the classic "Decca tree" configuration.

The turntable/tonearm used was the recently reviewed Zorin Audio combo fitted with a Lyra Titan i feeding a feeding the recently reviewed Swan Song Audio Cygnet MC phono preamplifier. The A/D converter was the Ayre QA-9 currently under review. The files are 16 bit/44.1K WAV.

The mats were: 1) the stock carbon fiber one supplied with the Zorin 2) a Boston Audio Graphite mat 3) "The Simple Mat" made from synthetic cork 4) a now discontinued one of what feels like ultra-thin 1/16th of an inch cork from a fellow who shall remain nameless and whose mat was nameless so I'll call it the Brooklyn mat 5) the Hideinthesound suede mat 6) the Hideinthesound split mat with suede on one side and a smooth hide on the other side, 7) The Music Hall cork mat with the raised discs 8) the Moo mat made of cow hair and hide.

There are dozens of other mats worthy or coverage but we'll start with these.

Please download the files and listen. The plucked, percussive mandolin is an ideal instrument to demonstrate differences (if there are any) among the mats in terms of transient speed and clarity, sustain and decay—especially given the recording technique, which produces stable, three-dimensional images.

There's no "best" or "worst" (assuming you hear any difference at all). It will just be interesting to see if a consensus develops around one or two of them.

After voting, please leave a comment about what you heard and why you voted as you did.

File "1"

File "2"

File "3"

File "4"

File "5"

File "6"

File "7"

File "8"

Master File

Master File "redbook"

A "gift" for you

Do Record Mats Really Make a Sonic Difference? And if So, Which of These Do You Prefer.

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