Features

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Malachi Lui  |  Sep 19, 2018  |  24 comments
Felt mats have never been known for audiophile-grade sound, but how do they fare against each other? Can you hear differences among them?

Michael Fremer  |  Sep 13, 2018  |  34 comments
In a July 2nd story, we announced four new costly arms from SAT(Swedish Analog Technologies): two models each available in 9" and 12" versions. The least expensive of the four, the LM-09 was reviewed in the just shipped October, 2018 Stereophile.

Michael Fremer  |  Aug 30, 2018  |  10 comments
Members of the European press plus AnalogPlanet.com editor Michael Fremer and The Absolute Sound’s Julie Mullins were invited to the launch of two new Marantz limited edition products celebrating the 40th anniversary of legendary Marantz “Brand Ambassador” Ken Ishiwata’s association with the company. The event was held inside famed Concertgabouw rather than at Marantz’s Eindhoven, Netherlands European headquarters.

The “KI” stands for Ken Ishiwata, and ruby is the gemstone associated with 40th anniversaries. Each of the products is limited to 1000 and are considered “collector’s items”. For those who don’t know Ken Ishiwata or the nature of his Marantz relationship, this video will provide the answers. Ken says it’s the first time he’s discussed the history.

Michael Fremer  |  Aug 14, 2018  |  18 comments
At the New York Audio Show a few years ago visitors, especially couples, found themselves attracted to a "console stereo" featuring a tube amplifier (with Blue-Tooth functionality), a high end Pro-Ject turntable, a pair of full range speakers plus a hidden powered 300 watt subwoofer all housed in a stunning-looking solid wood cabinet.

Michael Fremer  |  Aug 06, 2018  |  0 comments
EISA is the European Imaging and Sound Association. Founded more than 35 years ago by a few European magazine editors, it has since expanded to incorporate audio, video and home theater.

Each year, members (mostly magazine editors) from around Europe gather for four days of non-stop product demonstrations. Review samples sent later are tested and evaluated after which members vote. Winners get to put the blue EISA logo on their products. Perhaps you've seen it on something you've purchased.

Michael Fremer  |  Jun 23, 2018  |  2 comments
Angie's Audio Corner owner Angela Lisi throws an annual party for friends, customers, manufacturers and the press around the time of the summer solstice, this year to celebrate her store's 40th anniversary. She also runs a successful distribution business. There was live music and food trucks

Michael Fremer  |  May 22, 2018  |  55 comments
Before the start of last April's AXPONA show at the Schaumburg Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center AnalogPlanet editor Michael Fremer and Music Direct's Vice President Josh Bizar drove to Chicago and to the home of online vinyl and audio dealer Music Direct.

Michael Fremer  |  Apr 09, 2018  |  50 comments
About a dozen years ago at a used record store in San Francisco I bought a “mint” original German pressing of The Beatles (“The White Album”). It was up on the store wall at $75.00. The laminated “top loader” jacket was mint, all of the head shots the poster and the black sleeves were inside looking as if none of it had been touched and the records appeared as minty as advertised.

Michael Fremer  |  Feb 10, 2018  |  43 comments
Beginning in the late ‘70s, continuing throughout the 1980s and once in 1994 Wilson Audio Specialties founder Dave Wilson released a series of records that he co-produced with wife Sheryl Lee, many of which he also engineered. They were minimally miked—often a spaced pair of Schoeps was all—and mastered by an all-star lineup of disc cutters including Bruce Leek (who also shared engineering credit on some), Stan Ricker and Doug Sax (Google if any of the names are unfamiliar). The tape machine for all but the very early organ record Recital (Wilson W-278) was an Ultramaster™ by John Curl, a highly modified Studer 1/2" deck running at 30 IPS.

Michael Fremer  |  Dec 21, 2017  |  11 comments
Here are some gift-giving ideas for this holiday season that come late, but not too late! Among the suggestions are books, record cleaning accessories,records and vinyl boxed sets. The embedded video has more suggestions.

Michael Fremer  |  Nov 30, 2017  |  11 comments
Just had to sneak this in before heading for vacation. Riva Audio's Wand is a spectacular-sounding wireless Wi-Fi based distributed audio system that features open architecture, meaning you can stream using Google's Play app via Chromecast, or Apple's Airplay, or directly from a hard drive via DLNA or control the system Riva's own Wand app, at up to 192/24 bit resolution. It has Spotify built in.

Michael Fremer  |  Nov 26, 2017  |  10 comments
Don Was, community organizer. Who would have thought? There's long been a Blue Note "community" but it's a loose knit, worldwide group of like-minded label enthusiasts that have kept the Blue Note flame glowing. The fans remained true even as the company changed hands, lost artistic focus, engaged in self-exploitation and occasionally tried to re-invent itself into something it was not.

Michael Fremer  |  Oct 29, 2017  |  2 comments
Friday night at this year's Blues Masters at the Crossroads in Chad Kassem's Blue Heaven Studios featured emcee and blues veteran Doug MacLeod and an outstanding talent lineup: Jontavious Willis, Marquise Knox, Lucky Peterson, Alabama Slim and Robert Finley.

Michael Fremer  |  Oct 17, 2017  |  16 comments
First let's all agree that these short clip tests are useful and fun but must be taken as "for entertainment purposes only."

For those joining late, we twice asked the question "Should You Buy a MM-Only Phono Preamp If You Own a MM Cartridge"?, each time offering "blind listening" and voting. The first time was way back in May of 2017 where you could listen and vote for one of eight phono preamps, some MM-only and some MM/MC running in MM.

Michael Fremer  |  Oct 06, 2017  |  5 comments
Phono specialist/electronics designer Jim Hagerman of Hagerman Audio Labs recently published a PDF file containing really useful tips for reducing and hopefully removing from your system hum and other forms of phono playback noise pollution.

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