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MalachiLui  |  Aug 14, 2020  |  57 comments
Unlike many of their competitors, Schiit Audio seemingly intends to guide hi-fi beginners up the quality/price ladder. Their direct-to-consumer standalone components, some advertised for gaming and office setups, start at just $99. Schiit’s products appear feature-packed, but does the sound live up to the specs? Or are Schiit products, well, total shit?

Michael Fremer  |  Aug 11, 2020  |  54 comments
Well, that’s a clickbait headline for sure, but unlike most it’s probably true, especially if you’ve taken my word on this.

Tom Fleming  |  Aug 06, 2020  |  29 comments
I grew up and went to school in Hereford in the 1980s and 90s - a small, old, and averagely average rural English cathedral city with a bit of a leftie/peacenik 'muesli belt' that definitely included my family. Since a few biggish musicians or bands have had some connection with the town over the years, maybe also because of its hippy side and its proximity to the legendary Rockfield Studios (just down the road near Monmouth), the Herefordshire of my youth seemed to be full of people with tenuous and exaggerated claims of involvement with the music business. Anyone who had ever helped the band that became The Pretenders to unload their van (all of them except the American Chrissie Hynde were local, but had long since fled), played bagpipes on a Mike Oldfield album (he briefly lived just inside the county at the height of his fame) or soldered a jack plug for Mott The Hoople's keyboard player dined out on it for years. It was all a bit tedious and you learned not to be particularly impressed.

Michael Fremer  |  Jul 22, 2020  |  115 comments
Leaving aside for the moment the numbskulls who are so certain that A.C. power cords cannot possibly affect the sound of their audio systems that they can’t be bothered to actually listen for themselves—never mind that science is predicated upon observation— (plus of course they don’t believe anything they see, hear, taste, smell or touch unless it’s done under controlled “double-blind” conditions), there’s a big problem with heavy power cords: because of their heft, they often partially or sometimes fully pull out of the wall jack.

Michael Fremer  |  Jul 10, 2020  |  15 comments
A vinyl-loving physics professor at Florida State University emailed to tell me that William Stead, a "brilliant film student" was in his astronomy class and came up to the prof one day and told him he was a huge Bowie fan and that he loved vinyl. Stead made a short documentary about Doug and Michelle Allen, owners of Banana Records who I profiled in my Banana Records video, which you can find on the AnalogPlanet YouTube channel.

Malachi Lui  |  Jun 28, 2020  |  36 comments
(Vinyl Reports is an AnalogPlanet feature aiming to create a definitive guide to vinyl LPs. Here, we talk about sound quality, LP packaging, music, and the overarching vinyl experience.)

As the world moves to reopen, record stores are slowly allowing customers back in. Here in Portland, OR, Music Millennium recently held a week of appointment-only personal shopping experiences (charitable donation necessary), then subsequently reopened with a 10 person limit and new safety measures. I shopped during the “be the only customer inside!” period and reviewed below are four recent acquisitions.

Joseph W. Washek  |  Jun 19, 2020  |  16 comments
In January 1961, Riverside Records sent the great, but sadly uncelebrated recording engineer, David Jones (also known as Dave Jones and David B. Jones) to New Orleans to record Black traditional jazz musicians for a projected series of albums to be called “New Orleans—The Living Legends”. Jones is little remembered today and remains a shadowy figure, despite recording five months later, also for Riverside, the all-time audiophile classic Bill Evans LPs, Sunday At The Vanguard and Waltz For Debby. Jones did not follow the career path that made other recording engineers who were his contemporaries, latter day icons. He never recorded rock or pop music, limiting himself to on-location recordings for small independent labels of ethnic and classical music, and occasionally jazz. The personal recording style that he created and mastered strove to capture the natural sound of instruments in a room from a slightly distant, contemplative perspective and eschewed whizzbangery and artificial flash. It’s a subtle style that does not immediately impress and one that has undoubtedly limited his reputation.

Michael Fremer  |  May 19, 2020  |  56 comments
Well, here we go. More than 125 people have participated in the It’s Just Wire “blind test”, so thank you all. Certainly, we’ve dispelled the ridiculous notion that “wire is wire” and that all wire sounds the same. Which one might prefer is of course a personal preference. That we’d need blind A/B/X testing to “prove” that any sonic differences exist is absurd.

Malachi Lui  |  Apr 30, 2020  |  12 comments
You enter a record store and alphabetically dig through the rap LPs. You reach W: West, Kanye. All of the widely distributed Kanye LPs appear, but of his 2013 cinematic masterpiece Yeezus, a “FOR PROMOTIONAL USE ONLY” copy appears. The jacket shows Virgil Abloh’s iconic album package design, a red-taped CD case, cropped and blown up to a 12” square. Yeezus on vinyl?! A promo? For real??? Uhhhh, no.

Michael Fremer  |  Mar 25, 2020  |  12 comments
Last year (April 8th 2019) while visiting contributing editor Malachi Lui in Portland, we paid a visit to Cascade Record Pressing in nearly Milwaukie, Oregon. For one reason or another the tour video never posted, until now.

Michael Fremer  |  Mar 10, 2020  |  13 comments
AnalogPlanet visits German turntable manufacturer Acoustic Signature in the company's modern factory located in Süssen just outside of Stuttgart. The vertically integrated company—Germany's second largest turntable manufacturer— owns its own factory, in which you'll see state of the art CNC machinery, "Teutonic" organization and extreme manufacturing and assembling efficiency.

Michael Fremer, Malachi Lui  |  Mar 01, 2020  |  23 comments
Here are our choices for the best reissues of the past decade. They include individual LPs, box sets and ongoing series. We decided to omit from the list re-mixes such as Abbey Road, because they are not strictly “reissues” as well as “newly found” older recordings such as John Coltrane’s Blue World. Obviously, over the long decade—and one where vinyl again became the reissue format of choice—there were far too many worthwhile records than we could manageably list—Analogue Productions and Mobile Fidelity alone produced dozens of list-worthy reissues. Here are the ones we decided were most important and most worthy of your attention. Please contribute yours in the comments!

Michael Fremer  |  Feb 24, 2020  |  3 comments
Spinbase is a compact (18”Wx13.5”Dx8”H) all-in-one audio system (available in either black or white) that incorporates a two-way vented stereo speaker system featuring a pair of Class “D” powered soft dome tweeters and active woofers using sophisticated DSP processing to produce a box-escaping 270 degree sound field.

Malachi Lui  |  Feb 18, 2020  |  66 comments
(Vinyl Reports is a new AnalogPlanet feature intended to create a definitive guide to vinyl LPs. Here, we’ll provide sound quality, LP packaging, notes about the overarching vinyl experience, and sometimes music reviews. Today’s vague theme is what this recurring feature is generally about: records new and old, good and bad. Let the fun begin…)

Michael Fremer  |  Jan 24, 2020  |  51 comments
Frankly speaking, I don’t like lists. It’s bad enough to pick 5 best albums over a year, never mind 50 over a decade. It’s worse to have to almost arbitrarily list them in descending order, but that’s the self-assignment so that’s what I’ve done. While I was already Social Security eligible a decade ago, many people found my behavior to be that of a 4 year old, so perhaps that’s why my pal Malachi, the site’s other “regular writer” and I get along so well. Plus, while I won’t repeat his political comments, we are on the same page there too, though he’s probably slightly to my left. Clearly we diverge somewhat musically, though both of us agree on the #1 record of the past decade and David Bowie is our favorite artist. He’s encouraged me to listen to Kanye and Tyler, the Creator as well as Frank Ocean and I’m glad he did. I turned him on to Gil Evans and he’s glad I did.

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