Some of My Best Sounding Records Discussed In These Ken Micallef Produced and Edited Videos

Stereophile reviewer Ken Micallef visited (mask on) recently to pick up a turntable for review. He asked if I'd do a video with him showing some of my best sounding records. I agreed and picked a bunch out that I show in these three videos shot during his visit.

No 'science' was involved in the choices, nor did I mull over what I'd choose. They just came into mental view as I started choosing and of course there are many, many more I could have chosen and I will at some point follow up on the AnalogPlanet channel since Ken's viewers clearly enjoy this.

P.S.: Ken is a drummer so the timing of his edits is "spot on".

Chemguy's picture

Thank you, Michael and Ken. I made a big list and I’m going to listen and then search for some sonic spectaculars. That was a very enjoyable hour.

robert r dawson's picture

flew by. Can't wait to go on the next record hunt now. Fascinating stuff. By the way, the accents are funny shit.

richiep's picture

You have suggested many of those great records for their quality over the years. They are a great listen and we have missed you, like kids out of school! stay safe and strong, be well!

Chemguy's picture

I streamed Satchmo Plays King Oliver, enjoyed it, and did an online search for a copy. Found out that it’s also called The Best of a Louis Armstrong, that AF put out in other Canada! Wait a Minute!...I scurry downstairs to my inherited record collection, and there it is! So, I’m playing it again; the record is in near mint condition, it’s sonically superb, and yes, Louis is in the room.
Thanks again, Michael!

eugeneharrington's picture

Sure enough I have the Classic Records' audiophile reissue of the Townshend/Lane 'Rough Mix' album and the LAST sticker is faithfully reproduced on the rear cover near the centre at the bottom. Michael highlighted this little 'peculiarity' in his Stereophile column around the time Classic reissued this title. Subsequently on one of my U.S. vacations I found a Mint Original Atco U.S. copy at a Half Price Books Store in Ann Arbor, MI so I picked that up too. I really must take both out tomorrow night and play them. It has been way too long since I last heard this record.

KLW's picture

Michael, Looking very Fit!
Thankful for these LP recommendations and videos!

Martin's picture

Loved the Sticky Fingers TML German pressing bit - best sounding version of SF.
Funny, I think I told you that. I remember you going "Naaaaaa", with the email convrtsation going to Steve Hoffman, the to Doug Sax himself who confirmed it Glyn Johns brought the actual master tapes round to Doug Saxs place and Doug did the European cut right there.
German A3/B3 matrix cut is the best. There is a A4/B4 but not quite up to the A3. The UK press also good, but the German is pressed on better vinyl.
Great video :-)

kleinbje's picture

Curious if you've hear the B(no number) B side? The a3/b won my 7 copy shootout.

Glotz's picture

You look great and healthy and you were so funny! Great sidebar info too. Ken is a blast as well. I still have the last section to watch!

hiwattnick's picture

Great vids! Thanks, Michael and Ken!

Intermediate Listener's picture

My two favorite music/audio gurus together for the (first?) time.

Would love to hear you two discuss the original Van Gelder Blue Note mixes - as I recall Ken likes them, Michael not so much.

Also really need to hear the Brian Wilson turntable repair story!

Babysharks's picture

Many thanks to Ken and Michael for doing these. The humor and the breadth of background on these (and other) LPs move these videos towards a historical documentary category.

Thanks guys ... keep it up!

JEB-42's picture

Arranged by Race, meaning the longest to shortest playing record sides?

Michael Fremer's picture
Meaning the worst possible apartheid meaning but it was a joke of course....
jazz's picture

definitely outstanding, love it, as well as the voice fake up phases...would watch it even if you’d recommend death metal only

Neward Thelman's picture

"Americans are more divided than ever, gridlocked over social issues, race, gender and the economy". AP News.

Increasing number of folks are convinced the earth is flat, science is a lie, and Vladimir Putin is a great American statesman.

So, of course, this venue is no different.

Some folks think M. Fremer's childish humor [so called] is actually funny, rather than being a symptom of psychological dysfunction.

Also, dinosaurs and Adam and Eve walked together. Rock on.

orthobiz's picture

and fun. Thanks so much!


chrishugill's picture

Great videos. Great fun. don't stop the accents. I'm a brit and think you do a great job so keep up the battle against the knobheads and the wankers.'s picture

thanks for best sounding album videos , you wanker ;-)

jazz's picture

I don’t doubt they are the best versions of those albums, I have several of them including the releases of comparison mentioned, the Alto‘s, the Stones, the Satchmo etc.

But those mentioned should not only be just the best sounding versions of those albums, but among the best sounding records generally? I mean really?

I understood this rather as valuable hints for those who want to know what’s the best version of the individual album, but otherwise just as a showing of the own collection’s releases which (with exceptions) no one will find too easily or cheaply if at all. A hint to some of the absolutely best sounding records which not only one or two of the readers will have a chance to get at all, would look differently in my opinion. Just as if I’d pick the hardest to find and most expensive records of my collection while telling how cheaply I shot them. I guess I wouldn’t get a big thank you.

Eskisi's picture

It seems to me all these hifi/music sites need to be reviewed with a grain of salt and in some casual, perusing sort of way — they all have useful info interspersed with much BS and writer’s biases. This particular site, hosted by a foul-mouthed, obnoxious homunculus is no different. If you want to know about the (possibly) best sounding version of a not particularly good XTC album, fine. Otherwise need to look elsewhere.

jazz's picture

...the probably worst sounding of this recommendation series ;-)

I just listened to the digital, even hires version to check if it might be worth the vinyl and in my case it was the non interest in this music together with the awful sound that didn’t make me expect a much better sound on vinyl.

In my perception the headline for this series must have been confused somehow.

Michael Fremer's picture
When your head clears please post an understandable comment
jazz's picture

Michael is, that I didn’t expect albums like the XTC or the Stones (which sound good for a Rock album of this era) as some of your best sounding albums generally. Those we’re great hints to pressings of those albums, but among the best sounding ones of your collection I expected something like Belafonte/Carnegie or Royal Ballett (just less well known)

ChrisS's picture

...still here?

audiotom's picture

Tell us how you really feel

jazz's picture

with MF in my last post...I don’t share them. I prefer the characteristics connected with a strong opinion on things to the usual meaningless reviews without the balls to compare or talk straight about weaknesses, even of the own equipment. For me MF is the best reviewer out there. I enjoyed the videos as entertainment with some good information on certain releases, even if I expected another kind of recommendations.

Michael Fremer's picture
Neward Thelman's picture

"...foul-mouthed, obnoxious..."

Those traits are minimum requirements to be a so-called reviewer for Stereophile. Each and every single one of them are like that; most far worse than Fremer. In fact, they just re-hired one of the most obnoxious jokers in audio; a geriatric, rich white dude who actually goes around trying to act Black, and calls himself "J10".

Very sad, reading and seeing a collection of old farts expending massive amounts of energy to act like prepubescent twerps - the annoying kind who go their butts kicked back in high school on a regular basis.

Rock on.

Michael Fremer's picture
So fucking hilarious. Rock on!
Michael Fremer's picture
Meant as science
Sandsten's picture

Thank you for this enjoyable hour of great music and stories, love it, now I got some new gems to find. Keep up the good work.

dg110233's picture

No Steely Dan Record ?
I have the American Rough Mix By MCA. It is a great record. Never heard the British version .

jazz's picture

...only labels like Pure Pleasure use terms like “from best available source” which leaves open if the real master was used or a copy or something else.

I now learned by the example of the Gil Evans AP reissue, that also AP doesn’t always use the original masters and isn’t transparent about it. Until now I believed in them being different.

Michael Fremer's picture
However with AP it is extremely rare and I don't think it will again happen without being "flagged" before sale. If you knew what AP had to go through not to mention pay to get The Doors tapes you'd be somewhat more forgiving. Many Impulse tapes burnt in the Universal fire... so "next best" was used...
jazz's picture

I think very faithfully of AP and love their recordings. The only weaknesses against some older Classic Records reissues I recently noted were some Sterling/Marino reissues (havimg clearly less ambiance) compared to Grundman’s (e.g. Billie Holiday/Songs for distingue lovers)

rl1856's picture

Ur a Wankah ! Usin' ya fingas to touch Lps like dat ! U should be banned ! Seriously- GREAT videos with a lot of diversity and information regarding various pressings. Just what curious listeners want. And your room is great- many out there aspire to a space like yours. More videos in the cards ???

Boomer's picture

I had a great time listening to all of the stories of not only the albums themselves but how and where they were found and the people on the albums. Absolutely loved the video's. Mr. Fremer is a wealth of knowledge and I appreciate how he passes on finds to the rest of us.

billsf's picture

No way. Van Buren High 4 Ever. MVB Class of '65. I guess we were neighbors. LOL

audiotom's picture

Michael - very nice expose on wonderful recordings - thank you!

The first UK cover of Abbey Road does not have Her Majesty listed in the song titles

They were still deciding whether they would keep it on the record

abelb1's picture

Very enjoyable watch. Thanks Mike and Ken!
Any chance of another one by Christmas?

PeterPani's picture

looking at your clips I am feeling myself a bit less crazy!

dekan's picture

I've been contemplating buying this Ry Cooder record. My local store had a used original copy and a new pressing. Michael talked about it, and recommended to get the original... so I did!!! Today! I bought Luther Dickinson's album @ RSD today, so I thought I'd just stay in the family and buy Paris, Texas, that has his papa Jim Dickinson playing on it. Thanks for the tip...!!!

garyalex's picture

I just got a copy of that Lightnin' Hopkins "Lightnin' Strikes" you recommended, courtesy of Discogs. As usual you're right. Great sounding album and a welcome addition to my library. Thanks Michael.

Ruyooka's picture

..for your great sense of humour. You've got the accents down pat. Very educative as always. Hope you'll do a series on "best sounding re-issues in the last 30 years" by genre. May help those of with modest means as we hunt for what is actually or more readily available. I love your column in Stereophile too. Keep up the good work.

cement_head's picture

Thought I was buying a first pressing, seller sent me a 1974 "PR Pressing" of SFs, in immaculate condition. To me, it sounds like the Stones are standing in my living room. This copy ( - so I can't imagine what the Doug Sax TML version sounds like.

Jack's picture

Thank you. I have enjoyed this so much, I hope you guys wil continue. Love it. Do the whole collection :)

Neward Thelman's picture

Watching one of M. Fremer's previous videos, I was initially struck by his articulate, sophisticated demeanor. He seemed like a well-informed, urbane individual who could be a trusted source of audio information, and no doubt a welcome guest at any dinner party. You could rely on him not be a real-life version of Steve Carell's character from "Dinner For Schmucks".

That impression lasted for exactly 60 seconds. Without warning, Fremer screeched out a falsetto rendition of some rock song - just like any really obnoxious 10 year old is inclined to do.

Here, in these YouTubes, Fremer continually lapses into mimicking British characters. It's more than annoying. You've clicked on the video to get some audio information, but instead you get the spectacle of a grey old man behaving childishly for several hours.

It's be one thing if Brits were a rare oddity here in America. But, there are plenty of them in the public eye, from James Corden to Hugh Grant. By all appearances, Fremer's unaware of that, which makes him seem even more like some insulated old fart stereotype.

Arrested development is a psychiatric term [see DSM, 5th edition] indicating a mentality that failed to reach normal maturity. Such people remain at some state of infancy, regardless of their chronological age. Watching Fremer's metal affliction on display was exactly like watching outtakes from "Dinner For Schmucks".

Michael Fremer's picture
What's your degree in (if you have one)? It's not psychiatry. But you are amusing. And you sure come back often don't you?
ChrisS's picture have "Michael Fremer Derangement Syndrome"?

orthobiz's picture

Great. I just paid an arm and a leg for a TML Sticky Fingers, slowly making its way across the pond. Will have to post again when I listen to it. If it gives me the same kind of joy as my $6 RL Led Zeppelin II I'll be happy!