Lacquer/ERC Dust Up Takeaway

Okay, the photo has nothing to do with the text but I thought you might enjoy it and it's possibly good clickbait. This little dust up with Mike Esposito was really me doing what I've been doing since calling out the B.S. that was the compact disc revolution when the industry, both on the hardware and software side, was insisting that this new format sounded better than the old one when in fact it clearly did not, especially at that time. As Chad Kassem pointed out in the stream, we and others were subjected to major levels of abuse and told to "get with the program" and that we were just used to, and preferred distortion. You still get that today but it's easier to ignore.

I'm not interested in picking another fight with the guy but let's get a few facts straight here. In his original video covering the Supersense lacquer project he said "chunks of lacquer" would come off during play and deterioration begins almost immediately and with each play. Even if that was hyperbole, it's off the mark. I posted audible proof that that's simply not true. The Buddy Holly and Who lacquers sound amazingly good by any audible standard and those are oft-played lacquers 25+ and 16 years old. Yet he responded with a thoroughly bogus video claiming mine "proved" his points. It did no such thing. And that was before I agreed to the livestream video.

Just before the stream I received an email with this link to a report detailing an experiment in which one of the Supersense A Love Supreme lacquers was played more than 100 times and a Spectrogram analysis showed ZERO change in frequency response. That does not mean in 10 years the lacquer will measure the same, though it does prove that Mike's claims about lacquer instant degradation are simply untrue. Will the lacquers measure or sound the same in 10 or 20 years? Haven't seen the measurements because they don't exist, but the playback offers a positive glimpse forward.

The individual who did the experiment divulged upfront and honestly that he is associated with Supersense. Now, you may say the conflict of interest is a cause for concern and that the experiment should be repeated by a disinterested party, but Mike actually penalizes the honest party for divulging the connection and says in the video that he only got as far as the disclosure and couldn't be bothered to actually watch the presentation. So had the producer not divulged the connection would he have watched it? Your call.

I guess that's how he also so easily dismisses my 30 years of work and questions my integrity, because I, like every music reviewer over the past 60 or so years, gets "free records" and he does not. He just sells them and so has absolutely no "conflicts of interest". Of course his are as real and or imaginary as are mine, depending upon whether or not you accept each individual's honesty and integrity.

My defense of The Electric Recording Company is based upon his unfairly targeting that company not because they send me records. Showing a split seam? Seriously? That's just low. Every label has that issue and as much as I didn't want to show one from Analogue Productions, I felt it necessary since he sells AP's records. A "bowed" jacket? ERC's jackets are "hand made" and as such vary in that regard. I've gotten a few, but over time on the shelf they begin to straighten out. I could have shown some "Tip on" jackets from Stoughton with similar issues related to the gatefold paper ripping or creasing. It's also hand made and it's to be expected. It too would be a cheap shot he won't show because, well. And the defective records? You don't want to see my inbox filled with complaints about records pressed at every high quality pressing plant that presses for audiophile and major labels alike. And the readers here who demand "perfection" are being ridiculous and self-righteous. The real issue is, does the company make good on defects and ERC does, no questions asked. That's one reason why ERC immediately sells out each title. Saying sales are mainly to "flippers" is simply scurrilous and the few flippers there are wouldn't have a market if the records weren't desirable, which they are.

According to the company the defective rate is around 3% or 3 bad out of 300. Some defects like groove eccentricity can't be detected without playing every record. Yes, I get every ERC (though I never asked for them) and every one of them came with a rice paper inner but Mike's did not. I see. If he'd made that video "drive by shooting" of any legitimate label trying to do good all-analog work using master tapes, I'd produce the same defense whether or not I got "free records". It's just the right thing to do. Supporting companies doing good work (which is not the same as making excuses for them when they seriously screw up) is part of the job I do, as I see it. Esposito doesn't go after any of the high quality labels he sells, though all of them have the same problems. So why is that? I don't know.

I have no problem with him being a "retail critic". His mistakes are honest like the one he made about the Craft Way Out West, but that video makes clear he's still happy to lay out the unfair dirt about me and from the comments during the stream, his acolytes, keying off of his comments are happy to demonize me, most of whom have no idea what part I played in there even being a record business for Mike to be in today. That's annoying but in some ways that's actually rewarding.

Why Esposito felt compelled to attempt to stick the knife into Supersense's lacquer effort instead of simply issuing a caution about their relative fragility is something only he knows, (along with the anger he displays—what is there to be angry about?), what is kind of a cool opportunity for those willing to spend the money to own what he's spent the money on and he has? He hold up lacquers and says how great they sound, but they are for him, not for you? What? I hope his lacquers are not for sale. I'll tell you this: you will never see the ERCs I am lucky to have—even of titles I don't really like—on Ebay or Discogs or for sale anywhere.

I also enjoyed Chad bringing out plating genius Gary Salstrom. You can imagine when Gary sees a lacquer his brain says "plate it quick!" Of course! If you are in the business of manufacturing records getting that lacquer off the lathe into the silvering booth and then into the nickel bath as soon as possible is critical! But that's a different perspective than offering a consumer an opportunity to buy and enjoy a lacquer. Don't you think there are thousands of people who will jump at this opportunity? I do. They are the same people who have $500 and more to drop on a bottle of wine that once consumed gets peed out a lot faster than a lacquer wears out! And if you've never enjoyed a bottle like that, trust me, it's well worth the money—not that I've ever spent that much on a bottle of wine, but I've been treated unannounced to it (AND NOT BY ANY AUDIO MANUFACTURER OR RECORD LABEL) and immediately knew I was a drinking something I'd never before experienced.

So look, if you want to buy a Supersense lacquer, go ahead! Maybe you first want to know how good they sound. I hope to find out. Whether I'm given one or have to buy it I'll give you the honest truth about how it sounds and if you don't believe me, you are an unwelcome guest on this site. I'll tell you this: the "Tommy", "Buddy Holly" and "Night In Tunisia" lacquer (among others) that I've had for many years and often played would be well worth $500 and knowing what I know now, I'd pay it again if they got stolen or lost. The idea that I'd be here writing "Well I have a collection of lacquers and they sound great, but my advice to you is to not buy one" is beyond absurd and yet that's Mike's message.

COMMENTS
recordhead's picture

"get over it and move on."

Tom L's picture

we can put this largely illusory controversy to bed. Lacquers don't magically self-destruct in a matter of weeks, and playing them occasionally with a good 'table and cart seems relatively harmless as well. If you are concerned about the prospect of having them deteriorate the remedy is easy, don't buy them!
Just one point about this post by Michael-a 3% defect rate is nine per 300 discs, not one per 300.

Michael Fremer's picture
Mathlexic
RoBoKok's picture

You wrote: "I have no problem with him being a "retail critic". His mistakes are honest like the one he made about the Craft Way Out West, but that video makes clear he's still happy to lay out the unfair dirt about me and from the comments during the stream, his acolytes, keying off of his comments are happy to demonize me, most of whom have no idea what part I played in there even being a record business for Mike to be in today. That's annoying but in some ways that's actually rewarding.

You are obviously hurt when people question your integrity as a reviewer. But vinyl was alsof saved by the dance/DJ community that still wanted those 12-inches. People do not really care whether you saved vinyl these days. They just want to tell you that you get expensive records for free. Listen, if ERC was a Japanese company we would not be having this discussion at all. Each copy sent out would be visually perfect and packaged sans pareil.

Michael Fremer's picture
"What PART I played". I never suggested anything other than playing a PART. I always take care to mention the PART the dance/DJ community played as did the Scientologists. Yes, I get expensive records for free as do other reviewers. I am not alone. Reviewers have gotten promo records for as long as there have been records. I'm sure you know that.
RoBoKok's picture

To be clear here, it is not something that bothers me at all. I know for decades that reviewers get stuff for free. And being in an industry for a long time means you are an insider as well. Honestly, I would be worried if you were not.
I only want to point out that for many apparently both facts in this day and age are highly suspicious.

kenmac's picture

Myself and the 20 odd music writers I know in the New York City area, ALL receive new releases for free, many either on CD or streaming. Those who review vinyl, also get the vinyl records for free. But if we want to continue to receive these records we must at some point review the records from the publicist sending the records, as Mikey and I typically do. Mikey is far from alone in the regard, it's been standard industry practice since the 70s. How do think records get reviewed in the first place?

Lazer's picture

I’m a little older, and at the end of the day, Integrity is what I have. Integrity is what I’ve spent my life preserving. Integrity matters to me…being honest matters to me… YES, being accused of lacking Integrity because of job related benefits is absurd. You know what, I’m a chef and I get free food. Does my opinion about the food matter less than yours because you paid for the food? I understand why Michael gets defensive….

Anton D's picture

Can you imagine how the 'free copy haters' must picture the world? A reviewer should be out buying product to review? How long would that last?

Of course a reviewer should be sent material to review. I would like to think that the reviewer would be ethical and not rush out to sell the records he/she reviews (that would seem to be a double dip,) but otherwise this seems the logical way to do this sort of thing.

Mendo's picture

Not sure how long you have been around, but I got into vinyl when Mikey wrote his first "Analog Corner." At that time you could buy nearly every audiophile re-issue that came out and still pay your mortgage. Vinyl was on serious life support and DJs playing 12" singles weren't making the world buy old presses and restore them. They were largely playing silver discs. Let's be clear, I get that Mikey isn't going to win humble bro of the year, but NOBODY in the whole of the known universe has championed vinyl more. He has taken on audiophiles, the industry, the New York Times etc. ad nauseam and won. Ask Music Direct or Chad where they were when he started. He doesn't take or get the credit he deserves. He, more that any other human alive or dead is responsible for getting vinyl on a slope to critical sustainability after the silver disc and the measurement-is-absolute-morons nearly killed the LP.

Anton D's picture

Part of this discussion sounds like some new version of Human League's (or Chia pet's) song, "Don't You Want Me."

Michael Fremer's picture
What can I tell you? But I'm also feeling a need to defend a few companies too that should not be singled out for attack...
Elubow's picture

Did you ever think you may have done these companies more harm than good by being so critical of Esposito in a public forum? The vast majority of vinyl lovers do not watch either of your channels. ERC will keep selling their 300 copies despite what ME says. Despite his experience and disillusion with ERC, he’s just one guy with an opinion on the internet. So too will Supersense ( though I would call it Lackofsense) sell their lacquers. There will always be buyers for these esoteric offerings. ERC could double their prices and probably sell out.

Your valiant effort to defend these companies may not have worked out as you would have liked. I think even you would admit there was no clear winner in the debate. You say all you have is your reputation. Judging by the internet, you seem to have not done it much good. In this case, is it more important to be right or be respected? You unerring determination to prove your point come hell or high water, IMO, may have diminished your reputation and the respect that many have heretofore had for you. You should have left it alone…

Analog Scott's picture

but anyone who cares about facts and is against people spreading misinofrmation will make such an effort. Anytime someone stands up to bullshit they don't know if their efforts will succeed or not. But if someone cares about facts vs. bullshit they make an effort regardless of knowing how it will go.

I would liken it to the ever lasting debate between science and creationism. Eveytime they have a debate the creationists don't change thier minds. But imagine for a moment if the scientists abandoned the debate altogether. We would just have the voice of creationism out there spreading bullshit. People hear bullshit enough times without hearing facts eventually that bullshit is accepted and normalized as truth.

Seems like fighting bullshit is a worthy cause even if we don't know how the fight will go in any instance.

Elubow's picture

Finally we have something we can agree on: CREATIONISM BULLSHIT! I knew if we went at this long enough, we’d reach some consensus.

As to the issue at hand, I hope you bill Mr. Fremer appropriately for your passionate defense of a position which also happens to be BULLSHIT!”

Analog Scott's picture

If you understand why creationism is bullshit then please...feel free to prove any of my positions on this subject are bullshit...good luck

Elubow's picture

I think we’ve both had enough.

Robert Young's picture

It must be hard when facts get in the way of your opinions.

recordhead's picture

and a happy new year!

Analog Scott's picture

You claim my "position" is bullshit

I ask you to prove it

You run away

pretty typical encounter for me with other audiophiles.

richiep's picture

IYO, MF was only trying to correct misinformation ME was spreading (hearsay without facts). MF had actual lacquers played for years for us to listen to and test results of groove stability. All companies produce some type of data that demonstrate their claims, independent testing will prove results (your mileage may vary) why discount it without merit, just as ME does his reviews, should we discount them because he sells those records? Has MF devoted his life to receive free records, ME should be embarrassed to have implied that and I don't blame MF to stand up for his integrity, check his thousands of reviews always with full disclosure!

Vinyl On Tubes's picture

This is what I see from this debate. Immediate dismissal of presented data is just silly. While I agree that the source of testing is suspect, it doesn't mean it should necessarily be ignored. Even in science, a theory is presented with empirical data by the author that is presented to a peer audience. It's behooving upon the audience to retest what has been presented to either disprove or reaffirm the findings. The theory isn't accepted because of the initial presentation, it's accepted because of the peer review. So actual proof would be to go out and do this kind of testing. And Fremer doesn't gain a bit of credibility for doing this. It should be incumbent upon the skeptic to do this. But we're not going to see this happen. Esposito has criticized our host for accepting "free" records and he'd be a hypocrite if he did as well. He's stated that he's not going to spend $400 for a copy, even if it would provide an actual service to his Youtube audience as an impartial reviewer. We are at an impasse here. The skeptic will remain just that.

I just see a Vlogger creating content that increases clicks which ups his take on ads. He's not a journalist that backs up his claims with actual proof. He's just using the idiom so commonly used by so-called influencers to increase their status within an algorithm to make more money by citing data and opinions by others. Last I checked, hearsay is not a valid source in journalism. It's inadmissible in a court trial as evidence. Citing others is fine, but you can't present it as proof unless you can cite their actual testing for others to review as well. Fremer has presented his evidence. But any testing by Esposito isn't likely forthcoming. In his videos, he's shown he has actual lacquers to do his own testing. But he's got nothing to gain from testing. If he proves his position, his influence doesn't increase because his audience is already on his side. So testing could only lower is status in influencing. Esposito isn't going to risk this. He's going too take the bump from all the clicks he gets from this debate, then he'll move on to something else that further increases his click count.

Lazer's picture

Made me laugh and cry….judging by the internet would make Trump king of the world. Judging by truth and integrity is what matters. Taking a poll from whatever biased internet sites you visit is not reality.

richiep's picture

They should be applauded for expanding and improving our hobby, Where would UHQR, 1 STEP, SV along with many others be during development and being slammed by reviewers until their process can be perfected?

elmore244's picture

The fact is that, while I don't always agree with Michael on some of his viewpoints, I do respect the fact that he has spent the majority of his life on the vinyl crusade. And, while I watch Mike Esposito's YouTube channel to see what is coming up in the record world, I take his majority of 'advice' with a grain of salt. Another YouTube post called Michael and Esposito 'two titans of the vinyl industry'. I'm sorry but I wouldn't consider Esposito a 'titan'. He's a record store owner/collector who loves his vinyl and is entitled to his opinions, but I wouldn't consider him an expert in anything other than buying and selling records. This may piss a lot of his defenders, but the truth hurts sometimes. I was given good advice by my father when I was a boy: "Listen to others but make up your own mind". I have followed that advice and have become incredibly successful due to my father's wisdom.

timware's picture

I like both of the Mikes, value their insights & opinions, and forgive their foibles. I thought the Truth was found somewhere between their two positions, and now only hope they leave the battlefield (and that Chad K. never be allowed to "moderate" again).

Flatbubba's picture

is not that ERC has defective issues. It's that they ship these defects. Mike E. seems to be saying that for $500+ ERC should inspect it more carefully and weed out the defects instead of making the consumer find the defects and be burdened with the hassle of doing returns. For $500+, makes sense.

elmore244's picture

Did Esposito contact all the people who bought the 300 records? Did he take a poll? Did he contact ERCs CS department to find out how many complaints they had? As far as I know, I only read a few complaints on the web about the ERC records QC on the shipments. Seems to me like a blanket statement made by Esposito because he had a bad run with ERC. This shit happens. Fremers point is why burn down the building because of it.

Analog Scott's picture

And until we have data on the percentages of shipped defects vs the other labels no one can say they don't inspect "more carefully."

What Mike E and his supporters are saying is the inspections should be 100% effective. IMO that is an unreasonable expectation. Particularly coming from a guy who makes errors in fact on his Youtube videos about ERC. Nothing ironic about that......

IMO Mike E needs to do a better job of inspecting his own assertions of fact before posting Youtube videos stating those "facts"

jazz's picture

If Chad hadn’t made use of the live session time for some sales pitch, I’d say he could’ve used this time better ;-) Makes me think of the old joke here:

http://www.m.trolino.com/someone-is-wrong-on-the-internet-104222

RoBoKok's picture

Yes, Chad did not act like a moderator but instead started advertising his records and tapes. I fully understand he is proud of his achievements and rightly so, but he completely forgot about moderation. Another thing, both Michael and Chad could have let Mike Exposito get some more words in. Also a task of the moderator: make sure all get their share.

timware's picture

plain & simple. I was pretty shocked at how he so nakedly hawked his wares when he was supposed to be moderating. A little of voice goes a loooong way, that's for sure :) And kudos to Mike E for being willing to step into the fray.

jazz's picture

he said that. And this considered he did a great job in my opinion. Mike E. made his points also with less time. I think with a different and professional moderator and without Chad’s own contributions, this special thing would have ended worse, even if more professionally worse.

jamesgarvin's picture

Chad was trying to moderate a debate between Trump and Biden. Good luck. I think Chad tried, but quickly gave up when it was clear that neither Mike was going to let Chad actually moderate. Chad needed a mute button for both participants. I'm guessing he eventually figured he might as well try to sell some product on the fiasco.

Analog Scott's picture

first you need someone who can use words. second you need someone with no horse in the race. third you need someone who understands the mechanics of debate moderation. He was a disaster

timware's picture

My face was sore from so much cringing in that hour and a half whenever CK spoke.

jamesgarvin's picture

is the ability to mute (i.e. control) the participants. Having watched the debacle, neither participant behaved themselves in a manner conducive to an informative debate, and Chad lacked the means to mute the offender. If you think Chad could have controlled either participant, you and I watched a different debate.

superb-9's picture

... but, frankly, I ain't bought nuthin' off dat foo'. Evea'. I ain't even playin' CD's no mo'. Lossless rips and playlists fo' me y'all.
Jus' da wayz dat HILLBILLY speakz is 'nough for us high-IQ folks to say: "Get that shit off my lawn."
https://getyarn.io/yarn-clip/9a867dbc-c947-4b86-ac82-4c02903b06b6

timware's picture

My respect for you as a Person, not a Vinyl Expert, is slipping fast. Just let it go, man. This is the worst dead-horse beating I've seen in ages. I don't think you're having the effect you intend to have. The fight's over... Leave the ring...

Analog Scott's picture

Why are you still in the ring? It reminds me of online debates where on the 20th page someone claims the other guy just likes to argue. Pot meet kettle. If *you* are done with the subject then why don't *you* take your own advice and leave it alone?

timware's picture

I was replying to Fremer, not you. Go pester someone else, fercrissakes!

Robert Young's picture

with lots of other people besides MF and yourself. If you don't want participation from others, then write a PM to MF. Otherwise, you get what you got: replies.

Tullman's picture

I like MF and I believe in his integrity.

Fremer does come off as whiney and argumentative. I think both Fremer and Mike E make valid points. ME got shoddy product from ERC and brought it up on his Youtube channel. Fremer gets free product from ERC and I guess every title was perfect, so he felt obligated to defend them.

jamesgarvin's picture

I've watched the back and forth with some level of amusement. At the risk of perpetuating the argument, on the one hand, I'm not sure who Mike E is protecting by complaining about lacquers in general, and specifically ERC. We vinyl loving audiophiles never left vinyl. Despite our love of black licorice, it was moribund. That is, until younger boys and girls discovered vinyl again - not only buying records, but opening record stores. Thank you RSD. The fact is that, I dare say, most of those shoppers don't have a clue what a lacquer is. They aren't buying lacquers. They like the look, feel, and sound of vinyl. Those consumers are not ERC's market. End of story. Likewise, my guess is that Mike E's customers are not buying lacquers, either. Who are buying lacquers? People who, one, have coin in their pockets, and two, have long term experience in the lacquer world. They hardly need Mike E. educating them about lacquers.

The proper analogy, I humbly submit, is that between a golf ball and an egg. The golf ball is the vinyl. The egg is the lacquer. Both will last a long time, perhaps even forever, with proper care. The egg simply requires more care to last longer than the golf ball. But the golf ball can and will degrade as well. So, as to that issue, I would agree with Mike F.

On the other hand, I have to agree with Mike E. that, given a $500+ price tag, and a limited run of 300 units (I'm still unclear if that 300 unit limit applies to those they send reviewers), they should be able to personally examine each unit prior to departure. I expect a limited run high end audio company to examine their widget prior to shipment more so than I expect Pioneer to examine each receiver prior to shipment. Let's say it takes thirty seconds to examine whether a record is off center, has bubbles, etc. That's what, a few hours at most? Seems doable to me.

Then on the other hand, having read Mike F. for many years, I am fully confident that he calls it like he sees it, and is not swayed by the product he receives for free. Were free recordings leading to compromised opinions, then reviewers for Downbeat, Jazziz, Goldmine, Rolling Stone, Bluegrass Today, Living Blues, etc. would likewise be compromised. I've read enough negative reviews in Downbeat, for example, to know that freebies don't lead to compromised opinions. I wished Mike E. had not gone there. That reminds me of George Constanza's "I slept with your wife" remark.

On the other hand again, I'm pretty sure that Mike E.'s comments did not put any kind of a mark on the lacquer business. Let's hope this mountain goes back to the mole hill from whence it came.

elmore244's picture

is that he doesn't give any facts other than what happened to him. He doesn't quote or show any stats that show how many people returned their ERC records for replacements, nor does he quote or show any report showing that the defective rate is 5%, 10%, 15%, etc. Nothing. Just the situation that happened to him. Fine, get pissed. Call ERC and tell them to send you a new record especially after paying $500 for it. But why torch the whole frigging company because he had a bad run? No man. I don't agree. I've watched enough of his YouTube videos to know this guys is great a hocking his stuff, but he is no expert. A little bit more knowledgable than average, but no expert. Just opinions.

jamesgarvin's picture

What facts could he provide? Does ERC release the defective rate figures? He claimed he opened a new unit from ERC, and I've no information to dispute that statement. It does not appear that ERC personally examines each product before shipment.

Mike E.'s point is that given the cost and limited product run, ERC can, and should, visually examine each piece before sending it to the customer. Mike F acknowledged that ERC, like every company, sends out defective product, but Mike F's point is that Mike E. should not criticize ERC for sending out defective product, since every company, including Chad's, does send defective product from time to time.

The relevant question, then, is whether there are any differences between ERC and your garden variety vinyl which perhaps requires ERC to do more. Where I agree with Mike E. here is that regardless of the rejection rate, their QC should be more stringent than it appears to be because of the high cost and limited production run, and their QC should include personally examining each unit prior to shipment. I agree that their QC should be more stringent than another company producing thousands of units, even if they've never had a defective release.

To put this in perspective using a similar ratio, I expect a company selling me a half a million dollar car to have tighter QC than a company selling me a $25k car. What may be an acceptable defect on a $25k car is not acceptable on a $500k car, even if there was only one visible defect, or even not any defects. If I am purchasing a $500k vehicle I expect to receive a vehicle without any defects because I expect someone at the factory to go over the vehicle with a fine tooth comb. If I am buying a high end Lamborghini I reasonably expect someone from the company to personally examine the vehicle before I take possession more so than the Ford I am picking up at the dealer's.

To sum up, the defect rate is not relevant to this discussion. The QC is, and what a purchaser should be able to expect spending Lamborghini money for a lacquer versus everyperson's money for a Ford. Given that ERC apparently does not visually examine each unit prior to shipment, which would not take much time, I think appropriately opens them to criticism, and to retort that, well, every company sends defective product falls short of the mark, much like if you purchased a Lamborghini and there were chips in the paint, you'd not be happy if the company responded that, well, Ford's sometimes have chips as well, and, not to worry, we'll send another one to you.

elmore244's picture

just the fact that he was ready to take a blowtorch to the whole company for the issues. If this had happened over the course of 3 or 4 times and he was also receiving statements from other consumers that they too were having this issue, then okay, rake them over the coals publicly. But he offered none of that only that he had a couple of issues with the LPs. So because of that he used his YouTube forum to try and burn down the whole company.I have not seen any other instances of ERC having widespread QC issues to the point that the company needs to be publicly executed. Without any facts, how can you, Esposito, or anyone else make a claim that their QC is not stringent? He/you are just make claims from plain air. If you have legitimate claims with facts and figures, then bring them down, but without any evidence other than a couple of records, it's just plain opinion. Look, I'm not an ERC fan and I don't buy any of their records even though I can afford them. I just don't believe in what Esposito does. He's unhappy with something and uses his YouTube presence to unfairly torch a company or pressing in the name of 'caring for his followers'. Bullshit. The guy gets pissed and knows he has the forum to bring someone down. Look at how he handled the 30th anniversary of Nirvana's Nevermind. He didn't get his 500 copies so he posted how lousy a pressing it was. Within hours it was all over the internet even though the majority of people saying how bad of a pressing it was didn't actually listen to the album. Anyway, provide some evidence, otherwise it's just another opinion.

pbj5555's picture

A Lamborghini would indicate higher quality components all around to justify the price. I’m not seeing that with ERC. From what I can tell…and this is right on their website…” The Electric Recording Company is an offshoot of Electric Mastering”. OK, so who is Electric Mastering? They are a London based mastering facility. And since Fremer couldn’t tell us who the mastering engineers were on these $500 records, I’m going to assume it’s the mastering engineers at Electric Mastering, Guy Davie and Chris Potter. I’ve only had a few records done by Chris Potter…recent Squeeze title, Duffy Rockferry…stuff like that. None of it was exactly mind blowing. It was your typical loud compressed modern sounding crap TBH. Supposedly, they use Danish Lyrec valve reel-to-reel tape recorders and Ortofon valve cutting lathes for mono remasters, and Neumann and Lyrec valve lathes in tandem with an EMI BTR2 reel-to-reel valve tape recorder. Is this this any better than Kevin Gray’s mastering chain? Well, to me its the guy sitting at the desk, not so much the gear. I’d take Kevin Gray, or Chris Bellman, or Bernie Grundman and whatever they were using over anyone.
Next, Fremer said they press their records at Record Industry. That’s the same place Music On Vinyl presses their records. Are they using any special vinyl formulation? I don’t see it advertised anywhere.
So, you are paying 10 times the cost of what Chad or MoFi would produce…and from what I can ascertain, you don’t get any increase in quality. More likely less. The only difference is that they print up a minuscule number…making them highly sought after.

Analog Scott's picture

"A Lamborghini would indicate higher quality components all around to justify the price. I’m not seeing that with ERC. From what I can tell…and this is right on their website…"

If you aren't seeing it on the ERC website then you aren't looking. So I will make it real easy.

https://electricrecordingco.com/about/uk

Officially Sanctioned Heritage pressings mastered from the original analogue master tapes.
Cut in true monaural and Stereo using 1950’s Lyrec / EMI valve tape machines and Ortofon DS522 mono cutter head and Ortofon DS601 Stereo cutter head
Hand-crafted sleeve artwork faithfully recreated using a vintage letterpress procedure.
Released in strictly limited, individually numbered editions with personally signed certificates from the producer. Featuring iconic recordings by the most revered artists across multiple genres."

You can read the details on their webpage if you look again.

To me that has Lamborghini/Ferrari written all over it. Limited edition cars with enormous price tags and proprietary "hand built designs.

Also up until Audi took over Lamborghini they both shared the honor of having some of the highest mechanical failure rates in the auto industry.

I find your analogy to be a bit ironic given how much they really are alike other than superior QC from......ERC

pbj5555's picture

I literally listed their mastering chain. I said they are released in small bath numbers, making them highly sought after.

As far as the “officially sanctioned heritage pressing mastered from the original analogue master tapes”…do you think that MoFi, and Chad, and BlueNote are not doing the exact same thing? Working with the original master tapes?

What does that leave? The record sleeve? The personally signed certificate? Ooooh…that has to be worth at least a dollar by itself!!!

What about the important stuff? The mastering engineers. The actual vinyl used on these things. They don’t say a word about that, now do they?

Analog Scott's picture

Are you suffering from a recent concussion?

"As far as the “officially sanctioned heritage pressing mastered from the original analogue master tapes”…do you think that MoFi, and Chad, and BlueNote are not doing the exact same thing? Working with the original master tapes?

What does that leave? The record sleeve? The personally signed certificate?"

Seriously? what the fuck did you not understand about the vintage restored all tube tape deck and cutting lathe?

How fucking dense are you?

pbj5555's picture

“ Seriously? what the fuck did you not understand about the vintage restored all tube tape deck and cutting lathe?

How fucking dense are you?”

And once again…I already mentioned their mastering chain. THAT’S NOT WHAT MATTERS. It’s the mastering engineer that matters. You’re just embarrassing yourself at this point.

Analog Scott's picture

And yes it does matter. The idea that an all tube mastering system vs. an all solid state mastering system doesn't matter is moronic. The idea that tape decks don't matter and cutting heads don't matter is utterly moronic. Mastering engineers *themselves* DONT matter. What matters is the sonic signature of the gear used and what the mastering engineer *DOES* to tweak the signal. If they are doing flat transfers they actually don't really matter other than they still have to be skilled technicians, properly set up the tape decks and keep an eye on things like pitch control so nothing goes wrong. Otherwise with a flat transfer ALL the sound quality is a function of the gear.

pbj5555's picture

You fucking moron!

“Supposedly, they use Danish Lyrec valve reel-to-reel tape recorders and Ortofon valve cutting lathes for mono remasters, and Neumann and Lyrec valve lathes in tandem with an EMI BTR2 reel-to-reel valve tape recorder”.

As to the rest of your comment….thanks for showing us all how goddamn ignorant you are.

pbj5555's picture

Regarding the ERC mastering engineer…I’m gonna say it’s Sean Davies (sometimes mis-credited as Sean Davis). He did a few YES albums in the mid/ late 70’s starting with Going For The One. Worked At Strawberry. He also did King Crimson RED…(at least one side of it). Started as technical engineer 1958 at I.B.C. Studios but soon started to cut records on the Lyrec Mono lathe until 1959.

weirdo12's picture

I heard Ray Davies interviewed and he was asked how to pronounce his name correctly - he said Davis. Maybe when Sean Davis was credited, someone had made a note of what they heard.

Robert Young's picture

Clearly you've never owned an exotic, or any high-end sports car.

Analog Scott's picture

In fact for me the huge difference between the Mikes in their debate was Fremer brought actual evidence to the debate. Mike E made vague allusions to things "experts told him." Technically that's gossip. I'm going to take evidence over gossip every time. Has nothing to do with taking sides based on who I personally like.

When evidence runs contrary to Fremer's opinions, I go with the evidence.

And I don't care how well respected any individual in the industry is. If their opinion runs contrary to verifiable evidence their opinion is wrong. And if anyone's ego can't handle that? Too bad.

pbj5555's picture

From the Supersense website:

How durable is my MASTERCUT?
Please be prepared that due to the super soft and fragile surface of your Mastercut which is responsible for its unique rich and warm sound, the noise level will slowly but steadily increase over time with every magic listening session you perform (even if you are super careful with your new favorite record). We like to compare this to the wonderful wrinkles around your eyes getting more characteristic each and every time you laugh.
In order to dive into the true magic of your MASTERCUT over and over again, please read all the FAQ sections regarding handling, storage, very carefully.

You just couldn’t move on. You had to try and get the last word in. The ONLY thing you’ve proven here, is what a small, petty, little man you are.

elmore244's picture

Only that lacquers will diminish over time. Everyone agrees with that. The issue is how quickly. Obviously it does not go to dust after the first play. Ether way, who gives a shit? If I or anyone else wants to spend our money on a lacquer, who is Esposito, you, or anyone else to say otherwise? I've spent $300 on a bottle of wine and enjoyed it in one night with good friends. Is the wine gone? Sure it is, but I sure as hell have a great memory of it. I don't need a vinyl hocker to tell me where the fuck I spend my money. This is the problem with YouTube and other social media sites, it's made people forget to think for themselves. Instead they see a successful independent record store owner push his opinions online and think it's the next covenant. I don't agree with about half of what Fremer posts, but at least he has over 30 years of credibility. Let's grow up and stop glorifying the guy who uses his money to buy collections and hock them for 5-6x in profits.

pbj5555's picture

On one hand you claim you’ve bought a $300 bottle of wine, and it’s nobody’s business what you spend your money on…but then you turn around and criticize the “vinyl hocker” for buying collections for his business? What a goddamn joke. What business is it of yours what he spends his money on? People ask him for his opinions on different pressings…that’s why he started doing the videos in the first place.

What this proves is what every person with any common sense and ethics has been saying all along…that lacquers are not a sensible format for long term playback. Even the company pushing these things says they won’t hold up. But go ahead and buy 5 or 10 to go with your next imaginary $300 bottle of wine.

Analog Scott's picture

when compared to digital media vinyl is fragile and will wear with multiple plays. Your idea of "sensible" is fataly egocentric

pbj5555's picture

Your idea of “evidence” is fatally naive.

Analog Scott's picture

I know the difference between demonstrating the physical product and gossip. Do you?

pbj5555's picture

You think quoting Kevin Gray and Steve Hoffman is gossip? Additionally, Chad had his own guy right there saying the exact same thing. What evidence did Fremer bring? A chart made by a company who has a financial interest in these lacquers? That’s your evidence?

Analog Scott's picture

can we see their original actual comments regarding the longevity of lacquers? It's gossip until we have that.

As for their testimonials...I will take physical evidence over *any* testimonials. But it IS gossip until we actually see exactly what they said and in what context.

pbj5555's picture

Don't buy a lacquer! That's just silly.
—Steve Hoffman

Dumb question, but will a lacquer degrade with repeated plays?

Totally. And will get more noise as it breaks down. The surface degrades whether it's played or not. Not for long-term use or storage. A "temporary" music playback device that can be damaged quite easily, the soft surface prone to any and all types of problems.

Why do you think when production LP lacquers are cut there is a race to get them "fixed" to metal? Surface breakdown starts immediately. The mastering room at RTI prided itself on being able to cut a lacquer and get it sputtered within 10 minutes..
—Steve Hoffman

https://forums.stevehoffman.tv/threads/a-love-supreme-mastercut-edition....

41:34 I don’t cut on Friday because I don’t want stuff to sit over the weekend

https://youtu.be/gzBwsB19xfQ

Analog Scott's picture

But he didn't say anything about two plays and implosion did he? he didn't say they would self destruct on the shelf did he? That's what makes it gossip. What Hoffman actually said is not what Mike E said. Steve Hoffman's opinion on buying lacquers.....is his opinion. Again, it's one I personally share. But it is a value judgement. He makes no specific claims about the longevity of lacquers only the same generalization that the damned company selling these lacquers puts on their website.

Opinions need to be stated as opinions and facts need to be stated as facts.

So far Mike E still stands alone in his wild claims about the longevity of lacquers.

pbj5555's picture

You really are dumb as a rock. Actually…that would be an insult to the rock.
It’s not “gossip”. It’s hyperbole. And Mike and everyone else talked about that during the screencast.

Analog Scott's picture

I'm tryin to give you some excuse for not knowing what words like "gossip, fact and hyperbole" mean. Hyperbole is a pretty big word for someone like you. Or is this just another case of an audiophile asswipe who worships at the alter of some "audiophile" personality? In this case a fucking youtuber no less.

pbj5555's picture

You sound butthurt. Should we have your Mom come and pick you up? You’ve been embarrassed over and over again. Even your blowup doll won’t have anything to do with you.

This is the best and most ironic part…
“Or is this just another case of an audiophile asswipe who worships at the alter of some "audiophile" personality?” —ANALOG Scott (defending Michael Fremer…another fucking youtuber)

Analog Scott's picture

clearly you do worship at the alter of Mike E. But you are so lost in your hero worship world you actually think everyone else is lost in that same world. You actually think I am defending Mike Fremer. You see this as some audiophile crusade/tribal battle. You are totally lost in the sauce. The audiophile asswipe bullshit sauce. I hate to use this cliche but "get a life" Even if all you have in your life is hero worship....find a better hero to worship. It's pathetic.

Once again I am reminded why I hate most audiophiles. A hobby over run by a bunch of socially disfunctional dellsuional fucktards.

https://celluloidpopculturejunkie.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/sdcc10_day...

pbj5555's picture

Go sob into your MyPillow, moron.

elmore244's picture

but I did not go on Youtube or take out an ad blasting him for what he does. I honestly don't give a shit what he or you do with your money. You are very defensive over any criticism over your buddy. That's the problem with social media, You don't know the guy from squat but you get your panties in an uproar because someone calls him a vinyl hocker. I'm not being hypocritical, because it's my opinion. And frankly, I could give a shit what you think. You don't have to believe what I buy little man, it doesn't make a difference in my life. Just like you told me, go ahead and continue to bow before the 'throne' of your vinyl peddler Esposito. LOL.

pbj5555's picture

“ You are very defensive over any criticism over your buddy. That's the problem with social media, You don't know the guy from squat but you get your panties in an uproar because someone calls him a vinyl hocker”

And yet here you are trying to be Fremer’s little watchdog. What’s he “hocking”?
BTW, the word you’re actually trying to use is “hawking”. Unless you mean pawn something?

hock / hawk
People who pawn goods at a pawnshop hock them. That’s why such places are sometimes called “hock shops.”
Vendors who proclaim aloud the availability of their goods on the street hawk them. Such people are called “hawkers.”
The latter word is used metaphorically of people or businesses aggressively promoting anything for sale. They are not “hocking their wares” (or worse, “hocking their wears”), but “hawking their wares.”
https://brians.wsu.edu/2016/05/19/hock-hawk/

And no I don’t believe what you’re selling little man. I think you’re more likely sitting in your Mom’s basement…hoping she doesn’t give you the boot.

by the way…people who have to laugh at their own shtick are never as funny as they think they are.

Robert Young's picture

of the True Scotsman fallacy. Thanks.

pbj5555's picture

“ I don't agree with about half of what Fremer posts, but at least he has over 30 years of credibility.”

Like all record reviewers, Fremer is compensated for every record review he writes by the company supplying him with the records. He’s even give free copies of stuff he doesn’t review. Some are extremely expensive. If there was any real integrity here, he would send the records back after writing his review, and he would refuse any free copies from anyone. This is precisely why I pay zero attention to record reviewers. They all get “promos” and they all keep the review product. Even if they do write a negative review every blue moon, they are still inundated with so much free merchandise I could never take any of them seriously.

elmore244's picture

I'll be able to sleep at night now that you've explained that. For a person who doesn't pay attention to record reviewers you sure get defensive over criticism over what Esposito says. Like I said, I don't agree with about 50% of what Fremer says, and it's usually over his opinions, but you can't deny that he has had an impact in the vinyl community otherwise he wouldn't be asked for his opinion by audio companies or record companies. Anyway, who cares if they get free stuff. In most businesses there are all kinds of perks and it's very common. Either way, it's all opinions. And just like that old saying, opinions are like assholes, everyone has one.

azmoon's picture

excellent post

swimming1's picture

If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there does it make a sound?

Thing Fish's picture

Some people just can't leave things alone. Especially when they are on the back foot.

arcman67's picture

Michael, step back and look how you are acting. Is there anyone in your life to pull you aside? ERC does not need you to defend them.....everything sells out in 2 hours. Your legacy as a vinyl advocate is set in stone, don't ruin that. Everyone knows you have been an audio "insider" for many years and have contributed greatly to the "return of vinyl". 98% of vinyl listeners have no business (financially and by the systems they have) buying $500 record albums. In -Groove Mike gets emails from people with basic systems asking about these expensive releases. Mike was just pointing out his experiences and how that $500 can be better spent. Just like I would have no business buying $300,000 speakers only to hook them up to a Pioneer A/V receiver. Please just drop it....take a break.

dukeandduke's picture

Max Weber was a pioneering economist and sociologist who advanced the theory of “marginal value” or “marginal utility,” recognizing that individuals may assign a value to a good or service which bears no rational relationship to the item’s scarcity or utility. I guess the most famous examples are the Rosebud sled from Citizen Kane, the Maltese Falcon, the Holy Grail, or Hitchcock’s concept of the Macguffin. Imagine the flame wars on forums if we knew what was inside that glowing suitcase in Pulp Fiction. The point is, Weber believed various social but also subjective forces give certain items status and value—thus though in 1979 the Chevrolet Caprice was very similar to a Cadillac Seville, the Cadillac was widely perceived as the more prestigious model. I think Mike from In Groove is caught in a sociological trap, unable to separate the status signs of something like an ERC reissue from its inherent sonic and material qualities. It’s a lame sour-grapes attitude, as silly as someone who remarks “5000 dollars for a custom suit? I get my suits at Jos. A Bank for 200 bucks on sale, and I look fine!” or “My Hyundai will get me there just like your Bimmer!” I call it a sociological trap because if you carry In Groove dude’s argument to its logical conclusion, we come to the realization that we don’t “need” even a single record—which would be sad for him, making lame videos in an empty record store.

samman's picture

All three involved in the video have their expert opinions. I say "expert" because each has earned that title due to their involvement and access to good equipment and various vinyl pressings. And each has valid points. Yes, for the money, Chad's pressings are worth every penny. Yes, Esposito is correct in that $500 records, of which only 300 are made, SHOULD be hand inspected and signed off on. Now, some seam splits may occur in shipping, and one has to realize that. And Fremer is to be believed that his lacquers have NOT diminished in sound quality over the years. Are these men without fault? Of course not. Each has made mistakes over the years. For example, Mike E claims that his shootouts of Sgt. Pepper leads to the best being the old mofi UHQR. Really? Not in my opinion or that of many others. And Fremer talks about how he dislikes the S&G One Step of BOTW. No master tape he says. While that may be, my 1A pressing in no way comes close to the One Step. So while I can occasionally disagree with their opinions, I realize that indeed they are human. They still continue to do us a great service in vinyl land, and I wouldn't want to be without any of them, even Tom Port of Better Records (should have had him in on the video. LOL.) Time has shown that Tom has been correct many times in his defense of originals sounding superior. Especially original Red shaded dogs of RCA classical pressings. Go ask Steve Hoffman. Anyway, I thank all of these men for allowing vinyl explode and giving me the real joy of music that digital just can't equal.

Analog Scott's picture

I'm no expert at reading such things but there are a few things I have to ask about. The x axis should represent frequency and appears to represent frequncy although the numbers are not given any designation such as "hz" while the Y axis is clearly designated in db.

So my problems with these charts. And any expercts please feel free to fill me in on this if I am wrong.

1. Where is everything after 200Hz? Aren't most of not all the issues above 200Hz?

2. Why is there a 70 db drop from 20Hz to 200Hz? Seems like a very unusually high drop off in spectral content

3. Why is there a massive amount of signal between 0-20Hz? That seems like a really big problem

If I am reading it wrong, anyone feel free to correct me. Like I said, I am no expert on reading spectral analyis graphs.

Rcrd's picture

People should buy what they want, when they want, provided they can afford it. I have a ton of duplicate (and triplicate) Bowie records, just for the sake of it. Some of them are even picture discs, and while they don't sound as terrible as some folks claim, they don't sound tremendous either. Now, if you hate Bowie, you'll make a sassy comment, but if you don't, nobody will make a big deal out of it. I have easily 500$ in duplicates, and I could trade it for a Coltrane lacquer, and hell would freeze over?

Let's stick to the facts - They are more sensitive than vinyl records and you need to treat them right. Same as R2R. Who owns them or not should be an individual decision - kudos to Mikey for pointing out that they can get fungus, and you need to clean them, etc... this is useful info for someone like me that didn't knew this. After this point, why would an angry shop owner decide what I buy or what I don't buy?

Analog Scott's picture

did anyone else notice how uncomfortable he got when Fremer accurately pointed out that his $500.00 tapes were 4th generation and on a tape stock that has no track record for longevity?

But everyone is cool with Chad selling those tapes and some people are already convinced that a 4th generation analog tape is going to be the ulitmate version without having done any careful listening comparisons.

TommyTunes's picture

Has been around for 30 years, it was initially developed by AFGA and has proved to be an industry standard and highly stable. All these new commercial reels are third generation, have you heard them they are nothing short of breathtaking. Just like vinyl don’t put them on your 40 year old unserviced deck and expect to experience nirvana. If you think Chad, The Tape Project etc. getting rich from these tapes then you have no idea what is involved. These are done as a labor of love.

Analog Scott's picture

did you watch the video? When Fremer called out Chad's tapes as being produced on tape stock that does not have a track record for longevity this was not Chad's response. He seemed to pretty much accept Fremer's assertion that these tapes do not have a proven record of longevity. You'd think he would know the 30 history of the tape stock he is using.

His tapes are 4th generation. Fremer literally counted out each generation and Chad confirmed each one. 1. Original master tape. 2.UK safety copy determined to be in better shape than the original master. 3. Analog Porductions dupe of the UK safety copy. and 4. Analog Production's commercial release of tapes copied from their copy. This is a fact not open to debate. if you think otherwise watch the video.

arcman67's picture

The tape Chad used is well established in the tape world a fine playback medium. To compare commercial Reel 2 Reel to lacquers is not equivalent. It's like comparing a finished, off production line auto to the engineering prototype.

TommyTunes's picture

Fremer did not call out Chad's tapes as being produced on tape stock that does not have a track record for longevity. He simply asked him how long will that tape last. Indicating that it also has an finite life span which it does, everything has a finite life span. Have you listened to the recent AP of A Love Supreme. You know the one that Fremer gave a rave review? Look how many steps are involved. The commercial tapes issued by RCA as half tracks in the fifties were several generations down and done at 71/2ips and are still desirable for because of the sound quality.
You want to take Fremer’s word as gospel, that’s ok when it comes to vinyl but he is not a tape guy, so listen to it yourself before you pass judgement.
I know Chad and yes he is a businessman but he really puts a lot of pride into his product. If you heard his tape release of Muddy Waters Folk Singer, you would realize that not a single vinyl reissue of that album truly captured the sound like the tape does.
I have no doubt that A Love Supreme will be the definitive version.

Analog Scott's picture

Go back and watch the video. Fremer clearly says that tape stock has no track record for longevity because it is too new.

I believe the 45 rpm AP was cut directly from the original master tape
and the newer 33 is cut from the UK safety copy.

That is 2 and 3 fewer tape copies than the $500.00 tape he is selling.

As for the desirability of the RCA tapes....audiophiles desire all kinds of things. that doesn't mean anything to me. I don't trust audiophiles judgements.

I don't question Chad's pride either. But I will not assume anything without proper blind listening comparisons.

I also don't trust sighted evaluations.

TommyTunes's picture

He say “How long as it been around, we don’t know how it’s going to be in 20 years”. He never says it has no track record because he has no knowledge of it. Research AFGA 911 it’s been around over 30 years.

Analog Scott's picture

“How long as it been around, we don’t know how it’s going to be in 20 years”.

It's a pretty simple math problem. If he states we don't know how it's going to be in 20 years (Chad's tapes) It ought to be understood that he is in effect saying the tape stock has been around for substantially less than 20 years. He is totally calling out the tape stock as having no track record of longevity. It's real basic logical deduction.

Analog Scott's picture

I wouldn't know. But based on that exchange between Chad and Fremer I would say that if that is the case, they didn't know either.

Michael Fremer's picture
Chad's LP was cut directly from the one off the master. His tape issue was duped from two off the master so what you get is 3 off the master. I have an original "A Love Supreme" and RVG was asleep at the wheel: there's 60Hz hum as soon as you lower the stylus onto the record. The new reissue is the best edition on vinyl. No question about it.
Analog Scott's picture

the 45 rpm and the 33 rpm.My understanding is that the 45 is cut from the original master and the new 33 is cut from the UK EQed copy that is supposed to be better. Am I worng about that?

jazz's picture

but depending on the individual tape, you can read by the experience of all who can compare both on highest level, that 4 tape generations seem to do less harm than 4 vinyl plating generations.

I think for Chad it’s just important what’s the outcome (and certainly if it sells) and if it’s better than the vinyl, then it’s fine. I believe Chad , that that he’d not produce tape if it wouldn’t have its advantage, just as he doesn’t release meaningless vinyl versions that would sell (as he expressed in the video).
I think if you don’t see the quality of his personality besides all character traits and skills he has or not like all of us, and think you have to try to discredit him at all occasions, just because you feel your favorite comes off too badly in this battle, then your own social competence is quite questionable.

By the way, e.g. the ERC releases don’t seem to be “better” at all than other high quality vinyl ones, just more rare, mastered on just different equipment and fitted with nice packaging. One better shouldn’t start the quality discussion by this example.

Analog Scott's picture

I would want to do blind level matched or level optimised comparisons before taking anyone's word for it. 4th generation analog tape is a lot of added noise. I strongly suspect that a certain level of groove noise is actually a good thing where as tape hiss never is IME. But... I reserve judgement until I hear for myself.

OTOH I have done numerous comparisons between vinyl playback with normal plates not one steps vs. Digital versions of the same exact mastering and prefer the vinyl everytime. IMO that makes the vinyl distortion a plus not a minus.

pbj5555's picture

“ I strongly suspect that a certain level of groove noise is actually a good thing”

What the…

Analog Scott's picture

yes. Euphonic colorations of vinyl. Groove noise is one of them. Proven to add a sense of ambience and depth of image. There are other euphonic colorations. Some inherent to the medium some unique to particular gear. To my ears tape hiss is plainly heard as tape hiss and the more I hear the worse it sounds. Not all noise is created equal.

pbj5555's picture

If tape you hear tape hiss clearly as tape hiss, and are able to differentiate it from groove noise…why the hell do you need a blind test? Just like wearing blindfolds?

Analog Scott's picture

If I can readily identify which is which under blind conditions it's a fair point that it would not matter. If that were the case the test would have to be limited to passages that are not so quiet that it would be too easy to make that distinction.

pbj5555's picture

If tape you hear tape hiss clearly as tape hiss, and are able to differentiate it from groove noise…why the hell do you need a blind test? Just like wearing blindfolds?

SloppyJoeBuck's picture

It's been amusing, at the very least, to watch this debate go back and forth. It's kinda some bourgeois nonsense, not gonna lie, but who am I kidding... I say this because I will never, ever, ever be in the position to drop that kind of money on a single pressing of anything.

I'm sure they sound good. I'm also certain that doing an extensive level of QC on every single copy, while possible, would not be the wisest use of anyone's time. "Shit happens," as they say. And if you are one of the unlucky couple of people who get a defective copy... a fraction of a fraction of record buyers who, I would assume, have been buying records for quite some time... is it really that hard to a) reach out to ERC, while b) not being a dick, to c) request a replacement?

I understand Mike F's need to point these things out, as -- whether you like it or not -- he is considered an authority. I understand how frustrating it is to try to combat flagrant misinformation, only to have the other party dig their heels in deeper.

But, as stated, this is a problem I will never have. It's been fun, fellas!

Anton D's picture

The cacophony of all the shark jumping going on right now about lacquers and 'master tape reel to reels' is almost enough to drown out the joy of being a vinylphile.

I am highly pleased ERC exists, it's a bespoke record made with fine craftsmanship. What's not to like?

I am highly pleased MF has some fine sounding lacquers. However, it can seem a bit like bringing in a few people who survived car wrecks despite not wearing seat belts as evidence that seat belts are not important. A surviving or long lived lacquer is an anecdote, not data. I think we are arguing about two different beasts: lacquers made to transcribe and listen to for sonics vs. lacquers made for 'working purposes' in the pressing process. We are likely comparing oranges to tangerines....close, but different.

I am highly pleased some people like their 'master tape' reel to reel copies, which are "sourced from a copy of the original analog master tape." Fourth generation, third generation....still not bad! If you are attracted, Caveat Auditor and start your party!

So what if Richie is gone and Fonzie is jumping sharks, it's still Happy Days. Audiophiles have always sought validation through fiscal recklessness, this is nothing new! As my old friend Frankie said about getting too worked about Hi Fi, "Relax, don't do it, when you wanna sock it to it."

Analog Scott's picture

No. It is data. "Anecdotes" are stories people tell. It is not statistically significant data if we are trying to determine the mean or average life span or durability of lacquers. But it is data

Also you left a couple things out.

1. He had a stack of lacquers. And unless Fremer is cherry picking he apparently hasn't had any lacquers that "imploded after two plays" or "turned to dust while carefully stored on his record shelves."

2.You left out the fact that this company has done multiple tests of 100+ plays of their lacquers.

This does not add up to anecdotal evidence. It's physical evidence that counts towards data on the subject.

What is the physical evidence that counters this physical evidence? None was presented by anyone. NONE. The counter to all of this physical evidence was indeed *anecdotal* evidence. Second hand testimony. That's it.

So do you think Fremer is withholding knowledge of some of his lacquers "imploding after two plays" or turning to dust while sitting on the shelf? I don't know for sure but I see no reason to think so. Do you? What are the odds of his collection of lacquers all being the exception to the rule? At a certain point you can't ignore the lopsidedness of Fremer's evidence even if it is just a stack of lacquers.

It is evidence. And as far as this debate is concerned it was the *only* evidence. I am certainly open to seeing more evidence and better evidence. But that is the only thing that trumps existing evidence.

Anton D's picture

Given what people who make records have said about 'plating' lacquers, I think we are, as I said, comparing similars, but not identicals.

If one record pressing maker notes that plating lacquers will not live up to repeated play, or that one needle drop will remain audible if they play the lacquer again, then it seems rather obvious that there are differences.

I think we need to fine tune the conversation and talk about 'transcription' lacquers that are durable enough to withstand repeated play vs. other types are not. So, this new 'lacquer' thing needs to be better fleshed out so we are using proper terms to describe different things.

Mr. Fremer having one type of example doesn't address the over-all differences. I have no doubt his pressings sound just fine, but it is anecdotal, given the likelihood that his pressings are not knowingly representative of the bigger picture.

What is the data point, that Mr. Fremer has a lacquer that sounds good? That lacquer is representative of what? There is still too much to look at regarding how we lump all 'lacquers' into one bin.

I do not mean this argument as any sort of ad hominem or anything like that. I hope it did not seem personal.

Analog Scott's picture

that not all lacquers are exactly the same. but I think it is just as fair to point out that Fremer's stack o' lacquers were all from different batches spanning a substantial period of time. And yet none of them have suffered from any of the failures claimed in Mike E's original video.

xtcfan80's picture

I loved Chad K's comment after Mike E's asking about possibly reissuing Alice Coltrane titles...."If you want that you start your own record label and do it"...or words to that effect...That pesky hipster Alice Coltrane fascination rears it's head again!!!!

rl1856's picture

A price of $500 for a new LP includes a tacit expectation of perfection or close. This is an extreme luxury good, of an esoteric product, that only a finite number of individuals will experience. While $500 may seem like a small price in the great market of excess, it is an extreme outlier in the world of single LP reissues. Personal inspection of each LP should be included in the sale. An analogy can be made to expensive equipment purchases- many manufacturers require their dealers to personally deliver and install the item. This cost is built into the price, and the customer expects this level of service precisely because they are buying at the top of the market.

As for RtR reissues- it is hard to say. While a 4th-5th gen tape copy generally results in an inferior LP pressing, has anyone really investigated the degree of sonic degradation in a tape that comes with each successive copy ? A carefully made RtR tape at 15 or 30ips is demonstrably better than an LP made from the identical source. While I am not a potential buyer of a "new" reissue tape for $300-$500, I do have experience with RtR tapes. I have a restored high end deck and have purchased many older tapes from back in the day. All were commercially produced, and sound spectacular. Even at 7.5 ips, many sound better than their LP counterparts. Some Broadway cast recordings are shockingly good. What generation was the source material for these commercially produced tapes ? To me at least, the jury is still out regarding the relative (and possible) quality of new RtR reissues.

Analog Scott's picture

perfection or close." If that is *your* expectation I suggest you don't make a habbit of buying these records. eventually your expectations will not be met. And if their policy of free replacement without question isn't good enough you will be an unhappy customer... eventually.

ivansbacon's picture

This is my message sent to the In Grove.

"Sadly Due to the way Mr. Esposito has behaved in his "discourse" with Mr. Fremmer on the lacquer issue I have unsubscribed from the In Groove's email updates and will no longer be spending money at The In Groove.

Having differing opinions is fine, how one treats others who's opinions differ from yours, and being open to listen without making personal attacks, speaks to ones character.

Unfortunately this type of behavior is indicative of the current state of the pathetic American cultural/political discourse.

I choose not to spend my money with those who's behaviors is not worthy of respect."

pbj5555's picture

"I choose not to spend my money with those who's behaviors is not worthy of respect."

Good idea. I think I'll cancel my Stereophile subscription and boycott all Analog Planet advertisers.

Anton D's picture

You won't, and you'll be back.

It's a certainty.

Be well.

By the by, 300 bucks for a bottle of wine is not that expensive.

I think it's best to approach wine as an annual expenditure for joy rather than looking at it as an item we consume and then have nothing. Ideally, we have more wine waiting in the cellar.

I see people yowl over wine that's too pricey and that 'special' vinyl is too pricey, when, in fact, it is the Hi Fi gear that is the problem.

(Internet literal interpretation warning: one of the above three things is a joke.)

elmore244's picture

I've spent $600 on a bottle in a restaurant New York and it was the best deal I ever had. I've spent $45 on a bottle and was, in my opinion, better then the $600 bottle. In my life I've used Steve Job's philosophy on money. When I was a young man, I didn't have any money so I didn't worry about it. I'm older now and have money and I still don't worry about it. Same with records. If I like it, I buy it. If I don't like I don't buy it. If you spend $45 on a record and love it, I'm happy for you. If you send $500 for a record and love it, I'm still happy for you. It doesn't matter what people do with their own money.

Robert Young's picture

Don't let the door hit you on your way out

arcman67's picture

LOLOLOLOL

OldschoolE's picture

These fights are getting old, not to mention wasteful?
The facts are the facts, let them be. There will always be some dissatisfied, disillusioned and disingenuous troll coming along to cause chaos, especially if the subject has any objectivity and is peaceful by nature, such as music.
Some months ago I had an arrogant clown attack me on video after I wrote a cordial yet scientific private email to him correcting some stuff about record care he was putting out that was obviously in error (Windex and shoe cleaning brush on records? Really?) I would have laughed if he was messing around, but he claimed it is his "goto" method and claimed the results are better than some proper methods! He is also a record dealer! So while I was cordial in my email, he decided he was being attacked and went on video attacking me personally claiming I had no backing or knowledge (in spite of the fact I included some in the email).
Fortunately the guy doesn't have many followers or viewers. It was suggested that I file suit, but to me it is not worth the mess and I don't own a business or have a YouTube channel or even go near social media period, so what would be the point? If some folks want to ruin their records and follow bad advice, let them, sad as that may be. I studied the proper care of records for myself and to share with those who care and want to know to enjoy their records for decades.

The argument about "the records fall apart as you play them" is the same tired old fallacy about "every time you play a record you take a year off it's life" or the old favorite: "records wear out after 10 plays and they don't last". Those argument were for vinyl records, not lacquers!
I only buy used records and by used I mean $1 to $10 tops, all genres. I grew up listening to records in the late 60s and early 70s. I have records from the dollar bin that are 60 years old and sound like they are being played for the first time. The music I listen to is very limited in "new pressings/reissues" anyway. To me personally, the new reissues are not worth the asking price. The feel of the original pressings also are more meaningful to me. I also have CDs of more recent artists or digital genres or what have you.
Anything will last longer if you take care of it.

Jazz listener's picture

should never, ever be allowed to moderate anything ever again. What a complete disaster.

arcman67's picture

In Groove Mike gets emails and people asking about new releases all the time. Mike is a collector/retailer which is normal. The gist of what Mike was pointing out is for $500, look elsewhere if you want audio nirvana. Mike did not say don't buy if you collect etc. The turn to dust comment was an exaggerated expression to make the point why the lacquers are not a wise decision for general purchase for sound quality purposes. That is the point Mike was making. Nothing more. For $500 you could buy 10 (or more) Analog Production albums and have much better proven reliability. For the "must have everything collector" nobody is saying do not buy if you can afford it. Heck if this were Dark Side of the Moon...I would buy one.

cdvinyl's picture

After having viewed both Mike's videos the most apparent thing to me is that they are both passionate in what they do.Both are right and both are wrong. So when passionate people get into it, both believing they are right, chances are their vision perspective of other viewpoints is tunneled.

To MF, Why do you get upset by ME questoning your partiality when you get free product? I along with most of your followers have seen equipment reviews of yours saying you received a discount for equipment or cables,etc. I haven't seen a flood of backlash from your followers that this is a Howdy Doody don't or that your diminished by doing it. So, why would you be surprised when ME fires the freebie shot across your bow?When passionate people try to defend their position they sometimes make lame comments. You have been doing your thing for so long is this thrown gaunlet unexpected? Like the comment, "All salesmaen are crooks"-deal with it.
Re: ERC , ME had a bad experience with 4 issues. I don't think he was out of line to vent his disappoinment. I liken it to being a kid at Christmas time and getting a new bicycle only to find it had two flat tires. We all know things happen but I feel you went a smidge overboard not relating to his "personal" frustration. In this instantance were you right to defend ERC, yes. Was he right to vent abour ERC, yes.

Re:ME, you were totally out of line thrashing Supersense. It would be one thing to comment about their product after a year or two on the market, but projecting that it will be a waste of money based on your experience with your laquers is not right. Maybe they have a different, better way of producing a "stronger" product. I don't know. Finally, like most of the above responders have suggested-move on.

cdvinyl's picture

What was the name of your possum?

Robin Landseadel's picture

Oh yeah, whenever I get $500, I like to spend it on a disc that I know is already defective and will wear out faster than a regular LP release. Alternatively, I like to set 6.14 x 2.61 inch pieces of paper with Ben Franklin's picture on fire just to watch them burn.

This thread indicates one more reason why I'll never buy another LP, ever again.

nobonemovies's picture

some of which appear to be quite old, surely AS has test played them before putting them up for sale.

Any interested buyers here?

Andy18367's picture

I have to say, I LOVE IT that Mikey does not censor any comments. I really enjoyed reading the vitriolic chain between pbj and analogscott. I also love it that Mikey is unable to constrain himself in writing, what is it, the third or fourth post on this whole bespoke lacquer tempest on a turntable.

The reason this is significant, and the reason is makes analogplanet a destination site, is that all the other audiophile destinations are so hung up on "civility" (hi, Chris), which is just another way of saying they're gonna censor anything that the site's major stakeholders don't like. (That's even the case on a place that's not that far away from here.)

Anyway, all of this is a long way of say, please do keep letting it all hang out. BTW, I personally am in the camp of, I don't think it's a wise spend to piss away beaucoup bucks on something which will certain degrade if dropped on the floor. I can understanding buying $500 reel to reel tapes (even if they are by definition third gen copies) but lacquers? Er, no.

StonedBeatles1's picture

I just wanted to comment about the good looking coatis hanging out with the freaky looking dude.

abelb1's picture

Both made valid points, thank you. I think Mike went a bit too far suggesting Michael's ERC reviews were biased because he receives review samples. If I try to be generous I could see Mike’s point that some unconscious bias might result in overlooking “inexcusable” blemishes or whatever on a cover of such an expensive record, but the bigger picture that Michael has been communicating in my understanding is that this is a boutique product, produced with great effort and expense to deliver something unique which may only appeal to a minority of people but still has a right to exist! Inform and let the consumer decide. If I had listened to the cynics when the first MoFi One Step was announced I wouldn’t now own what might be the greatest sounding record in my collection. If everyone had listened to the cynics we might not have the big runs of One Steps and UHQR’s many of us now enjoy. About the lacquer, it seems unanimous amongst the experts that they can sound amazing but are fragile. It’s not for me I think, the risk v reward of shipping to the other side of the world to a warm climate doesn’t work out for me, but I’m glad it exists and good on Supersense for doing this. We’re always learning and Gary Salstrom's contribution about temperature sensitivity made a lot of sense. I also appreciate Mike’s point that I'll sleep fine by getting a great AP pressing instead without worrying about lacquer degradation (whether that’s likely or not, I think everyone agrees it’s possible depending on many factors). Audiophile HiFi writer and vinyl evangelist who likes to explore the boundaries meets audiophile and hard nosed record store owner who has to deal with the returns. Regular team up on the cards?

ChrisM's picture

I re-read Ben Sisario's fine NYT article about ERC.
In this regard I would make two observations.

1 - The reporter went to Michael Fremer's house to do the listening (lucky him). The NYT would probably not have allowed him to buy the records from ERC, even if they had been available. ERC does not lend records to journalists, it gives them away, which is strictly forbidden by the NYT's journalists' code of ethics: they cannot receive products sent by brands for free without sending them back.
https://www.nytimes.com/editorial-standards/ethical-journalism.html#rule...

I think that this is the kind of journalistic ethics to which In The Groove pertinently refers.
Everyone has the right to think what he wants, for my part the fact of receiving these records as a gift does not automatically imply a biased opinion, sequence is not necessarily worth consequence, but the question can be asked rightly.

2- About the huge prices of ERC, the strategy exposed in the article is interesting. In short, Pete Hutchison is selling more than a carefully manufactured product: he is selling the experience of listening to records with the technology of the recording era, that of the "golden age" of recording (1965), a bit like a trip back in time. The storytelling is classically based on Hutchison's biography of his father's recovered records, lending an emotional credibility that everyone can relate to. Of course, the argument is short-lived when it comes to a White Stripes record :)
But it is nevertheless on this experience that he establishes his brand, by strongly dissociating himself from the audiophile market that he qualifies as simple "listeners who listen with their ears", whereas his product is listened "with the heart" :)
Hutchison has also understood that the vinyl market was moving towards audiophile products from which it is necessary to distinguish itself by offering something that is "anti-generic".
By drawing a line between audiophiles and its customers, it places itself above the rest, on a segment inaccessible to its competitors.
Pure marketing.

Scarberian's picture

the Blonde on Blonde cover picture. All blurry and the wild hair.

Except Dylan had a pretty girl on his arm.
Not gonna comment on whos the bigger genius, but Mike did save vinyl so there is that.

But seriously folks, more opinions makes for a more informed choice yes?
So glad you and Mike S. did the video with Chad and agreed to disagree.
Cheers.

Static's picture

2 people debating something they love so much and have great passion for. Both out there defending people like me so that I can have a good education on a product. I think the conversation is an important one. Is it worth spending the extra $ or not? Quality is of utmost concern here. As a consumer..I expect my product to be as advertised. Example I recently purchased a reissue that cost approx 5x the cost of the average release. It was noisy..the inner sleeves were split and the outer box was flimsy. I must say that I was upset. Where I live that is alot of $$. The marketing basically implies that the release is the best. So when you get something that is not that...you feel ripped off. Now...the company did replace the inner sleeves and the records relatively quickly..which is a good thing. I will say that I will think twice before I order another one...because it was below the quality I expected. Now If I pay 500$ and this happens...I would be VERY upset replacements or no. So. We have 2 sides of the story here. The audio guru and lover of all things vinyl..and the retailer who has to deal with returns and angry customers. The above scenario is important because quality control is of utmost importance. But...when there is a problem it should be resolved with no questions asked. Thats it. If you plan to sell 300 of these then make 330 to cover possible problems. Then again it is always better to solve the issue before the product goes out. Why is it that my vinyl collection prior to 1990 is flat ..relatively noise free...I have 1 warped album from the 70s..but that is it. Granted as the 80s came to a close it seems records became more and more noisy. Now in the day and age of the new vinyl revolution I have had to return about 15% due to warpage/noise/scratches. 10years ago most local retailers would not even accept a return! Now most do accept returns because they know what quality issues are out there. Do I stop buying vinyls? Nope. Will I give that expensive product another chance..eh maybe. So Mike I agree with you that the lacquers sound amazing..even on my cheapo surround sound family room system- the Who sounded like the WOW! Would I pay a rent payment for that...maybe..would I be really upset if it was messed up..yes. Would I be happier if the above situation happened ..yes..would I buy it again ...eh.

xtcfan80's picture

Yes indeed...."Vinyls" yet again....Please consider spending your hard earned cashes on cheeses...or underwears....

Elubow's picture

“The plural of cheese, as per Merriam Webster, is "cheeses" (Definition for English-Language Learners from Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary.”

timorous's picture

"Oh Michael, oh Jesus. You know I'm not to blame. You know my reputation, for playin' a good clean game." -from Turn That Heartbeat Over Again.

Tommy F's picture

I read the article but found no mention of Tim Buckley and the weird-looking dog on his shoulder

Twinhook's picture

Methinks thou dost protest too much.
For some reason your defense (and offense taken from Mike's comments) of ERC is over the top. Makes one think that maybe Mike is right about the free records. I believe you're honest, but the optics are not good and getting worse the more your argue.

AS far as ERC goes, Mike is right on. For a company that makes only 300 discs it is totally reasonable for there to be zero errors. They're hand made, as you say, which means there should be no problems that reach the customer - even if they have great customer service and replace the problems. Then there's the price. Are their records more than 10 times better than an AP release? No way you can say they are.

Anyway, I do greatly respect your knowledge and opinions. And I am grateful to Chad and you two for doing the YouTube session. Now, please, move on...

Michael Fremer's picture
Is perfect. As for prices, is a Mo-Fi One Step twice as good (etc.)? Not really. If you compare the Acoustic Sounds SRV with the more than twice the price one-step, you'll easily hear that the Acoustic Sounds one is much better. You somehow don't hear me say "some people prefer the Acoustic Sounds Prestiges and some people prefer the ERC. That's the truth. What's the difference worth to anyone is anyone's business and regardless of packing care, seam splits happen.
jazz's picture

with the One Step if you say so.

I just found a Pure Pleasure release as review on analogplanet, of which you said, probably hard to find a better version, but I think the AP and Mofi One Step are better, right?

jazz's picture

What I found out is, that aside of the different EQ from treble to deep bass (which probably is a matter of taste), the AP has better front/back transparency. Not sure if this means “much better” to everyone, given the EQ choice of the One Step may probably suite a majority better and s is my to better fit to the music. How much the One Step is perceived more dynamic due to the different bass EQ or if it really is, is difficult to say in my opinion. Interesting to have both, but I wouldn’t clearly prefer the AP.

Can you tell more about your findings?

rich121's picture

On a record that costs $500 there is no, I repeat, no reason why they are not packaging the record separate from the cover, using a separate plain outer jacket... cost less than $1 more.

Actually, any record that sells from more the $30 should be packaged this way.... then at least the seam split issue is taken care of.

Kolner's picture

You going to go into attack mode on anyone with a few social media followers who holds a negative opinion of ERC? Why?

None of this makes any sense other than a need to drum up a BS controversy. Someone said something about a company that makes 300 records for every reissue. Who cares.

Btw, you’ve said you don’t review ERC records. Why don’t you, the journalist, let ERC defend or explain itself? Why do you, as a journalist, think it’s okay to do this on their behalf?

Michael Fremer's picture
Is perfect. As for prices, is a Mo-Fi One Step twice as good (etc.)? Not really. If you compare the Acoustic Sounds SRV with the more than twice the price one-step, you'll easily hear that the Acoustic Sounds one is much better. You somehow don't hear me say "some people prefer the Acoustic Sounds Prestiges and some people prefer the ERC. That's the truth. What's the difference worth to anyone is anyone's business and regardless of packing care, seam splits happen.
Tullman's picture

The AS SRV does not sound much better than the one step. Quite the opposite in my opinion.

Duke86fan's picture

i dont own an ERC LP... i probably will never because i can barely afford a MoFi let alone a 1 step... and when i asked why do we need it i was responded with "well people are buying it, so why not", which doesn't work since by that logic NFTs and MP3s are perfectly fine and don't deserve criticism.

i personally just don't enjoy the extreme idea of spending so much on one LP when there are even bigger issues on the shelf, such as the issue of just cranking out LPs through a single stamper until its worn (i feel Gz is doing this a lot), or the heavy inflation going on in the pandemic due to high demand (the weeknd selling a 2LP for 50 USD despite JPEGmafia giving you 3LPs for 30), or even more intense analysis paralysis for those like me who are really interested in getting the best they can at the price but cant because of magazines giving different opinions on "best for price" or the "best copy"

also i think the real issue with the seam split is that for a record that costs THAT much you expect as professional a packaging as possible, maybe ship it in the rice sleeve and paper but OUTSIDE of the jacket (that stops seam splits and often stops warping), a part of why people spend so much money on things is the unboxing an experience, which does matter when you are sinking so much

xtcfan80's picture

Anyone can call records by any name they wish...Saying or writing "Vinyls" does stamp the person as a recent convert to the vinyl world. Speaking of cheeses, every hear someone say "Chuck E. Cheeses?"....sounds weird.

JRW1971's picture

When you're as late as I am to this party, you can't read every comment, but I feel like I can satisfy both sides with this personal experience with ERC (you pick which statement you prefer, but they are both true): (1) 100% of all ERC LPs I've ever bought -- and I buy a lot of albums for my three systems and 6 turntables and 8 tonearms and 12 cartridges!! -- has been plagued by pops/ticks and high levels of surface noise, even after multiple baths in my KL Audio, leading me to conclude that there were some unacceptable levels of dust in one stage of the pressing process, or (2) I bought one ERC (Everybody Digs Bill Evans) for a gazillion dollars; it was sealed, packaged perfectly, just lovely. A few tracks are stellar. But, unfortunately, most of it is unlistenable due to high levels of pops/ticks/surface noise. That's a shame, but one of the reasons we enjoy this hobby is that, without the disappointments, the "achievements" are so much less thrilling.

In any event, as much as I'd like to give ERC another shot, and as much as I want to give any maker of LPs the benefit of the doubt they deserve for trying to get us the best possible LPs, at a certain price point you forfeit that benefit of doubt and people are entitled to expect unqualified excellence. Moreover, at a certain price, the definition of "error" gets broader. The market of serious buyers will decide whether a 3% catastrophic error rate is acceptable, but if my professional error rate was that high I'd be unemployed.

arcman67's picture

I would guess 50% or more are probably sitting on someones shelf for a sell off years down the road. The overall customer experience with defects may never be known until many years from now

Kirby's picture

First off, I loved the video and I applaud you both for taking part in it. Thank you Chad for bringing them together. I've been a huge fan of Michael Fremer since the day he started writing for Stereophile and of Esposito for a few years now because I like his shoot out videos.
Round One: IMHO Esposito, on the mater of Lacquers, spoke more out of rhetoric than actual fact, Fremer physically proved otherwise, end of round....
Round two: ERC QC, Well how hard is it to physically, visually inspect 300 Lps? They can't play every album but they should look at every copy very closely for that price. As for the split seam, shit happens in shipping that they can't or shouldn't be held responsible for. End of round two.
My results: Round One: Fremer! Round Two: Split (Seam) Decision.
At the end of it all, it's really up to the individual what they think is good value for their money. 90% of the people think we're nut's just for loving vinyl and 90% of the vinyl buying public think we're nuts for spending more than $30 for ANY pressing. (Not my opinion), but I think its that's the truth.( Me I keep searching for the best copy I can afford). Which is why I love both the Mikes for fighting for great quality vinyl for guys like me. Thank you both! (Do you know Esposito wont sell those horrible European reissues in his store(we all know the ones)
So like a great American once said, Can't we all just get along...

superb-9's picture

Tryin' ta address da man wit my best Kassem Hillbillyeze ..."Hey Fremuh" ... Hey, man like when y'all gots yer liquor -- ahem, lacquer -- did ya'll like treat it wit' Gruv-Glide or LAST? Just askin', toots. Gots to know like a mofo'.

PeterPani's picture

on that talk. I own most of AP Ultratapes. All of them are fantastic. I also own a lot of ERC-vinyl (from times, when the titles have not been sold out immediately). I for sure will go for the Love Supreme on Ultratape! I expect Analog Heaven.

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