Malachi Liu's Return Visit Sure to Engage You

With more than 15,000 views on YouTube in two weeks, young record collector and audio enthusiast Malachi Liu's first visit to editor Michael Fremer's listening room clearly resonated with viewers. He's soon off with his family to Portland, Oregon but before leaving and after returning home from summer music camp, he paid a second visit.

The two spent a few hours listening to records, which was not recorded to video for obvious reasons, after which they critiqued what they'd heard, one record at a time. You're sure to enjoy the young man's insights and opinions. Like his host, Mr. Liu can be fairly described as "a giant walking opinion"—and that's meant as a compliment!

After the listening session young Malachi was given some gifts from Fremer and especially from two generous AnalogPlanet readers. Liu's reaction to the bounty will surely light up your day!

However, it elicited a response/correction from Billy Fields who is a Run Out Grooves/Warner Music contact (Instagram: @billysezvinyl). He emailed about the Dr. John Run Out Groove double LP compilation you'll see in the video. I wrongly claimed they used the wrong label (yellow ATCO) because the album "Gris Gris" uses the older ATCO label. Fields pointed out that most of the songs on the double LP were from later Dr. John albums that used the all-yellow label.

Chemguy's picture

Michael and Malachi! Isn’t it great that this young man can appreciate all that he has learned and has been given!

Mr. Pete's picture

I found it "refreshing" to see a young man have so much enthusiasm for music...and records. Obviously, he is very bright and articulate. I am also "thrilled" to see that his whole world is not downloading apps and living on his cell phone.
After teaching for thirty five years it is wonderful to see Michael take an interest in this young man. This will be something he will remember the rest of his life. These two interviews were a "win win" for the both of them.

azmoon's picture

..way to go Michael, way to go....

A good heart always shines through.

Jim Tavegia's picture

There are the new M&M Boys in the. City. What a day he had and I know he will enjoy his presents. Can he tell us in the next video about his current system and what he hopes to have in the future?

gca's picture

Most fun I've had all day!

Dr Freejazz's picture

and sweet kid! Eloquent, too. I really enjoyed watching him get his presents and am so happy for him.

Toptip's picture

But I find this whole video a bit sad. It is one thing for us 40, 50...70-year olds to wallow in nostalgia, another to mislead a 12-year old that some primitive, obsolete technology is “cool.” A bit like, do not use e-mail, send a telegram. What — post office no longer provides that service?

Hope he does not get harrassed or bullied in high school or college.

Wimbo's picture

to a breath of fresh air that this young fella is mate.

J. Carter's picture

First to say it is obsolete is stupid. There is nothing out there that has completely replaced the record playing experience and the joy it can bring not to mention that record sales have been having double digit sales gains year over year for almost 10 years now. Hard to call it obsolete when that is happening.

Two, I don't think anyone has said it was cool anywhere. I think all of us in this hobby agree it isn't cool including Mikey that isn't why we we love it.I am pretty sure the kid already understands this and there are worse things to get "harassed" about in high school or college than enjoying record listening as a hobby. It is unlikely there will be that much harassment over liking to listen to music via record.

Eskisi's picture

This forum could use a little decorum.

I guess it is tough when the editor-in-chief calls anyone he does not agree with, “ignorant, cretin,” says, “crawl back into your cave” or makes fun of stroke victims.

Still, just because we live in Trump’s world, we do not need to debase ourselves like him.

Michael Fremer's picture
Call anyone I disagree with "ignorant, cretin". However some people are ignorant cretins, which is what you are. I did not make fun of "stroke victims" or even one stroke victim. I made fun of a situation involving records and a stroke victim. I don't expect you to understand the distinction or realize how stupid you are coming here to post your bile, but then, you are an ignorant cretin, so please crawl back into your cave.
Eskisi's picture

For requesting a bit of decorum?

You know, you should run for president. With your foul mouth and handicapped-baiting and impersonation you might even win in this environment. Of course “ignorant cretin” does not quite have the ring of “little rocket man” but the real question is...who will then write the “fake news” about turntable racks that improve sound and $1K power cords you can hear on your $50 Home Depot camcorder?

Incidentally that is SAAB aircraft on the shirt, not the car. And yes, Subaru is the new SAAB for college professors. I should know, I went to Princeton and Oxford.

MichaelTrei's picture

I love it when people try to show how smart they are by name dropping their schools, and stating some clever "fact," only to fail miserably in the process.

SAAB used the "aircraft" logo on their cars from 1963, well into the 1970s.

OldschoolE's picture

Such a class act Eskisi.....NOT! I wonder of you are a secret Trump supporter? I would not know as I am not political. I only care about the damage to innocent people being done.
First of all, name dropping schools is not impressive, least of all, to me. Schools don't make one smarter. I know someone who has a Masters and is dumb as a sack of hammers.

Second, what does it matter about the SAAB logo? What is your point?

Third, you do not have to believe that $1k cables make huge improvements in any system. (I happen to believe that they do not based on real science, but it is not my money being spent on them and I say let those who believe and have the means, buy such things and enjoy them. If it makes their system sound better to them then that is all that really matters. There are many other things my money is being spent on against my will that harm others to be worried about how much someone else pays for cables or gear racks, etc. The only time it is wrong is when it is pushed on others and used as a tool to put others down). Be comfortable in your truth and ignore stuff about certain things that are not essential that you do not believe in.

Fourth, That is not a $50 Home Depot camera. Home Depot does not sell consumer or pro video cameras. Places like B&H Photo does. I also happen to have the same camera that Michael uses and it is one of the better ones out there. It is not $50 and allows one to use an external mic. Most cameras like this do not have that very needed feature.
As an ex-journalist myself, a word of advice: check your "facts" before publishing and if it is more opinion than fact, clearly state that.

Eskisi's picture

You sound like an earnest, honest person and I am sorry to offend you. My comments were for those on this site who call others “ignorant, stupid, cretin,” etc., starting with the editor himself. If someone calls you those based on just a few lines you wrote — which included no such crass language — they really leave you little choice but to list your credentials as partial testimony that you are possibly not stupid or ignorant. Just watch the “editor’s” video where he impersonates some poor stroke victim, shaking with half his face numb and tell me if that is any different than the Donald impersonating a handicapped journalist.

The rest, the $50 camera, the SAAB...that was just to be a bit humorous. When I was at college in the 80s, the professorial — or liberal — thing to do was driving a SAAB, especially a convertible, no idea why — maybe because it was from a social democrat country or because it was safe or a front wheel drive, who knows. With the demise of SAAB (car), apparently the professorial choice is now a Subaru. Again it is subtle, not flashy, has a rare boxer engine, safe... When both car brands were mentioned, I wanted to simply point out the coincidence.

Again, I had no intention to offend except to point out the offenders’ wrong ways. There may be readers or readers’ parents whom they take care of with strokes or dementia. I do for one.

Michael Fremer's picture
And I'm sure you'd hear power cable differences quickly!
Michael Fremer's picture
I love being "lectured" to about SAAB, the car brand I've driven exclusively since 1972. I have forgotten more about SAAB than Eskisi will ever know. Here I am in 1986 doing a clutch job on my Saab 96:

Elubow's picture

Is this the kind of adult(?) response you’d like Malachi to read? Is this the fine example you’d like to set for the younger generation? I know you’re passionate about what you do, but does it really make sense to respond so vituperatively even to remarks that hint at the slightest criticism? If ever there was an example of the Jekyll- Hyde persona, you seem to have captured it: intelligent, genial, humorous in person but underneath, angry, over sensitive, and eager to lash out at those who you perceive critical of you or as you say “ignorant”. Why can’t you just leave it alone?

Eskisi's picture

Elubow, in an other comment you say, “I would hazard to guess that you do not deny the validity of the scientific method in general.”

Of course he does — or pretends to — as do all these need-to-look-at-the brand reviewers. They have even come up with a thesis — “blind tests so stress the reviewer that they cannot do their job / tell things apart.”

The electronics world has advanced so much that most gadgets perform perfectly, with little if any distiction. In fact, the only necessary device still so imperfect that which one you like has to be a subjective choice, is the loudspeaker (there is also the cartridge but it has not been “necessary” in a while, not since 1982).

Everything else — amplifiers, DACs, “CD transports,” even the not-too-severe compression schemes — have attained such perfection that, if there are any audible differences, they can only be down to sloppy execution.

But these dinosaurs still have a need to feel relevant, to ply their old trade when some underpowered amp sounded better than the other underpowered amp when pushed to the limit. But when caught lying, they immediately turn “vituperative,” as you say, call you stupid, cretin, cave dweller, etc. They cannot help it, they have to protect their turf. It is pathetic but also almost quaint, vestiges of a bygone age.

Michael Fremer's picture
Actually I've taken many blind tests including at Harman's research facility and I've done very well. I'm not against blind testing. I was once challenged by a knucklehead who claimed that all amplifiers that measure the same sound the same---something a sad sack like you probably believes--so I challenged him to set up an A/B/X test to his specs and I'd take the test. So he set one up at an L.A. AES using 5 amplifiers. I took the test. John Atkinson took the test. I got 100% correct identifications. JA got 80% correct. Once the 5 amplifiers were identified by brand (but not as to which was which in the test) I volunteered my thoughts as to which was which and I got it 100 PERCENT CORRECT. However, in the end the ENGINEERS WHO TOOK THE TEST didn't do better than 50/50. Therefore, the test givers decided my result was an "outlier" and it was tossed! So guess what? THE TEST HAD A STUPID RESULT. Why? Not because the engineers were bad listeners but because they were inexperiences test takers. As for this: "They have even come up with a thesis — “blind tests so stress the reviewer that they cannot do their job / tell things apart.”" YOU PULLED THAT FROM YOUR OWN ANUS WHERE YOUR BRAIN RESIDES. You are an imbecile.
Jenn's picture

The name Arnie Nudell comes to mind, speaking of nincompoops, may he RIP.

Michael Fremer's picture
Why "nincompoop"?
Jenn's picture

Arnie and I (and several others) had a long running exchange on the old Let's just say that he had a severe problem with telling the truth and being the least bit cordial. John can verify for you.

Jenn's picture

That's, obviously.

Eskisi's picture

There are no organisms with a brain-anus combo, as for as the scientific literature is concerned.

But there are some low life forms, like the sea cucumber, with a mouth-anus combo. Makes sense, as potty mouths must have had an ancestor to evolve from, however marginally.

Michael Fremer's picture
The comment was more than a "hint of criticism". I am fine with that. The accusation was that I launch into an attack at the slightest provocation. That's not true. In any case, the criticism here is mostly of a vile nature that I won't leave alone. As for Malachi, he is welcome to witness both my good side and if he agrees with you, my bad, or less good side, and to judge from there.
Eskisi's picture

On a site like this which aims to cater to a discussion of some of the finer things in life, there should never be crass expressions used, let alone personal attacks and least of all by the editor. If anything, the editor should "edit out" any other commentators who go on such attacks. I think that is all anyone is saying. One should stay away from "[you are] an idiot, cretin, stupid, anus" etc.

You think you can tell the difference between power cords. I think you cannot. We disagree, end of discussion in civility. (Except of course I am right, like Galileo was)

ChrisS's picture

...different power cords, Eskisi, then it's only you or your equipment or both.

End of discussion.

Eskisi's picture

You also seem to think that tests that prove the ineffectiveness (that is, beyond a placebo effect) of homeopathy or acupuncture are poorly designed and meaningless. See, these things go hand-in-hand:

You either believe that science, which gave us sound reproduction and, not to forget, safe water, is to be relied on, or, that the 12 rivers of China (“meridians”) provide a better map of human innards than MRI.

Blind testing is the heart of scientific method. But since no-one has ever been able to tell apart any type of connectors in a blind test, those tests too must be “poorly designed and meaningless.”

These are different belief systems. But science has generally proven itself more reliable the past 4-5 centuries.

ChrisS's picture

...different power cords, is that a "fact" about your hearing abilities, a "fact" about the poor quality or low resolution of your stereo system, or both?

Or is it based on your beliefs?

ChrisS's picture

...why is there an opioid crisis in North America?

Wasn't Oxycontin, Vicodin, etc. supposed to safe and non-addicting?

Wasn't there supposed to be no connection between lung cancer and the smoking of tobacco?

Were you one of the many thousands who bought a diesel Volkswagen because the emissions were supposed to be so low?

Who designed those tests? Scientists?

ChrisS's picture like to have a blind test first?

Eskisi's picture

I want to know that the surgery they do will be effective! In some statistical matters, historic evidence does the same as testing: if 60% of people who had the surgery under the same circumstances survived 5+ years vs 20% amongst those who did not, then surgery is preferable. Would you instead take one drop of something diluted in a septic tank’s worth of water and hope it goes away?

America’s opiod crises, or drug problem more generally, is a very sad matter. It is caused by a combination of factors, political, alienation, greed... but there is no denying that science can also be abused. Science surely gave us the nuclear bomb, novichok agents, machine guns but also antibiotics and vaccines. Its progress includes many disasters but even those can be planned and reliable.

ChrisS's picture

Heart surgery of any kind has nothing to do with blind testing.

None of the "science" related to the situations I've mentioned do.

Did the development of the smallpox vaccine involve blind testing?

Did Madame Currie use blind testing?

How about Einstein?

BTW, Galileo didn't.

Since you speak of numbers, have you wondered why homeopathy, acupuncture, and the plethora of power cords exist at all?

Sounds like you have never tried any of the above.

ChrisS's picture

The opioid crisis is a specific drug problem that was definitely planned.

Do you call that progress or even good science?

ChrisS's picture

...the veracity and reliability of what Michael Fremer does.

On what grounds?


OldschoolE's picture

I don't think he has anything to worry about in high school or college. In fact, he may be envied!
This is hardly obsolete technology. If it was, it would have stayed dead and we would not have the plethora of turntables, analog gear and records both new and used we have now.

Yeah, I grew up with this technology. I get on fine without one of those smart phone things and I hate email, but have to use it.

hiwattnick's picture

How can one be so bitter, that they would want to basically stomp all over a child’s passion in life? He’s obviously a genuinely good kid too.
And obsolete technology?! Sound reproduction doesn’t get any better than through that of an all analog path played on a tape or vinyl record. Fact.

I’m sorry that you were obviously bullied in high school and in college. But in college?! Haha! Really?
I can only imagine how elementary school was like for you.

I can’t actually believe I just responded to your post either, but I had to stand up for Michael and Malachi, as your comments were totally uncalled for and extremely juvenile in nature.

Talk about misplaced anger.

Grow up there, Toptip...

OldschoolE's picture

Well said Hiwattnick! You said what I wanted to say, but did not for some reason.

Mr. Toptip, I do not know the reasons you are so bitter, but I would guess it could possibly be some unaddressed jealousy or other social issue. Your comments were really uncalled for. I mean he is a kid, but happens to be delightful and knows something. (Perhaps he knows things you do not)? What he knows, anyone can learn and he happened to want to, so he did. Give him room to grow for God's sake! None of us ever stop learning unless we want to.

Tom L's picture least you concede that you're being a "buzzkill".
When people write something like that perhaps they should read their own words before posting and find something more positive to say. Or just keep those unfortunate downer thoughts to yourself. That's what I do.

Toptip's picture

"Or just keep those unfortunate downer thoughts to yourself. That's what I do."

or, do as I say, not...

Michael Fremer's picture
You are sad, pathetic, and misinformed. I didn't "mislead" him. There's nothing "obsolete" about vinyl records, or fine dining or BOOKS, you knucklehead. My interest in and support of vinyl has nothing to do with "nostalgia". I'm sure this kid can take care of himself. He's the best. You are the worst.
OldschoolE's picture

as well, seriously. It is never about nostalgia. I look at records as historical documents in a sense and they need to be preserved and enjoyed. That is one of many reasons I buy used records, not necessarily just because they cost less than new ones. Many sound better than new ones and some do not. Even I am trying to find a way to justify for myself saving up to buy the Buffalo Springfield vinyl box set. (In fact, Malachi is going to end up really liking Buffalo Springfield, I just know it). Exposing him to more genres is the greatest gift you can give to a youngin like that! Of course, dad's wallet may not dig it for a time.
Yeah, that "obsolete" statement was just flat idiotic. Just try to explain how this is obsolete tech against the fact that there are more turntables being made now than in vinyl's heyday for starters. Or even explain it against the fact that there are thousands of turntables from the late 60s and early 70s still doing duty just fine (I can physically prove that one). Man, some people.....I just don't know.

hiwattnick's picture

“He’s the best. You are the worst”. Hahaha!

That’s a perfect observation of Mr. Tippytoes, or whatever.
I think we’re all finished ripping him a new one.
By “new one”, I am of course referring to a new opinion.

dazeofheaven's picture

Keep your hateful negativity to yourself. All I saw was the joy of a young person loving music played on a turntable and hearing for himself that it sounds great. Great, not better or worse or anything like that.

isaacrivera's picture

But nobody calls a collector with a 1957 Ferrari Testa Rossa or a 1961 Jaguar XKE "sad" even though those cars can only be repaired by a dozen mechanics in the world and there is no replacement parts market. Do more of whatever makes YOU happy and let others pursue their passions in peace--don't be so judgmental.

kruhlin's picture

What a great way to pass it on...

Wimbo's picture

This video made me very happy. What a lovely young fellow.

J. Carter's picture

That was great Mikey. What an amazingly kind and generous gesture from some of your fans and you to help his passion/obsession along.

OldschoolE's picture

What a delight! Wow! All those record gifts and a Rega 3! He is set! How nice is that?! He is truly appreciative as well.
He does have solid opinions for his age and that is great. I would only disagree about the willingness to pay some of the prices for new records, but not to worry. When he starts working, reality has a nasty way of hitting one upside the head and he will quickly learn the value of used records. I think he is already on the way to that actually, he has indicated that he is understanding the historical significance of original recordings as well. Used records are not just strictly about price or "collector's value".
I also delighted in the fact that the kid does not call them "vinyls"!!! That right there says he gets it.

hiwattnick's picture

I cannot possibly begin to tell you or Malachi, how much your relationship with this young audio wiz kid warms my heart! It’s so great to see how you guys play off of each other. You guys could be a comedy duo, or some kind of old time vaudevillian type act! His enthusiasm is contagious, and you’ve obviously gotten caught in the vortex, as he has also gotten stuck in yours! It is so kind of you to have taken him under your wing. He even gets some of your more obscure jokes. I can only hope that there are other kids out there with the passion and knowledge that Malachi not just displays, but exudes. Even a small amount of them would be a blessing. Vinyl and analog music reproduction isn’t going away, and this kid is a breath of fresh analog audio air. I was so glad to see the records that included all of those wonderful test pressings and the Rega P3 which was so kindly given to him. He was definitely more than appreciative, and even somewhat seemingly in shock to receive those wonderful and deserved gifts.

Thank you so very much, Michael, for bringing this great kid into ours lives, your life, your home, and insanely wonderful world of audio! If there were ever a perfect mentor for Malachi, it’s obviously you. I’m sure you’ve already left an immensely positive impact on him, and he on you also. I will certainly be watching for what Malachi’s got in store for the future, which I’m sure will be big things in the world of audio.

Thank you again, Michael for these past few top notch Analog Planet articles and videos!

Sorry, one last thing. Tell me he’s a huge SAAB fan too, and I’ll lose it!

Michael Fremer's picture
I didn't ask him about cars. However his father drove him over in his Subaru and told him that I am very suspicious of any car brand that spelled backwards is "U R A BUS". He found that funny!
hiwattnick's picture

Haha! Now I’m actually quite ashamed l hadn’t come to that observation on my own!
You’re a clever one for figuring that out.
Bravo, Mr. Fremer! Bravo!

OldschoolE's picture

He's lucky it is not called a Santa...tee hee hee!

Ortofan's picture

... SAAB once sold a "badge-engineered" version of the Subaru Impreza? Recall the 9-2x?

Also, the original version of the Subaru Tribeca (which was also going to be badged as the SAAB 9-6) had a front grille that closely resembled that of the SAAB 96.

Michael Fremer's picture
Yes, I do remember all of this. I'm hardcore Saab. i visited the factory...
Ortofan's picture

... buy today if he wants a brand-new vehicle?

JL Main's picture

There was Martin and Lewis, Fred and Ginger, Mick and Keith, and now Mikey and Malachi together tonight for one night only! Really a lovely video and a joy to hear and see the two of you together. I'm already sad that Malachi is moving across the country, but maybe you will be able to do a few more of these from time to time. Maybe you can meet up and go to one of the high end shows or Burning Amp festival.

Wimbo's picture

at a High End show video would be great Michael.

Ortofan's picture

... VPI to gift the kid a Cliffwood?

Drummer's picture

Really so great, thank you!

I ask my 13 year old daughter to sit and listen with me sometimes. It is a joy to hear kids' observations on audio. She mentioned Kind of Blue in her 7th grade music class and her teacher just about fainted, because, you know...

theboogeydown's picture

I'm not sure if it was more fun watching this young guy impress or your joy in watching him do so. Looks to me like there is mutual inspiration going on here. Thanks for sharing.

Jenn's picture


cvcgolf's picture

Great kid and fun to watch you guys enjoying the world of analog..

You were enjoying the Beach Boys in stereo?.. I knew I got suckered into buying Pet Sounds in Mono.. My hdcd version of Pet Sounds (which is actually a cdr that someone burned for me) sounds better then the mono vinyl to me..

I'll be buying stereo from now on..

alucas's picture

i don't engage, at times the conversation takes a wrong turn and people start to rip each other apart. mr fremer you should better moderate this forum instead of egging it on. if they bate you than let it go and let things move on and forward. this was not good sensibile reading.

McFaden's picture

The video is sure to engage, the comments are sure to enrage.

bdp24's picture

I'm fairly new to Portland, and would love to meet this kid! And his father, of course ;-). Maybe I'll bump into them at Crossroads, which I wasn't aware of. Thanks for the video Michael, love it.

ArizonaBob's picture

I am so late to this party but my only take was WONDERFULLY DELIGHTFUL.