My Two Best Christmas Presents

My two best Christmas presents. One was the record weight pictured above. Chris Stinchfeld of 1441 Engraving in Brunswick, Georgia wrote “Michael, I love your videos and would like to send you a gift.” How thoughtful and generous was that? He took the time to duplicate the AnalogPlanet logo and put it on a well-machined, attractive record weight. But I think even Chris would agree that the correspondences below from Sava Dimitrov, a young man in Bulgaria is as good a gift as one could get.

Hello Mr. Fremer!

I was inspired to write to you because of all the wonderful work you have done to spread the word of records. Like most people my age, I used to listen to stuff like Kanye West, Drake, and other modern acts. You see it wasn't always that way as I grew up on classic rock. My first memory of music is seeing the video for I Want To Break Free. That was when they still played bands like Queen on VH1, but not to get sidetracked it left a big impact on me. Instead of laughing at how funny Brian May looked in that silly outfit, I took it on as a play of some sort. A couple of years went by and I got into Metallica, the first album I ever got was "S&M" , their amazing collaboration with the San Francisco Orchestra. The only problem was that not a single of my friends shared my strange taste in music, except for a way older girl in college that asked my mom to adopt me, because I used to wear Tallica shirts and carry an acoustic guitar with me across town. It wasn't until 12th grade when after seeing Bohemian Rhapsody me and my friends were hooked and we were going to form a band. It didn't amount to much besides getting really drunk and trashing a mate's house but I found something else, I found The Beatles.

It was after my dad introduced me to Abbey Road, that was when I fell in love with the band and started to research the album. While I was enjoying the songs, the sound and presentation were terrible. The great 50th anniversary reissue wasn't released yet so all I had was the horrible Spotify version. I knew this wasn't the way John, Paul, George, and Ringo wanted me to listen to their music and that's when I found out about records. My goal now was to grab the reissue when it comes out and find out all I can about records in the meantime.

That's where you come in, your videos were funny and educational (still are), and provided me with exactly what I wanted to know. It's been 2 years since I started collecting and I have almost 300 records already. There really is nothing like it, sitting down, and actually listening to music, nothing else. I am now "the record guy" amongst my friends and that's a badge I wear with pride. Just yesterday one of my best friends got a turntable and has kicked off his own collection. I did such a good job selling the idea of doing it that, his parents are also getting records, ain't that just great? The Zeppelin Classic Records example really helped me to convince him. I basically said, why wait 10 years to pay an insane price for a record, when you can get it for much less now, especially since he already said he wanted to get into records.

Not only did you introduce me to records but Thrax also. Sadly in Bulgaria we have this thing where we put down anybody else for being successful just because it doesn't aid us in particular. It's a terrible mindset and the reason I found out about the company through you and not my own country. Why talk about Thrax when we can discuss Macedonia and the typical political unrest stories of the day. It's absolutely ridiculous how little attention such a shining example of local success is enduring.

Well that's all, I hope you read this because it would mean the world to me, if one of my heroes got to see what a difference he made in my life. I don't have to agree with everything you say about a record but your reputation and love for the art makes me consider and appreciate your points for sure. Music has helped me get out of a very big hole and I couldn't be happier I picked up that Abbey Road.

Have the best time during the holidays and never change!

Of course I contacted Thrax’s Rumen Artarski and gave him the young man’s email address. A short time later I got this email from young Mr. Dimitrov:

Hello Mr Fremer,

A couple of days ago, one of the best days of my life happened when I got to go to Thrax thanks to you. I took my dad there with me so he could get a better understanding of the world of HI-FI equipment and he was really impressed. Rumen took great care of us and spoke in a way that really made me calm down and appreciate the moment. Like anybody that lived through the tough communist period of Bulgaria, Rumen and my dad inevitably got on the topic but that's alright, at least they included records in it. It's like going out with a Serbian friend and not talking about Yugoslavia, impossible . The trip made me appreciate what Thrax does even, more as I found out that the man behind the company is as great as the product.

Another result of this trip was me getting into the equipment aspect of records even more. I liked reading about that stuff before but my love for vinyl was far greater. Now thanks to you and Rumen, I'm starting to save up money for a complete Thrax stereo. It's gonna take some time but I wouldn't have it any other way.

When we left Thrax I went to my favorite record store and picked up a few Analog Productions records through some prize money my dad gave me for my first steps in the vinyl world. I have to say your friend Chad does a terrific job, yes the records he does are pricey and take me a longer time to get, but boy are they good. I have 3 of them now and they define quality, he should really get to Linda Ronstadt and Deep Purple's catalogue already! Linda did have the Mo-Fi ones but Purple have been severely mistreated by high end labels and never really got a definitive release. He should also extend AP's subscription to Europe, I would instantly sign up let me tell you.

Again I'm forever in your debt and can't express just how much what you did means to me. I have close friends and family that haven't sent me a happy birthday text in years and never did anything close to what you made happen. I guess it's testament to why you have been this successful and proof of your great character.

Have a good one!

“Have a good one”? How could I not after receiving that email? Below is the 2016 Thrax factory tour (Döhmann turntables are now assembled in Australia).

Glotz's picture

So awesome you are touching so many lives! The Analog Maven!

And that record weight is baller! SO COOL!

Blessings upon Thrax and much success to the company... and the country.

Glotz's picture

on the record weight?

Michael Fremer's picture
No. It's legible. Mine looks like a pre-schooler
Glotz's picture

Mine too!

Jim Tavegia's picture

and here they are. Very nice, and greater when unexpected.

redchaser's picture

Thank you for sharing both of those stories with us. No doubt you're touching people's lives.

xtcfan80's picture

These are two truly great stories about music lovers you have all of us!! Recently, I donated an old turntable I was given to a young lady at a coffee shop I frequent. She is starting her hi-fi/gear collection. Her co-worker is also a hi-fi/music fan and helped her set up her new system and showed her how to handle and care for her LPs. Today she shared that Brian (the co-worker) said "I hope when I get older I will mentor young hi-fi/music fans like Chris" I am the Chris....made me feel like I have at least one pat on the back that really means something. Michael, you have offered this feeling to thousands...keep it up!!!

dial's picture

I love Thrax too, except their prices.

kkatseanes's picture

You're willingness to reach out to individuals who are newbies and not among the elite of this hobby is really remarkable. You're a great example of not letting celebrity overshadow humanity.

Anton D's picture

I have a fetish for those. You two should sell that one as AP merch!!!

Boomer's picture

That is a great story from very far away and very touching. Just shows everyone that there's vinyl lovers everywhere in the world. Way to go Mr. Fremer and keep it up. What you do helps us all to better understand what we love.

pchristian's picture

Having spent a lot of time in Bulgaria (I opened an office there several years ago), I can tell you that the people are warm, friendly and engaging. They have a genuine love of western culture, but are, at the same time fiercely proud of their culture.

Telekom's picture
Malik Robinson's picture

Both are excellent gifts! Keep being an inspiration

stefenjames's picture

Fantastic barely captures the essence of Baylen Levine's work, as his creations transport us to realms of pure imagination. With boundless creativity, he weaves stories that ignite the soul and fuel the mind's wanderings. Baylen Levine's touch turns the ordinary into the extraordinary, leaving an indelible mark on all who experience his artistry.

jackwilliams's picture

Hi, I'm glad you're looking for some ideas for Christmas presents. I think a coat is a great choice, especially in winter. A coat can keep you warm, stylish, and comfortable. There are many types of coats to choose from, such as wool coats, Christmas 2023 Vanessa Lengies Coat, trench coats, parkas, and more.

jackwilliams's picture

Hi, I'm glad you're looking for some ideas for Christmas presents. I think a coat is a great choice, especially in winter. A coat can keep you warm, stylish, and comfortable. There are many types of coats to choose from, such as wool coats, Christmas 2023 Vanessa Lengies Coat, trench coats, parkas, and more.

plonkarchivist's picture

Wonderful, especially when vampire survivors unexpected.