Not Too Late For Book Gift-Giving!

There’s still time to give or get for yourself one or more of these provocative and/or visually opulent books.

Two of them are by Harvey Kubernik, whose “Turn Up the Radio", “Canyon of Dreams" and “A Perfect Haze: An Illustrated history of the Monterrey International Pop Festival" were both provocative and eye candyland.

Big Shots—The Photography of Guy Webster

“Big Shots—The Photography of Guy Webster" (Insight Editions) written (or it could be said “curated" by Harvey and his brother Kenneth) traces in words and images Webster’s astonishing career.

Webster’s story sounds like a movie: his father was an Academy Award winning lyricist (“The Shadow of Your Smile" and “Love is a Many Splendored Thing" were but two of his) and he was raised in Beverly Hills surrounded by celebrities. He grew up with Candice Bergen and Frank Jr. and Nancy Sinatra so he hung out at Frank’s house and Dean’s house.

Yes he was in the right place at the right time and privileged too, but as you thumb through the album covers and stop to admire a photo you’ve perhaps known for most of your life, Guy Webster’s own portrait—through his photographs of others—becomes clear.

The second Byrds album cover, the electric blue one? That’s his. Gene Clark and Doug Dillard passing a joint? His. Covers for the Mamas and the Papas, The Rolling Stones, Taj Mahal, Tim Buckley, Judy Collins and others—amazing covers and so varied are but part of what Webster did so well.

His candid shots were audacious and revealing but so were the set pieces. So many of them were defining. Like the sepia one of a young Hush Puppy wearing Van Dyke Parks on the cover of Song Cycle. It’s perfect. It visually defines the artist as intensely as does the music. As you make your way through the photos you’ll find yourself saying repeatedly “he shot that one too?"

Webster’s cinema celebrity photographs are equally evocative and iconic. That he gets to and draws out the essence of everyone he photographs is made clear as you leaf through the pages. His female portraits are a high point. There’s a double page Natalie Wood picture from which its difficult to avert the eyes, though that’s also true of the shot of Don “Captain Beefheart" Van Vleit and that of him with his Magic Band.

As with most coffee table books like this, the narrative isn’t strong, nor does it matter, though there are some interesting celebrity reminiscences and Webster himself provides some memorable anecdotes.

If you want to get the conversation going at a gathering of friends of a certain age, just leave this book on the living room table.

“Leonard Cohen everybody knows" (Backbeat Books)

Here Kubernik combines the author’s personal Cohen experiences with opinions and anecdotes provided by others combined with photographs—some familiar but many not.

The book includes a series of timelines, from which we learn that in 1952 Leonard was elected president of McGill’s Zeta Beta Tau fraternity—the same year he formed a country and western group—and that his poems were first published in 1954. We learn that two years after enrolling in Columbia University graduate school, he works as a summer camp counselor at Pripstein’s Camp Mishmar in Quebec’s Laurentian Mountains.

Yes, the book is filled with both the picayune and the profound, which for fans are equally fascinating. Kubernik skillfully threads together Cohen’s story told in intimate detail by his old friends and acquaintances accompanied by pictures seemingly lifted from a credenza in Cohen’s dining room (or if you are Jewish of a certain age, it will look as if it came from yours).

For fans of Cohen’s music, the book provides an invaluable look at how he made the transition to song from poetry. His escapades and adventures, which to some will no doubt come off as incredibly self-indulgent, are somehow amusing and in retrospect predictable. A trip to Castro’s newly liberated Cuba? Vu den?

The Cohen story is one of a shy, carnally involved intellectual who could also be provocative, adventurous and yes, self-absorbed and very much interested in celebrity for its own sake. But unlike some others he brought to these preoccupations the goods to succeed on the merits.

Imagine Cohen in New York in the ‘60s. In 1966 he meets Judy Collins through her Canadian music manager and sings for her “Suzanne" and a few others, two of which make it on to her In My Life album. He meets Lou Reed, Nico, and Andy Warhol. He and Joni Mitchell are an item for a while.

He moves into the Chelsea Hotel. Vu den? He performs for John Hammond and gets signed to Columbia Records. Hammond starts producing his debut before handing it off to John Simon. Songs of Leonard Cohen is released December 27th 1967 and the rest is, as they say, history.

A history well told in Kubernik’s book using photos, anecdotes and quotes, some of which you may have previously seen or read. But Kubernik has a unique way of weaving them all together—almost in scrapbook fashion— to produce a tight knit, thoroughly enjoyable narrative. The guy is masterful at it—and for those of us into records and sonics, and engineering, he’s there too, adding things other writers either don’t understand or wrongfully think are unimportant to the narrative thread.

A memorable John Hammond, Sr. quote from a 1986 interview: “ (Leonard) was a completely weird guy, who liked to go around the streets of Montreal and play pinball. And I liked to play pinball too, so that was a great bond we had….He never sold out…he knew about three chords, and I think he still knows about three chords and it didn’t matter."

About “Famous Blue Raincoat" Cohen said “…secretly I always felt that there was a certain incoherence that prevented it from being a great song." What does he know? Cohen fans need to read this book, which concludes with a useful and thorough discography.

The Rhino Records Story

This one, written by Rhino Records co-founder Harold Bronson arrived last year and should have been reviewed then but since it’s in part about the rise of an oldies label it hardly dates. Just as it’s difficult now to believe that Carnegie Hall was scheduled to be torn down, and that without the intervention of the violinist Isaac Stern and some others, it would have been replaced by apartment buildings, it’s equally difficult to believe that there was a time in the late ‘70s when the major labels had little or no interest in “oldies" sitting in the vaults (though back then a five year old record might qualify as an "oldie"). There was too much money being made on the new acts to worry about the old ones going out of print.

The Rhino story is as unlikely and organic a success story as that of Chad Kassem and his various ventures including Acoustic Sounds, Analogue Productions and Quality Record Pressings. It began with Richard Foos’ record concession in Santa Monica’s Apollo Electronics, then moves to Rhino Records (the store) opening in Claremont California, where it still exists as Rhino Records (though the Westwood store is now long gone). If you want to know Amoeba Records’ game plan look to Rhino Records, but don't expect to find Rhino's game plan in the book, because reading it makes it clear there was no game plan. Rather it just grew on its own, with the principals learning as they went.

Rhino had always had one foot in rock and one in comedy so it’s not surprising to learn that the first record released by the fledgling label was a then long out of print Best of Allan Sherman because the label also had a third foot in Judaica-comedy (Gefilte Joe and the Fish, etc.). But eventually the label turned to the rich back catalog the majors were neglecting and when they did, they made sure to use quality mastering houses like Artisan and to work with master tapes when possible (but a few were from LP transfers).

Bronson tells the story in great music biz detail and fills it with names, many familiar and some not so, and he includes a great chapter on the financial hanky lanky that resulted in Tommy James getting screwed, followed by his own ouster from the company he co-founded all those years ago when it was sold to Warner Brothers.

Not to worry about Harold though. He did well following his passion. In one of those crazy coincidences, he and his wife are good friends of my niece and nephew and I’ve visited Harold at home and helped him get a stereo worthy of his musical interests and accomplishments but by now he definitely needs a new cartridge so next time I’m out there…. This reminds me that I’ve not published the interview I conducted with Harold back in the 1980’s when I still lived in Los Angeles. I’ll fix that as soon as possible. “The Rhino Records Story" is a great read for anyone interested in the ins and out of not only Rhino but the record industry generally back in the explosive ‘70s and ‘80s.

Jim Morrison, Friends Gathered Together

Frank Lisciandro met Jim Morrison and Ray Manzarek at UCLA’s film school. He went to see the band’s first Sunset Strip appearance at the London Fog back when dozens of bands were forming and it seemed like not that big a deal.

After graduating, the Lisciandros joined The Peace Corp and went to Africa. A few months after arriving in Togo, a months-old Time magazine showed up and it included a story about The Doors’ first album.

Upon returning to the U.S. Lisciandro began working in documentary film crews and was asked by another film school friend to be be the 16mm film-op guy at the Doors’ Hollywood Bowl concert and one thing led to another, with Frank becoming friends with Jim Morrison. He had plans to visit him in Paris in the summer of 1971 but we all know how that went.

The distance between the Morrison he knew and the one portrayed in the books and articles by strangers bothered him so he began contacting and interviewing other Morrison friends for input into what would eventually become “Morrison: A Feast of Friends", published in 1991 by Warner Brothers.

Twenty years later Lisciandro discovered a box full of cassettes containing the recordings of the interviews he’d conducted along with a floppy disc containing the transcripts. Re-reading them he thought a book containing the extensive interviews would be of interest to Doors and Morrison fans so he’s compiled them in this book, which is not meant to be read linearly but rather at random, on whatever page you find yourself turning to.

This book is definitely for Morrison die-hards and not casual listeners but for those who are the former, there’s plenty that is of interest (if getting to know the real Jim Morrison is of interest to you) and plenty that is mundane yet oddly compelling. The Doors’ office secretary of one year (1968) recalled in 1990 that upon observing him earlier at a Buffalo Springfield party he appeared to be a pretender but that upon getting to know him better, she admitted “I honestly don’t think I ever met anybody like him."

One of Morrison’s adolescent friends he hooked up with after the family moved in 1957 to Alameda, California recalled in 1990 the singer’s incredible sense of humor and penchant for practical jokery—aspects of the artist he felt were missing from all of the biographies.

Lisciandro asks the interviewee “What about girls, what was their reaction to him?" To which he answered, “Oh, girls liked him. Like I say when I met him I had a girlfriend and he ended up plowing her, if you will, and repeatedly I’m sure." What a joker!

The Door’s office secretary also relates the story of how Jim Morrison, upon hearing of Brian Jones’ death wrote a poem “Ode to Brian Jones" that was printed up and handed out to the audience that night at the Aquarius theater, two years before Morrison’s own death.

As the author suggests, this book is meant for at random reading, which is what I did with it for a few months' bathroom time—no slight to the author intended. I found something fascinating just about every time I picked it up—but that would be the case only if you are a Doors fan!

Brian Jones The Making of the Rolling Stones

Former MOJO magazine editor Paul Trynka has written a meticulously researched and presented Brian Jones biography in which he makes a strong case for a revision to the oft-told Jagger/Richards Rolling Stones mythology.

Trynka documents Jones's role as lead Stone in the early days—after all it was he who formed and named the group and gave it its musical direction. Jones was gigging while the others were playing in their living rooms.

The brutal politics, sexual and otherwise are laid bare in Trynka’s telling, which includes corroborating witnesses to most of what he alleges, including: that Jones was a co-writer on many tunes (including “Ruby Tuesday") but was either never credited, or willing to cede credit to others. That Jones was playing in open G tuning years before Richards claims to have learned it from Ry Cooder and that, according to original Stones member Dick Taylor, Keith had seen it and knew all about it.

Not that Trynka portrays Jones as a hapless victim or an innocent, though his supposed “downfall" within the band began over the secret extra 5 pounds Jones pulled in per gig in those early days. Once that became known, the others slowly began pulling away, though the media cognoscenti still regarded Jones as the group’s leader and visionary even as Mick got most of the interview press.

Andrew Loog Oldham comes across in this book as the enzyme that accelerated the band’s molecular breakdown but by the recording of Aftermath Jones was mostly a spent force. However, the book points out that Jones still managed to inspire much of the musical adventure in that album—including the sitar he played on “Paint It Black".

To bolster that contention Trynka points to Gene Clark’s revelation that “Eight Miles High" was “cooked up" with Brian Jones in Pittsburgh late November of 1965. “I wrote the melody and lyrics in a hotel, with Brian….I thought he should have got a credit—but he didn’t care."

Trynka also recounts how the marimba on “Under My Thumb" was an accident produced because The Baja Marimba Band had left their instruments in the RCA Studios and Jones and Jack Nitzsche began playing around with them. And of course there was Brian’s dulcimer on “Lady Jane".

Trynka concludes that Jones’s death was an accident but he well documents his conclusion and goes to great lengths to debunk dark conspiracy theories to the contrary.

This is a book every Rolling Stones fan should read. It makes for compelling reading fifty years after the events recounted occurred.

Rolling Stones Worldwide IV

This is fanatical Stones labelographer and record collector Christoph Maus’s fourth and final volume in his extensive coverage of The Rolling Stones recorded output. It covers (in both German and English) original LP and CD releases from 1971 (Sticky Fingers) through the GRRR! compilation. It also covers the ABKCO label’s reissues from 1980 through 2012. It’s crowded and busy and packed into a relatively small sized book that contains 1600 color photos, covers and labels on 404 pages. As the author’s blurb points out the book includes “all the vinyl records (LPs/EPs and singles) and CD releases by the band on our planet (from A [Argentina] TO Z [Zimbabwe] in 50 years." It’s available on Ebay and Amazon as are the previous volumes. There’s a lot to look at and consider, though the layout is somewhat haphazard and frenzied.

Vinyl Lives On

This is author James P. Goss’ third self-published collection in which he profiles record stores and their owners as well as collector/musicians—in this edition Henry Rollins, Billy Vera and Bill Frisell. Goss goes coast to coast from Aquarius Records in San Francisco to The Princeton Record Exchange in Princeton, NJ., with many stops in between. The book can be purchased on

Here’s something you may not have known that’s an amazing coincidence. The New Jersey based turntable manufacturer VPI Industries was started by Harry Weisfeld. The New Jersey based Princeton Record Exchange was started by Barry Weisfeld (no relation to Harry).

Happy Holidays everyone and good reading and listening!

Ian Lee's picture

Dear Big brother Michael Fremer :-),

I really want to connect with you on this.

I have been playing digital since I started the hifi hobby 20years ago (19years of age). I was anti-vinyl and anti-turntable.

My Japanese wife encouraged me to try out vinyl and turntables, and I got a Rega RP6 in May 2014 this year.

Since then, in the short 6 months, I have fully embraced the joy and engagement with vinyl playback!!!

I have ordered a Avid Sequel SP, SME309, Dynavector xx2Mk2 and Dynavector p75Mk3 to arrive in my sweet hall system in January 2015.

(They will be paired with the Vitus RI-100, Shunyata Hydra Triton (I read your review), Cobra and Python cords & cables, and B&W804Ds.)

I find that digital fans troll a lot on vinyl websites and troll a lot on my choices. I find that they are very narrow-minded, rude and of lowly demeanour.

* * *

My own take on vinyl and digital.

First, we BEGIN with the END in mind:

1. Harmony and interpersonal connection is the big picture.

2. Music is a form of enjoyment.

* * *

Where medical science and engineering lies, they are meant to be precise and p<0.05.

BUT music is a form of enjoyment, about music made by people, to be listened by other people in groups and in joy.

Where people gather and enjoy the connection, the music together. Where people feel the music, heart and soul.

The digital fans keep telling me that ALL the engineers say that digital is MORE accurate than analogue and vinyl playback, telling me that I should not buy a turntable in this time and age. They keep telling me digital is MORE accurate, MORE accurate, more accurate.

Well, what can I say?

I do KNOW one thing for sure: Our ears hear continuously. Yes traditionally stated, we can hear only up to 20KHz per second, but it does not mean that our ear only hears 20,000 spaced out points within a second. These are 20KHz waveforms, WAVE forms. Our ear hears continuously, the fact that the ear "cannot" hear 22KHz, does not mean that our ear cannot hear continuously! It is just that our brains cannot discern a 22KHz testtone as what appears as "the eeeeeeeeeeeeee---sound", by our brain's interpretations.

Analogue always is and always will be, the more natural and human form of recording and reproduction.

Having 16bit/44.1Khz increasing to 96Khz, means that 96,000points of amplitude of waves are being sampled within 1 second.

Widen that up and you will see 904,000points totally unsampled if we are say there are 1,000,000 or 1gigapoints in a second!!!

No matter what it will be in digital, and even if sampling goes up to 3Ghz sampling, there will be 997Ghz within the 1TeraHz unsampled. Many petapoints and brontopoints continue to be unsampled.

Sound and music has waves overriding each other at any instant. They ride on each other continuously in between those 96,000points being sampled.

Our ears hear continuously. Analogue simply RECORDS CONTINUOUSLY and vinyl remains the only viable consumer playback mechanism popular now, to continue that chain, onwards to our analogue amplifiers, cables and our speaker cones. And I believe the complex and intrinsic harmonics that the analogue recording to vinyl playback chain is able to carry all that, which the 96,000 or 192,000points cannot. And that is why I feel that the music from my vinyl playback feels more LIVE and more involving and engaging!!!

Digital fans keep telling me that vinyl, turntables, tonearms, null-points, groove distortion, etc are all mechanical issues which can never be perfected and we "MUST, MUST, MUST" look to contactless digital computer to DAC playback as the perfect medium.

We have seen the power of human handwork and approximation, e.g. Japanese artisans by hearing alone are able to trim cylindrical metal rods down to a 0.001mm whereby the best precision cutters can only trim to 0.01mm accuracy. Artisans use manual work to force 2 pieces of wood with dovetail joints together which NO machine can piece and slot together. And these dovetail joints fit tightly and without the use of any glue adhesion after that.

I feel that: Do NOT ever, ever, discount our human's ability to hear, sense, see and feel.

We need to continue to discover AND uncover and revel in our human's abilities, to set the stylus on the cartridge, to wind the coils, to set the SRA :-D.

The vinyl turntable, stylus and cartridge construction, turntable setup, is a triumph of the human art of senses and work.

* * *

Half of the members of the Vienna Philharmonic orchestra players as you said listen to vinyls.. They too are not into liking THD of vinyls, they chose vinyls because it sounds closer to the instruments they play and hug everyday. They appreciate good quality sound reproduction and they hear and FEEL the music more true and better on vinyls. Very likely that they hear the intrinsic and complex harmonics in between those 96,000dots within a second, in the analogue vinyl playback.

Many studio engineers prefer analogue recordings to tape than digital recordings. And also many engineers prefer to work with digital over analogue recordings.

Dr Rob Robertson, PhD, and boss of Channel D, D for Digital, supplies computer software for music industry engaged in DSD formats and high-resolution digital formats. He is invited to panels for digital format meetings as an authority. He is a PhD. He knows about resolution more than we do. He listens mainly to vinyl and not digital. Prof Keith Johnson of Reference Recordings, has went back to highly meticulous and full analogue recording and cutting lathe system with Pete Stubblebine. Daft Punk spent over US$1million from their own pocket to do both analogue and digital recording and after hearing A-B decides mostly on the analogue tape mastering over the concurrent digital recording and mastering. Such a vast amount of money and time and efforts spent, and throwing out a lot of digital materials along the way. They were fair from the start, they kept an open mind from the start, they commit to recording in both formats KNOWING they will choose 1 over another which they did not know which one they will choose from the start of the project. They chose mainly analogue recordings eventually, not 192KHz sampling. They are encouraging people to buy analogue by showcasing a turntable playing their vinyl album in many of their Random Access Memories music videos.

Steve Jobs listen to vinyls and not digital.

I listen to 100% digital since 20years ago when I started to discover hifi. However since starting to listen to vinyls in May 2014, I listen to vinyls very intensively because the vinyl playback music ENCOURAGES ME TO STAY IN FRONT OF THE SYSTEM, or else...


Vinyl playback is just like as if a live show is happening and you want to get in front of it and take it all in and listen to it. It is very engaging.

When I hear digital 44.1Khz, 96Khz and 192Khz from my system, I have dwindled down my level of involvement, to only 5% sitting in front of the system, and 95% definitely moving around and doing my things.

(This is not because vinyl requires us to flip the sides and that is why I stay in front of the system, definitely not. Because my hall system and dining table and working station are all together, so if I want to use vinyl as background music, it would be very easy for me to do it if I wanted so.)

Yes, whenever vinyl plays,

I do not want to miss a performance.

* * *

Our ear hears continuously.

Digital fans either 1)get very worked up and 2)small hearted, whenever I say I am enjoying vinyl turntable playback more:

A) They start to suddenly message me at 8am in the morning (when I have already started my busy clinic seeing my patients at 7am), to go read ""excellently"" written articles written by that Alan Shaw of Harbeth speaker company , hinting to me that we have to listen to this self professed guru (who has no PhD) who attacks vinyl playback regularly. He CONTINUALLY say Vinyl playback as a good resolution faithful system "NONSENSE", it is "caveman technology", it is "a rock bumping along a plastic channel", that the material cost is only a 5cents disposable plastic and vinyl printers are moneyminded by jacking up the prices of vinyls to make money. Michael, you know Alan Shaw the ultra-anti-vinyl guy from Harbeth? You should read his Harbeth User Group comments on analogue and turntables. If you had already done, share with me your view. Thank you.

B) These pure digital fans start to SHOUT at me over the phone, saying "you SHOULD think like Alan Shaw, he is an engineer!

(Sorry digital mates, I definitely do NOT want to think like him, because Alan Shaw's language on the forum is often condescending with derogatory and insulting adverbs and adjectives on analogue and vinyl playback. Alan couples his "scientific arguments" done at his own testbench, using his own poorly setup turntable, who does not know how to set up a cartridge, who gives out COMPUTER file clips to compare vinyl and digital music, erhem he is giving us digital files to compare analogue and digital?!? Are his studies published in scientific journals and crosschecking by PhDs of hearing and aural science? Is his studies methods and methodology and results p<0.05? Most important of all, is his demeanour and language one can respect and aspire to? An engineer talking with poor control of his emotions and complaining about vinyl listeners. His words and actions leaves much to be desired).

C) These pure digital fans tell me "When we buy something, we SHOULD NOT buy on emotions! The people at Sony and Philips are not idiots when they decided that 44.1Khz is enough resolution for our ears to hear! We have to buy something, we have to buy something that is accurate and scientific, and not because of emotions! Don't buy vinyls!"

They speak so loudly, so fiercely, my goodness, I was totally shocked by their bad demeanour, saying ""you should, you have to, you must, you should, you must, you should, you should, you should, you should...choose digital over vinyl analogue""... My goodness!!! You know what? If they are saying that we should buy and choose without emotions about digital over vinyl turntables, why are they the SAME ones who is getting heated up, cranky and totally badly emotional about a "scientific topic" of "accurate digital playback"?

D) They start to blame vinyl lovers for getting hooked on BEING AUDIOPHILES INFECTED WITH ALL THE AUDIOPHILE NONSENSE" and "not caring about the music"! They start to say we should not act like gurus and think we know better than ""recording engineers"! "Digital is THE way and you should not buy a turntable in this time and age like 2014! Nobody SHOULD be buying a turntable at 2014!"

I don't A) message my digital fans about the science and art of analogue. I don't feel insecure as they are.

I don't B) shout at digital fans telling them what to do and what not to do. I am not insecure as they are and needing to be so bossy.

I don't C) blame people on buying on emotions.

I don't D) blame digital audiophile fans as getting infected with audiophile nonsense.

These digital fans are the ones treading so much into the so-called audiophile nonsense that they ascribe us vinyl fans to have. Michael, you know what they tell me: that we should not be reading too much into 2 western hifi magazine reviews, because the western hifi magazines are plain bribery whereby if the manufacturer advertise more, they get into the reviewers'good books and get their products being chosen as the group of highly recommended products.

Now guess what? One of them bought a certain Japanese brand amplifier and power supply, rated no.1 and no.2 by Japanese StereoSound magazine, gets advertised all over StereoSound. He himself has NOT auditioned nor heard the amplifier and power supply, and yet he himself bought it because of the rating. A Japanese magazine rating its own Japanese brand electronics as No.1 and No.2 amplifier and power supply IN THE WORLD and beats all others in the world?

The other digital fan bought many some Swarovski small crystals to line up behind his US$60,000 system and claim that having crystals will give a better sound and "feeling". He also bought a pair of supertweeters (producing above 20KHz) to line up behind his Harbeth 40.1 and firing backwards behind the Harbeths to "give a more airy feel and ambience".

What I notice is that my vinyl friends Gerard, Raymond, Jimmy, are ALL very calm and collected, and they never troll on digital fans and intrude upon their choices, but we just let the digital fans blare out their horns at us telling us to abandon analogue and vinyl, AS IF WE DO not already know the limitations of the all analogue tape recording to vinyl playback chain.

* * *

Go to youtube, go to google, you will SEE the Vinyl Community: very big, very united, very very kind to one another, and ENCOURAGING of one another's music preferences and tastes. Seldom as they say on youtube, do you find such kind and nonflaming-within communities. Michael, I derive and extrapolate easily that the same people who take to Vinyls, are naturally more kind, more humane, more tolerant and more encouraging. More human, more harmony. This world is getting more impersonal but you see humane interactions happening on the Vinyl Community.

So heh!....



Isn't that what this hobby is about? We achieved it, AND MORE, didn't we?

Type in "DSD fans", "FLAC community", "24/96Khz", "Digital computer audio fans" at youtube: Do you see any community at all?

* * *

Remember what I said in the beginning:

1. Harmony and interpersonal connection is the big picture.

2. Music is a form of enjoyment.

Music listening is a enjoyment, an engagement, a hobby! This is about the music, not the hifi equipment!

* * *

3 short stories:

I am in Singapore. My neighbor a Japanese, Mr Sato, who has 2,000CDs classical collection from Austria and Germany in his 15years of collection, says he has "no time to listen to them". He came to my home and realize I have a turntable and chooses to listen to 2hours at my home, and regularly.

I wanted to help him by linking up to a digital fan who can rip his CDs with his Baetis, and very hopefully, he "can have time to listen to music again".

You can see the heart of a vinyl lover in me, I wanted the digital fans to help one another. I didn't encourage him to turn to vinyl at all. I speak NOTHING about my vinyl turntable at home. I never abrade digital, I never attacked digital, I tried to help them.

Guess what?

Mr Sato came to my home last week, saw my turntable, and played the turntable with the classical music vinyls (which he already has in CD format), and sat at the sweet spot for 2 HOURS. Vinyl actually is nothing new to him, he has a turntable 15years back in Japan, so it is not as if he is a born-again fan of vinyl, he knows the sound.

My friend who is a DJ, uses vinyls in his parties, because the crowd feels the music and atmosphere always better and move with the music. When he plays digital, the crowd does not move, or moved very little to the music.

My 4 year old niece does not dance to my digital playback, she dances when I play vinyls. Fullstop.

* * *

Music is an enjoyment and engagement. If it makes us want to sing more, move more, and dance more, feel joyous and happier,

It has achieved its end.

Analogue recording and mastering and vinyl playback achieve this end.

Best Regards,


Ian Lee's picture

As said, I do play music via vinyl and digital. My wife and I do listen and enjoy my B&W and Harbeth speakers equally. We continue to have both vinyl and digital formats based on their merits. I do still support and highly recommend Alan's speakers to many of my friends and will continue to do so. I am level-headed enough to say that I support, and appraise, Alan Shaw in that, and the many good things he has done for his Linnfield community, in his forum. I have been pro-digital for 19years... until lately in mid2014, I have become pro-AAAvinyl AND pro-digital. Michael is generous enough to acknowledge the improvements done in 24/96 and gives good reviews on digital gear in his articles. At Mikey's AXPONA turntable setup seminar, Mikey continued standing and let a very uncool pro-CD anti-vinyl guy to troll and interrupt him on his seminar openly. It is just the behaviour of pure digital fans that get me to emphatise with the pure analogvinyl-loving population. Digital fans, don't worry about the vinyl fans, because the vinyl fans DO know about the imperfections of the vinyl playback.

McDonalds or Steak's picture

The plural of vinyl is vinyl. We don't play vinyls. (I play records.)

I share in the general distaste for self-appointed grammar police, but this makes me cringe every time I see it.

Michael Fremer's picture
Wow. What can I say? You have already made 2015 a great year!
Ian Lee's picture

Thank you Mikey!

Mister Tim's picture

... to mention Dust & Grooves? Maybe, but worth the wait. Just got mine today. A real gem!

Mister Tim's picture

Does that count?

Brother John's picture

I bought the Leonard Cohen book, (after reading your above article), and his new CD for one of my sisters who happens to be a huge fan so I'm pretty sure she'll be thrilled tomorrow.

My thanks and gratitude to you for your friendly advice and help.

Happy Holidays,