Numerogroup's Rob Sevier Responds!

Numerogroup's Rob Sevier has responded to my charge that his Wire piece was the "Stupidest Article Ever Written About Vinyl". And as expected, his response was infantile, petulant and utterly predictable.

First he attempts to "humiliate" me with a photo of me playing around with some vacuum tubes and purposely looking silly.

Of course I allowed the photographer to take the picture and use it as he saw fit because I don't take myself all that seriously. I'm in it to have FUN. In other words unlike some audio reviewers, I don't consider myself a pompous ass with an "image" to maintain.

So I found it particularly hilarious that Mr. Sevier would throw back to me a picture I was happy to have disseminated in an attempt to "get" me. How sad.

So here's what he wrote to "get" me, rather than respond to the substance of my criticism:

"You'd be best served sticking to turgid prose about the relative merits of Pear Anjou cables. We honestly don't give a shit what your opinion is.

No regards,

Rob Sevier"

Now, I leave it to you analogplanet readers, especially those of you who have read his Wire story, to determine who is guilty of "turgid" prose and who is not.

For those of you who don't understand the Pear Anjou cables reference, it refers to a challenge made by "The Amazing Randi" who claims cable differences are inaudible (though his base line was "Monster" not lamp cord, because apparently "Amazing" thinks you can hear that difference).

The upshot of the challenge was I accepted but after some wheeling and dealing, the cable company pulled out of the challenge, I offered some substitutes and Randi falsely accused me of pulling out. Why? Because he's a rat.

When I published on his site a series of emails proving that I had not backed out as he claimed, guess what he did? He claimed to have had a medical emergency, going so far as to publish a picture of his hospital wristband to "prove" his contention— as if that exonerated him from publishing a total lie about me.

So, Mr. Sevier has "attacked" me by sending me a goofy picture of me authorized by me, and attempting to mock me with the "Amazing Randi" story. Oh! And by accusing me of being a writer of "turgid" prose.

That Sevier is an "audiophile mocker" makes complete sense.

This is all too bad, because he does have an eclectic, adventurous vinyl label and we should all be on the same side, but as I said, it was clear from his story that he is a self-loathing purveyor of vinyl as well as one with a distaste for those of us who actually care about sound quality and (gasp!) cables. So I guess he also has a dislike for geeks like Neil Young.

wao62's picture

That picture is funnier than hell!  Love your sense of humor.  It's kind of absurd that this guy would use the picture to try to prove a point about you. 

Devil Doc's picture

I thought you were putting the finishing touches on a joint. Should I be licking my tubes?


Michael Fremer's picture

I forgot to put quotes around "tubes".

Mendo's picture

What an idiot. Truly. I can't stand the people who comment on things they've never experienced. I know an electrical engineer who mocked me that cables break in, so I ABed some identical silver cables, one broken in and one not for him. The look on his face was priceless. What was he to say know, after harassing me?

Logansport Berry's picture

At first glance I thought you were zapping yourself with old Ray-O-Vac 9 volt batteries.  wink  Didn't want to break out any of the NOS tube stash, eh?

taso's picture

You're the one humiliating yourself with your horrible over reaction to that article

Michael Fremer's picture

I leave that to the readers to decide and you have. 

Asafiko's picture

I agree with Taso,

all the Big Vinyl Fans from around the globe see you as a reliable source and a Humble person.

when I Relied on other sources reviews I was always Dissaopinted, yours are always 100% accurate.

Glotz's picture

Listeners who have experience comparing the various mediums know exactly what the differences are.  Cabling is the same way.  Tin-eared, half-assed listeners who don't care about quality always act this way.  Fuck him.  And her.. Kathleen.  Cackling hen indeed.  Uptight, uninformed, self-satisfied bitch who has NO IDEA of what good writing is.  

And neither of them have a fucking point to make in the first place.  

taso's picture

thankyou glotz for the misogynistic rant about a writer who has nothing to do with this post. it's illuminating and proves that rob sevier isn't worth his weight in cables

eastwes's picture


What a wanker.  Mr. Sevier did not receive my permission to use the photograph in question (let alone for the purpose of demeaning someone or otherwise to injure one's repuation).  He has not only violated my copyrights as such, but also crossed the line with his blatant abuse...   Guess I'll be reaching out to Mr. Sevier and his handlers... 

Sorry about that Mikey! 

PS: anyone wishing to see the original use of the photograph may check it out here:

littledanny's picture

AQ Shane's picture

OTOH, after posting on it as the stupidest story ever written on vinyl, did you expect a civil response?

Whatever else Mr Sevier has or hasn't accomplished in writing his article and responding to your response to it, he has given us all another golden image of our spiritual vinylisitic leader, Mikey!

mauroj's picture

Couldn't agree with you more, Mikey. This guy has very serious problems.

Love the picture too.

optoman's picture

Having followed the story in the last two days I think that there is a bit of overrecation on both sides. I think that the Wire article is badly written. It is wrong in suggesting that the vinyl revival is happening because of the marketing activities of the record companies. I never abandoned vinyl when many people moved to CD's and I know that it is totally the case that the increased popularity of vinyl is led by demand from fans. It is, therefore, unlikely to be a bubble waiting to burst. I also believe that some labels try to ride this wave by offering all sorts of rubbish as extras to create a buzz around a new release or a new reissue. Personally I don't care about the extras. It is up to the consumer to decide how to spend their money. Any vinyl release is a good thing and it is up to me to try and find out if a release is worth buying from the point of view of the audio quality, the price and the packaging. Having said that, it is fair to say that many vinyl releases are now poor. RSD is more popular which is great news but it suffers from a lot of terrible "special collectables"

I suspect, however, that Mikey's strong wording was seen by the author as an insult, so his initial reaction given what he believed to be unfair was a not unreasonable F*** Off.

I think that it is all a bit silly. I suspect that Mr. Sevier wanted to warn of the increase in instant collectables and some poor vinyl being released. He probably did not think his arguments deeply enough and ended up with a strong response which he did not expect and did not like. I am sure that he means well and his own releases are often very good, so responding by calling his article stupid is not really acceptable either.

I am sure that everybody who reads these words is on the same side so maybe both parties should cool down and stop this silly accusations and counter accusations.

tbromgard's picture

Who cares what Sevier thinks. He's an ass.

bostonhistorian's picture

I see.  You call something the stupidest story about vinyl ever, personally insult the writers, and then take umbrage when they rightly tell you off.  You should be *apologizing* to the authors.  Perhaps when you were learning about what constitutes good writing  you also came across ad hominem attacks?  It's hard to take anyone seriously who leads with them.

mysticisgod's picture

Agreed, If someone come and attacks my work why can't I attack back?.... it's all actually very childish.

taso's picture

kurt cobain never got to hear the 180g nevermind and was stuck listening to any old version, i wonder how many audiophiles would contend kurt never got to truly experience this album, probably only hearing it on cd with sub-monster quality cables

Billf's picture

Let me start by saying that I am a committed vinyl fan and greatly enjoy reading your reviews, going back to the Tracking Angle, to which I was a subscriber. However, given the rather irreverant tone that your writing often takes, I submit that you're being a little thin-skinned here. The two authors against whom you've declared war do make some good points. Vinyl IS fragile and must be babied to avoid damage to it. There's a lot of great vinyl out there, for which I'm very grateful, but there's also a lot of overpriced crap released to take advantage of and separate us from our wallets. A man may need a maid, but he also needs to pay his mortgage every month, if you catch my drift. The manufactured scarcity of the goodies made for Record Store Day is a perfect example. Having endured the lines and mania that comes with that annual event, only to learn that what I had targeted for myself was already taken by speculators on EBay who are only too willing to flip me that Dylan 45 limited edition for ten times what it theoretically was to have sold for taught me to make other plans each RSD. Kind of like avoiding the Ticketmaster skimmers of the good seats and $200 meet and greets that are so common these days. My point? This is a terrific hobby, and you have been a great, unblinking advocate for it, which I appreciate. However, it is not perfect, and demonizing those who have the temerity, with a wink and a smile,to point out some of its flaws makes you look like a humorless zealot and undermines your credibility. As ironic as this is to say, lighten up, Mikey.

Paul Boudreau's picture

For some reason this whole thing brings the claymation series "Celebrity Deathmatch" to mind.

More amusement:  I'm in month three (or is it four?) of "ripping" all my CDs to hard drives so I can put them in closet and listen through J. River/Dragonfly.  That represents 30 years of CD buying so it goes back to the beginning.  Some of the earliest ones carry this disclaimer: 

"The music on this Compact Digital Disc was originally recorded on analog equipment.  We have attempted to preserve, as closely as possible, the sound of the original recording.  Because of its high resolution, however, the Compact Disc can reveal limitations of the source tape."

For some reason, later CDs do not carry that disclaimer!

MikeT's picture

I'm Sorry, but that picture of you is "humiliating". cheeky


Anyway - I refuse to comment on the "Stupid" Wire article or your comments, or Mr. Sevier's comments... since I think there is some merit to all sides of the arguments made.

Jim Tavegia's picture

Another day in the life of audiophile bashing.  I'm glad I get your humor.  

There were no audiophiles hurt in the publishing of this materal. We know who to dismiss and who to listen to. 

taso's picture

if you're so good at knowing who to dismiss why does anyone care about an audiophile reissue of counting crows? 

hi-fivinyljunkie's picture

Sevier made some good points in that article re speculators and overpricing. However the speculator thing is more prevalent in the used vinyl market than with RSD releases which to be honest are a minute part of the vinyl market. The most annoying overpricing by record companies are those collectors boxes of multiple CD/DVD's that are the only way of obtaining a vinyl version, probably thrown in as an afterthought for marketing purposes.

Unfortunately the writer buried his main point by surrounding the article with bullshit about card collecting and the false assumption that vinyl is some big money spinner for the major labels. He also portrayed his underlying disdain for audiophiles which was confirmed by his childish response to Mikey's criticism.

I know Mike doesn't pull any punches when he sees bad journalism re vinyl but this sort of response portrays Sevier as some sort of 'hoody' yob that is running a trendy label. He may have an interesting catalogue but if you are producing music releases on vinyl you have to care about the sound quality as well as the music. He comes over as someone hanging onto the coatails of the vinyl resurgence himself so he can hardly criticise the major labels for trying to generate some income from vinyl releases. If there wasn't the demand for vinyl they would not be pressing it.

As far as pricing goes - I have just preorderd Yes' Tales From Topographic Oceans for under £14 from Amazon (Rhino). Taking into account inflation this is considerablly cheaper than it cost on first release. Audiophile pressings over here in the UK average around £26 which is hardly more than 20 years ago when the first 180g audiophile releases appeared.

MatthewSTL's picture

Michael, I love your writing. And I love Numero Group. They may not be producing audiophile reissues a lá MFSL, but they do amazing work that goes above and beyond in terms of documentation and equitable sharing of royalties with artists. 

You and Numero Group are both leaders in asking folks to listen intentionally to music, and to value the LP format. Coming out of the indie scene, I think that Numero's point in the WIRE piece is well-placed, if over-wrought, but it's a shame that they resorted to the photograph above.

I keep wishing that more "audiophile" reissue labels would take more cues from the inventiveness (and obsessive documentation) of Numero Group. What Numero forsakes sometimes in terms of sound quality (working from dubious masters, kept in peoples' attics) they make up for in providing an experience for listeners that is totally immersive and transporting. In fact, I am always surprised that Stereophile hasn't featured them further. 

Glad you have a sense of humor, and thanks again for your writing.

CEsplgr's picture

Looking at music with a sense of humor on the side really makes a whole lot more interesting. - Bonaventure Senior Living

jerryci's picture


I believe there is some digression going on here.  The original story seemed to center on stupid articles about LP music reproduction (Kathleen O'Brien story), and then the challenge digressed to whether cable choices made a difference in the sound.  Hmm?  I think you and we have better things to do with our time.  WHY AM I READING THIS!

Jerry C.

jerryci's picture

wandique's picture

Let the barking for the dogs ...