This Story Ran in The New York Daily News January 7th 1992

The reporter called me "Mitchell" Fremer, and you might not recognize me in the photo taken 27 years ago, but the words will be familiar. I laid it all out in 1992 and I was correct! I had completely forgotten about this story and didn't even have a copy. I found it among my wife's aunt's papers.

COMMENTS
Ortofan's picture

... be made obsolete by the digital compact cassette?

When is MF going to show us the record player he has installed in his SAAB?

Michael Fremer's picture
It has a CD player and an "AUX" input so I can play 96/24 digitised vinyl via my SP1000 player
Ortofan's picture

... car have a CD player and did you have a digital music player?

dazeofheaven's picture

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/11/magazine/universal-fire-master-record...

It is a devastating article and I think furrher discussion deserved in Stereophile/Analog Planet.

cdvinyl's picture

Is it still worth $800.00? Got a sealed copy.

Michael Fremer's picture
Can't be original. They didn't seal those. But probably worth less now.
Jim Tavegia's picture

I remember the first CD player that my sneaky wife bought me, a First Gen Technics player that lasted about 4 months and stopped playing that they swapped out to a 2nd gen player as no one could fix them. The early CD mastering was pretty bad, but the quiet backgrounds was great. I someone who home records that was a big deal. The sound as we all knew was greiny and too bright, but the masses, who love only convenience, were thrilled. If you just listened, you were not.

Now I have to say that 2496, 24192, SACD, and DSD are excellent as are most newer vintage CD players if the mastering is done right. DSD and SACD does fulfill the promise madden 1980, but now the masses will never go for it as they would never spend $1k on a disc spinner or buy SACDs. It is sad because digital done right is quiet and amazing. I love black backgrounds.

I was spinning last night Frank Sinatra's Point Of No Return and Diana Krall's Quiet Nights on las and they were so great to listen to, so even back in that day of Frank, and Tony...the sound could be superb.

I am off tomorrow to take a very sick 78 year old friend's R2R, an Akai 4440D in for repair as he has stacks of older tapes from the 1950's that he wants transferred to CDs for convenience. It played for all of 30 minutes when the take up reel stopped and Im sure it is has a belt issue as it as not been used in over 20+ years. I nice fellow north of Atlanta will fix it for him. Less moving parts is always better, generally.

Jim Tavegia's picture

I have been up for two straight nights as a movie extra and am beat.

Michael Fremer's picture
movie extra, not fixing R2R
Jim Tavegia's picture

doing an REO speed wagon concert Monday night. Off from the summer teaching school this is a funway to pass the time, and be paid.

RH's picture

...but about this:

I laid it all out in 1992 and I was correct!

Well...it does seem that one part of the article conveys what seems to be the old fallacy that vinyl sounds better due to the dubious technical explanation "digital only captures discrete bits, missing information, while analog captures and recreates the whole waveform."

Whether vinyl sounds better is an open question for the individual.
(I often prefer the sound of my vinyl to my digital source).

But we have put some of the fallacious technical claims about vinyl's superiority vs digital to rest at this point, haven't we?

Michael Fremer's picture
That was the writer's description, not really mine
RH's picture

Cool. I wondered if that was the case.

BTW, add me to the list of people who "get" what you've been saying about the sound of vinyl for all these years. I have long used a digital front end and loved it, but having purchased a really good turntable/cartridge/phono stage has led me to put vinyl listening in the forefront. It's just sumptuous!

DaveB's picture

...in the early 90's. Got my first CD player. Was excited for about a week, then bought a Grado MCX being run out at half price at a local hi-end shop. Went back to records. That article was so prescient.

christophervalle's picture

I cannot speak to the veracity of this, but I've seen it a few places. Someone that claims to have been there said it was 1978 or 1979.

"Jack Renner and the engineers from Telarc are said to have recorded the Cleveland Orchestra on both an analog tape recorder and a Soundstream Digital recorder. They then compared the output of the two and all selected the analog tape version as being more musical.

To most of us that doesn’t sound so far fetched. What they did next might stand a few hairs on end.

Curious why their new digital recorder didn’t sound as good as the older analog tape they ran a second set of experiments. In this round, they had the orchestra play again and as they did the engineers switched between the live sound and the output of both recorders. To their surprise, the digital recorder’s output was indistinguishable from the live feed while the analog’s output softened the highs, compressed the strong bass, and added a type of pleasant coloration.

This convinced them to abandon the analog recorder and stick with the Soundstream (and later others) and thus the label Telarc was born."

I have no further details, particularly about the other equipment used, but it was for a major orchestra so presumably "not crap". Blast away.

Joe Crowe's picture

Not a blast just a comment. I remember well consumer digital audio trying to be born and reading comparisons between SPDIF, 3M and Soundstream. The conclusion was that SPDIF had serious flaws, 3M (50 KHz sampling) was markedly superior and the Soundstream system "blew both out of the water". The decision to choose Sony was one of the most underhanded things I have witnessed as their explanation was a carefully crafted piece of BS. Soundstream in it's design allowed for sampling up to 250 KHz although after Godzilla stomped them I don't know what was done beyond the earliest 50 KHz tests. Given the huge improvements in digital recording (after they finally admitted it really did suck) imagine where we might be had they simply started with a system that was designed to be good from the ground up. "Mitchell" may be able to add to this as I believe TAS covered this quite extensively back in the day.

padreken's picture

We were newly married and living in Encinitas, CA in those days and I spent many a weekend going through the new arrivals bins at Lou’s Records. Original Simon and Garfunkels, an MFSL Abbey Road, a German Horzu Magical Mystery Tour and so many more, all for a fraction of what they would bring now. Those were the days......

Vinyl On Tubes's picture

Here's the weird thing. I bought that MoFi Sgt. Peppers in 1990. I got at Specs Record in Florida where I grew up. Specs made the decision to close out all there vinyl because they bought new new bins for CDs that were no longer going to be sold in long boxes. I bought a lot of records during that close out. One of them was the MoFi Sgt. Peppers. I think I bought it for $10. Specs is gone, as are all of the chain record stores that switched to CDs. I still have that record though. I think there still might be a single Specs somewhere around Miami, so it's now considered and independently owned store. I think this might be a common story. Peaches in New Orleans has the same story.

swimming1's picture

Michael,you are very cool. But I think the story about the UME warehouse fire in 2008 is much hotter.

latinaudio's picture

Reading the Times article about the fire that destroyed hundreds of thousands of master tapes, I wonder if Michael should do an article about whether the recent re-releases supposedly made of the master tapes are genuine ... or copies of digitalized tracks... could be the beginning of the opening of a can of worms.

dazeofheaven's picture

Michael's take on this.

MrRom92's picture

Who could’ve guessed that a dedicated record collector (me!) would’ve been born the very next day

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