Michael Fremer Posted: Jul 30, 2013 0 comments
The "cult of tonearm" grows, particularly with but not limited to wooden arms. I'd heard of but never seen in person one of James Grant's tonearms (Analog Instruments Limited.
Michael Fremer Posted: Jul 30, 2013 2 comments
Highwater Sound's Jeff Catalano, TW Acustic's American importer debuted a new triple motor module (circa $4500) for the Raven AC turntable similar in concept to the motor system in the company's flagship Black Knight 'table.
Michael Fremer Posted: Jul 30, 2013 1 comments
Robyatt Audio debuted the new retro-looking Miyajima Labs EC 5 all-tube line/phono preamp featuring two independently loadable transformer-based MC inputs, one MM input and five line inputs.
Michael Fremer Posted: Jul 30, 2013 1 comments
College Point, NY (Queens, L.I.) based Miracle Audio demoed its Phonatic phono preamp priced from $4500 for the MM version to $6200 for the "xr" version featuring 70dB gain, an enhanced power supply, Vishay Z-foil R's and Clarity MR caps.
Michael Fremer Posted: Jul 30, 2013 0 comments
Richmond, VA-based Luminous Audio demoed its soon to be introduced Arion phono preamp.
Michael Fremer Posted: Jul 30, 2013 16 comments
In the Magnolia Ballroom at Capital Audiofest 2013, along with a great selection of used vinyl, Bob Ratcliff, the inventor of the Ultrasonic V-8 ultrasonic record cleaning machine demonstrated how it works. The device consists of a square stainless steel vat filled with heated distilled water, some isopropyl alcohol and a few drops of Photoflo, which acts as a surfactant into which is placed an ultrasonic element associated with a 7 micron filtered circulation pump.

Michael Fremer Posted: Jul 30, 2013 3 comments
I wasn't expecting to find anything as new and significant at a small mid-summer show as VPI's new Classic Companion Turntable, but there it was.

Michael Fremer Posted: Jul 30, 2013 2 comments
Veteran manufacturers and rookie enthusiasts fueled increased industry participation at the fourth annual Capital Audio Fest held this past weekend, July 26th-28th at the the Silver Spring, Maryland Sheraton Hotel.

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Michael Fremer Posted: Jul 25, 2013 103 comments
Below you will find ten 96K/24 bit FLAC files, each containing a version of “Spider And the Fly” from Myra Taylor’s double 45rpm album My Night to Dream (Analogue Productions APO 2017).

Each was recorded using one of ten different cartridges, nine of which were mounted on a VPI Traveler connected to a Graham Slee Era Gold Mk. V MM phono preamp.

The tenth is Ortofon’s $8499 Anna, which was mounted on the Continuum Cobra tonearm, Caliburn turntable combo connected to a Ypsilon MC-16 step transformer and VPS-100 phono preamp. That file is the “control” against which the others should be compared, except it will not be identified as such. None of the files, all created using a moderately priced HRT LineStreamer+ analog to digital converter, will be identified.

If you so choose, you can download the FLAC files and using a USB DAC, play them through your audio system. This will enable you to compare each cartridge’s rendering of the same song and your judgments without knowing which was which. Should you choose, you can vote for your favorite and in addition, in the comment section, we welcome your top three or top five favorites.

Listed from least expensive to most expensive, the nine moderately prices cartridges are:

Audio-Technica AT95E ($40)


Audio-Technica AT95SA ($149.95)


Audio-Technica AT7V ($159.99)


Grado Gold 1 ($220)


Ortofon 2M Bronze ($419)


Nagaoka MP-300 ($499)


Sumiko Blue Point EVO III ($499)


Ortofon 2M Black ($719)


Audio-Technica AT150ANV ($999)


All are moving magnet designs, with the exception of the Grado Gold 1, which is a moving iron and the Sumiko Blue Point EVO III, which is high output moving coil design.

While the cartridges are listed above in order of price, the files are not! The are organized randomly. Right click on PC or Control click on a Mac to download to your desktop.

Download Cartridge Test File #1 (68.8 MB)

Download Cartridge Test File #2 (73.7 MB)

Download Cartridge Test File #3 (71.8 MB)

Download Cartridge Test File #4 (77.7 MB)

Download Cartridge Test File #5 (71 MB)

Download Cartridge Test File #6 (73.7 MB)

Download Cartridge Test File #7 (74.5 MB)

Download Cartridge Test File #8 (71 MB)

Download Cartridge Test File #9 (75.6 MB)

Download Cartridge Test File #10 (71.6 MB)

In a few weeks we will reveal their identities. In addition, because I’m sure some if not many of you will not take the time to download and listen, I will review each from my perspective and include the specs (etc.).

In addition, if you like the track (I didn’t get sick of it and I listened dozens of times), HDTracks has generously given us a discount download code if you are so digitally inclined. Also note that the album is available on CD and SACD as well as on vinyl.

Special offer: Now through August 31st receive a 20% download discount on Myra Taylor's "My Night To Dream". Choose either the 88.2/24 bit or the 44.1k/16 bit version or both. Use promo code "compare20"

Choose your favorite sounding Cartridge Test File below:

Nine Cartridge Survey Produces Audible Results?
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Michael Fremer Posted: Jul 24, 2013 1 comments
Back in 1995 in The Tracking Angle's second issue I wrote of acoustic folk/blues artist Doug MacLeod's performances on his Audioquest LP Come to Find (AQ 1027): "You'll hear a lifetime's accumulation of feelings, experiences and influences in his fingers, in his voice and in his songs...."

MacLeod was 46 at the time. Eighteen years or so later MacLeod is still at it, as he's been since he picked up bass and guitar as a child. He's issued 19 studio albums some live ones and even an instructional DVD. The years have only enhanced and enriched MacLeod's technical and communicative abilities. He's an even more fluid and nuanced guitarist and singer than he was back in 1995.