Michael Fremer

Michael Fremer  |  Sep 30, 2012  |  7 comments
To continue the discussion of whether or not using a USB microscope to set stylus rake angle is a good or bad idea, please look at the drawing accompanying this post.

Michael Fremer  |  Sep 17, 2012  |  11 comments
While effective isolation from both air and ground borne vibrational energy is important throughout the audio playback chain, it is essential for vinyl playback. It can be built into a turntable in the form of spring or "O" ring suspensions but current thinking downplays that in favor of separate isolation stands rather than incorporating it into the turntable itself.

Michael Fremer  |  Aug 14, 2012  |  2 comments
Over the past few years, jazz fans have been treated to some astonishing, heretofore unreleased treasures. Unlike in the rock world, where such finds, along with “bonus tracks” usually tell you why they weren’t released in the first place (with Bob Dylan being a notable exception), these jazz releases have felt like un-mined diamonds, only occasionally in the rough.

Michael Fremer  |  Jul 19, 2012  |  24 comments
In Part 1 we explained the importance of proper azimuth setup. Now, on to how to achieve it! While using a digital oscilloscope is the most accurate method, it also requires you to spend hundreds of dollars to buy one and then you have to learn how to use it. That's not really necessary for most analog devotees, and so we're not going to go into the details here. If you insist, you'll have to buy one and figure it out using the methodology that will be described, which is generally applicable to whichever way you choose to go.

Michael Fremer  |  Jul 18, 2012  |  4 comments
"Azimuth" is generally defined as the perpendicularity of the cantilever to the record surface. Some tonearms, including most (but not all) gimbaled tonearms (ones with fixed bearings like Rega and fixed head shell SME's don't allow you to adjust that parameter. You are at the mercy of the cartridge manufacturer, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't check your cartridge's performance even if you can't adjust it.

Michael Fremer  |  Jun 14, 2012  |  3 comments
Who begins a debut album with a dirge-like, mournful song taken at a heartbreakingly slow pace like Richard Manuel's "Tears of Rage?" The Band did on their debut album that didn't exactly hit the pop charts running.

Michael Fremer  |  May 24, 2012  |  3 comments
The all-FET, class-A, B2B-1 phono preamplifier ($1749), made in the US by Liberty Audio, is beautifully built inside and out, and comes in a heavy-duty aluminum chassis with a baked-on crackle finish and a 3/8"-thick, black-anodized faceplate. The overall build quality and physical appearance suggest something that costs more than $3000, which is probably what it would cost were it sold through retailers and not factory direct. It comes with a two-week return policy.
Michael Fremer  |  May 10, 2012  |  16 comments

Twenty five years later, it’s easy to forget that Graceland, the album many consider to be Paul Simon’s finest musical achievement, was mired in controversy because of the continuing disgraceland that was apartheid South Africa. Nelson Mandela was still jailed and protests erupted on college campuses and in the halls of government around the world.

Michael Fremer  |  Mar 29, 2012  |  1 comments

  Randy Wells' recent review of this Sundazed reissue may have seemed thorough and matter-of-fact to most of you and judging by the emails, well appreciated, but the folks at Sundazed were anything but pleased, which kind of surprised me, though Wells did prefer the Audio Fidelity release so perhaps I should not have been surprised.

Michael Fremer  |  Feb 13, 2012  |  0 comments
The phono preamplifiers reviewed this month are both affordable ($400–$1960) and highly accomplished, and the most expensive of them offers versatility that's unprecedented in my experience. Three of them are designed to be used only with moving-magnet, moving-iron, and high-output moving-coil cartridges, so I installed Shure's V15VxMR cartridge in VPI's Classic 3 turntable and listened in MM mode to all of them, beginning with the least expensive.

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