Michael Fremer

Michael Fremer  |  Mar 19, 2013  |  0 comments
Ever have one of those days from hell that starts before the sun comes up and doesn't end until you fall into bed exhausted and stressed, hours after your normal snooze time?

I had one a few weeks ago. I'll spare you the 6am phone call that started it, but by noon I'd learned that my furnace was cracked and a new one would cost me $3000. Three grand? What a waste. That almost buys a state-of-the-art phono cartridge or some good cables these days, and I have to divert it to heat?

Michael Fremer  |  Mar 15, 2013  |  1 comments
Lyra Arion moving-coil step-up transformer

"The killer cycles, the killer Hertz, / the passage of my life is measured out in shirts," as Brian Eno once sang. In 1997 I measure out the vitality of the analog revival by how long it takes my Dick to fill with new vinyl. It doesn't take more than a few weeks, and a Dick holds about 75 records. Dick, by the way, is a sturdy, inexpensive, attractively finished, LP-sized, wooden slatted crate sold at Ikea, the Swedish home furnishing giant. As at Linn, everything at Ikea has a weird, consonant-heavy name.

Michael Fremer  |  Mar 12, 2013  |  8 comments
You always remember your first one. For me it was an Oracle Delphi turntable back in 1982. I'd gone to Christopher Hansen's in LA to buy a brand-new one, but as luck would have it, a barely used one had just been traded in by film director Roger Corman's son, and I was able to get the Delphi/Magnepan unipivot tonearm combo for a few hundred dollars less than the cost of a new 'table. My first exposure to a wobbly-armed unipivot gave me the creeps, but the deal was too good to pass up.
Michael Fremer  |  Mar 09, 2013  |  6 comments
Why am I reviewing a CD???? The answer(s) are easy. Firstly, this loving tribute to Les Paul featuring longtime trio cohort Lou Pallo and others with whom Les played at Fat Tuesdays and the Iridium is musically fabulous assuming you like the timeless "old school" style.
Michael Fremer  |  Mar 07, 2013  |  10 comments
Last Record Store Day Sony/Legacy released four mono LPs: Miles Davis's Miles Ahead and Porgy and Bess, The Fabulous Johnny Cash (released by IMPEX last year in stereo) and Cheap Thrills by Big Brother and The Holding Company featuring Janis Joplin.
Michael Fremer  |  Mar 04, 2013  |  27 comments
A reader alerted me to the fact that some online sites are selling a variety of "Pink Moon" reissues including one from the aptly named "Phantom" label. Be careful!
Michael Fremer  |  Mar 03, 2013  |  7 comments
For a company whose initials stand for “Scale Model Equipment” the massive turntables SME builds are anything but. The company, founded in post WW II England, began as a manufacturer of scale models, then popular in the engineering trade.

SME founder Alastair Robertson-Aikman was an audio hobbyist who one day decided to apply his engineering acumen and put to work the talented designers and machinists in his employ to produce a tone arm for his own use.

Michael Fremer  |  Mar 02, 2013  |  4 comments
In the June "Analog Corner" I wrote written that "Baby You're A Rich Man" on the US release of the Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour LP was originally issued in electronically reprocessed stereo because "Capitol back then didn't really give a shit." (MMT was first issued in the UK as a double 7" EP, Parlophone MMT/SMMT-1) Reader Preston Reese responded in a letter ("Letters," September '97 p.17) that while "the original 1967 US LP release [of MMT] was a combination of stereo mixes and mono mixes re-channeled for stereo," the master of "Baby You're a Rich Man" was a processed stereo version "provided to [Capitol] by the Beatles and their producer George Martin in 1967...It wasn't until four years later, in October 1971, that 'Baby You're a Rich Man' got around to its first stereo mix, created for the German LP release of Magical Mystery Tour."
Michael Fremer  |  Feb 27, 2013  |  1 comments
We often talk about "cross-pollination" opportunities in the high performance audio world, like putting a cool system in a high-end furniture store or at trade-shows not associated with audio. It's a good way to interest a different demographic to the hobby.

I was just alerted to this event by a friend who is the oleologist (olive oil specialist) at New York's Eataly, the world's largest artisanal Italian food and wine marketplace, organized along similar lines, at Del Posto, one of New York's premier Italian restaurants—the first Italian restaurant in forty years to receive a four star review from The New York Times (in 2010).

Michael Fremer  |  Feb 21, 2013  |  16 comments
Our intrepid reporter had no idea why 650,000 records were in a warehouse in York, or who owned them, but he took the bait nevertheless. Photos by Michael Fremer.

I heard this story from a manufacturer whose car broke down somewhere in a rundown Queens neighborhood one afternoon: He went into a bodega to make a phone call and struck up a conversation with the owner. Their talk led to audio, then to a trip to the basement of the former record store, where thousands of Living Stereos and other audiophile treasures had been sitting for decades, gathering dust and value. The manufacturer would visit each week and walk out with a few hundred unplayed gems, for which he'd pay a few bucks each.

True story? Audiophile wet dream? Who knows? Who cares? We love this stuff. So when I got a call from Rick Flynn (proprietor of Quality Vinyl, a mail-order, audiophile-oriented record dealer) about 650,000 records—every one of them stone-cold mint—locked in a warehouse in York, Pennsylvania since 1973, and would I like to have a look...I bit.

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