Michael Fremer

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  |  18 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.
Michael Fremer  |  Feb 01, 2012  |  2 comments

Patricia Barber's café blue remains a musically and sonically stunning set seventeen years after its initial release on CD and later on a truncated vinyl edition. It's set in a dark, atmospheric musical space that recording engineer Jim Anderson captured perfectly, bathing Barber's sultry voice in a mysterious shroud of reverb created not by artificial means as was common at the time, but by establishing an improvised chamber under some stairs at CRC (Chicago Recording Company) where the record was produced.

Michael Fremer  |  Oct 24, 2011  |  1 comments
According to Parasound's founder and CEO, Richard Schram, the Halo JC 3 began as a phono-preamp retrofit for the JC 2 line stage, with separate small circuit boards for each channel. The smaller the board, the better, Schram says, so as to attract less noise than do larger boards, whose many copper traces can act as antennas.
Michael Fremer  |  Oct 14, 2011  |  1 comments
Trends in turntable design shift back and forth over time, each "advance" turning out to be a mostly sideways move. Over its long history, VPI's founder and designer, Harry Weisfeld, has moved the analog goalposts back and forth as he's refined his thinking. His early turntables were mostly standard spring-suspension designs of normal size. By the time Weisfeld produced his fully tricked-out TNT model, which was originally designed to stably hold the heavy moving mass of Eminent Technology's ET2 air-bearing arm, he'd moved to a massive, oversized, sandwiched plinth with isolating feet at the corners. He first used springs and, later, air bladders originally designed to cushion a tractor-trailer's load, and which he'd found in a trucker's supply catalog. Via an O-ring, the TNT's outboard motor drove one of three pulleys that protruded from holes in the plinth, and attached to a T-shaped subchassis that, in turn, drove the other two pulleys via two additional O-rings.
Michael Fremer  |  Sep 09, 2011  |  2 comments
No one has ever accused Franc Kuzma of designing glamorous audio jewelry. His turntables and tonearms are industrial-strength examples of engineering know-how and machining excellence. But to those who appreciate such things, his products are truly beautiful, even if they're not adorned with chrome, wood, and sleekly polished surfaces. And if looking at the 4Point tonearm ($6500) in pebbly Darth Vader black doesn't get your analog juices flowing, perhaps its innovative design will. But first, this message:

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