Michael Fremer

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:
Michael Fremer  |  Aug 01, 2011  |  0 comments

Poor misunderstood Steven Demetre Georgiou/Cat Stevens/Yusef Islam. Like Bob Marley or Barack Obama, he’s a “hybrid” and subject to misinterpretation and fear-mongering.

Michael Fremer  |  May 24, 2011  |  0 comments
Brinkmann's 9.6 tonearm ($3990) resembles the German company's longer, more expensive 10.5 and 12.1 arms, which in turn resemble the legendary Breuer. The new arm includes the same headshell, armtube, mounting socket, and cueing device used in the other arms. The bearing system differs, though the Swiss-made ball bearings are identical.

Michael Fremer  |  May 19, 2011  |  3 comments
I won't debate here how to make a turntable's platter go around. Choose your favorite: belt vs direct drive, idler wheel vs belt, spring-windup vs wind power, whatever. As far as I'm concerned, there's nothing to debate. Each of these technologies has its pluses and minuses, but none can produce CD's accuracy of speed and inherent freedom from wow and flutter.

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