Analog Corner

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Michael Fremer  |  Feb 16, 2018  |  First Published: Oct 01, 2001  |  7 comments
First, the news you've all been waiting for: the name of the winner of the "Send in the funniest caption for this picture and win an autographed copy of Mikey's 1970s comedy album, I Can Take a Joke" contest (see p.44 of the August 2001 Stereophile).

Michael Fremer  |  Feb 09, 2018  |  First Published: Sep 01, 2001  |  3 comments
In their "Noah's Ark" TV commercial, what DaimlerChrysler seems to consider worth hauling up the Ark's gangplank is a pair of Mercedes Benz E-Class sedans. There's also a guy schlepping an iMac (what else?), and another carrying recorded music—not CDs but a stack of LPs, the top one appearing to be an original of Miles Davis' Birth of the Cool. (Other recent analog sightings: a full-frame Clearaudio Reference turntable in Tomb Raider, and a Rega Planar 2 or 3 'table in Sex and the City.)

Michael Fremer  |  Feb 05, 2018  |  First Published: Aug 01, 2001  |  1 comments
"Corned beef and pastrami aren't exactly health foods, but when did clogging your own arteries become a crime?" I asked myself as I approached the corner of 7th Avenue and 53rd. But my first Carnegie Deli triple-decker in years would have to wait: yellow crime-scene tape encircled the entire block, making it look like a movie-set. Unfortunately, this production, teeming with police, ambulances, television news crews, and spectators, was real.

Michael Fremer  |  Jan 29, 2018  |  First Published: Jul 01, 2001  |  6 comments
A few issues ago, Sam Tellig gently mocked me with a comment about mobile record players. For those of you too young to remember, or who thought he was kidding, here's a photo of the late, great Lawrence Welk enjoying "Highway Hi-Fi" in his 1956 DeSoto convertible. The players, made by CBS-Columbia for Chrysler, featured a new 7" format record, the XLP, which provided up to 45 minutes per side thanks to its 162/3rpm speed and its pitch of 550 grooves per inch—twice the density of a standard LP. Playback required a special 0.25-mil stylus tracking at 2.5gm—about half a gram less pressure than, say, a $7600 Clearaudio Insider needs to track a regular LP in your living room! A flywheeled motor (there's nothing new under the sun) kept the 'table's speed stable under impossible conditions, and an ingenious arm design supposedly kept the stylus in the groove even around hairpin turns.

Michael Fremer  |  Jan 26, 2018  |  First Published: Jun 01, 2001  |  4 comments
Maybe Phil Spector was right. The legendary record producer was (and probably still is) a mono fan. Brian Wilson is said to have originally mixed the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds in mono because that's the way he heard it, due to a childhood hearing problem, but Spector's reasons were aesthetic, not medical. He simply preferred the way his complex, grandiose productions sounded when wedged into a single channel.

Michael Fremer  |  Jan 19, 2018  |  First Published: May 01, 2001  |  1 comments
In the age of Internet B2B comes a flurry of analog D2Ds! That's direct to disc, for those unfamiliar with the initialism—which includes the keepers of www.acronymfinder.com. While the site correctly identified B2B as "business to business," a search there of "D2D" listed "date to desktop," "day to day," and "direct to data (ParkerVision, Inc.)." There's a page for "acronym submissions," so I submitted this addition: "D2D also refers to 'direct to disc'—a recording wherein a live microphone feed is used to cut a lacquer for release as a vinyl LP, thus bypassing recording tape or other intermediate storage devices."

Michael Fremer  |  Jan 08, 2018  |  First Published: Apr 01, 2001  |  0 comments
Every time I attend CES in Las Vegas, I wonder if this is the year the seemingly fragile analog bubble has finally burst. That day may eventually come, but not 2001. On Day One in the Alexis Park's ballroom booth area, where the record and accessory vendors hold court, I ran into Music Direct's Josh Bizar, who volunteered, "This December through the Christmas season we sold more turntables, more cartridges, and more vinyl than in any Christmas we've ever had. This is the biggest vinyl heyday we've had in our company's history."
Michael Fremer  |  Jan 02, 2018  |  First Published: Mar 01, 2001  |  3 comments
In 2001: A Space Odyssey, Stanley Kubrick depicted a Pan American Airlines shuttle whizzing space commuters to an orbiting circular station, where they communicated with earthbound loved ones via a Bell Telephone videophone. Pillbox-hatted stewardesses served up vacuum-bagged space gruel sucked from straws.

Michael Fremer  |  Dec 20, 2017  |  First Published: Feb 01, 2001  |  8 comments
Comparing DIN-to-RCA phono cables is a daunting enough task without the distraction of watching a nation unable to figure out who it elected president, partly because it relies on 40-year-old punchcard technology to tally votes. Haven't election officials heard that digital is perfect?
Michael Fremer  |  Dec 15, 2017  |  First Published: Jan 01, 2001  |  11 comments
Despite being shown concrete documentation that analog is alive, well, and growing, there are still some audio writers who deny its very existence. I'm talking about some of the folks at Sound & Vision. I haven't popped off in print about other magazines in this column (much)—it's not good form. True, when yakking with industry types, I've occasionally referred to that magazine as Deaf & Blind, and it's obviously gotten back to them: the "Hellos" and handshakes at press events have turned to icy stares. Just joking, guys! After all, we're Stereopile. Then there's The Obso!ete Sound. Ha ha ha ha. Sticks and stones, etc.

Michael Fremer  |  Dec 11, 2017  |  First Published: Dec 01, 2000  |  2 comments
The OTT V.Y.G.E.R. Indian turntable made its debut at the 2000 Top Audio and Video Show in Milan

Michael Fremer  |  Dec 08, 2017  |  First Published: Nov 01, 2000  |  4 comments
First, let's throw egg on a few faces. Due to a communications screw-up, I passed on to you some wrong and incomplete information about the workings of the Lyra Helikon cartridge in my August 2000 "Analog Corner." Without assessing percentages of blame, let's just say that the three likely suspects (manufacturer Scan-Tech, American importer Immedia, and yours truly) accept full responsibility for the misinformation and miscommunication. I'm being generous here by including myself, but hey, you know me. (Actually, you don't, which is why I can claim to be generous.)
Michael Fremer  |  Dec 04, 2017  |  First Published: Oct 01, 2000  |  11 comments
"Simply Annoying," the section of last February's "Analog Corner" devoted to British reissue company Simply Vinyl, did not result in any clarification from the label regarding its source material—my e-mails went unanswered. Apparently, however, some consumers have had more luck.
Michael Fremer  |  Nov 30, 2017  |  First Published: Sep 01, 2000  |  0 comments
What's June without a hi-fi show? With Stereophile's exhibition put on hold for 2000 while emapUSA sorts out future possibilities—Manhattan in May 2001 is the most probable place and date—I flashed on High End 1996 in Frankfurt, Germany, a June show I'd attended and reported on in this column. German audiophiles were still heavily into vinyl back then, so why not hit High End 2000?
Michael Fremer  |  Nov 27, 2017  |  First Published: Aug 01, 2000  |  2 comments
Joni Mitchell played The Theater at Madison Square Garden recently, supporting her new CD, Both Sides Now. Mitchell with symphony orchestra sounded like a no-brainer, so we got tickets, though by the time my friend was able to get through online to Ticketmaster the best seats were gone. We got second-best accommodations for $75, which seemed reasonable, given the cost of rehearsing an orchestra, then traipsing around the country with it.

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