Analog Corner

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Michael Fremer  |  May 07, 2018  |  First Published: May 01, 2002  |  5 comments
Setting tonearm geometry with Wally Malewicz's WallyTools (see later)

In his "Manufacturer's Comment" response to my writeup on the VPI Aries Extended turntable in March 2002, Harry Weisfeld wrote that, among other things, he wasn't pleased with what I'd set his 'table on. So I tried supporting the VPI with a piece of very heavy slate resting on six of those big AudioQuest Sorbothane half-spheres and made a series of recordings of LP tracks on the Alesis Masterlink's hard drive at 24-bits/96kHz.

Michael Fremer  |  Apr 23, 2018  |  First Published: Apr 01, 2002  |  0 comments
Classic Records' Michael Hobson announced at the 2002 CES that he is releasing 15 Blue Note mono albums.

My assignment: to cover analog at the 2002 Consumer Electronics Show. Want the bad news first? There wasn't any bad news. The good news started with a flood of new software. Fresh vinyl will help drive hardware sales while preventing the industry from trading solely in nostalgia.

Michael Fremer  |  Apr 06, 2018  |  First Published: Mar 01, 2002  |  6 comments
It's a circular mound of semi-gelatinous goop in a box, onto which you gently lower your stylus. After a few seconds, you lift the stylus, and it's as clean and residue-free as the proverbial whistle—or baby's butt. In fact, a baby's soft skin is what manufacturer Onzow likens Zero Dust to. The dirt left on the transparent mound is testimony to the effectiveness of the process.
Michael Fremer  |  Mar 26, 2018  |  First Published: Feb 01, 2002  |  9 comments
Next time someone tells you that nice guys finish last, tell him or her about Bob Irwin, founder, owner, and president of Sundazed Records. He's one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet, he's currently on top, and odds are he'll finish there—for all the right reasons.

Michael Fremer  |  Mar 12, 2018  |  First Published: Jan 01, 2002  |  1 comments
Every fall and spring, Groovy Productions runs a giant record convention at the New Jersey Convention and Expo Center at the Raritan Center in Edison, New Jersey. In 2001, despite September 11 and an unusually warm, sunny day that saw temperatures close to 80°, vinyl fanatics turned out in gratifying numbers. And while attendance was down compared to last year, according to Groovy's organizers, those who came were in a buying mood. I was among them.
Michael Fremer  |  Mar 05, 2018  |  First Published: Dec 01, 2001  |  0 comments
I sat staring at a blank cursor for a few hours trying to figure out how to begin this column and I still haven't come up with anything worthy, so I won't even try. Coverage of hi-fi shows in the UK and Italy? I don't think so. My flight out was scheduled for the evening of September 11.

Michael Fremer  |  Feb 26, 2018  |  First Published: Nov 01, 2001  |  12 comments
All four standard record speeds have now been covered in this column: 16 (2/3)rpm, 33 (1/3)rpm, 45rpm, and this is "Analog Corner" #78(rpm). Seventy-six columns and going strong. Hard to believe, considering that vinyl was declared "dead" a decade ago, and is still so declared by the digital hardcore.
Michael Fremer  |  Feb 16, 2018  |  First Published: Oct 01, 2001  |  3 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  |  4 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  |  5 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  |  2 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.

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