Questions For the Editor?

The best way to ask questions and get answers is to send in an email to

If you post a question as a comment at the bottom of a story it's less likely to reach me. I used this cool shot of the Ortofon A95 cantilever/stylus assembly bathed in blue/gold light just to get your attention!

volvic's picture

MF does answer questions and quite promptly. That is one clean stylus.

volvic's picture

I mean within a reasonable time-frame.

recordhead's picture

and see how long it takes.

Basher52's picture

Hello. I bought an Aida in December, apparently manufactured June of 2014 so about 6 months old when I got it. There have been some discussions within Analog Planet about some VTA / SRA problems due to incorrect stylus manufacture .. however that appears to date from 2012 so I'd assume mine was made to correct specification. Based on advice from Peter Lehmann, I started with the tonearm (SME 309) level. All other parameters per his advice. About every LP side I would hear a 'blip' as if the cart/arm skipped .. but it really didn't. Next I raised the arm height a bit. Still getting that occasional 'blip'. Is this maybe something related to a severe stylus profile that just needs further geometry adjustment, or has my phono preamp begun having a capacitor or other problem?

Michael Fremer's picture
I will answer you even though I asked for emails! But I won't answer any more this way...I still think it's best to set SRA with a digital microscope but start with parallel to record is a good starting point (only). Not sure what that "blip" is. Can't tell from the description but I'd first try to borrow another phono preamp and see if the problem persists.
audiof001's picture

have you seen this?

Wish I could go to that school! Okay, now I'll think of a question to submit. ;-)

Steve Whitcomb's picture

Dear Mr. Fremer, I want to upgrade my system and would like your opinion on whether a new cartridge or new phono preamp will provide the most bang for the buck. I have Sonic Frontier's large monoblock tube amps, preamp and NHT 3.3 speakers. The turntable is Clearaudio entry level with MM cartridge. Phono preamp is Parasound Zphono. (My budget shrank before I got back into vinyl.) I listen to mostly classic rock and love deep bass and a deep soundstage. With a budget of $500 to $1,000, should I upgrade the cartridge or phono preamp? Any specific recommendations would be great. I feel like I am putting you on the spot but I really don't know where else to turn. Thank you for any guidance you can provide and thank you for Analog Planet. Steve Whitcomb

conjotter's picture

Hey Mikey.

Have you given the new Sticky Fingers reissue a spin?

If so, your thoughts on the sound and quality of this would be most appreciated.


mschlack's picture

Definitely would like to hear your take and what you know about these. Lots of buzz online about them being horribly compressed and awfully remastered to the point of distortion -- is that true? Or just for the CDs? Are the vinyl versions taken from digital masters or the original analog tapes?

Arnie's picture

Hi Michael,

I bought the Aesthetix IO Phono Stage and I am having a significant issue with RF noise. It is an oscillating hum. My dealer has been working with me to try and eliminate the noise. The best we can figure out it the Cardas Clear tone arm cable is acting as an antenna. We have turned off all electronic equipment in the house. I had an electrician come over and check the grounds on all dedicated outlets. I am using a Shunyata power conditioner. We even tried a second Cardas Clear tone arm cable. The best we can figure out is the Phono stage is generating RF. If we move the cables around we can change the noise but never eliminate it. Are you aware of any Tone arm cables that are well shielded. Are you aware of any other solutions we even tried RF magnet blockers which did nothing that can solve the problem. The IO sounds amazing except for the background noise.

Thanks in Advance

kevemaher's picture

Perhaps you've had this problem cleared up by now. I hope so. In case you haven't, I will offer my suggestions. Is your noise truly RF? RF frequencies are in the MHz range. They are not audible. You mention you get an oscillating hum. It would be helpful to find out what the frequency is. Most hum problems, as you're probably aware are 60Hz or multiples. These are caused by poor grounding or ground loops. The phono section is particularly susceptible to ground problems. Make sure your phono ground wire is firmly connected to the preamp ground post. Make sure you have at least one component grounded to the house ground through the wall or power strip connection. Check that the house ground is viable. You will find a stiff rod hammered into the ground outside your house. This is the electrical ground for everything in the house. Make sure it is electrically connected to the wall plug(s) you are using. Try a different wall plug. All RCA cables, including dedicated tonearm cables are shielded by manufacture. However, these shields must be intact and ultimately connected to ground. Any one of these cables in the signal chain all the way to the power amp can cause a problem. All need to be checked. Cables can be checked one by one by ensuring that the outer ring (the one that grabs the female part on the component when you plug it in) on both ends of the cable are connected and there is very small resistance (less than 0.2 ohms for cables 6 feet or shorter). This cable shield connection propagates throughout your system all the way to the power amp plug where it should be connected to house ground. Ideally this is the only place in the audio system where the ground is connected. Other ground connections from other components can cause ground loops which will definitely cause hum. Finally, be careful and systematic with your approach. These sort of problems are often tricky to solve.

cpp's picture

Mike you ever going to review this device you noted in April 2016.

BENEDICT's picture

Good evening Mr Fremer

As I get that box as Christmas gift I’d like to know whether all LPs from that box were pressed at QRP both for US and European release except first 2 of course at recording industry in the Netherlands

Thanks beforehand

Merry Christmas


buckwheat235's picture

Hi Mikey,

As an audiophile and vinyl addict for over 40 years, I dig the website as well as your You Tube Channel.

While I realize that there is much debate about how best to clean a stylus, what do you suggest regarding the removal of pyrolyzed gunk on an otherwise good stylus?

I routinely use an Onzow Zerodust as well as wet cleaners like Audio-Technica AT-607 alternating with Isopropyl from time to time.

Chemically speaking, while most wet stylus cleaners contain some sort of alcohol based compound, alcohols are not good solvents at removing / dissolving pyrolyzed vinyl (PVC) or release agents and other crap.

Tetrahydrofuran would work best but it is very dangerous. So what’s an enthusiast to do?

I have owned Ortofon MM cartridges for years and have never experienced stylus removal from a cantilever despite warnings to the contrary.

I’m about to try the Carbon Fiber stylus brush approach however I remain concerned regarding possible cantilever and / or cartridge suspension damage no matter how careful my 60 year old eyes and hands are.

There must be a better way. OTAY Spanky?

autophoquang's picture

Hey Mikey.

Have you given the new Sticky Fingers reissue a spin?

If so, your thoughts on the sound and quality of this would be most appreciated.


gdphoto's picture

Hi Mike, What do you recommend for setting your antiskating? I have tried setting it a half a gram less than the tracking force. Recently, I ran across a youtube video that showed a guy using a blank CD. He set his tone arm down on it and the arm swung inward. He adjusted the antiskate dial and it swung outward. Then he adjusted it till it stayed put. This method makes sense, but I want to be sure. Thanks! Gary

Michael Fremer's picture
That is not a good way to set anti skating.
mestrear's picture

Good morning Michael,
I purchased the actual Morch DP8 tonearm from SORAsound that you have reviewed. It now resides on my VPI HW19-3 and I look forward to reading the review.
Michael Strear

Nedward's picture

Hello Michael,
Most hi-end TT's seem to use a record clamp or vacuum hold-down. My understanding is that Rega does not provide - nor recommend the use of - a record clamp for any of its TT models. Do you know know what the reason is for this position on Rega's part?

audiophile101's picture

Hi Mike, haven't wrote in in a while, I just viewed your youtube on the Riva's Magic Wand yesterday and I want to know who the artist you play up front ...." take a litte walk...." That was fantastic and would love to buy that album on vinyl buddy. Who is he and the title of that album, I've got to have it....!!! Please!
Vince F.
Phx, Az USA

Michael Fremer's picture
Band of Horses song is Detlev Schremp (sp.?)
Michael Fremer's picture
Band of Horses song is Detlev Schremp (sp.?)
halakoo's picture

This place is quite well to resolve the issues I love to visit here at in order to fix my issues regarding music.
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carja's picture

Hi Michael,

I love reading your reviews and though I don’t often post I do highly value your opinion. My Lyra Delos is a few years old and I’m contemplating upgrading later this year. I could trade it in and get a discount on a Kleos. Alternatively, the new SoundSmith Paua mk II is attractive at a similar price. What are your thoughts? For reference, turntable is VPI Classic III, phono is Liberty Audio B2B, preamp is Manly Neo-Classic 300B and amp is McCormack DNA-250.

metaleonid's picture

Hi Michael,

I tried to email you but it bounced back. Also tried to send a message on Facebook. But so far it has been unread. Can you provide an alternative contact? Or can I ask a question here?

sarcese52's picture

Tried to email you @ and got this:

Your message to couldn't be delivered.

Fremer wasn't found at

Michael Fremer's picture
dischief's picture

Which Zero did you audition, the .7 or 1.0 ?
I've 400 10" mono lps and couple of thousand more between those and mid 60s issues. Having to choose between the two.

Neward Thelman's picture

The effective length of tonearms on every Pro-Ject table I've seen is specified at 8.6 inches.

That's a very short arm length, which guarantees high levels of tracking error and distortion all across a record surface, except potentially at two null points.

At the very least, an 8.6 inch arm will have intrinsically higher distortion levels than the more standard length of 9 inches - such as employed by Rega - much less then longer lengths found in more sophisticated arms.

Any insights or ideas about this?

dbouch's picture


the original writing in this piece

is 33 years old, but i'm relatively new to analog planet and would appreciate reading your current response to the points raised. also, why would stereophile re-release this piece at all?

my best,


dbouch's picture


sorry i didn't bother to read the responses to the article on stereophile. i immediately came here for your response. i just now read your comments there, sooooo... never mind:)


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