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Michael Fremer  |  Nov 19, 2020  |  44 comments
Stereophile reviewer Ken Micallef visited (mask on) recently to pick up a turntable for review. He asked if I'd do a video with him showing some of my best sounding records. I agreed and picked a bunch out that I show in these three videos shot during his visit.

Michael Fremer  |  Nov 15, 2020  |  5 comments
In mid-January, 2020—just as the Covid-19 pandemic began its stealthy American death grip— the subscription based vinyl-only Newvelle Records embarked on an ambitious four LP New Orleans recording project at spacious Esplanade Studios, formerly the Third Presbyterian Church in the Treme neighborhood, destroyed in 2005 by Hurricane Katrina.

Michael Fremer  |  Nov 02, 2020  |  10 comments
Let’s head off at the pass what will surely be in the comments section under this review of a remarkably compact, full-featured, remote-controllable music playback system that includes in a single box, a high quality Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Esprit 3 speed turntable with dustcover, fitted with an Ortofon 2M “Silver” cartridge (incorrectly identified as OM2 on the Andover website—it’s similar to the Ortofon 2M Red but with fewer winds of the same silver-plated copper wire found in Ortofon’s 2M Bronze and 2M Black) that alone sells for $599 and includes an acrylic platter and 8.6” carbon fiber tonearm, an A/D converter, a 192/24 bit DAC, analog and digital inputs plus a subwoofer “out”, Bluetooth ( Qualcomm APT-X) streaming and built in amplification (2 x 70 Class D watts to woofers and 2 x 30 watts to tweeters) and of course multiple (6) high quality speakers (4 “long throw” aluminum diaphragm woofers and a pair of Air Motion Transformer tweeters originally invented by Dr. Oskar Heil that uses metal-etched folded polyethylene sheets to move air in process we won’t go into here!).

Joseph W. Washek  |  Oct 12, 2020  |  16 comments
Yes, I’m gonna get me religion
I’m gonna join the Baptist Church
I wanna be a Baptist preacher so I won’t have to work

In June 1964, Nick Perls, Dick Waterman, and Phil Spiro, three young white men from the North, traveled to Mississippi in search of Son House (1902-1988), a blues singer/guitarist whose career had been so abject a commercial failure that he was completely forgotten and unknown, except to a small group of perhaps two dozen country blues collectors who, based upon the recordings available, maybe twenty minutes in total, had proclaimed him to be the greatest of all the Delta Blues singers.

Michael Fremer  |  Oct 02, 2020  |  26 comments
“You are committing audio reviewer suicide” friends insisted when towards the end of 2018 I told them I was going to review some inexpensive Hearing Aids. Guess what? All of the comments under the review were positive and my reviewer creds are intact. Plus, my now 91 year old mother-in-law can now hear much better since I’d really bought them for her benefit.

Malachi Lui  |  Sep 30, 2020  |  33 comments
(Vinyl Reports is an AnalogPlanet feature aiming to create a definitive guide to vinyl LPs. Here, we talk about sound quality, LP packaging, music, and the overarching vinyl experience.)

MalachiLui  |  Aug 14, 2020  |  58 comments
Unlike many of their competitors, Schiit Audio seemingly intends to guide hi-fi beginners up the quality/price ladder. Their direct-to-consumer standalone components, some advertised for gaming and office setups, start at just $99. Schiit’s products appear feature-packed, but does the sound live up to the specs? Or are Schiit products, well, total shit?

Tom Fleming  |  Aug 06, 2020  |  31 comments
I grew up and went to school in Hereford in the 1980s and 90s - a small, old, and averagely average rural English cathedral city with a bit of a leftie/peacenik 'muesli belt' that definitely included my family. Since a few biggish musicians or bands have had some connection with the town over the years, maybe also because of its hippy side and its proximity to the legendary Rockfield Studios (just down the road near Monmouth), the Herefordshire of my youth seemed to be full of people with tenuous and exaggerated claims of involvement with the music business. Anyone who had ever helped the band that became The Pretenders to unload their van (all of them except the American Chrissie Hynde were local, but had long since fled), played bagpipes on a Mike Oldfield album (he briefly lived just inside the county at the height of his fame) or soldered a jack plug for Mott The Hoople's keyboard player dined out on it for years. It was all a bit tedious and you learned not to be particularly impressed.

Michael Fremer  |  Jul 22, 2020  |  115 comments
Leaving aside for the moment the numbskulls who are so certain that A.C. power cords cannot possibly affect the sound of their audio systems that they can’t be bothered to actually listen for themselves—never mind that science is predicated upon observation— (plus of course they don’t believe anything they see, hear, taste, smell or touch unless it’s done under controlled “double-blind” conditions), there’s a big problem with heavy power cords: because of their heft, they often partially or sometimes fully pull out of the wall jack.

Michael Fremer  |  Jul 10, 2020  |  15 comments
A vinyl-loving physics professor at Florida State University emailed to tell me that William Stead, a "brilliant film student" was in his astronomy class and came up to the prof one day and told him he was a huge Bowie fan and that he loved vinyl. Stead made a short documentary about Doug and Michelle Allen, owners of Banana Records who I profiled in my Banana Records video, which you can find on the AnalogPlanet YouTube channel.

Malachi Lui  |  Jun 28, 2020  |  36 comments
(Vinyl Reports is an AnalogPlanet feature aiming to create a definitive guide to vinyl LPs. Here, we talk about sound quality, LP packaging, music, and the overarching vinyl experience.)

As the world moves to reopen, record stores are slowly allowing customers back in. Here in Portland, OR, Music Millennium recently held a week of appointment-only personal shopping experiences (charitable donation necessary), then subsequently reopened with a 10 person limit and new safety measures. I shopped during the “be the only customer inside!” period and reviewed below are four recent acquisitions.

Joseph W. Washek  |  Jun 19, 2020  |  16 comments
In January 1961, Riverside Records sent the great, but sadly uncelebrated recording engineer, David Jones (also known as Dave Jones and David B. Jones) to New Orleans to record Black traditional jazz musicians for a projected series of albums to be called “New Orleans—The Living Legends”. Jones is little remembered today and remains a shadowy figure, despite recording five months later, also for Riverside, the all-time audiophile classic Bill Evans LPs, Sunday At The Vanguard and Waltz For Debby. Jones did not follow the career path that made other recording engineers who were his contemporaries, latter day icons. He never recorded rock or pop music, limiting himself to on-location recordings for small independent labels of ethnic and classical music, and occasionally jazz. The personal recording style that he created and mastered strove to capture the natural sound of instruments in a room from a slightly distant, contemplative perspective and eschewed whizzbangery and artificial flash. It’s a subtle style that does not immediately impress and one that has undoubtedly limited his reputation.

Michael Fremer  |  May 19, 2020  |  56 comments
Well, here we go. More than 125 people have participated in the It’s Just Wire “blind test”, so thank you all. Certainly, we’ve dispelled the ridiculous notion that “wire is wire” and that all wire sounds the same. Which one might prefer is of course a personal preference. That we’d need blind A/B/X testing to “prove” that any sonic differences exist is absurd.

Malachi Lui  |  Apr 30, 2020  |  12 comments
You enter a record store and alphabetically dig through the rap LPs. You reach W: West, Kanye. All of the widely distributed Kanye LPs appear, but of his 2013 cinematic masterpiece Yeezus, a “FOR PROMOTIONAL USE ONLY” copy appears. The jacket shows Virgil Abloh’s iconic album package design, a red-taped CD case, cropped and blown up to a 12” square. Yeezus on vinyl?! A promo? For real??? Uhhhh, no.

Michael Fremer  |  Mar 25, 2020  |  12 comments
Last year (April 8th 2019) while visiting contributing editor Malachi Lui in Portland, we paid a visit to Cascade Record Pressing in nearly Milwaukie, Oregon. For one reason or another the tour video never posted, until now.

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