I Was a Guest on the Bob Lefsetz Podcast That Aired Today So Listen!

Here's what Bob wrote in the email he sends to all of his readers and fans:

"Michael Fremer is the king of vinyl, he believed in its comeback when everybody else was selling their LPs. We discuss the availability of presses, demand, sound... Also, Michael is Senior Contributing Editor of "Stereophile" and thus we discuss audio equipment, what you should buy, how much you have to spend for good sound, turntable set-up... Fremer is a giant in his field, you want to listen to what he has to say".

Bob's newsletter is read by just about everyone in the record business (and beyond). When he publishes letters emailed by readers you'll see some of the biggest stars in music past, present and future. Everyone reads Bob. Why? He's smart, funny, erudite, and even when you end up not agreeing with him about something you come away having learned a thing or three.

The above picture is from 1976. Why not? Please listen to the podcast and subscribe to his newsletter too. You'll enjoy listening (not just to me):

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If you would like to subscribe to the Lefsetz Newsletter (you do).

bluebonnet's picture

Bob sounded wary and churlish, even combative, while you were trying to be hopeful and helpful with recommendations. I presume that he invited you to the program, and I presume that he was acquainted with your ethos; is it a journalistic device to sound like a vaguely hostile and obscurely impatient guest at a cocktail party, who wants to prove with clumsy skepticism that your enthusiasm is misplaced? Why his tiresome insistence on prices and rosters of manufacturers? Why race past the best counsel? Slow down. Listen. Listen to records, on the best equipment you can find. Apart from a summary review of the prospects for pressing plants, and the manufacturing limitations, he seemed far keener on questioning the value and volume of everything than in talking about the pleasures of recorded music. "How much do I have to spend, and how loud can it get? I don't want to waste my money."

SloppyJoeBuck's picture

On the advice of AnalogPlanet a month or so ago, I did sign up for Bob's e-mails. I unsubscribed after three days after a couple of mostly political e-mails and a couple of rather long ones that mostly consisted of people extolling the "brilliance" of Bad Company.

It amounted to a bunch of old men yelling at clouds and circle-jerking themselves over how correct their political opinions are. (Even if I agree, I'm tired of everyone feeling the need to beat their chests over it.) Truly the most "ok boomer" shit I'd seen in a while. Diff'rent strokes I reckon.

Michael Fremer's picture
Are a more recent addition. It's been almost all music-related and quite useful, until recently. I usually don't bother reading the more political newsletters. I get my political information elsewhere
Bmcpherson's picture

I feel exactly the same way.

JJCalvillo's picture

Subscribed at Michael's suggestion, I couldn't make it through one podcast.

Jim Tavegia's picture

You were ever the gentleman. Why he kept pressing you on what the future "numbers" might look like is pointless to me. 200,000,000, 300,000,000...what difference would that make?

If every one started with an AT 140 or a Project Debut Carbon they could really enjoy buying vinyl and get the experience. They are going to have to buy a decent system with good speakers to make that happen, or a good set of headphone and start there.

I think the only thing that can hurt vinyl will be the pricing and if it starts getting over $30 that might become an issue, but not for the audiophiles who are willing to spend that.

There have to be many industries that are envious as they would love to sell all they can make and still not meet demand.

Hackmartian's picture

Always happy to hear you educate folks on this stuff, but it was painful to give Lefsetz the satisfaction of a click on his podcast. I've crossed paths with Bob repeatedly since the days he xeroxed his newsletter in the Rhino Records mailroom in exchange for giving free copies to employees. I've witnessed his sexism, lechery, arrogance, and ignorance first-hand, and recently suffered through reading him exploit and lie about the suicide of one of my closest friends on his blog. Happy to support you, would urge folks to avoid supporting Lefsetz much further than this episode.

Michael Fremer's picture
I didn't know the "back story". However, I have to say I don't recall reading him being sexist, or lecherous, or even arrogant. Opinionated, yes and I often disagree with him but when he's good, he's very good IMO....
thatguy's picture

Michael is so personable that it is always even better getting his thoughts by audio or video.

Glotz's picture

I really like this podcast and do not find Bob is being churlish, even at the 30 min mark.

Glotz's picture

are completely wrong.

Maybe they don't like the style of his voice or feel he is talking from the distant 70's past and is trying to sound slightly 'interviewer critical"? I find the statements above unfounded.

vogelzang's picture


So....based on your fantastic Scientology-plating and pressing story, we now know that our collections are immortal and apocalypse proof.

L. Ron will live forever apparently

orthobiz's picture

Typically Bob really downplays the vinyl movement, even though he grew up in it. Occasional posts talk about him firing up his big rig and enjoying analog, but mostly he discusses the industry and streaming, etc.

He is really opinionated but I like reading his political posts because I don't mind far left exposure...how about bringing back the I Want My Money Back series, Mike?


bluebonnet's picture

Glotz, I don't feel completely wrong. My remarks had nothing to do with Bob's voice, and I too am a relic of "a distant 70s past." Bob was impatient, rude, unnecessarily captious, and oddly ornery. I don't fault him for not contributing anything useful, I fault him for not shutting up long enough to allow useful things to be said. I fault him for his narrow view of the topic, his coarse, crass metrics, and his general hostility. Congratulations, if you were unaffected. Were I Michael, I would have excused myself after fifteen minutes,telling him that no gear currently available would be loud enough, as is head is lodged too far in his own fundament.

Jazz listener's picture

Although Lefsetz was abrupt and a little overbearing in his style at times, and interrupted at other times just when Michael was about to share something interesting, Michael is a big boy and more than capable of holding his own, which he did. So give me a break with the whining...are you a snowflake? Overall I enjoyed the interview, as MF is always engaging. I will also give Lefsetz some credit for pushing for specific component recommendations for real-world consumers and asking some very good questions around how much one needs to realistically spend to get good sound. He is certainly well versed in audio equipment, so give credit where credit is due. Thanks for posting it Michael.

bluebonnet's picture

I would give credit if it were due.I don't understand why MFshould need to "hold his own" in this case. Why must a conversation about vinyl pressings and even equipment turn into Crossfire? This is the core of my criticism: the prevailing attitude seems to be that the most repellent feature of commercial audio is the cost. MF must simultaneously reveal the prices of his home rig and then sound abashed as he musters several justifications and mitigating facts. This is rubbish and rudeness. The most repellent feature of commercial audio is the belligerence.
MF had some very good advice-- listen to the best equipment you can. Even if you can't afford it, try to widen your scope. There is no surer path to enthusiasm than wonder. Too many people will stop with a budget system simply because they haven't heard much else. There is absolutely no shame in a well-composed budget system, but there is shame in promoting a bogus populism that any $5000 tonearm is unwarranted extravagance and flummery.MF had several good stories of simply demonstrating to listeners the marvel of a good pressing on great equipment. This is a more helpful role than browbeating a guest into making a mercenary shopping list.
If my preference for a calmer and more cooperative discussion of this medium that we all purport to enjoy makes me a snowflake, then there I am. I don't understand why the prospect of Bob taking crude rhetorical swings at anyone is entertaining...and it certainly isn't informative.

Jazz listener's picture

You must be a lot of fun at parties. I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree.

Glotz's picture

Very funny and salient comments- I do see your points.

I think his interviewing style is a bit old, yes. Perhaps he was playing the other side of the analog debate here?

I really wanted to Michael to talk about how more investment buys 'more solid stereo images in the room', not just loudness. (Sorry if that wasn't articulate.)

jameswicks's picture

I'm not a fan of the host's style of questioning, but the answers Mikey provided displayed his depth of expertise, and, for me, reinforced my appreciation of his encyclopedic knowledge. I learned a few things, and came away with a deeper appreciation for my record collection and all the people I never knew who are behind the scenes making it possible to enjoy listening to music.

LyndonSoulGroove's picture

Hi was pleased to listen to this, some parts i already aware of but others points were very enlightening for example number of pressing plants & the Scientology Story, over the weekend went through my records listening to best sounding, came across a Japanese C.T.I Jazz pressing in my collection of Rite Of Spring , 1972 copy this was pure magic, Also Olivia Newton John 1971 Lp produced by Bruce Welsh, felt like she was almost singing too me in the room !

DanaMck's picture

The more people who get to hear Michael talk about vinyl - the better!

TSOP's picture

About halfway thru, and I'm already feeling vindicated by MF's endorsement of my ancient Boston Acoustics speakers.

vince's picture

I enjoyed the show. The questions were great. About the time CD and home theater were just arriving on the scene I sold HiFi. The questions asked by Lefsetz were familiar and annoying at the same time. They matched many of the questions I got, as a salesman, from customers who wanted to buy the best HiFi they can, and not break the bank. For somebody getting into HiFi or vinyl, they may be appropriate questions to ask. Even if I struggled to answer some of them!

Yes, most folks who tune into listen to Fremer are long past these entry questions, but I bet they are heard all the time, especially at shops that sell a broad spectrum of equipment.

anomaly7's picture

Great show, Michael. You actually answered "the list" questions! I can refer many a budding audiophile to this podcast for reference.

BillK's picture

The Scientology story was interesting, but the big news for me was of your upgrade to the Wilson Chronosonic XVX - congratulations!!!

I'm also a bit surprised that you are upgrading from the Caliburn but disappointed it won't be the TechDAS Air Force Zero; an AF1 Premium perhaps?

marmil's picture

of you with the BCN production board.