Analog Corner

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Michael Fremer  |  Aug 09, 2022  |  First Published: Oct 01, 2017  |  0 comments
The death of a company founder, whether sudden or expected, often produces trauma. Whoever was tapped to replace the visionary Steve Jobs would be handed a thankless task, but at Apple, timid Tim Cook's so-far unimaginative performance as caretaker demonstrates the difficulties of succession. As Jobs beat Sony to the iPod, Cook let Amazon beat him to the Alexa.
Michael Fremer  |  Jul 26, 2022  |  7 comments
Whenever I do turntable-setup seminars, I complain to the participants about the lack of cartridge-pin diameter and clip-opening standards. Anyone who does their own setup has experienced it: The connection is too tight or too loose. Forcing the clip onto the pin usually results in a broken-off clip that most end users don't have the soldering skills needed to repair; in the worst case, it can even result in damage to the cartridge when you try to remove the clip from the pin.
Michael Fremer  |  Jul 12, 2022  |  First Published: Nov 01, 2017  |  0 comments
The Reed 3P tonearm, which I reviewed in my April 2016 column, was an impressive piece of imaginative engineering and manufacturing prowess. I asked Reed's importer, Axiss Audio, if I could hold on to the 3P—I was already planning to review Reed's Muse 3C turntable. I'm glad I did—the 3P ($5000) and 3C ($15,000) make an outstanding combination. (When the only complaint you have about a turntable is that the cable from its power jack to the power supply isn't long enough to reach the floor, you can be sure you're going to write a very positive review.)
Michael Fremer  |  Jun 21, 2022  |  6 comments
Lublin, Poland, is about 130 miles from Lviv, Ukraine, a town that has been in the news lately. That's about the same distance as Hershey, Pennsylvania, is from my desk in northern New Jersey, where I'm writing this. They are close. Russian missiles struck Lviv on March 18, 2022, and as I write these words Lviv is preparing for more intense bombardment.
Michael Fremer  |  Jun 14, 2022  |  First Published: Dec 01, 2017  |  1 comments
Brooklyn-based Grado Labs has been in business for 64 years, manufacturing moving-iron phono cartridges, headphones, and, for a while, even a unipivot tonearm with a wooden armwand, as well as the sophisticated, S-shaped Signature Laboratory Standard arm.
Michael Fremer  |  May 24, 2022  |  3 comments
The stylus that cuts the grooves in your favorite records is best described, in simple terms, as "chisel-shaped." The most accurate playback styli—the "extreme" ones that extract the maximum amount of information from the grooves—have a similar shape, with sharper and more severe contact edges than a standard elliptical stylus, itself an advance over spherical styli.
Michael Fremer  |  May 10, 2022  |  First Published: Jan 01, 2018  |  65 comments
It was great fun having our editorial coordinator, Jana Dagdagan, shoot a video profile of me in my listening room. As I write this, it's had more than 88,000 views. While the ratio of thumbs up to thumbs down has remained consistently around 10:1, some of the negative comments, particularly about our industry and about this magazine, do enrage me.
Michael Fremer  |  Apr 27, 2022  |  2 comments
Let's get right to it: The best way to set azimuth, as I recently wrote in this space, is to measure crosstalk using either a high-quality voltmeter or a digital oscilloscope and a good test record like Analogue Productions' The Ultimate Analogue Test LP (AAPT1). The traditional, qualitative procedure—setting the headshell so that it's parallel to the record surface—assures only cosmetic satisfaction.
Michael Fremer  |  Apr 05, 2022  |  First Published: Feb 01, 2018  |  0 comments
In February 2017, for the first time in almost 20 years, I visited Rega Research's factory in Southend-on-Sea, UK. I found a company that had added to its just-built factory a second building of the same size, had added an upper level within that space, and already was running out of space. Corridors and walkways were being used for assembly and storage.
Michael Fremer  |  Mar 29, 2022  |  6 comments
What? Suddenly a new Japanese cartridge manufacturer? That's what I was thinking when Mockingbird Distribution's Phillip Holmes dropped three cartridges on me from DYLP Audio. Never heard of them—but then I'd not heard of MuTech either when Holmes sent me one of that company's $4500 RM-Kanda (now Hyabusa) moving coil cartridges, which I reviewed in the March 2019 issue's Analog Corner. If that cartridge is not on your moving coil radar, you ought to put it there.
Michael Fremer  |  Mar 08, 2022  |  First Published: Mar 01, 2018  |  1 comments
In 1964, Shure Brothers shook up the cartridge market by introducing the original V-15 moving-magnet cartridge, which then cost $67, equivalent to about $530 today. It came packaged in a deluxe, wooden, jewelry-style box—common practice for today's cartridges, but back then unheard of.
Michael Fremer  |  Feb 22, 2022  |  15 comments
One privilege of being a Stereophile columnist is the opportunity to cover products from smaller, less well-known manufacturers, including those that don't have wide enough distribution to qualify for a full review. One such company is Victorville, California–based Paradox. I'd never heard of them until I received an email from Terence Robinson, the company's owner. The email included a description of a phono preamplifier that so intrigued me that I asked for a review sample.
Michael Fremer  |  Feb 08, 2022  |  First Published: Apr 01, 2018  |  4 comments
At Stereophile, we don't generally allow Mulligans—review do-overs. Usually, we take a second look at a product we've reviewed only when the first sample turns out to have been defective, especially if it was damaged in shipping—and we rarely do even that.
Michael Fremer  |  Jan 25, 2022  |  15 comments
As I watched WAM Engineering's J.R. Boisclair give an advanced turntable setup seminar at last November's Capitol Audiofest, a light went off. I'm being figurative, but the lights didliterally—go off, and then on again, as I flipped the switch for Boisclair's presentation (see the above photo), which featured both screen time and an in-person lecture.
Michael Fremer  |  Jan 11, 2022  |  First Published: May 01, 2018  |  35 comments
Peter Ledermann, founder and chief designer of Soundsmith, Inc., began his adventures in phono cartridges by reverse-engineering Bang & Olufsen's Moving Micro-Cross moving-iron cartridges for customers B&O had abandoned when it got out of the LP player business, and putting them into production. The B&O cartridges were of the direct plug-in variety; once they were no longer made, a worn or broken B&O cartridge would render a B&O turntable unusable.

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