Analog Corner

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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  |  36 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.
Michael Fremer  |  Dec 28, 2021  |  3 comments
Ortofon had hoped to introduce its new MC Verismo phono cartridge "in person" at one of last fall's North American shows, but those shows never took place. COVID necessitated instead an October 30 live Facebook introduction, the company's first such premier. The next day, AnalogPlanet posted an exclusive interview with Leif Johannsen, the cartridge's designer and Ortofon's chief officer of acoustics and technology.
Michael Fremer  |  Dec 07, 2021  |  First Published: Jun 01, 2018  |  11 comments
Why am I once again falling down the rabbit hole of alternating current? A while back, I committed to listening to SMc Audio's AC Nexus power conditioner, designed by SMc founder Steve McCormack and distributed by dealer Hi Fi One.
Michael Fremer  |  Nov 30, 2021  |  0 comments
So glad to be back in business with superclean electricity! Especially having spent the last few weeks listening to the remarkably pure-sounding Analog Relax EX1000 cartridge ($16,000).

The brochure asks, "Have you heard of YAKUSUGI Cedar?" No. I had never heard of Analog Relax, either. If you have heard of it, you're at least one step ahead of me.

Michael Fremer  |  Nov 09, 2021  |  First Published: Jul 01, 2018  |  2 comments
Bergmann Audio (footnote 1) launched its first turntable—the Sindre, which featured an integrated tonearm—in 2008. The Sindre's acrylic platter and tangential-tracking tonearm both floated on air bearings; it had an outboard motor controller, a separate air pump for the air bearings, and cost $21,000.
Michael Fremer  |  Oct 19, 2021  |  60 comments
Rex Hungerford, Edward DeVito, and Craig Bradley rode into town last week and, together with Audioquest's Garth Powell, solved all the electrical problems that have plagued my audio system for years.
Michael Fremer  |  Oct 12, 2021  |  First Published: Aug 01, 2018  |  4 comments
Among the electrically connected, the phrase short circuit induces panic and horrific images of tripped breakers, blown fuses, acrid blue smoke, and melted circuit boards. Nonetheless, near short circuits are becoming popular among the analog set. Moving-coil cartridges of an inductance and impedance so low they're nearly short circuits are now more common, thanks to powerful neodymium magnets that help produce more and more electrical output from fewer and fewer turns of coil wire. Perhaps the most extreme example of this is the Haniwa HCTR01 Mk.II cartridge, which has an internal impedance of 0.4 ohm and an inductance of 0.3µH.
Michael Fremer  |  Sep 28, 2021  |  43 comments
If you're going to spend a year-plus in COVID lockdown, it doesn't hurt to have a million dollars' worth of turntables keeping you company, right? That's been my good fortune. Sounds like a roomful, but it's only three: the SAT XD1, the TechDAS Air Force Zero, and the OMA K3 ($360,000, footnote 1).

You'll find this issue's cover girl either strikingly beautiful or homely. Visitor reactions fall strongly into one of those two camps, with nothing in between. I love the looks. Whatever your opinion, the K3's visual distinctiveness cannot be denied. The innards are equally unique.

Michael Fremer  |  Sep 07, 2021  |  First Published: Sep 01, 2018  |  6 comments
As I begin writing this column, I'm on an airplane on my way back from the funeral of David A. Wilson, founder of Wilson Audio Specialties. Two days before I left for Provo, Utah, came the news that my friend and analog mentor, Wally Malewicz, had died the previous day in Minneapolis, after suffering a massive heart attack. Immutable Music's Seiji Yoshioka, designer of the Transfiguration phono cartridges, passed away February 17, after a lengthy hospital stay.
Michael Fremer  |  Aug 31, 2021  |  7 comments
I don't like being pigeonholed as a reviewer of exclusively expensive audio components—because I'm not, as anyone who regularly peruses Analog Planet knows. So, to ease the pain of reviewing the half-million-dollar Air Force Zero turntable—you'll find that review elsehere in this issue—I figured I'd cover some more reasonably priced analog gear here in Analog Corner.

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