Acoustic Sounds

Features: Editor's Choice

Tracking Angle went live on September 12th, 2022 with a "welcome" post that ever since has been pinned to the top of the home page. It's now retired to its correct timeline position. So much has happened this past year, I do know where to begin: with a grateful thank you to our readers/subscribers, a large percentage of whom made the switch to Tracking Angle. And of course we are continually welcoming new reader/subscribers. Reader comments here are always informed and most often add useful information. It's a community I'm proud to be part of as I think are all of our readers.

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In celebration of the Golden Anniversary of the iconic Marvin Gaye album Let's Get It On, Motown/UMe released a digitally a revised and expanded Let's Get It On: Deluxe Edition on August 25, 2023, three days before the album's original release date in 1973 fifty years prior. Featuring a trove of 33 bonus tracks, 18 of them previously unreleased, the Prince of Soul's creative explorations continued to unfold with the production of this pivotal release. Collectively, the bonus material leans into the story of Gaye's multi-layered personal struggles during the album's creation. “Comprised of tracks recorded during an intense six months of sessions in Los Angeles in '73, this newly the album's original eight songs alongside unheard mixes and material from all the sessions along the way, in addition to a trove of funky and fascinating instrumental tracks - and unreleased versions of the ballad recordings Marvin returned to time and again.

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(Photo of Rainer Maillard at Emile Berliner Studios, 2019 by Michael Fremer)Tracking Angle invited DGG "Original Source" Series producer/mixer Rainer Maillard and cutting engineer Sidney C. Meyer to respond to Michael Johnson's review of the "second batch" of titles, specifically with the tracking issues he encountered on the Brahms The Piano Concertos disc.Mr. Maillard responded:With each cut we had to make decisions and thereby were forced... Read More

Acoustic Sounds just announced the forthcoming UHQR release of The White Stripes' 2002 double LP "Elephant". The lacquers were cut more than a year ago on June, 22nd, 2022. By chance I happened to be in Nashville moderating panels for Making Vinyl, Nashville and visiting United Record Pressing, Nashville Record Pressing, Welcome to 1979 and Nashville Record Productions. When Chad Kassem told me that Ryan Smith at Sterling Sound was cutting lacquers on... Read More

I used to have major ground noise issues and other problems with my electrical service that I tried to solve as most audio enthusiasts do, with power conditioners and dedicated lines. Those produced some improvements, but there still were issues. The proverbial "straw that broke the camel's back" was the installation of an auxiliary whole house generator and its transfer switch, that when power goes out, removes the house from the grid and connects it... Read More

Tracking Angle's exclusive visit to Universal Music Group's Iron Mountain tape vault outside of Pittsburgh includes a tour of Iron Mountain Entertainment Services' facilities. The two companies work together. You'll get to go deep within the former limestone mine where Universal Music Group has one of its worldwide tape storage facilities and see how, with the help of Iron Mountain Entertainment Services, the company catalogues and keeps track of... Read More

Recently, Mark Ward and I joined "Original Source" producer Rainer Maillard, mastering engineer Sidney Meyer, DGG Heritage Director Johannes Gleim and Thomas Mowrey, former DGG producer and U.S. Marketing Director and "godfather" of the original quadrophonic recordings sourced for this series for a lively and very informative discussion about this exciting new project. Read More

July 28th, 2023

UHQR Perspective Please! what makes a great reissue?

By: Michael Fremer

The less than enthusiastic review I gave to the UHQR reissue of Steely Dan's "Pretzel Logic" produced some nasty and totally unfair comments aimed not at me, but at Analogue Productions and Acoustic Sounds that I think need addressing now, not later. All of the UHQRs shown in the photo got great reviews on this site from me or from Fred Kaplan. Why? Because they elevated the sound of those recordings to above what either of us heard on any other... Read More

I'm in Pittsburgh, PA visiting nearby Iron Mountain where Universal Music Group archives much of its recorded tapes and other assets. Amazing video coming soon. While I was there I visited Jerry's Records, a famous Pittsburgh used record store recommended to me by my colleague Jacob Heilbrunn. Here's some just shot video. Read More

I spent today at Iron Mountain Entertainment Services where Universal Music Group archives much of its music assets. It was a day filled with open eyed wonder at the richness of the tape and video archives, at how the material is being catalogued and at the Iron Mountain facility itself, which should be labeled the 8th wonder of the world. Video coverage coming soon!Can you see that black rectangle at the back of the room? That's another equally large room filled... Read More

With Bowie-mania sure to surge this summer thanks to the first time release of the full concert version of the digitally restored Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars: The Motion Picture, 50 years after it originally screened, and playing in theaters beginning July 3rd, I found Harvey Kubernik's interview with Julian Shah-Tayler too good to not grab and publish—and that's before listening to Forget I'm 50, his re-imagined Aladdin Sane album. What most got me interested was Shah-Tayler's telling Kubernik that he first discovered Bowie through the song "Let's Dance" and wasn't impressed, but when a friend played him “Yassassin” from Lodger... . How would a 50 something who wasn't yet born when the album was released, recast in 2023 Aladdin Sane? With undeniable high energy and excitement, that's how. The only contributing artist I've heard of here is Gene Loves Jezebel (Michael Aston), who does an effective "Jean Genie". Shah-Tayler tackles "Lady Grinning Soul" and makes it tribute-fresh (the album is available on streaming services). For good measure, Kubernik includes interviews with D.A. Pennebaker who produced the film and with our friend Ken Scott who engineered and produced Aladdin Sane. Me? I was on the Ziggy tour for three stops (New York, Chicago and Detroit) in addition to the Boston Music Hall show so I can confirm that the hysteria you see in the movie was real. The Carnegie Hall show was a quasi- religious experience.

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Friday morning at High End Munich 2023 I participated in a panel discussion speculating on the future of hi-fi hosted by Olaf Adam editor of The other panelists were Ljubiša Miodragović editor of Serbian audio site Hi Files and Stuart Smith, editor of HiFi Pig.I began by quoting something I'd written in a Music Connection op-ed back in the mid 1980s. The editorial was so controversial the editor put at the top a disclaimer making sure readers knew this... Read More

April 13th, 2023

Lansing's Lost Legacy the dawn of hi-fi—The Lansing Iconic

By: David MacRunnel

David MacRunnel's story about the hunt (and capture) of the almost mythical Lansing Iconic loudspeaker is part tech, part detective mystery and part audio-repairman diary. It's also a short history of high quality loudspeakers through the decades. If you didn't think an audio story could be nail biter, be prepared to change your mind. Also, read the short bio at the end.

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February 22nd, 2023

Tour Michael's Room in 4K Recently shot video!

By: Michael Fremer

A videographer visited recently to produce this 4K room tour showing my current audio system, including some new products under review, and some records and accessories.There's a similar room tour video shot years ago that's gotten 848,000 views. That sounds encouraging and most comments are positive but I think some people viewed it for the same reason they watch plane crash videos. Some of the comments express a variety of emotions including outrage at the... Read More

In the mid 2010s I had a two hour radio show on the Fairleigh Dickinson college radio station WFDU. It was fun, it was popular and everything played on it was transferred at 96/24 from vinyl so it sounded really good. The weekly show was done under the name of my previous endeavor. I wasn't paid for it so I've gone in and changed the name to " radio". I think you'll really enjoy the eclectic Christmas music and banter from the... Read More

In September 1967 I was watching the "Upbeat "TV show and immediately connected with a rock band called the Ohio Express performing a song with an infectious “Louie Louie” rhythm. I bought the “Beg, Borrow and Steal” 45. In preparation for producing for Rhino The Best of the Ohio Express and Other Bubble Gum Smashes (1983), I conferred with Jeff Katz who had co-produced with Jerry Kasenetz hits with the Ohio Express, 1910 Fruit Gum Company, and others.The... Read More