Fremer has a bunch of pre-conceived notions, so the interview can be grating, but some interesting
1. pressing for North America at Rainbo in California:
2. pressing in Europe is at Optimal Media in Germany:
3. the 44.1/24-bit masters were used. I think what Sean Magee said about the USB drive is not true.
I've loaded both the CD and the USB tracks into the computer and compared dynamics and the USB files
are less compressed. The 2009 CDs weren't exactly toothpasted, but they are noticeably "make it
louder" compared to the USB, playing both back in Foobar2000. The mono CD box set was claimed to be
straight transfers, no extra compression, from the mono Parlophone master tapes. "Uncompressed" for
Beatles is not very dynamic (see next point). They were baking in a lot of dynamics control with
their mono mixes (and stereo mixes for the later albums).
4. I like the fact that Magee spanks down Fremer about the Beatles and dynamics compression. The
Beatles LPs were SUPERLOUD in their day. Original Capitol monos will overdrive any lesser preamp,
only slightly less so with Parlophones because they cut slightly lower peak levels to fit more time
on the sides. The only cuts I've ever heard that weren't dynamics-compressed, stereo or mono, were
the Mobile Fidelity reissues. Supposedly those are not compressed, cut at half-speed from the master
tapes with no EQ or compression. These new cuts are supposed to have no additonal compression beyond
the master tapes. I'll be interested to hear when my set arrives next month!
5. I also like Magee quietly explaining that Fremer's jihad against digital masters is off-base.
Almost ALL modern vinyl, reissue and new-issue is cut off digital sources. Very few companies will
let old master tapes out of their vaults anymore. There are exceptions, Kevin Gray and Bernie
Grundman seem able to get tapes when their client wants to boast they are remastering from tapes.
6. Notice Magee likes the Benchmark converter. Me too!
7. I do agree with Fremer about the Stanton 681EEE cartridge that Magee uses for playback on the
lathe. EMI can't spring for something better? That's a POS. At least get something accurate like a
Denon DL-110, which retails for almost the same as what the Stanton used to (it's not made
anymore -- good riddance!). If they want something "industrial strength" or "broadcast grade" to go
on the SME tonearm, get a Denon DL-103 or the reissue Ortofon broadcast cartridge.
-- Tom Fine