One of the strangest moments of the audio show in Denver was when Michael Fremer of Stereophile (and the Analog Planet) came into the room to listen to DirectStream and the new Bascom King power amp. Why strange? Because of the program material he brought to listen. Michael's all analog through and through as is Bascom's amp, but DirectStream's digital and our only source. To work with digitally based people like us, Fremer routinely carries digitally encoded analog files with him on a memory stick: vinyl records, copied to digital media. In this case, they were transferred from his turntable setup through our own NuWave Phono Converter. One I am very familiar with. But here's the thing. These files sounded magnificent. No, better yet, they were stunningly good. Better than anything I have ever heard come out of our A/D converter. They were so good, so rich, so musical I was just stunned. Music Room One has a great turntable and cartridge. Not as great as Fremer's gazzilion dollar setup, granted, but good none the less. There's no way on earth my setup ever sounded this good. This whole affair was quite unsettling. His analog, recorded digitally, sounded as good as my very best digital media. In some cases, slightly better. My conclusion is one perhaps unsettling to many. Fremer's a freaking magician with turntable setup, cartridge, arm and equipment. Our NPC is neutral, it records to digital without affecting the sound of anything you put into it. So it's not the NPC. No, instead, it's the magic Fremer brings. And unsettling? Because I am convinced few, if anyone, on the planet can come even close to what this sound is. So it's an anomaly. It proves little to me of the continuing debate between vinyl and CD, other than what it is on the face of it.
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