21st Century Vinyl: Michael Fremer's Practical Guide to Turntable Set-Up
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Michael Fremer, the senior contributing writer to Stereophile Magazine and an expert in all things analog, presents his Practical Guide to Turntable Set-Up! Shot in his listening room, Fremer sets up a Project RM-5 (known outside the U.S. as the RPM-5),
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Top Customer Reviews
Very, very highly recommended.
1). Michael Fremer has certainly forgotten more about vinyl playback that the vast majority of us will ever know-- but he is really, really annoying. If you are going to watch this, you have to understand first that there is a TON of truly fantastic information in here that will make you understand turntables far better than before-- but you're going to have to suffer through Fremer's constant attempts to be funny (which almost universally fail in this attempt), his wildly unorganized style (he gives info at the very end of turntable setups that are crucial to setting them up correctly from the beginning), and the downright inaccurate information he constantly throws out (which are corrected by numerous 'pop-ups' that appear onscreen, similar to the shows on VH1 in the late 90s and early 2000s). This DVD is definitely worth watching, but you'll probably have to work hard not to let Fremer's overbearing idiosyncrasies detract from the value of the experience.
2). This should probably not be your only resource for setting up turntables. As mentioned above, the exceedingly poor organization of the material here means that the wonderful information you're getting is generally out of order, and would be very difficult to follow if you didn't have anything else to use. Check out vinylengine.com-- they are a MASSIVE help in finding the information you need, in an order that isn't idiotic.
3). This is probably more of an addendum to #2 above, but there are several important things that I don't believe Mr. Fremer ever makes clear throughout the process-- including the fact that you need to zealously guard your cartridge stylus from hitting anything other than what it should be touching (the records, the protractor, etc). He makes numerous allusions to this, but generally trails off with a nebulous warning along the lines of "make sure your tonearm doesn't bang around, because, you know, you know what will happen then" or something equally unhelpful.
Overall, I would say that this DVD is very, very useful, and very much a necessity if you're planning on learning how to properly set up a turntable. However, the moment that someone who is organized, knowledgeable, and less constantly enamored of how unbelievably clever he is decides to get this information out, you can safely toss this in the trash. Until that day, this is required viewing for turntable beginners and enthusiasts, in my opinion. (Now can somebody less wanker-y please do this type of video right??)
If you scour the Web for information on tonearm and cartridge setup, you'll find people being way over the top, swearing that everything has to be perfect down to the gnat's eyelash. Fremer knows what matters and what doesn't, not just for having done it, but for having listened to the results of his efforts. If anyone is the last word on this topic, it's Fremer.
People have complained that the production is amateurish and Fremer's humor is lame. I'm somewhere in the middle on those two points (he has worked successfully as a standup comic), and, regardless, think both are irrelevant to my purpose for buying the DVD. I do value the information he provided on the historical evolution of vinyl as a recording medium. I enjoyed his extended interview with a recording engineer and learned some things I'd missed over the years. The PDF file provided with the video also includes a lot of useful information.
I can't recommend this product enough!
set up my turntable the VPI Scout. Before this video my turntable
set up knowledge was limited at best. The next time I buy a new
cartridge I will be setting up my turntable myself...