Michael Fremer

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Michael Fremer  |  May 03, 2002  |  0 comments

John Lennon's line in "Come Together"—"Got to be good-looking 'cause he's so hard to see"—sums up the sleek, shapely appearance of Sonus Faber's new Grand Piano Home L/R speaker. With its warm, leatherette-wrapped front and rear baffles and sculpted black-lacquer-like side cheeks, the gently sloping design exudes European elegance even as it seems to disappear under its own good looks.

Michael Fremer  |  Apr 06, 2009  |  1 comments
Price: $6,044 At A Glance: Elegant, understated styling • Sweet yet detailed sound • Excellent dialogue intelligibility • Coherent three-dimensional picture • High SPLs without strain

Leather-Clad Pleasure Toy

What’s in a name? If a 1960s-era General Motors marketing consultant had suggested a car brand-named Toyota, he’d have been laughed out of the room and probably lost his job. “Are you crazy, man? No one’s gonna buy a car with toy in the name!” No one at GM is laughing at Toyota today. The car brand was named for its founder, Kiichiro Toyoda, so the company had a reason to toy around with the designation.

Michael Fremer  |  Mar 05, 2013  |  0 comments

Venere 2.5 Speaker System
Build Quality
REL T-7 Subwoofer
Build Quality
Price: $5,493 At A Glance: Shapely Italian styling • Exceptional soundstaging • Surprisingly affordable

Could this sleek, lacquer-finished, curvaceous new Sonus faber Venere loudspeaker have originated anywhere other than in Italy? Well, no and yes. With its soothing, elegant curves and glossy finish, Venere whispers “Italy,” but the scant $2,498/pair price tag of this 43pound, 3.5-foot floorstander shouts “China.”

In fact, this new Sonus faber speaker is truly an international product. It was designed in-house at Sonus faber’s Arcugnano factory near Venice, Italy—a building as stylish as the designs emanating therefrom—using bespoke drivers designed by Sonus faber.

The midwoofer and woofer cone material is curv, a proprietary self-reinforcing 100-percent polypropylene composite manufactured by Germanybased Propex, while the dome tweeter is of silk over which is applied a multi-layered Sonus-spec’d coating manufactured by DKM in Germany. Final driver production is done in China.

Michael Fremer  |  Nov 26, 2005  |  0 comments

Though the first Sony product imported to America was either a transistor radio or a reel-to-reel tape recorder, and the cassette-based Walkman was probably the company's best seller, it was the 1968 introduction of the Trinitron television that drove the Sony brand name into America's collective consciousness.

Michael Fremer  |  Mar 05, 2009  |  0 comments
Price: $2,000 At A Glance: Superior sound quality and ergonomics • HDMI connectivity • Auto calibration and speaker equalization • Three-zone operation

Sony Adds Major Value

Like the old canine joke punch-line, “Because he can,” electronics designers seem to be adding greater functionality and features to their A/V receivers more because they can rather than because consumers need them, want them, or are likely to use them.

Michael Fremer  |  Jul 11, 2005  |  0 comments

"Name a product the 'Ultimate' anything and you've opened yourself up to a world of potential hurt and ridicule. The name's a boast and it's bound to instigate a challenge. That's what I thought as I unpacked Bob Carver's latest brag, months before this publication was renamed <I>Ultimate AV</I>, and I'm not changing my lead because of that."

Michael Fremer  |  Aug 19, 2006  |  0 comments

My late father-in-law fought in the Pacific theater during World War II, and afterwards refused to buy Japanese-made products. That's why he owned an American made Curtis Matthes console television, he proudly told me. I didn't have the heart to tell him the guts were sourced from NEC&mdash;something I discovered when I removed the back cover to perform a decidedly non-ISF fix on the all-green, out of focus, un-centered picture he'd been happily watching for years.

Michael Fremer  |  Mar 31, 2006  |  0 comments
HT goes inside the Late Show with David Letterman's HD transition.
Michael Fremer  |  Apr 09, 2006  |  0 comments

HDMI switching and upconversion are but two of the many standout features incorporated into the RX-D702B, JVC's newest, slick-looking 7.1-channel A/V receiver. Despite its low profile and compact size, this 17 lb. AVR contains seven of JVC's Hybrid Feedback Digital Amplifiers rated at 150W per channel, and is packed with unique performance and convenience features, as well as the latest Dolby and DTS surround decoding options.

Michael Fremer  |  May 08, 2005  |  0 comments
In our ongoing run-up to our 10th anniversary in early 2005, Michael Fremer looks at his experiences working on the soundtrack to the groundbreaking movie Tron. This article was first published in our Fall 1997 issue. We've made a few edits to account for changes since then (particularly in the references to laserdiscs!), but MF's description of the creation of an early-1980s soundtrack is as fascinating, interesting, and pertinent as ever. Modern digital techniques have revolutionized the film-sound business, but a good soundtrack is still a good soundtrack.