One of our good customers recently watched a video on Steve Westman’s youtube channel of an interview he conducted with Michael Fremer. (I appeared with Steve back in October of 2022. You can find the interview here.)
This video upset my customer so much that he felt he needed to get a few things off his chest, which he did in the letter you can find right after my commentary below. He does not pull many punches.
I would like to comment on some of the points he makes, points which I hope will be of interest to our readers. That is what you see here at the top.
At the end of my comments I have reproduced the letter, so if you don’t care to see Fremer raked over the coals, please feel free to stop reading at the end of my comments. Mike Esposito, the guy who exposed MoFi’s duplicity, comes in for some criticism as well. (Justified in my opinion, because Mr. Esposito sure likes some bad sounding records. But why pick on him? Modern audiophile reviewers seem to like nothing but bad sounding records, the same way I did in 1982. Except it’s not 1982 anymore, and there is simply no excuse for having equipment that cannot help you tell a good sounding record from a bad one.)
Our customer, let’s call him Mr. A, had this to say in Point No. 2:
[Fremer] says old records in good shape still sound the best. [Which is true.] He says the playback gear back in the day could not even reveal how great those albums actually are. [Also true.] He says that there are significant variations from one stamper to another and you need to get the right stamper. [True again.] (In his view of the world, there’s no variations in pressings within the same stamper. Apart from this detail, he supports every point you make. He even says, “if you want to pay $700 for Aja, go right ahead.” I took his advice, and I’m glad I did!)
I don’t think he says any of these things nearly as often as they need to be said, or with any real conviction. They are footnotes, a kind of anodyne lip service. They’re the fine print that nobody reads. They’re boxes that get checked off so that we don’t have to talk about them anymore.
I don’t think his readers think any of the statements above are relevant to their ongoing pursuit of high-quality vinyl. They want to know how amazing the new pressings are so that they can be assured that buying the record they were going to buy anyway is clearly the right choice. There’s a name for this kind of biased thinking. 
Making generalizations about records is rarely of much use. The devil is in the details. Let’s take a look at what Fremer has written recently about originals.
In his review for the new Stand Up on Heavy Vinyl from Chad, he notes that it has great “transient clarity on top and bottom,” and the original has hyped-up mids and upper mids. This is because he is making the most obvious mistake any record collector could possibly make.
He thinks the original pressing is the standard against which the new pressing should rightfully be judged.
But this is out and out poppycock, the kind of conventional wisdom that new collectors might fall for, but only the most benighted veterans would still believe nowadays. We discuss this myth here and in hundreds of reviews on the blog.
There are currently about 150 listings for reissues that beat the originals, compared to 700 or so listings for records in which the early pressings — not necessarily first pressings, but the right early pressings — can be expected to win shootouts.
Stand Up is one of the titles we have found to be clearly superior on the right reissue. After playing dozens of copies over the course of about twenty years, something that no individual audiophile could be expected to have the wherewithal to pull off, we’ve heard our share of great Stand Ups and awful ones.
Fremer makes the common mistake of stopping with his one original. Thinking inside the box, he naturally gets it wrong. It’s a mistake that few record collectors don’t make. I should know. I was one of them.
A big part of the fun of record collecting is learning about them, a subject I have devoted all of my adult life to. There is precious little learning going on when you buy an original and simply assume you now know what the album really sounds like. This blog is practically dedicated to the proposition that nothing could be further from the truth.