John Atkinson

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John Atkinson  |  Feb 05, 2019  |  First Published: Jan 01, 1995  |  0 comments
Editor's Note: 24 years ago, in January 1995, we published the first issue of Stereophile Guide to Home Theater, a sister publication intended to appeal to the the growing number of home-theater enthusiasts. Stereophile's founder, the late J. Gordon Holt, had gotten early into the idea of accompanying movies with high-quality sound, and when I first visited his New Mexico home in January 1986, his system included an Advent NTSC-format video projector.
John Atkinson  |  Jan 17, 2019  |  49 comments
It's a high-end audio truism: Successful companies are founded by a creative engineer or entrepreneur with a vision. So what happens when the founder is no longer around? While Mark Levinson is an example of a brand that not only survived the exit of its leader but thrived, speaker manufacturer Thiel dwindled after co-founder Jim Thiel died in 2009, and eventually closed up shop. Colorado company Ayre Acoustics was faced with this problem when founder Charley Hansen passed away in November 2017.
John Atkinson  |  Dec 29, 2018  |  4 comments
It's been reported on the Strata-gee consumer electronics news website that Björn Erik Edvardsen (known as BEE), who was the creator of the historic NAD 3020 integrated amplifier, passed away on December 16 from Myeloma/bone cancer. BEE had worked continuously with the company from 1976 until just a few months ago, when he left his position as NAD's Director of Advanced Research to focus on his battle with cancer.
John Atkinson  |  Dec 27, 2018  |  46 comments
Back in the mid-1990s, I believed that the design of D/A processors was fundamentally a solved problem. The resistor-ladder, multi-bit DAC chips of the 1980s, with their linearity errors, had been replaced by sigma-delta types that had minimal linearity error down to the lowest signal levels. All that remained for the designers of PCM D/A chips was to increase resolution and dynamic range to the theoretical limits, and to improve the mathematical precision of oversampling digital filters to match the performance of the 20- and 24-bit recordings that had just begun to be released.
John Atkinson  |  Dec 18, 2018  |  34 comments
It was January 1986. Stereophile's then publisher, Larry Archibald, and I were driving in his diesel 'Benz sedan from Las Vegas to Santa Fe. We had shaken hands at the just-concluded Consumer Electronics Show on my replacing J. Gordon Holt as the magazine's editor, and now, during the 750-mile drive, we mapped out the strategy to take what was then an "underground," digest-format, somewhat irregularly published magazine to the position of dominance in audio publishing it still enjoys.
John Atkinson  |  Dec 04, 2018  |  24 comments
With reviews of Wilson's Alexia 2 loudspeaker ($57,900/pair) in the July issue, Constellation's Centaur 500 amplifier ($55,000) in the October issue, and Tidal's Akira loudspeaker ($215,000/pair) in the November issue, my system's been inhaling some rarefied air the past few months. Accordingly, I felt I should live with some components priced within the reach of real-world audiophiles. As it happened, I was finishing up my review of the Constellation amplifier when MoFi Distribution's Lionel Goodfield e-mailed me, asking if I'd like to review the new Diamond 11.2 loudspeaker from the venerable British brand Wharfedale.
John Atkinson  |  Nov 15, 2018  |  First Published: Dec 01, 1988  |  0 comments
A few issues back, in my review of the Mark Levinson No.26 and No.20 (May 1988, Vol.11 No.5), I mused on the fact that the preamplifier, being the heart of a system, had a more significant effect on sound quality in the long term than, say, the loudspeakers. It was worth spending more on a preamplifier, therefore, than on loudspeakers. Needless to say, this viewpoint was regarded by many readers as dangerously heretical. I decided, therefore, to investigate the sonic possibilities of budget-priced preamps in this issue, even the most expensive being less than one-tenth the price of the Mark Levinson.
John Atkinson  |  Nov 08, 2018  |  First Published: Dec 01, 1988  |  1 comments
By far the most complicated of the three preamps i review in this issue in terms of facilities offered, NAD's "Monitor Series" 1300 ($398) provides two buffered tape loops, an external processor loop (which can also be used as a third tape-recorder loop), a headphone output, a "null" switch, switchable bass equalization to extend the low-frequency range of small loudspeakers, and treble and bass controls, each with a choice of three turnover frequencies: 3kHz, 6kHz, 12kHz, and 50Hz, 125Hz, 250Hz, respectively.
John Atkinson  |  Oct 18, 2018  |  35 comments
Doug White, of Philadelphia-area retailer The Voice That Is, has been a fixture at US audio shows the past few years, where he always gets great sound using loudspeakers from Tidal Audio. (There is no connection between the German audio manufacturer and the music-streaming service owned by Jay Z and Sprint.) In early 2017, Herb Reichert, Jana Dagdagan, and I visited White and spent a delightful afternoon listening to Tidal's then-new Akira loudspeakers. I promised myself to review the Akira, which costs a wallet-straining $215,000/pair, when my schedule opened up. As things turned out, it was more than a year before that opportunity presented itself.
John Atkinson  |  Oct 16, 2018  |  63 comments
"At what price does a high-end product cease to exist for the 'normal' audiophile?" This question, which I asked in the February 2017 issue, was a follow-up to one I'd asked in our April 2011 issue: "If all someone is offered is a $150,000 pair of speakers . . . that person will walk away from this hobby, or build his or her system by buying only used equipment. Either consumer choice turns the price spiral into a death spiral for manufacturers."

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