John Atkinson

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John Atkinson Posted: Apr 15, 2015 87 comments
I write this in a Seattle coffee bar—my flight home to New York has been canceled due to a snowstorm. As I try to put down these thoughts, I'm listening to the high-resolution masters of the April issue's "Recording of the Month," Sasha Matson's jazz opera Cooperstown, on my Pono player using Ultimate Ears UE18 in-ear monitors. I was in Seattle for Music Matters 10, held by retailer Definitive Audio, and this was my first road trip with the Pono since I reviewed it for the April issue. (Bruce Botnick and Charles Hansen comment on that review elsewhere in this issue.)
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John Atkinson Posted: Mar 28, 2015 24 comments
All of us Stereophile were deeply saddened this morning to learn of the death of Bob Reina, after a brief battle with cancer. Bob was 61. After a stint at The Absolute Sound and cofounding a high-end audio magazine, Sounds Like..., Bob joined Stereophile in 1995 and his first review was of a Creek amplifier. . .
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John Atkinson Posted: Mar 23, 2015 60 comments
In the 1960s, musical giants walked the earth. I vividly remember the first time I heard a song called "Expecting to Fly," in a UK record store. The vast, reverberation-drenched sound was extraordinary; the frail, shaky alto voice of the singer riveting.

"Who is that?" I asked the clerk.

"It's a new American band, Buffalo Springfield . . . but they've already broken up."

I bought all I could find of the Springfield, which wasn't much, and learned that the singer and composer of "Expecting to Fly" was a Canadian, Neil Young.

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John Atkinson Posted: Mar 08, 2015 42 comments
MBW/Nielsen Soundscan statistics. Presented without comment!
John Atkinson Posted: Feb 27, 2015 2 comments
Looking back at our September 2014 issue, I think my review of the Triangle Signature Delta loudspeaker marked something of a watershed in the evolution of my taste in loudspeaker sound quality. For decades I have been a devotee of what might be called "British" sound: low coloration and, overall, a rather polite presentation, coupled with low sensitivity. The Triangle speaker opened my ears to what could be achieved with a very different approach: still-low coloration but high sensitivity, impressive clarity, and a hefty dose of what the late J. Gordon Holt called "jump factor," in which the leading edges of transients are neither smeared nor tamed. So when, last September, on a visit to Dallas and The Sound Organisation, the US distributor of Danish Audiophile Loudspeaker Industries (DALI), I encountered DALI's Rubicon 8 speaker (footnote 1), which had benefited from a low-loss design philosophy similar to the Triangle's, I asked for a pair for review.
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John Atkinson Posted: Jan 17, 2015 2 comments
As I was leaving the Venetian after closing up the Stereophile room on the last day of CES, I bumped into AudioQuest's Steve Silberman in the elevator. "I've got one left, take it," he said and handed me the little USB thingie in my photograph. "It's going to cost $49 and will be available in the spring."
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John Atkinson Posted: Jan 17, 2015 0 comments
Brooklyn, NY-based Wes Bender Studio was demming the new leather-covered Hansen The Dragon Legend E speakers $60,000/pair), driven by EAR 509 monoblocks ($15,700/pair), an EAR 912 preamp ($13,000 with phono stage), and an EAR Disc Master turntable ($28,500) fitted with a Helius Silver Ruby tonearm ($5225) and Transfiguration Proteus ($6000) or SteinMusic Aventurin 6 Mk.2 ($6500) cartridges. Cabling was all Waveform Fidelity; racks were the impressively made Stillpoints.
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John Atkinson Posted: Jan 17, 2015 1 comments
Rega introduced its first low-output moving-coil cartridge, the Apheta, in 2006, but it got mixed reviews, due to a high-frequency peak at the top of the audioband. Rega showed the Apheta 2 ($1895) at CES, mounted on the vestigial RP10 turntable. The Apheta 2 has benefited from some serious production engineering and has a lower moving mass, the latter moving the treble peak higher, to 18kHz or so.
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John Atkinson Posted: Jan 17, 2015 3 comments
Richard Vandersteen points to the detailed improvements to his flagship Model Seven speaker, which produced one of my best sounds at the 2015 CES.
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John Atkinson Posted: Jan 17, 2015 0 comments
Jon Iverson already reported on MBL’s new Noble Line N31 DAC/CD player, and for me, one of the best sounds at the 2015 CES was listening to MBL’s system, based on this digital source feeding signal to the preamp section of the MBL N51 stereo integrated amplifier, with the amplifier section of the integrated and a N21 stereo amplifier (which have the same gain) to bi-amp the unique MBL 101E Mk.II omnidirectional speakers.

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