John Atkinson

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John Atkinson Posted: Jan 19, 2004 0 comments
We are saddened to report the death of Decca recording engineer Kenneth E. Wilkinson on January 13 at the age of 92, in Norfolk, England. The news was reported by LP historian Michael Gray of The Absolute Sound on the Internet newsgroup rec.audio.high-end.
John Atkinson Posted: Feb 01, 2004 Published: Jan 01, 2004 0 comments
It was 20 years ago that I appeared on one of the UK's equivalents of NBC's Today show to comment on the launch of CD. I wanted to talk about digital technology, but my host was more interested in the medium's lack of surface noise, which he demonstrated by showing that a disc smeared with butter and marmalade—this was breakfast television, remember—would play without skipping. (Actually, it wouldn't play; after the jammy CD was loaded, the program cut to a pretaped segment in which the player had a pristine disc inside it.)
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John Atkinson Posted: Jan 11, 2004 Published: Jan 01, 2004 0 comments
Hanging above the expensive desk in my penthouse office atop Manhattan's prestigious Stereophile Tower is a photocopy of a New Yorker cartoon, in which a bewildered-looking guy complains, "There has been an alarming increase in the number of things I know nothing about."
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John Atkinson Posted: Dec 15, 2003 0 comments
I am saddened to report that Peter James Walker, the founder of quintessential English audio company Quad, passed away on December 10, after a long illness. He was 87. Peter Walker had been married twice; both his wives had died before him. He is survived by a daughter, Victoria, and a son, Ross, the latter having played a major role in managing Quad through the 1970s and '80s.
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John Atkinson Stephen Mejias Posted: Dec 15, 2003 Published: Dec 01, 2003 0 comments
Since 1992, Stereophile has recognized components that have proved capable of giving musical pleasure beyond the formal review period by naming its "Products of the Year." These are the components that can be recommended without any ifs or buts, that will grace any system in which they used.
John Atkinson Posted: Dec 21, 2003 Published: Dec 01, 2003 0 comments
Sony's first flagship Super Audio CD player was the two-channel SCD-1, reviewed by Jonathan Scull in November 1999. (The $5000 SCD-1 had balanced outputs; the cosmetically different but otherwise identical $3500 SCD-777ES had unbalanced outputs and was reviewed by Chip Stern in April 2001.) Sony's second-generation flagship player, the $3000 SCD-XA777ES, was reviewed by Kalman Rubinson in January 2002, and added multichannel capability with channel-level adjustment and bass management. Sony's third-generation flagship is the SCD-XA9000ES, also priced at $3000, which adds time-delay adjustment for its multichannel analog outputs and is presented in a smart new styling that Sony calls "Silver Cascade." The disc drawer and the most frequently used controls are on the angled top half of the brushed-aluminum front panel; in the lower half are the display, the headphone jack and its volume control, and the multifunction control knob.
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John Atkinson Posted: Nov 17, 2003 0 comments
John Gourlay, Stereophile's publisher since 1998, left the company at the beginning of November. John had been a valued collaborator and the moving force behind the launch of the 2004 Stereophile Buyer's Guide (see related story). We all wish him well in his future career.
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John Atkinson Posted: Nov 17, 2003 0 comments
The 2004 Stereophile Buyer's Guide hits the newsstands this week. Within its 228 jumbo-sized and color-coded pages you'll find listings of every audio component currently available in the US (other than boomboxes and other portable players), along with their specifications and prices. It also includes what we feel is the most complete listing of audio manufacturer websites on the planet.
John Atkinson Posted: Nov 16, 2003 Published: Nov 01, 2003 0 comments
The talented loudspeaker engineer is a man who is always in competition with himself. When PSB's Paul Barton put the finishing touches on his Stratus Gold model back in 1990 (footnote 1), I'm sure he had more ideas in mind that he could have used in a flagship design. Yet the Gold offered so much performance at such a competitive price—$2000/pair in 1991, rising to $2100/pair by 1997, then $2400/pair for the the Gold i, an evolutionary development—that it was not surprising that Barton applied his talents to developing ranges of more affordable speakers, such as the best-selling Alpha and Image series.
John Atkinson Posted: Oct 20, 2003 Published: Oct 01, 2003 0 comments
I first became familiar with Israeli speaker manufacturer Morel, founded in 1975, back in the late 1970s, when they had a drive-unit plant in the UK. Their drivers have always been well-respected—I was mightily impressed with a sample of their T33 1" soft-dome tweeter when I had the opportunity to measure it a decade or so ago—so when I heard their Octwin 5.2 dual-speaker system at the 2002 CEDIA conference, I asked for a pair for review.

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