John Atkinson

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John Atkinson Posted: Apr 15, 2015 Published: May 01, 2015 109 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: Apr 08, 2015 Published: Sep 01, 1984 4 comments
As reported by Michael Fremer on AnalogPlanet.com, legendary mastering engineer and co-founder of Sheffield Lab, Doug Sax, passed away on April 2. Doug had been suffering from cancer and would have been 79 on April 26.

Coincidentally, we had just posted J. Gordon Holt's October 1982 review of the Sheffield Track Record, which Doug had cut direct-to-disc. This reminded me that Robert Harley had interviewed Doug in the October 1989 issue of Stereophile; rereading that interview reminded me that in September 1984, I had published an interview with Doug in the magazine Hi-Fi News, which I edited at that time.

So, in tribute to Doug, here is my 1984 interview, reprinted with the kind permission of Hi-Fi News editor Paul Miller.—John Atkinson

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John Atkinson Posted: Mar 28, 2015 27 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 61 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 43 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 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 1 comments
Gilad Tiefenbrun, Managing Director of Linn Products (above), along with the Scottish company's Technical Director Keith Robertson, gave me a convincing demonstration of Linn's Exakt system. According to Linn, "Exakt pushes the lossless digital signal path all the way to the speaker," turning the loudspeaker into "an intelligent, connected, software-upgradeable product. This enables a wide range of performance- and personalisation-enhancing capabilities in design, in manufacture and in your home."
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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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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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