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John Atkinson Posted: Mar 24, 2016 16 comments
In the early 1970s, I lived in a village 40 miles north of London, England, and regularly drove through an only slightly larger village called Houghton Regis. And every time I did so, this budding audiophile was thrilled to see a factory in the High Street with a nameplate proudly announcing that it was the site of Teledyne Acoustic Research's European operations. I was aware of the American brand because of a chance encounter with a pair of Acoustic Research LST speakers, and the geographical connection led to an increased interest in their speakers (footnote 1). A sort of local-boy-, er, local-multinational conglomerate-makes-good story. Sort of.
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John Atkinson Posted: Mar 14, 2016 5 comments
We received the following email this afternoon. Sad, sad news. I shall remember the Richard Beers of unlimited energy and enthusiasm, pictured above at the 2013 T.H.E. Show in Newport Beach, CA. Richard made audio shows fun for all—exhibitors, press, and most all audiophiles of every persuasion. We’ll miss you, Richard.—John Atkinson


Dear Industry Friends,

My name is Maurice Jung and I am the interim President for T.H.E. Show Newport. It is with heartfelt sorrow that I must inform you of the passing of Mr. Richard Beers. . .

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John Atkinson Posted: Feb 23, 2016 Published: Mar 01, 2016 13 comments
One of the benefits of belonging to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) is a subscription to their monthly magazine, IEEE Spectrum. Superbly written and edited, this journal keeps me up to date on emerging technology, and entertains me with things like reprints, on the final page, of vintage advertisements. Their January 2016 issue, for example, featured an ad from December 1920, promoting the Victor Talking Machine Company's Victrola: "By all means get a Victrola this Christmas, but be sure it is a Victrola and not some other instrument made in imitation. $25 to $1500. Victor dealers everywhere."
John Atkinson Posted: Jan 27, 2016 29 comments
Like all men, I learned at an early age to resist the allure of a pretty face.

Okay—I learned that I should try to resist the allure of a pretty face.

Okay, I confess: I have never been able to resist the allure of a pretty face. Which is why, when I first clapped eyes on the Mojo D/A headphone amplifier from English company Chord Electronics, at an event hosted by Manhattan retailer Stereo Exchange, I had to borrow a sample for review.

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John Atkinson Posted: Jan 21, 2016 Published: Dec 01, 1992 2 comments
"You're only as good as your most recent gig," was literally drummed into me in my pro musician days; I've found it to be just as true in magazine publishing. No matter how much hard work went into, say, an equipment review, a couple of months down the line that review will be as fresh as yesterday's undunked donut. And no matter how good-sounding the product, or how much it excited the writer, it will always tend to be overshadowed by the latest and greatest products written about in the new issue—the "moving finger, having writ..." syndrome.
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John Atkinson Posted: Jan 16, 2016 1 comments
Brian Barr was showing the SAE 2-horsepower amplifiers described earlier by Larry Greenhill with his $100,000 California Audio Technology speaker system, comprising CT MBXS6 two-way satellites and two MBX900 subwoofers. This system played more loudly, more cleanly than any I heard at CES.
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John Atkinson Posted: Jan 16, 2016 1 comments
Synergistic Research's Ted Denney always puts on a good show at a show, and the 2016 CES was no exception. The sound in Synergistic's suite at the Mirage—Magico S7 speakers driven by McIntosh amplification (modified with Synergistic fuses)—was superb. Even though I didn't know the cut being played, "Hey Now" from London Grammar, there was an effortless sense of dynamics. Another of my best sounds at CES.
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John Atkinson Posted: Jan 16, 2016 4 comments
"For Unto Us a Boy is Born" was playing when I looked into MBL’s suite at the Venetian and the sound—open, spacious, uncolored, full-range, musically communicative—on MBL's unique 101E omnidirectional speakers was so appealing, I settled down in the hot set for the rest of the piece from Handel's Messiah. The speakers were being bi-amped by preproduction samples—US availability is scheduled for March—of new models from the German company’s Noble line...
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John Atkinson Posted: Jan 16, 2016 0 comments
When he visited the Vandersteen room at CES, Graham Nash said that what he really liked “was the midrange of that speaker system, that sounded like my voice. There was plenty of natural detail." Graham was listening to the new version of Vandersteen Audio’s Model 5A speaker, the 5A Carbon, which features the midrange unit from the Mk.II version of Vandersteen Model 7 speaker.
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John Atkinson Posted: Jan 16, 2016 0 comments
In its main room, YG was making great-sounding music with its Sonja 1.3 speakers ($106,800/pair), driven by a Boulder music server and amplification via Kubala-Sosna cables. I had loved the Sonja 1.3 when I reviewed it for our July 2013 issue, but the big news at CES was the Sonja XV, one channel of which was on passive display in a side room. A four-tower system, with the midrange and tweeter tower resembling a '1.3 on steroids and intended to celebrate the Colorado company’s forthcoming 15th anniversary, the 'XV will be priced at a whopping $265,900/system.

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