John Atkinson

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John Atkinson Posted: Sep 16, 2006 2 comments
It's official. I am a nerd! I couldn't resist snapping the interior of Theta's amplifier, which takes an audio input as PCM digital and transforms it into PWM digital without ever changing it back to analog until the music arrives at the speaker terminals.
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John Atkinson Posted: Sep 16, 2006 0 comments
Neil Sinclair gave me a tour of Theta’s new multi-channel amp, which keeps the signal exclusively in the digital domain from the S/PDIF inputs to the PWM output stage, the latter said to operate at the super-high frequency of 1MHz. Designed by veteran amp engineer Dave Reich, what is in effect a powerDAC—that’s what it says on the output-stage printed circuit boards—will find its way, I hope, into some two-channel products in due course.
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John Atkinson Posted: Sep 15, 2006 3 comments
Revel main man Kevin Voecks demmed the new four-way Ultima Salon2, previewed yesterday by Wes Phillips, for the Stereophile scribes. It was worth the wait. With all-Mark Levinson electronics, the dem program ranged over many music types, culminating in Little Feat’s “Long Distance Love,” whose awesomely deep low frequencies didn’t faze the speaker’s triple 8” titanium-cone woofers with their edge-wound rubbon voice-coils. Price will be $22k/pair, with availability in early spring ’07.
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John Atkinson Posted: Sep 15, 2006 0 comments
With David and Sheryl Lee Wilson in Europe for the Milan and London Shows, son Daryl demonstrated for me how the Utah company’s newly redesigned Watch Dog subwoofer doubles as designer seating. The sub is now a more manageable passive design, one third smaller than the original, and is stackable. The Passive Dog can be controlled either by a home theater system’s bass management or, in a music system, by the outboard Watch Controller. This has both balanced and single-ended inputs and outputs, and features versatile high- and low-pass filters.
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John Atkinson Posted: Sep 15, 2006 0 comments
For $129.95, the JBL Spyro 2.1 system—available in black, fuschia, or retro blue with chrome highlights, as well as white— hooks up to your MP3 player and provides 6Wpc of neodymium-magnet Odyssey satellite power and 24W of Atlas woofer action. But don’t you just love the stylin’ styling! Not just for Spyro the Dragon gamers.
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John Atkinson Posted: Sep 14, 2006 2 comments
As they had done at CES, Andrew Lipinski (right) and Lukas Lipinski set up a full surround system using their L-707 two-way monitors that had so impressed Larry Greenhill when he reviewed them for Stereophile last December.
John Atkinson Posted: Sep 09, 2006 0 comments
As readers of the Stereophile eNewsletter will be aware, the twin subjects of distributing music around my home and integrating my iTunes library of recordings into my high-end system have occupied much of my attention the past year. I bought an inexpensive Mac mini to use as a music server, using an Airport Express as a WiFi hub, which worked quite well, but my big step forward was getting a Squeezebox. I described this slim device in the mid-March and mid-April eNewsletters; I urge readers to read those reports to get the full background on this impressive device. In addition, the forums and Wiki pages on the Slim Devices website offer a wealth of information on getting the most from a Squeezebox.
John Atkinson Posted: Sep 09, 2006 Published: Nov 09, 1989 0 comments
In audiophile circles, it is the "Stuart"—electronics designer Bob Stuart of the Boothroyd-Stuart collaboration—who has received most recognition. The contribution of industrial designer and stylist Allen Boothroyd has gone relatively unremarked. Yet as I unpacked Meridian's D600 "Digital Active" loudspeaker, I was struck by Boothroyd's ability to make the humdrum—a rectangular box loudspeaker—seem more than just that. The man has one hell of an eye for proportion. From the first Orpheus loudspeaker of 1975, through the Celestion SL6 and 'SL600 (where AB did the industrial and package design), to this latest Meridian loudspeaker design, his brainchildren look "right," to the extent of making competing designs appear at minimum over-square and clumsy, if not downright ugly.
John Atkinson Posted: Aug 12, 2006 0 comments
When, at the beginning of this century, the market profile of the high-end Mark Levinson brand took a dip due to the parent company's reorganization, one of the companies that took advantage of the opportunity was Classé Audio. Founded in 1980 by engineer Dave Reich (now with Theta Digital) and run by engineer-entrepreneur Mike Viglas since the mid-1980s, the Canadian electronics manufacturer's Omega line of high-end amplifiers and preamps had universally impressed Stereophile's scribes, and its Omega SACD player (reviewed by Jonathan Scull in November 2001) was the first such product to come from a North American company.
John Atkinson Posted: Aug 06, 2006 Published: Apr 06, 1997 0 comments
Blind loudspeaker listening tests are hard work, not least because usually, most of the models being auditioned fail to light any musical sparks. But back in the spring of 1991, when a small group of Stereophile writers were doing blind tests for a group speaker review, one speaker did light up smiles on the listeners' faces, including my own. (We don't talk during our blind tests, but it's more difficult to keep body language in check.) Once the results were in, we learned that the speaker that got the music right in that test was the diminutive ES11 from Epos in England (footnote 1).

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