Stereophile: the Next Generation

Today, Stereophile announces its first major Editorial changes in decades, with an expansion of the Editorial team and a change in leadership.

Since 1986, through many generations of corporate ownership, John Atkinson (right, above) has been the Editor and bedrock of the magazine. After nearly 331/3 years, JA has decided to relinquish daily responsibility for producing the magazine and as of April 1 will take on a new (and newly established) position: Technical Editor. Stepping into his shoes as Editor will be long-time Stereophile contributor Jim Austin (left, above). Deputy Editor Art Dudley will continue to do what he does best (and what he prefers to do): writing columns and reviews and editing the prose of Stereophile's other contributors, while managing an expanded suite of responsibilities. Richard Lehnert, who began his association with Stereophile in 1984 as our long-time Copy Editor and was the magazine's Music Editor 1987–1996, has also chosen this time to retire from the magazine that bears the stamp of his influence; Lehnert will be replaced by a new copyeditor, Linda Felaco. These changes will be effective as of the July issue of Stereophile.

"I'm deeply honored to become only the third Editor in Stereophile's distinguished history," says Austin, who has been writing for Stereophile for some 15 years. "It's a major responsibility to follow in the footsteps of audio legends like J. Gordon Holt and John Atkinson, and to hold the reins of the world's most important high-end audio magazine. It's an opportunity I relish, though. It's hard to even imagine a job I'd enjoy more."

As a teenager, Jim spent many hours at the Sound Shack, the audio boutique in his home town of Ft. Pierce, Florida. That's where he bought his first serious pair of loudspeakers, Polk Audio Model 7Bs, which he paired with a succession of Japanese receivers and Technics turntables. Later, he earned a PhD in physics and worked for a while as a research scientist, applying methods from nuclear physics to study of semiconductors and other materials. "It was nothing to do with music," Austin says, "but I was an experimental physicist and I learned a lot about electronics and craft." Still later he became an Editor at Science magazine, where he worked for 14 years, rising to the rank of Senior Editor while contributing to Stereophile on the side.

Despite the change in leadership, major editorial changes are not envisioned at the magazine. "Stereophile is a successful magazine," Jim says, "which is remarkable when you consider all the titles that folded or today exist only online. I intend to look for opportunities to make Stereophile better: more engaging, more relevant, more entertaining, with the best, most insightful writing about music and audio.

"My main objective, though, is to steer a steady course—to keep Stereophile pointed in the direction it has been pointed in for decades. In particular, Stereophile has always been a subjectivist audio journal. Its main concern has always been with how music sounds through the equipment we review and how it affects us, the listeners. But for 30 years Stereophile has been built upon the edifice of John Atkinson's measurements, which examine whether the components we review are thoughtfully and solidly engineered. Under my watch, we'll continue to do both those things, with, I hope, renewed vigor."

John Atkinson adds: At last fall's Rocky Mountain Audio Fest I asked a young Stereophile reader how he had discovered us. "I started reading my Dad's copy," he explained. "He used to read you in Hi-Fi News magazine in the 1980s."

I blanched. But yes, approaching 71 years old, I am long in the tooth. The June issue of Stereophile will be my 390th and though my hearing is still good, I decided it was time to hand the reins over to a new and, more importantly, a younger man.

As Jim noted, I will still be on Stereophile's masthead as Technical Editor. But having worked with Jim for the past 15 years, I know as Editor he will succeed in taking J. Gordon Holt's and my magazine to even greater heights. You have the conn, Jim.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Keep Stereophile great :-) ...........

rt66indierock's picture

John I wish you the best and extend an open invitation to visit The Valley of the Sun.

Lifer's picture

Thanks to you both. John you have taught us so much and I hope to learn more with each issue. Jim you have the right stuff to push forward and gain readership.

Best of everything to both of you.

tonykaz's picture

... was a youthful Exuberant, not a Ph.d in Rocket Surgery with Decades of experience piling-up, now bringing Peace of Mind that Stereophile's Future won't be Guided by a Mono Phono Cartridge Promoter. Steophile can become a staple Magazine of every Barber Shop in North America and the UK.

I'm happy for Jim and all concerned.

You could/might/should write a genuine letter to the Auto Companys explaining why advertising in Stereophile is a good idea, they'll love hearing from the Editor himself. ( they're proud as hell of their Audio Systems )

Bon Voyage & Bon Vivant

Tony in Michigan

ps. now we need the Audiophiliac to do a Video Interview like he just did of Planet Earth's greatest Audio Retailer: Dave Wasserman of Stereo Exchange NY,NY.

mmole's picture

...then I wish you would have waited until 45 instead of 33 1/3 years. But of course, thank you and all the best.

Jim: This is a tough act to follow. I wish you great success.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

"Youth is a gift of nature, but age is a work of art" ........ Stanislaw Jerzy Lec :-) ........

"The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age, which means never losing your enthusiasm" .......... Aldous Huxley :-) .........

Anton's picture

Jim's work exudes "joy in the hobby." Well done!!!

We are lucky to have had JA, and are now again lucky to have JA!

I am picturing the ad for this position:

"Wanted, new Editor for Stereophile magazine. We like to promote from within. Applicant must have 10 years + experience in audiophile writing and reviewing, have records he is willing to die for, and have the initials "JA" so we do not incur any added expense in changing the typeset initials "JA" as a way of referring to our Editor. All qualified applicants with the initials "JA" are encouraged to apply!"

Here's to the new and old "JA"!!!!!

One last thing: "Technical Editor?" JA, are you the new Julian Hirsch? ;-D

Anton's picture

JA, you only have 4 weeks to sprout a beard!

volvic's picture

Congrats! Very happy for you.

cgh's picture

I find this interesting. First, let me congratulate both men - JA, I was 9 years old when you took over and you arguably shaped many of my current beliefs about sound and many of my considerable spending decisions through the years; and JA2, whose conclusions I haven't always shared, but whose articles I have always read from beginning to end with interest. I've viewed JA's "quant" a welcome counter to the pages of "qual", which has always been Stereophile's yin to TAS's yang. In this regard JA2's appointment is a continuation of something that I have always regarded as a quality that made Stereophile the absolute best... "TAB". I have hired many people that I feel counter the norm, or my own personal beliefs, on the hope they'd create a diversity of thought that hedge the downside risk of groupthink and hivemind; in that regard I think this change ensures Stereophile's relevance for years to come, albeit with some turnover in staff given what I suspect is a strong personality. I say this in a positive sense. I don't know JA2, but my inference from his articles and comments is that he will kick the tires at every turn! Congratulations to both of you!

Indydan's picture

To both John and Jim!
Will John still write stuff for the magazine as Technical editor?

airdronian's picture

Quite a run, not an easy feat.

Jason P Jackson's picture

as technical editor.
Phew. Thank f### for that. For a moment there I thought we'd be losing him. With Jim at the helm I would assume Stereophile will remain as good as ever considering the fact he has been part of the team for eons. And JA a well deserved reduction in workload from what was a long and fruitful tenure. My yearly subscription will be renewed.

davip's picture

As the bad-boy of planetary-geology who's had his fair-share of AAAS rejections (and one success!), I too had no idea that JA (Austin, that is) was a rocket scientist!

In communications with Jim, I've found him to be enthusiastic, searching, experienced, and knowledgeable -- perfect material for the job. Had I not disposed of my vinyl collection and STD/Hadcock/Nytech set-up back in 1983 to go to university, I would have trod an audio career path. Schmuck that I am, now I'm re-buying it all again. Heigh-ho...

The best to both JAs

Allen Fant's picture

Outstanding! Two JAs on board now. Looking forward to this dynamic duo maintaining the helm of Stereophile. Salute!

John Atkinson's picture
Not just two JAs but two JCAs - we both have the same middle initial, C.

John Atkinson
(Soon to be Technical) Editor, Stereophile

Bogolu Haranath's picture

'C'ool ......... :-) ............

Bogolu Haranath's picture

We never lost our ........ Yeah, we wanna be ..........

"Cool" ........... Chris Lane :-) ...........

jimtavegia's picture

but you will be greatly missed and I hope the magazine can continue for decades to come.

This will also be my last at teaching school, but it was time for me to let someone younger deal with the new generation.

Ortofan's picture

... can we expect that some semblance of scientific rigor will be brought to bear on the listening portion of equipment reviews?
Will each reviewer now be required to acquire and use a device such as this:

Solarophile's picture

Sorry to say, judging by how JimA presented his MQA articles, I think we're safe from the semblance of critical thought. Much less actual scientific rigor despite whatever background he has.

johnnythunder's picture

You're joking. The magazine has it already. It's called the measurements section of the review. Keep Stereophile exactly as it is. This is not Scientific American. It is art and magic and it cannot be explained with measurements or algorithms. If you can't accept that by now after 50 years of Stereophile and TAS, you're in the wrong hobby.

JaimeB's picture

What scientific rigor? That is why I started reading Stereophile in 1981, was fed up with the B.S. Stereo Review was giving us - "every component sounds the same". For those who want SCIENTIFIC RIGOR subscribe to Scientific American or buy old issues of Stereo Review.

When I buy components I let my 63 year old ears do the shopping. As fas as I know, we still can't measure soundstage width or depth. Pinpoint imaging, no one can measure. Maybe ten or twenty thousand years from now that will be a standard measure in stereo systems....depending on the room, of course!

Scientific rigor....please give me a break, these guys are completely out of the realm of audio reproduction.


Michael Fremer's picture

"Double Blind Tests" PROVE that all vodkas taste the same and that a Stradivarius is indistinguishable from a student violin. Actually those stupid results prove double blind tests though useful for many things are often not. And then as I found out when challenged to a double blind amplifier test that didn't go the way the test designer wished (to prove all amps that measure the same are sonically indistinguishable), excuses are made and "outlier" results (like when I got all identifications correct) get tossed.

Anton's picture

I love DBT (usually SBT and I get to play with the volume) but I know what you mean.

I have an acquaintance who did the "Brita" challenge at a science meeting neurology conference with a good vodka compared to cheap vodka that had been filtered through a Brita. There were six different Brita samples, corresponding to "one filtration," "two filtrations," etc.

He nailed the good vodka, the cheap vodka, and identified each filter sample by how many times it had been filtered.


Getting the test criteria straight would help with other DBT.

At some point, someone skilled enough should be able to rise above the terrible deafness caused by DBT and be able to tell things apart, like you did with the amps!

Also, what's true for an amp driving a complex thing like a speaker may not apply to other things, like fuses, "wires," etc. Still lots to flesh out!

I was just perusing the Hi Fi News site and they actually published measurements of wires, fascinating!

As a reader, I would love to see JCA (technical editor) compare and contrast an array of findings with these more subtle devices.

Both sides of the "makes a difference / no it doesn't" crowd need to find some room for common discussion.

Transparent measurements, listening trials, all part of the fun.

Our local club does blind comparisons and nobody gets butt hurt about challenging our listening skills.

In a recent club challenge, a plain over the counter fuse won the day vs. fuses costing up to 120 bucks per fuse! So, it seemed we had the ability to hear what was up, but the challenge was won by the little guy.

We did the same thing with passive preamps at a THE Show and a 400 dollar unit KILLED the 15,000 dollar and 2,000 dollar competition. (This was on a fancy system with King's Audio electrostats, etc.)

It's like when the 6 dollar bottle of wine beats the 120 dollar bottle, good for us!

I digress...instead of feeling threatened by DBT (actually, SBT and not instantaneous would be fine,) we should start the party and see how golden our ears really are.

Man, in the realm of measurements, how about comparing the differences between "broken in" and not for equipment, and see what may change!

Everyone is so afraid of being wrong, or having their perceptions "judged" that we poo poo a very fun thing!

In wine competitions, tasting is done blind and we get feedback on our perceptions, for better or worse. Hi Fi should be able to emulate that and see what happens.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

KR was able to tell the difference between speakers in blind listening tests done at Harman :-) ........

Anton's picture

No stunt listener on a closed circuit required for that one!

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Agreed ...... I know :-) ........

Bogolu Haranath's picture

It is probably going to be more difficult to tell the difference between electronic components, such as amps, pre-amps, DACs etc :-) ...........

ok's picture

–most men also mind you; I wonder how many of those double/triple etc "blind" audio test endorsers have they actually been exposed to some real infinite-blind test experience..

Ortofan's picture

... "useful" and which are "stupid"?
Are the "useful" ones those with whose outcomes you agree and the "stupid" ones those with whose outcomes you disagree?

A given test doesn't prove that all vodkas taste the same.
It does demonstrate that a particular group of tasters could not reliably distinguish among the particular group of samples they tasted. If you're open-minded, you might consider conducting your own blind taste test to see if you reach the same conclusion, or not.

Likewise, outlier results shouldn't be tossed out of hand.
Rather, the test should be repeated to determine if those results can be confirmed.

ChrisS's picture

...any difference are those conducted in your own environment, with your own equipment, and listening with your own ears.

Anton's picture

I would be happy if people could just relax and roll with their own opinions rather than try to force everyone else to ride their train.

Lots of people think their dog is the best dog, their religion is God's only true faith...but other people's results may vary.

Question: If the only way to "test" equipment is by using your own equipment in your home, how do you shop?

I listen in stores and at shows, as well. Otherwise, it would be almost impossible to survey the marketplace!

Bogolu Haranath's picture

There is something called 'confirmation bias' (you can read about it in Wikipedia) ........ It is the tendency to confirm one's own beliefs :-) ........

ChrisS's picture to enjoy your sound system for a lifetime, then what does it matter?

Would you know how long "confirmation bias" will affect your own listening? Hours? Weeks? It often does not last long. That's why extended listening can nullify this bias.

ChrisS's picture

...a brick and mortar shop in town where I can borrow a piece of equipment to try out in my own system over the weekend. I can usually tell within a couple hours if I like the piece enough to purchase it.

Results will always vary!! You take your chances, or hope you can arrange a buy-back if you don't like your purchase.

But if you can't listen to everything, or like others to do the listening for you, then Stereophile does a great job!

Bogolu Haranath's picture

I agree with everything you said ........ I just mentioned about 'conformation bias', just to bring attention to that particular phenomenon :-) ..........

ChrisS's picture

...not an issue if you know how to deal with it.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Agreed :-) .........

Lorenzo-Italia's picture

Honor to John Atkinson, our North Pole in this cloudy ocean.
Congratulations and Best Whishes to Jim Austin the rudder is your.

This is for you John, stepping on my table:

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
But O heart! heart! heart!

Lorenzo from Italy

Brown Sound's picture

I've been reading Stereophile since right before the digest to large format switch over and I have always loved it. Of course, back in those days, getting your CD player and a simple DAC figured out was a priority for me, anyway. By my calculations, that's right after your (JA) takeover, so I'm pretty accustomed to your editorial style. While I do miss the old cast of characters (J10, Corey, Sam and the late Mr. Reina), I'm sure with JA2 in the drivers seat, the course will stay true. Thanks for the great ride, so far.

Santosh_D9's picture

You guys are awesome.

rschryer's picture

...that both JCAs (my attention span isn't completely eroded) are wearing the mythical Stereophile (baseball? audio?) caps!! I thought these were extinct! I want one!!

tonykaz's picture

Are they for Sale?


Are they only for the "inner circle" influencers?

I only previously seen one hat.

Of course, we could order a few hundred embroidered with Silver Thread and then Sell them on Ebay for $22.99 plus $2.99 Shipping. ( if the JCAs would allow )

A small line of Audiophile t-Shirts & Hats would/could be a nice little side business. ( a few extra $ for having it Autographed )

Tony in Michigan

ps. I'd love for all my t-Shirts to be Audiophile instead of those free Sherwin-Williams shirts that the Paint Store gives me as I complete the Remodel Project of my Michigan Home.

ps.2) and I'd want a nice 6SN7 t-shirt autographed by my favorite Canadian rschryer ( maybe a "Hedcut" likeness of the type used by front page artwork of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL or a Photoshop line art )

rschryer's picture

"...embroidered with Silver Thread and then Sell them...for $22.99..."

I think you're on to something, Tony. What with all this hullabaloo going on now with the changing of the Stereophile-editorial guard, I could hawk these Special Edition caps for a premium at the Montreal Audio Show taking place later this month to finance my next audio upgrade. Ka-ching!

"...and I'd want a nice 6SN7 t-shirt autographed by my favorite Canadian rschryer."

And since you're my buddy and the inspiration to what will surely be my short-lived but excessively profitable new business venture, Tony, I won't even charge you extra for my autograph. ;-)

tonykaz's picture

I had a Vinyl Audio Shop which failed when 33.3 died. My Sales continued because the Monster Cable Accessories Full Line sold quite well. I've subsequently discovered that P&A ( parts & accessories ) are the most profitable part of Businesses like mine. So, especially today, a Line ( Range if you're Brit. ) of eBay garments and accessories could be viable and exciting.

You might be in an ideal position to be Stereophile's Official OEM for all such items. You Could do Swiss Army Knives with Silver Inlayed Logos, Embroidered Hats, Silk Screened shirts and all manner of other desirable Desk Top trinket items. Your Local Speciality Sales Co. can and will provide endless useful suggestions. It could be a great business for you, you'd even be able to supply a wide range of Audio Manufacturers with High Quality Products and fulfillment.

Tony in Michigan

ps. save me a hat and t-shirt

ps.2) Come to Venice Florida, we can partner on the Venture, if you like. ( I'm done with Ice after this 2018/9 Winter )

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Don't forget coffee mugs with pictures of various Stereophile reviewers :-) ........ may be even beer mugs (tankards) :-) ..........

tonykaz's picture

... Collect the Whole Series.

After all , Audiophiles have collecting in their DNA.

Maybe even an Audiophile Shinola Watch.

Tony in Michigan

Bogolu Haranath's picture

All those various items made in USA, of course :-) .........

Bogolu Haranath's picture

One more ......... Stereophile bumper-sticker :-) ..........

The bumper-sticker could say 'Stereophile on board' :-) ..........

Bogolu Haranath's picture

We could also have a sticker (or, something like that) to put outside the listening room, which says 'Welcome to the Stereophile man-cave' :-) .........

Michael Fremer's picture

That's news to me.

tonykaz's picture

Yea, I know, it is news to the vinyl people.

We're about to have 5th Gen. Phones, PS Audio is converting PCM to DSD.

Fossil Based everything is being replaced with the "Green New Deal".

A few Old Timers clinging to 33.3 Collecting doesn't move anyone's Needle.

Tony in Michigan

ps. of course, I still own a substantial Vinyl collection including the rather rare Wilson vinyls ( I was a Wilson Dealer ) which I'll eBay in 2020 as I settle down in Venice Florida where 8-Tracks are understood and cherished parts of the Mustang Classic Car Group.

misterc59's picture

Last time I checked, I was not dead! Believe it or not I'm a (horror of horrors) vinyl listener and I can count many acquaintances/friends as the same, and most are NOT old-timers! Of course we all listen to digital as well, but why can't the 2 co-exist? Apparently not in your (place appropriate superlative here) world.



tonykaz's picture

I was referring to my Vinyl Business in the 1980s not You and your acquaintances.

The Audio Business continued, Redbook replaced 33.3, the Automotive Market bloomed into the Dominant Component of the 2 Channel Audio Industry with Billions of Dollars in Sales ( hidden in the New Car Window Sticker). The Movie Industry migrated from Magnetic Tape to 5.1 & 7.1 etc.

I attempt to be fair in saying it isn't 33.3 Vinyl's fault that it's number of proponents has tapered off to a very few committed & dedicated collectors.

Vinyl's largest problems are:

1). Prohibitively High Price of admission. ( New Playback Gear is Pricy )
2). Millennials ( the next generation of audiophiles ) are struggling with Tuition Debt as they complete their Diplomaed Education. They no longer have disposable income for Pricy Vinyl Audio gear in addition to the Digital Gear they are already able to access.

Vinyl's smaller problems include :

3). The amount of Support Gear needed
4). The Volume of Cubic Footage needed for the Record Storage Systems. ( what family is tolerant of the Vinyl Audiophile's 10,000 Record Collection.?)

So, you see, Vinyl has problems.

The Remaining 75,000 or so Vinyl playing people might be HighEnd Audio's smallest Minority, while Chad Kassem remains their Wonderful Higher Authority.

Where would Vinyl be without Chad breathing life into it?

Tony in Michigan

Anton's picture

DUP!!! Come back!

tonykaz's picture

Tony in Michigan

Ortofan's picture

... "pricy" (or pricey) in regard to vinyl playback gear?

The first turntable and cartridge I bought (a few years before the introduction of CDs) would cost the equivalent of about $1,000 as adjusted for inflation.

At that price level, today, you can buy decent turntables from Audio-Technica, Pioneer, Pro-Ject and Rega, along with a moving-magnet cartridge from Audio-Technica, Nagaoka or Ortofon.

Or, for that same amount you could buy a complete system.
For example, an Audio-Technica AT-LP5 turntable (with cartridge included), plus a Yamaha R-N303 receiver (which also has a DAC and a network interface for streaming) and a pair of ELAC Debut 2.0 bookshelf speakers.
Such a system ought to be sufficient to tide over most millennials until they are able to afford something significantly more expensive.

tonykaz's picture

Vinyl playback is an extraordinarily pricy Hobby by comparison!

I'm talking HighEnd.

A VPI Avenger ( Comic Book Name? ) begins around $30,000! VPI is the finest turntable line I ever represented.

Arm price around $10,000

Phono Cart around $10,000 ( I'd think KOETSU )

Special Cables $ ?

Phono RIAA pre-amp $10,000 - up

A suitable stand for the Player $500 +

Vinyl record cleaning systems $ 500 +

Vinyl Record Storage Systems for 10,000 Records and the square footage to house them $100 per sq.ft. for 10 x 10 Room = $10,000

Buying Audiophile Vinyl $30/$50 each

A Vinyl System compared to a PS Audio DAC $5,000 playing Acoustic Sounds DSD downloads is far less expensive and far easier to maintain.

Committed Collectors, like the Vinyl Junkie, have lifetime collections to maintain.

New Millennials, starting fresh, may be vinyl curious but Digital presents a far wider mainstream Access to Glorious Music reproduction throughout 21st Century Life Environs.

There is a difference between Vinyl and the various Designers DACs: CHORD, PS Audio's Direct Stream, Schiit's Multibit, MSB's Analog DAC, etc. but the difference is small and the price differential is huge.

Price differential aside, Digital is an elegant solution to a complex problem.

Tony in Michigan

Anton's picture

He is the resident anti-vinyl crank.

His FDA nutritional requirement is to type a daily screed against vinyl in order to fill the otherwise empty void of his audio life.

As you are here longer, you can simply look for his name under a reply and treat it as "fly over country."

Glotz's picture

I prefer vinyl and he is still very, very astute in understanding the industry and its consumers. Selling for so long as a brick and mortar retailer, he gets the industry like few others.

To purchase a solid, non-entry level turntable system that will show 'great analog' playback, there ia a very large entry fee (as well as upkeep).

I simply believe entry analog is good, but won't convince digital consumers of the attraction of vinyl.

With all of the ancillary gear required for hassle-free analog playback, it requires dedicated ritual, deep pockets and attention to detail. At those entry-level price points, one is better served (exponentially) by inexpensive digital.

Still, the fun of physically playing vinyl is irreplaceable!

Anton's picture

I saw an angry old rich white guy who appeared to be an audiophile. He was pacing back and forth with a tiki torch while muttering about this new fangled "pink noise" threatening to replace the far superior "white noise." He was wearing a hat that said "MAGA" on it.

The lightbulb went off for me, right then!

Make Audio Great Again!

I think I could find y'all some of those Audio hats and you could parade around in them to the adulation of your audiophile friends!

They only come in red, however.

We could get some Polo shirts, pop the collars, and parade around audio shows. People would love us!

rschryer's picture

...Make Analog Great Again.

It would coincide with analog's resurgence in recent years, while the use of a tiki torch by some MAGA-cap wearers is probably meant to symbolize "old school" technology.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

MAGA could also stand for ... Mr. Atkinson is a Great Audiophile :-) ......

or ...... Mr. Austin is a Great Audiophile :-) .......

or ....... Mr. Anton is a Great Audiophile :-) ..........

John Atkinson's picture
rschryer wrote:
I just noticed that both JCAs (my attention span isn't completely eroded) are wearing the mythical Stereophile (baseball? audio?) caps!! I thought these were extinct!

They are extinct, but I have one of the originals from the mid-1990s, which I am wearing, and one of the newer ones from 10 years ago, which Jim is wearing.

John Atkinson

(Soon to be Technical) Editor, Stereophile

rschryer's picture

But I don't hate the coffee mugs idea. Imagine this, John (and if this doesn't apply to you, John, would you be so kind as to forward my idea to the appropriate person in marketing): each Stereophile Limited Edition Collector's mug would be imprinted with, get this, the mug of someone at Stereophile!

A mug on a mug.

I see this type of thing all the time, with the Beatles, and other one-hit wonders.

The Montreal show is still three weeks away. There's still time if we hop to it!

rschryer's picture

Did Bogolu Haranath beat me to it on the "mug on a mug" idea? The posting times lead me to believe that he did.

In that case, do you mind if I borrow your idea, Bogolu? There's a free Stereophile Limited Edition Collector's mug in it for you.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Of course, you may borrow that idea ........ Thank you for the mug ....... May be the 'limited edition' mugs could have the picture of both JCAs, as shown on the top of this forum page ........ Some 'limited edition' T-shirts could also have the same picture of both JCAs :-) ..........

Anton's picture

It could be like those "Sex and the City" quizzes, except a person could get classified as a Herb Reichert, or Michael Fremer, etc..

Then, we could wear our corresponding T-Shirts and say things like, "Oh! That is such a Dudley thing to say."

"Oh, you strike me as a total Ken Micallef!"

Build the personality cult!

Bogolu Haranath's picture

How about a T-shirt which says, "Your measurements look great (or, not so great), says John A"? ........ May be not such a great idea :-) ........

rschryer's picture

You beat me to it again. I post what I think is an original idea, only to see that you already posted a similar idea. Strange how we seem to think alike when it comes to retail apparel. :-)

Bogolu Haranath's picture

John A T-shirt could say "Measure this" :-) ........

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Also, John A T-shirt could possibly say, "If you can hear it, we can measure it" :-) .........

rschryer's picture

How about t-shirts with a reviewer's face on it under which would be inscribed a witty two- or three-word catchphrase we might expect that reviewer to say.


Michael Fremer's face with "Digital sucks!", or

John Atkinson's face with "Analyze this!"

And that's it folks! I've been silly long enough (spring fever baby!). Thank you all for your tips and ideas. Should anything come of them in a retail sense, I promise you all free merch (limit one item per person).

Michael Fremer's picture

Then why did I buy a ROON Nucleus and a dCS Vivaldi One?

rschryer's picture

For a friend? (Ba-dum-TSH!)

Ortofan's picture

... Paul McGowan?

rschryer's picture

I enjoyed that video. And I do believe what Paul is saying.

However, as far as my own experience is concerned, when it comes to mid-priced equipment — the category of equipment I can afford — rather than the megabuck stuff, I feel more inner peace and long term satisfaction listening to a vinyl setup than I do a digital one, regardless of whether the former may exhibit more measurable distortion than the latter.

As good as mid-priced digital can be, from what I've heard (and there's a lot out there I haven't heard, especially when it comes to the latest generation of DACs), I still hear a blueish-grayish tint of mechanical artificiality that overlays the music, an effect that keeps me from becoming completely engaged in the music.

The mid-priced LP setup has other problems, but I still find that it sounds more natural overall than does its digital counterpart.

As for megabuck digital playback, I'm sure it sounds killer. :-)

Ortofan's picture

... my reply was intended to be directed toward Michael Fremer's post regarding his Roon and dCS acquisition - unfortunately it didn't appear that way after being submitted.

ok's picture

mid-priced vinyl rigs do sound better than their megalomaniac counterparts due to inevitable format limitations; nothing really special about megabuck digital either since digital holds no big secrets anyway. Delusions of grandeur might be a function of big money amongst others but good sound thankfully not.

Archimago's picture

"As for megabuck digital playback, I'm sure it sounds killer. :-)"

I know it's said with a smiley-face, but I've always found it rather strange that "megabuck" price gets attached to "killer" sound quality.

Let's be honest that of course companies want (perhaps even need) this association to be made. However, I think audiophiles are recognizing that this is often not the case at all.

rschryer's picture

...of the cream of the crop, which, like anything else in life, comes at a premium.

This doesn't mean that all digital attached to a hefty price tag is going to be killer, and I wholeheartedly agree that there's some great-sounding digital out there that doesn't require mortgaging your house to own. But there's also a reason why Michael Fremer and Jason Victor Serinus bought uber-expensive gear from DCS rather than the $2500.00 offerings from Benchmark or Schitt, as good as the latter companies' goods are. Why else would these professional audio reviewers and lifelong music lovers choose to pay the big bucks?

I haven't heard DCS gear, but I trust MF's and JVS's hearing and their buying decisions.

That's the kind of "killer" I was referring to.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Also, Chord Qutest DAC which costs $1,895, was very favorably reviewed by several reviewers, including Stereophile and AudioStream :-) ..........

Ortofan's picture

... an ABX test between dCS and Benchmark products, with MF and JVS as participants.
Certainly JA1 can be depended upon to properly conduct such a test so that MF won't be able to dispute the outcome.
Trust, but verify.

Ortofan's picture


rschryer's picture

...J. Gordon Holt Drink?

A martini of course.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

WWRSD :-) .......

rschryer's picture

Many moons ago, I had a thing for Johnnie Walker Red, but that didn't turn out so well.

Anton's picture

Sometimes, when I am over-served, I forget that rule.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

'O' Water :-) ........

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Is that beer made with or without 'corn syrup'? :-) ........

tonykaz's picture

It looks like only one of our Editorial Team still has enough in his noggin to fill a Sports Cap.

Is this what the term "Brain Drain" actually looks like?

Tony in Michigan

Bogolu Haranath's picture

If JCAs wear their hats backwards, they would look even more cool :-) ...........

Lincolnmat's picture

As someone who began reading Stereophile just before the transition from JGH to JA, I have experienced almost the whole range of John Atkinson's editorship (a short lapse during child rearing years). I have appreciated his deft hand on the tiller of Stereophile. I can only hope Jim Austin has as much success during his tenure.

Also since I began reading Stereophile in the first year of my career, I can't begrudge John the chance to step back as I will have been retired for 3 years in June.


Bogolu Haranath's picture

"We are the Champions" ........... Queen :-) .........

"We Will Rock You" ............ Queen :-) ...........

JCAs are saying that :-) ..........

Jason P Jackson's picture

may actually be the one person flipping 2 quantum states.

rschryer's picture

(Though I do admit to being a bit behind in my quantum physics studies. Luckily, I heard that Jim Austin will be offering free Quantum Physics lessons with every Stereophile subscription.)

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Is it gonna be 'pure quantum state (physics)' or 'mixed quantum state (physics)'? ........ (Check Wikipedia for 'quantum state', if you are interested) :-) ..........

rschryer's picture

Jim is well versed in both branches.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

I'm glad ....... I can choose, just the audio (quantum state) part of it ........ I'm not very good in physics and mathematics :-) ........

Bogolu Haranath's picture

You may be right about, the quantum state flipping in the same photo ....... One person in the photo is taller and has no beard ........ That would be a radical change, if it was the same quantum state (person), 'flipping' ........ OTOH, that photo could have been 'Photoshopped' and/or an optical illusion (mirage) :-) ........

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Oh, BTW ..... How about a T-shirt which says, NIX-ABX :-) ...........

Ortofan's picture

... useless, other than providing some light entertainment.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Ok .... How about (extra)TAX-ABX? :-) ..........

Bogolu Haranath's picture

....... SpaceX-ABX may or may not be a good idea :-) ........

english pete's picture

Jim Austin. And thank heavens for that. I was recently contemplating that Atkinson must be getting ready to hand over the reigns, and was worried what with the amount of copy he seems to get these days that the successor was going to be named JVS. Don't get me wrong. JVS is a very good writer, but cut him back a little or the magazine will become the JVS Journal.

bdiament's picture

John, I'll miss your writings, which I've been a fan of since the Hi-Fi News days--in the '70s!?!
Thank you for all you've given to those engaged in this hobby.

Jim, some big shoes to fill, and I'm sure you're going to do a great job!
Here's to all success!

Best regards,

John Atkinson's picture
bdiament wrote:
John, I'll miss your writings, which I've been a fan of since the Hi-Fi News days--in the '70s!?! Thank you for all you've given to those engaged in this hobby.

Thank you very much, Barry, and my thanks to everyone else for their good wishes.

John Atkinson
(Soon to be Technical) Editor, Stereophile

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Looking forward to more equipment reviews by JA1 ........ More active, self-powered speaker reviews perhaps? :-) ...

"Nobody Does It Better" ......... Carly Simon :-) .........

labjr's picture

...because I would've cancelled my subscription.

Your measurements and technical knowledge are the reasons I still subscribe. And I hope you'll still be doing reviews?

I'll have to wait and see what the changes are really like and go from there.

But thanks for the heads up!

tickman's picture

Mr Austin, extend the olive branch to Sam Tellig. I would resubscribe and know that there are many others who would do the same

Glotz's picture

PHEW!!!! Jim is a GREAT choice for Editor!!!!