As We See It

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Jason Victor Serinus  |  May 16, 2017  |  16 comments
Balance is certainly a lovely concept, as well as a lofty ideal. But achieving an optimal sonic balance in a high-end audio system—whose final sound is determined, in part, by interactions among any number of components and that great bugaboo, the listening room—while maintaining some semblance of psychic equilibrium can be the hardest goal of all.
John Atkinson  |  Aug 29, 2004  |  First Published: Dec 01, 1998  |  0 comments
It was a powder blue Pinto. Brand new, it drove like a bowl of Jello with wheels. No matter how firmly I gripped the steering wheel, I had no confidence that it had any kind of relationship with the wheels on the road. And pickup? There was none. But because its designers had sacrificed all quality to build it cheaply, the Ford Pinto was equally cheap to rent when I did so back in 1980.
John Atkinson  |  May 09, 2004  |  First Published: Sep 01, 1998  |  0 comments
Nicholas Negroponte, Professor of Media Technology at MIT's Media Lab, is somewhat of a hero of mine, not the least because in his 1995 book Being Digital (Alfred A. Knopf), he mentioned specialty magazines as being a paradigm (of a sort) for the information-rich future. The role of a magazine such as Stereophile is to act as an intelligent (we hope) filter applied to the breadth and depth of human activity. Those who define themselves by their interest in the publication's specialty can therefore go to just one source to find everything of relevance.
Steve Guttenberg  |  Nov 15, 2010  |  0 comments
"Is it live or is it recorded?"
John Atkinson  |  Dec 31, 2008  |  First Published: Feb 01, 1993  |  0 comments
I'm sitting here in front of the trusty Toshiba 286 laptop on December 31, 1992, stuck with apparently incurable writer's block; in a couple of hours, we will be taking off en famille for the latest of Larry Archibald's legendary New Year's Eve parties. I wish I had something to write about for this month's "As We See It" essay; I wish...I wish...you know, there are a number of things I really wish for right now, yet I don't believe there is a component out there that can give me what I want.
John Atkinson  |  Feb 08, 1995  |  0 comments
"Never explain, never apologize." But in this month's "As We See It," I intend to do both. First, the apology:
John Atkinson, Will Hammond  |  Jul 09, 1997  |  First Published: Jul 09, 1989  |  0 comments
John Atkinson sets the stage
Nothing seems to polarize people as much as the vexed question concerning the importance of audible differences between amplifiers. If you think there are subjective differences, you're an audiophile; if you don't, you're not. And as any glance at an appropriate issue of Consumer Reportsthe publication for non-audiophiles—will confirm, the established wisdom is that once the price of an amplifier or receiver crosses a certain threshold, any further improvement in sound quality becomes irrelevant, in that it puts the price up for no apparent gain. In other words, when it comes to amplification, there is such a thing as being "too" good. Yet, as a reader of this magazine, I would expect that not only have you been exposed to real subjective quality differences between amplifiers that Consumer Reports would regard as sounding identical, you have made purchasing decisions made on the basis of hearing such differences.
John Atkinson  |  Jul 17, 2005  |  0 comments
On mornings when I can get up early enough after a late-night listening session, I take the last express bus from my Brooklyn suburb to Stereophile's Manhattan office. An inveterate people watcher, I notice that while my fellow travelers and I don't form a traditional queue at the bus stop, preferring instead to mill around in something that resembles a jelly donut, we still enter the bus in the order in which we arrived at the stop. The balance between individualism and social necessity is thus preserved.
Barry Willis  |  Jul 13, 2007  |  First Published: Jan 01, 1998  |  0 comments
Stadium rock is my idea of the inner circle of Hell. I hate crowds. I have zero interest in the rich and famous. And I've never been much of a Rolling Stones fan. Give me a choice, and I'll take Weslia Whitfield at the Plush Room 10 times out of 10: a cushy seat, some witty companions, a little Irving Berlin and Cole Porter. Heavenly.
John Atkinson  |  Feb 12, 2006  |  2180 comments
"BRIDGE WILL BE RAISED AT 1:45 PM," said the road sign. I looked at my watch. 1:35. I sighed and let my right foot become even more leaden.
Stephen Mejias  |  Sep 13, 2010  |  1 comments
The cover is cracked. It is time to rip it off, look directly at the inner workings, and begin to fix things for ourselves.—Matthew B. Crawford, Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work
Art Dudley  |  Mar 26, 2014  |  First Published: Apr 01, 2014  |  12 comments
"You know how to whistle, don't you, Steve?"—Lauren Bacall, To Have and Have Not, 1944

Yesterday, I played a minor role in a dustup on Facebook. It began when a fellow journalist posted a controversial quote from a veteran manufacturer known for generating same. The bait proved irresistible, and a long line of audio mavens, myself included, swam around the hook for an hour or so. The manufacturer himself also waded in, and before the fight was over, he'd made a show of demanding the home address of one of his antagonists, thus raising the manly specter of bodily harm. If there were any women in the audience, I'm sure they were impressed.

John Atkinson  |  May 09, 1997  |  First Published: May 09, 1996  |  0 comments
"Everyone I know used to sit in front of the stereo and listen to music...Now no one I know, except for us lunatics, listens to music the way one would watch a movie on TV."—from The Audiophile Network
Larry Archibald  |  Oct 29, 2008  |  First Published: Oct 29, 1989  |  0 comments
"Be like my friend Frank. He imagines that he's purchased certain products—right now he's imagining that he bought a pair of hard-to-get English speakers which he has read a review of but hasn't heard. This is ideal, since the speakers can sound better and better as Frank imagines more and more. When he tires of these speakers and gets excited about something else, he doesn't have to trade them in. He only needs to start imagining the next product." That was Sam Tellig's friend Frank, back in March of this year. No one could have said it better, but I have a followup.
J. Gordon Holt  |  Dec 04, 1971  |  First Published: Apr 01, 1973  |  0 comments
"As We See It" in the Stereophile issue dated Summer 1968 (actually published in 1970) noted the idealistic, glowing claims about how four-channel sound could put you right in the concert hail, but urged readers to wait before buying, to see whether quadrisound would indeed bring higher fidelity. We predicted it wouldn't—that whatever the potential of quadrisound (footnote 1), it would not be used to increase fidelity, but rather to play ring-around-the-rosy with music.

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