John Atkinson

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John Atkinson  |  Oct 06, 2002  |  0 comments
"Ever wondered how the snowplow driver gets to work?"—Doyle Dane Bernbach TV ad for Volkswagen, 1963
John Atkinson  |  Sep 24, 2011  |  0 comments
While August 29 was officially the day the State of Connecticut honored Sennheiser Electronic Corporation, the celebrations the US subsidiary of the German headphone and microphone manufacturer had planned were postponed, thanks to Hurricane Irene. But Tuesday, September 20 saw journalists converging on the company's headquarters in shoreline town of Old Lyme—"conveniently located midway between New York and Boston," according to company president John Falcone, pictured above—to take part in the delayed event. "This recognition celebrates Sennheiser's vital role in the business community, as well as the talented and passionate employees who are essential to its success," stated Governor Dannel P. Malloy in an official document that proclaimed August 29, 2011 as Sennheiser Electronic Corporation Day.
John Atkinson  |  Jan 11, 2009  |  3 comments
Zu Audio goes its own way when it comes to speaker design goals, emphasizing sensitivity and dynamic range. The Utah company's new Essence ($5000/pair) covers almost the entire audioband with a single 10" drive-unit, augmenting this unit's output from the central "whizzer cone" in the top octave with a ribbon supertweeter. Sensitivity is claimed to be in the high 90s! The enclosure is constructed from Baltic birch ply with an outer MDF cladding, and the internal wiring is, of course, Zu's own cable, with cold-forged, solder-less connections to the Cardas binding posts.
J. Gordon Holt, John Atkinson  |  Oct 09, 2005  |  First Published: May 09, 1993  |  0 comments
Richard Shahinian has been offering loudspeakers to music lovers for more than 15 years. I use the word "offering" here in its strictest sense, because Dick has never "sold" his products—by pushing them. Indeed, he is probably one of the worst self-promoters in the business. If we think of "soft sell" in the usual context of laid-back and low-pressure, then Shahinian's approach would have to be called "mushy sell."
John Atkinson  |  Jan 14, 2009  |  2 comments
"Now that can't work," I thought, as I went into the Crystal Cable room and saw the Dutch company's new Arabesque loudspeaker (45,000 Euros/pair, equivalent to around $60,000). A glass enclosure? But as I listened to a variety of recordings that I thought would expose cabinet problems, such as female vocals and solo cello, I didn't hear any flaws that I could lay at the feet of the enclosure.
John Atkinson  |  Apr 04, 2008  |  0 comments
I was as impressed as Robert Deutsch had been with KEF's $140k/pair Muons, and enjoyed a couple of tracks from the late Joe Zawinul's Faces & Places CD, Musical Fidelity's new 750k Supercharger monoblocks driving the speakers to satisfyingly high levels. Except there was no CD playing. It turned out I was listening to a 320kbps AAC file on an iPod sitting in the Wadia dock you can see in the photo. This takes an I2S digital output from a late-generation iPod and KEF were using the S/PDIF datastream to drive the digital input of the Musical Fidelity CD player at the top of the equipment stack. Given how much ink I have spilled recently on the dangers of lossy-compressed file formats, my face must have been as red as the room’s illumination had been at the time.
John Atkinson  |  Aug 17, 2003  |  0 comments
Perhaps it's the air in San Francisco, or more likely the fact that exhibitors and attendees were equally upbeat, but I came back from Home Entertainment 2003, held at the grand old Westin-St. Francis Hotel days before I write this month's column, jazzed. I was one of 15,123 consumer, international press, and trade attendees, according to the official stats, and we were treated to more than 100 exhibit rooms showing and demonstrating 225 brands of audio and home-theater gear. Stereophile's full report on what we saw and heard at the Show will appear in our September and October issues, while our web coverage can be found starting here(footnote 1).
John Atkinson  |  Nov 14, 2007  |  First Published: Jun 01, 1996  |  0 comments
"Rave on down through the corridors,
"Rave on words on printed page!"
—Van Morrison, "Rave On John Donne"
John Atkinson  |  May 22, 2004  |  First Published: May 01, 2004  |  0 comments
"Ah, I see what the problem is. Your ear canals are larger in diameter than normal."
John Atkinson  |  Nov 01, 2016  |  5 comments
I wrote several issues back that my first high-end headphones were Koss Pro4AAs, which I bought in 1972 following a positive review in the British magazine Hi-Fi News. Although that review didn't mention that the Pro4AAs were relatively fragile (footnote 1), I nonetheless loved their sound. They were the best headphones I'd heard—until, a couple years later, I was playing bass on some sessions for record producer Tony Cox. Tony had a pair of signal-energized electrostatic headphones, Koss ESP-6es, which were heavy and clunky—but they opened my ears to the sound quality that could be obtained from "cans." I didn't hear better until after I'd moved to Santa Fe, in 1986, and J. Gordon Holt loaned me his review samples of the Stax SR-Lambda Pros.

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