John Atkinson

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John Atkinson  |  Feb 09, 2017  |  First Published: Dec 01, 1993  |  14 comments
There is a tendency in magazine publishing to concentrate on the present. Writers generally downplay what happened in the irretrievable past as being of lesser importance compared with the new and exciting, their enthusiasm pretty much tied to the ever-in-motion time-line. I instituted Stereophile's annual "Products of the Year" feature, therefore, to give recognition to those components that had proved capable of giving pleasure beyond the formal review period. To confound confusion, there are just five individual categories: "Loudspeakers" (including subwoofers); "Amplification Components" (preamplifiers, power amplifiers, etc.); "Digital Sources" (CD players, transports, D/A processors); "Analog Sources" (phono cartridges, turntables, tonearms, FM tuners, etc.); and "Accessories" (everything else).
John Atkinson  |  Oct 04, 1995  |  First Published: Oct 04, 1993  |  0 comments
Combine an electrostatic panel to reproduce music's midrange and treble with a moving-coil woofer for the bass foundation. For decades, this has seemed the ideal way of designing a loudspeaker: Each type of drive-unit is used in the frequency region for which its performance is optimized. The resulting hybrid should sing like an angel.
John Atkinson  |  Sep 19, 1997  |  First Published: Sep 19, 1993  |  0 comments
"To be an influence in any society...one can be a little different, but only a little; a little above one's neighbours, but not too much."---C.P. Snow, The Masters, 1951
Jack English, John Atkinson  |  Apr 15, 2014  |  First Published: Aug 01, 1993  |  2 comments
893count.250.jpgWhile Clearfield Audio may be a new name to many of you, it represents the marriage of two well-established members of the high-end community: Counterpoint and designer Albert Von Schweikert. Counterpoint had been working to add speakers to its product lineup for some time. The partnership with Von Schweikert, whom Stereophile readers will remember as the designer of the Vortex Screen favorably reviewed by Robert Harley in July 1989, fills out Counterpoint's high-end product line from source—the company showed a CD transport at the June 1993 CES—to speaker.

The Metropolitan
The developmental history of Vortex speakers provides a meaningful framework for the design of the Clearfield offerings, especially the Metropolitans, or Mets. Like the Vortex designs, the Mets are three-ways with transmission-loaded bass. Like the Kevlar Reference Screen (reviewed by Robert Greene in The Abso!ute Sound's "double-issue" 83/84, December '92), the Mets use Kevlar-coned midrange units from Focal that cover a broad range from 125Hz to 2kHz. What's dramatically different is the overall driver layout.

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  |  May 08, 2005  |  First Published: Mar 08, 1993  |  0 comments
"When it comes to video, most audiophiles are insufferable snobs."—J. Gordon Holt, 1984
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  |  Jan 17, 1993  |  0 comments
I recently scoured my shelves and came up with the following list of must-read books for stereophiles, all of which are in print and should be available from specialist bookshops or from the suppliers mentioned in the text. Books marked with an asterisk (*), though too technical for the general reader, will be found rewarding by those who have a good grasp of mathematics and who want to delve deep. Reading the books in the first "general" section of the list will enable readers to understand just about everything that appears in Stereophile, but all the books listed contain between their covers untold treasures.
John Atkinson  |  Apr 26, 2012  |  First Published: Dec 26, 1992  |  15 comments
"...and measures bad, then you're measuring the wrong thing!" If one motto could sum up this magazine's philosophy, this would be it. Too many times we have discovered components that sounded musically fabulous while offering measured performance that was, at best, merely competent. Yet recently, I'm starting to lose confidence in that old saw.

On a number of occasions, I or another of Stereophile's reviewing team has heard a product sounding flawed in ways later revealed by measurements. A closed story, you might think—but consider the NEAR-50M loudspeaker reviewed by Dick Olsher in this issue. Despite hearing many good things in the speaker's sound, Dick was bothered by a tonal-balance problem in the low treble. He was also disturbed by a lack of integration between the tweeter and midrange unit. When I measured the '50M, my response graphs (footnote 1) pretty much explained why Dick heard what he heard. Nevertheless, other reviews of this loudspeaker have been ecstatic in their praise, one even stating that it was "one of the most transparent and balanced dynamic loudspeakers available at any price" (my italics).

John Atkinson  |  Jan 21, 2016  |  First 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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