John Atkinson

John Atkinson  |  Feb 24, 2021  |  6 comments
In 1979, I visited Philips Electronics' renowned Research Center in Eindhoven, Holland, to examine a prototype of what would eventually be called a compact disc player. In 1989, I returned to the Eindhoven lab to witness the birth of the first sigma-delta DACs, which eliminated the problem of large linearity errors at low recorded levels in resistor-ladder DACs.
John Atkinson  |  Feb 17, 2021  |  22 comments
When I studied physics at university too many years ago to admit, I learned about Occam's razor. Many, many more years ago than that, Franciscan friar William of Occam stated that a hypothesis should provide the simplest possible explanation for a phenomenon.
John Atkinson  |  Feb 15, 2021  |  2 comments
When Stereophile publishes a followup review in the print magazine, we add it as a "child page" to the website reprint of the original coverage. We have recently done so with three significant products: the Magico M2 loudspeaker, the Linear Tube Audio Z10e tubed headphone amplifier/integrated amplifier, and the Okto Research dac8 PRO multichannel D/A processor.
John Atkinson  |  Feb 10, 2021  |  First Published: Feb 01, 1990  |  0 comments
In the September 1988 issue of Stereophile, I wrote a rave review about the first speaker, the AE1, from what was to me a totally unknown English company, Acoustic Energy. Though tiny, and possessing an intrinsically limited low-frequency response, the $1500/pair AE1 was one of the most musical loudspeakers I have ever used, throwing a deep, beautifully defined soundstage, and possessed of a clean treble and a sweet, if rather forward-balanced, midband.
John Atkinson  |  Feb 08, 2021  |  45 comments
When I joined Hi-Fi News in the mid-1970s, one of that magazine's stable mates reviewed cars. An automotive writer appeared in the pub one lunchtime—"I rolled another one," he said, as he joined us at the bar. It turned out that one of his tasks was to take a car he was testing to the skid pad to see how many lateral G's the car could handle. Of course, the chances of a consumer turning that car over were minimal, but the reviewer was investigating the edges of the performance envelope.

As I became familiar with audio measurements, it struck me that the equivalent of the skid pan test was the thermal preconditioning we perform when we get an amplifier on the test bench. Even if an end-user doesn't drive his amplifier into thermal meltdown, the edges of the envelope need to be explored.

John Atkinson  |  Jan 21, 2021  |  4 comments
For his review of the Pink Faun 2.16x music server in the December 2020 issue, Kal Rubinson needed to use a Linux-compatible multichannel D/A processor. A little Googling uncovered the 8-channel dac8 PRO from Okto Research in the Czech Republic, so Kal borrowed one from the manufacturer. He found it to be a great-sounding DAC with an intriguing feature set. He purchased the sample.
John Atkinson  |  Dec 16, 2020  |  24 comments
KEF's LS50 loudspeaker was introduced in 2012 to celebrate the English manufacturer's 50th anniversary. Usually, anniversary models are large, floorstanding "statement" designs with a price to match, but the LS50 was a minimonitor, priced at $1500/pair. I reviewed the Anniversary Edition LS50 in December 2012 (footnote 1), writing that it was rare to find a loudspeaker that offers this combination of clarity and neutrality and concluding that within its limits of dynamic range and bass extension, the KEF LS50 "will provide Class A sound for those with small rooms."
John Atkinson  |  Nov 24, 2020  |  31 comments
Back in June 1994, I reviewed the Bowers & Wilkins John Bowers Silver Signature standmounted loudspeaker. This speaker cost a breathtaking $8000/pair at that time, and I subsequently bought the review samples and their matching slate stands. It was the best-sounding speaker I had used in my Santa Fe listening room: When the company's then-owner, Robert Trunz, visited me a couple of years later, he told me that he hadn't realized how good the Silver Signatures could sound. But after I moved to Brooklyn, in 2000, the Silver Signature never worked as well in my new listening room. I still own the speakers, but they currently live in our storage unit.
John Atkinson  |  Nov 16, 2020  |  First Published: Dec 01, 2020  |  4 comments
Three products are the subjects of lengthy followup reviews in the December issue of Stereophile: MBL's Noble Line N31 CD player-D/A processor, the GoldenEar BRX loudspeaker, and Alta Audio's Alyssa loudspeaker.
John Atkinson  |  Nov 14, 2020  |  20 comments
"Pints With Ayre," the series of videos produced by Colorado manufacturer Ayre Acoustics, has been regular viewing chez Atkinson during these pandemic times. Covering subjects like volume control design, amplifier gain stages, audio transformers, and listening tests, the series presents sometimes esoteric technical subjects in an easy-to-grasp manner.

In the latest episode of “Pints With Ayre,” I was invited to talk about a subject close to my heart, the how and why a review magazine’s reviews should be accompanied by measurements. You can find my current thoughts at the link in this article. I don’t think I gave too many secrets away!

Pages

X