John Atkinson

John Atkinson  |  Aug 10, 2020  |  12 comments
Mother, mother
There's too many of you crying
Brother, brother, brother
There's far too many of you dying

I watched the TV with horror. George Floyd, an African-American man in Minneapolis, Minnesota, was being killed in front of the camera. I retreated to the listening room. In what couldn't have been a coincidence, the Roon app's "Discover" function had recommended I play What's Going On, Marvin Gaye's groundbreaking album, released in 1971 by Motown subsidiary Tamla.

John Atkinson, Wes Phillips  |  Aug 07, 2020  |  First Published: Dec 01, 1997  |  13 comments
For the sixth consecutive year, Stereophile has named a select few components as "Products of the Year." By doing so, we intend to give recognition to those components that have proved capable of giving musical pleasure beyond the formal review period.
John Atkinson  |  Jul 24, 2020  |  65 comments
Hi-fi system resolution has long been the cause of heated arguments. But when it comes to converting digital data to an analog signal, there can be no argument. Data go in at one end of a DAC and an analog signal comes out of the other end, with a noise floor directly rated to the combination of the converter's digital and analog resolution. Ever since I started measuring digital products for Stereophile, I have been expressing a D/A processor's effective resolution in terms of the equivalent number of bits.
John Atkinson, Wes Phillips  |  Jul 10, 2020  |  First Published: Dec 01, 1996  |  30 comments
This is the fifth year Stereophile has named a select few components as "Products of the Year." By doing so, we intend to give recognition to those components that have proved capable of giving musical pleasure beyond the formal review period.
John Atkinson  |  Jul 08, 2020  |  First Published: Dec 01, 1996  |  3 comments
If I've read it once in mainstream audio magazines, I've read it a hundred times: "The most important component in a system is the loudspeaker, because it is the loudspeaker that makes the sound." Putting aside the obvious illogic of this statement—that without other components in the playback chain, even the perfect loudspeaker can't make a sound—my experience is that it just is not so. Yes, it is true that changing from one loudspeaker to another makes the greatest overt changes in a system's sound.
John Atkinson  |  Jun 24, 2020  |  26 comments
Canadian audio manufacturer Classé Audio was founded in 1980 by engineer Dave Reich and entrepreneur/audiophile Mike Viglas. The name "Classé" was a pun on the fact that Reich was a firm believer in an amplifier's output stage operating in class-A, where the output devices never turn off (see sidebar). Though the brand was established with the 25Wpc DR-2, the first review of a Classé amplifier to appear in Stereophile, by Larry Greenhill, was of the later DR-3, in December 1985. No fewer than 22 reviews of Classé products are available in our free online archive.
John Atkinson, Wes Phillips  |  Jun 05, 2020  |  First Published: Dec 01, 1995  |  61 comments
This is the fourth year Stereophile has named a select few components as "Products of the Year." By doing so, we intend to give recognition to those components that have proved capable of giving pleasure beyond the formal review period.
John Atkinson  |  May 27, 2020  |  10 comments
Designing Audio Power Amplifiers, Second Edition, by Bob Cordell, Routledge/Focal Press, 2019. 776pp. $160.00, hard cover; $97.95, paperback.

I first met Bob Cordell at clinics he gave at the last audio show Stereophile organized, Home Entertainment 2007, in Manhattan. At those clinics, Bob shared his views on why amplifier measurements are not always good at predicting differences in sound quality. So when I was scheduled to host a seminar—"Amplifiers: Do Measurements Matter?"—at this year's now-canceled AXPONA, Cordell was on the short list of designers I felt would offer valuable insight.

John Atkinson  |  May 22, 2020  |  57 comments
Soon after I took over preparing Stereophile's biannual Recommended Components listing from the magazine's founder, J. Gordon Holt, in 1986, I ran into a problem. With so many products listed, the magazine was running out of the necessary pages to include them all. To solve this problem, I looked at how long a typical product remained on the market before being updated or replaced. The answer was 3–4 years. I therefore implemented a policy that unless one of the magazine's editors or reviewers had continued experience with a product, it would be dropped from Recommended Components after three years.
John Atkinson  |  May 11, 2020  |  29 comments
At the end of April, Adrian Low, the proprietor of Toronto retailer Audio Excellence, asked if he could interview me. "I've been interviewing audio luminaries for some time," Adrian wrote, "partly because I am so interested in how they started, their experiences, and also to share these with fellow audio enthusiasts."

We connected with Skype and, in the two videos embedded below, Adrian and I, along with Jan and Vilip from Audio Excellence, talk about many things connected with my 52 years as an audiophile, my 43 years in audio magazine publishing, and my 33 years at the editorial helm of Stereophile.

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