John Atkinson

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  |  31 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.

John Atkinson  |  Apr 10, 2020  |  66 comments
In his review of the three-way, active Dutch & Dutch 8c loudspeaker in the August 2019 issue of Stereophile, Kalman Rubinson concluded that "The D&D 8c demonstrates that active, DSP-empowered speakers are the future." I was equally impressed by the 8c's measured performance—a superbly flat on-axis response and an unmatched control of dispersion over the entire audioband—and asked to borrow a pair so I could experience the speakers in my own listening room.
John Atkinson  |  Mar 26, 2020  |  68 comments
The priciest loudspeaker ever to have taken up residence in my listening room was the Akira from German company Tidal Audio (footnote 1), which I reviewed in the November 2018 issue of Stereophile. Designed by Tidal founder and CEO Jörn Janczak, the Akiras cost $215,000/pair! "The sheer resolution of the Akiras continued to astonish me throughout my auditioning," I wrote in my review, concluding that "The Akiras are the best-looking, best-built, best-sounding speakers I have had in my listening room—as they should be at the price."
John Atkinson  |  Feb 25, 2020  |  62 comments
The idea of using digital signal processing (DSP) to convert digital audio data sampled at 44.1kHz or 48kHz to a higher sample rate is not new. I first heard the beneficial effects of upsampling at Stereophile's 1998 hi-fi show in Los Angeles, where a pro-audio dCS 972 digital-to-digital processor was being used to convert 16-bit/44.1kHz CD data to a 24/192 datastream.
John Atkinson  |  Feb 11, 2020  |  First Published: Oct 01, 1991  |  7 comments
Author's Note: Although I started accompanying Stereophile's loudspeaker reviews with measurements soon after I joined the magazine in 1986, it wasn't until 1989, when we acquired an Audio Precision System One electronics analyzer and the then-new MLSSA speaker measurement system from DRA Labs, that I developed the standardized data presentation that is still featured in our reviews more than three decades later. In this article from October 1991, I summarize the results from the first two years of using MLSSA to test 69 loudspeakers.—John Atkinson

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