John Atkinson

John Atkinson  |  May 19, 2021  |  16 comments
2020 may not have been a year to celebrate, but there were some housebound highlights. For example, after I had finished with the measurements to accompany Michael Fremer's review of the Marten Oscar Duo in the November 2020 issue, I set up these Swedish two-way standmounts in my own listening room. Yes, the measured performance was excellent, but I was not expecting how much I would enjoy the sound of the Oscar Duos.
John Atkinson  |  Apr 19, 2021  |  First Published: May 01, 2021  |  27 comments
Stereophile has reviewed two somewhat controversial products in recent issues. The Italian Grandinote Shinai integrated amplifier, which Robert Schryer wrote about in November 2020 is a solid-state design but with an output stage that resembles that of a typical push-pull tube amplifier. Falcon's "Gold Badge" edition of the BBC-designed LS3/5a minimonitor, which Herb Reichert reviewed in April 2021, is a re-engineered version of a design that will soon be celebrating its 50th birthday.
John Atkinson  |  Mar 26, 2021  |  37 comments
Time for some towers. In recent months, a succession of standmount speakers has passed through my listening room: GoldenEar BRXes, Bowers & Wilkins 705 Signatures, Marten Oscar Duos, original KEF LS50s, and the new LS50 Metas. All these loudspeakers sounded excellent, though different from one another. I felt that a floorstanding loudspeaker would make for an interesting change.
John Atkinson  |  Mar 13, 2021  |  31 comments
Back in 2013, I took the train to Stamford to give a presentation to the Connecticut Audio Society to help celebrate their 30th anniversary. On March 6 I returned to the CAS, but this time via Zoom. I talked about a subject close to my heart: measurements and their connections with accuracy and/or musical enjoyment. The video is now posted to the CAS YouTube channel—it runs for 2+ hours but I think Stereophile readers will find what I had to say stimulating, perhaps even sometimes controversial.

My presentation takes up the first 21 minutes and is followed by a Q&A with the CAS members. (Great questions, guys!) At 1:18:00 I give a tour of my listening room, where two of my cats decide to make a cameo appearance.

John Atkinson  |  Feb 24, 2021  |  11 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  |  5 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.

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