John Atkinson

John Atkinson  |  Mar 27, 2019  |  5 comments
As well as live music, the Montreal show offered a full schedule of seminars. Roon's Steve Silberman presented two seminars to packed houses on Saturday on getting the best from the Roon music app and the Roon Nucleus servers, including how to take advantage of the system's powerful DSP engine.
John Atkinson  |  Mar 26, 2019  |  3 comments
"Got a match?" ("Uh-uh")

"It's a fabulous party! . . . Look at all the fabulous people."

"You wanna dance?" ("Yes I'd love to . . .")

"Let's party a little bit." ("All right . . .")

John Atkinson  |  Mar 26, 2019  |  0 comments
What would a Montreal show be without snow? The first day of the Montreal Audio Fest was bright and sunny, but as walked from my sleeping room to the ballroom to continue my reporting on Saturday morning, this is the sight that greeted me. "That's nothing," snorted native Quebeçois! (And I still find it weird to see trees growing on the top of a tower block—show venue the Hotel Bonaventure is 12 floors off the ground.)
John Atkinson  |  Mar 25, 2019  |  6 comments
This one's for Herb Reichert: the booth outside the huge room where Solen Electronique was demming what they described as "The Ultimate Experience" system (CDN$115,435) featured parts and components from Solen and The Parts Connection/Dayton Audio. This box of NOS tubes would have had Herb drooling!
John Atkinson  |  Mar 23, 2019  |  1 comments
I thought I would start my day by exploring the Hotel Bonaventure's ballroom exhibits, and on my way to the Westmont 2 room, where British company PMC was presenting the North American debut of their flagship Fenestria loudspeaker, I heard some unambiguously live harp music, played by the young lady in the photo, Isabeau Corriveau. A great way to start the day and one that emphasized the show's focus on music of every kind.
John Atkinson  |  Mar 22, 2019  |  10 comments
The 2019 Montreal Audio Fest has opened at the Hotel Bonaventure across the street from the city's main railway station and even at the opening time of 11am, there was a long queue at the registration desk. The show, which runs until 8pm tonight, 10am–6pm Saturday, and 10am–5pm Sunday, has a theme celebrating both the Woodstock Festival's 50th anniversary and the 50 years since John Lennon's and Yoko Ono's infamous bed-in in Montreal and the Fab Four's last live concert. I will be covering the show live for Stereophile, along with Robert Schryer and Art Dudley. Stay tuned for our reports.
John Atkinson  |  Mar 19, 2019  |  9 comments
High Performance Loudspeakers: Optimising High Fidelity Loudspeaker Systems, Seventh Edition, by Martin Colloms. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2018. Paperback, 696 pp., $95. Available as an eBook, $79.99.

"Listen to that—that's what I mean by 'cone cry!'"

It was 1979. I'd been taking part in a blind listening test of loudspeakers organized by Martin Colloms (footnote 1) for the British magazine Hi-Fi Choice and, after the formal sessions had ended, had asked Martin to explain something I'd heard. A drive-unit's diaphragm produces cone cry when it resonates at a frequency unconnected with the musical signal it is being asked to produce; we had been using an anechoic recording of a xylophone, and one of the loudspeakers we'd been listening to was blurring the pitches of some of the instrument's notes.

John Atkinson  |  Mar 12, 2019  |  51 comments
The dichotomy between what is measured and what is heard has resurfaced in recent months. Jon Iverson discussed it in his "As We See It" in our December 2018 issue, and I followed up on the subject in my January 2019 "As We See It." These further thoughts were triggered by an e-mail exchange I had last December with Stereophile's longtime copyeditor, Richard Lehnert.
John Atkinson  |  Mar 07, 2019  |  First Published: Nov 01, 1991  |  4 comments
91maggie26rAsk anyone in the street what they think of when they hear the word "loudspeaker" and odds are they'll describe a wooden box with moving-coil drivers sitting in its front. But ask a Stereophile reader and it's quite possible that he or she'll describe a large, flat panel reminiscent of a room divider: in our 1989 reader survey, the most widely represented brand of loudspeaker was Magnepan, with a significant lead over Infinity and Vandersteen, the second and third most common speaker brands. This represents considerable commercial success in a generally conservative marketplace for a company whose products are so different from the norm.
John Atkinson  |  Mar 05, 2019  |  2 comments
It used to be on my commute that I'd see my fellow subway riders listening to music on their iPods with headphones from Beats, Bose, Sennheiser, Sony—and even, occasionally, from Grado. These days, however, iPhones and Android smartphones are ubiquitous, and while I still sometimes see a pair of Beats, many travelers now wear Bluetooth-connected Apple AirPods. I haven't bought a pair of AirPods, so I don't know how they sound, but at $159, I suspect they don't compete with "legitimate" headphones. Even so, I wondered if convenience trumps sound quality when it comes to listening on the move.

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