John Atkinson no longer editor of Stereophile.

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Thouston, Mar 2, 2019.

  1. hammr7

    hammr7 Well-Known Member

    I had priorities! My dad was an audiophile (for everything he could find on big band music). My first musical memory was him with home recordings of everyone he had seen live, from the Dorsey Brothers to the Glenn Miller Band to Duke Ellington. He was tossing old wire recordings because he could no longer take how bad they sounded. within a few years he had me using a solder iron to help him built audio kits.

    As I grew older, of course his equipment was perfect for all the music I loved.

    When I moved out for school I had the money, already owned my car, Had a 500 LP collection, and knew I had too have a good system to play them on. I had moved to Boston which had great radio at the time. I didn't need a TV (my roommate had a nice one), and everything computer related was still a decade or more away.

    It was money wonderfully spent.
  2. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    I don't read review's and then go out and buy a piece of gear.

    I usually read review's when I am already considering purchasing a piece of equipment to see how other's may evaluate it.

    I will also read reviews ot gear that I own or have owned, so that I can see how the review compares to my opinion of it. It also allows me to get an idea about the review's P.O.V. is, because I am already familiar with the equipment being reviewed.
    Fishoutofwater likes this.
  3. Giacomo Belbo

    Giacomo Belbo Journalist for Rolling Stone 1976-1979

    I honestly feel you should consider writing your memoir and then really go wild on the details (I’m really intrigued about who were those 500 records, what you were doing in Boston and what was happening with your girlfriend at the time, but I guess life is tough I will have to wait to get to those details).

  4. Don Parkhurst

    Don Parkhurst Forum Resident

    Vancouver, BC

    Not having ever made a mistake in my life, I find it very hard to relate.
    Doctor Fine and SandAndGlass like this.
  5. PopularChuck

    PopularChuck Forum Resident

    Bay Area
    you've just described about 97 percent of the media landscape. :laugh:
  6. Stone Turntable

    Stone Turntable Dedicated Listener

    New Mexico USA
    The on-topic signal to off-topic noise ratio of this thread measures quite poorly!


    Catching up on the entire discussion just now, I'm surprised that the most contentious issue of John Atkinson's final stretch as editor — going all-in on MQA — hasn't been mentioned once. The pro-MQA coverage continues in the April 2019 issue, in which a detailed review of the Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC/headphone amp detours into rapturous praise of the device's "full hardware unfolding of MQA": "The MQA icon lit up, as did the blue light. The music became louder, deeper, broader, more enveloping, even more dynamic. The soundstage seemed to grow and surround my head..." The digression continues with a detailed guide to finding MQA albums in Tidal's opaque user interface.

    Not that I want to derail the conversation into an MQA mudfight, but Stereophile's ongoing promotion of MQA seems to complicate Atkinson's rep as an unwavering measurement boffin, in the sense that MQA's proprietary black-box with magic-LED technology generally seems to resist any obvious measured objectivist reporting and relies mostly on propounding a lot of technical-sounding conceptual gymnastics and marketing-speak, alongside ecstatic listening reports. (Atkinson's extensive measurements of the Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 accompanying the aforementioned review make no mention of examining MQA.) And when an outsider attempted to measure MQA (I'm thinking of @Archimago's excellent DIY testing of MQA performance) he was greeted with condescension and waved off, while new editor Jim Austin's recent series of articles on MQA did little to demystify the technology or clarify the integrity of the MQA sales pitch IMO.

    Again, I'm not looking for any kind of fight here, but I do think that whether MQA is eventually accepted as a genuine hi-fi innovation, or goes down in flames as embarrassing vaporware bunk, will reflect honorably or badly on Atkinson's tenure and on Jim Austin's prospects for a successful run as his successor.
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2019
  7. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    When a magazine endorses products with substantiating reasons for doing so, the lose credibility.

    They have gotten themselves into a box canyon on the MQA issue. I don't see any redeeming light at the end of the tunnel on this one.
    beowulf and misterdecibel like this.
  8. sonicsstoog

    sonicsstoog New Member

    I love Art and Herb though.
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2019
    Giacomo Belbo likes this.
  9. AudioEnz

    AudioEnz Forum Resident

    I've been reading John Atkinson since the early 1980s when he was a contributor to Hi-Fi News in the UK, a magazine for which he soon became editor. Larry Archibald from Stereophile poached him across the pond to edit the US magazine. While in the UK and while in the USA, Atkinson edited the finest English-language hi-fi magazines in the world. That's some achievement.

    I've been a voracious reader of hi-fi magazines in the past. I've been the publisher and editor of a hi-fi magazine. I've written countless hi-fi reviews over three decades. This gives me quite a different perspective on hi-fi magazines and reviews to most people.

    John Atkinson has always been the gold standard for editors and reviewers in hi-fi publications. He's the one I looked up to the most and the one I tried, as an editor and writer, to emulate the most. We're lucky to have had him around, and for so long.
    SandAndGlass, Bubbamike and macster like this.
  10. Richard Austen

    Richard Austen Forum Resident

    Hong Kong
    You can read Charles Hansen's thoughts on MQA on the critics corner of AudioAsylum - Charlie ran Ayre Acoustics. Unfortunately he passed away recently so the technical fight seems to have ended.
    Anyway here is Charlie's thoughts of Jim Austin's review of MQA

    "This is probably the single most incompetent review I've ever seen in my life. Austin makes so many sub-amateur blunders that it is embarrassing. They are detailed in my lengthy online comment underneath any page of the review:"

    Here is the thread
    Stereophile Reaches a New Nadir - Charles Hansen - Critic's Corner

    I can't help continue to note that the Theta Data Universal is a monstrously bad value and the head of TAS reviewed it while writing for Stereophile. Anyway -

    Cyclone Ranger and Kyhl like this.
  11. Giacomo Belbo

    Giacomo Belbo Journalist for Rolling Stone 1976-1979

    I'm with you. I also don't care much what Herb & Art are writing about (they could comment on washing machines instead of commoditised audio equipment and I would find it equally interesting), it's more the attitude and the writing rather than the content itself. Hopefully the new management is going to keep them around but they have a strong following since Listener and they will always have.

  12. Daedalus

    Daedalus I haven't heard it all.....

    Personally I love to poke fun at Stereophile and their ilk, but I would probably be sad if they collapsed and ceased publication. They help supply a regular report and review on all things audio for the( perhaps dwindling?) number of folks who are interested in equipment, well -recorded music and the quest for the best sound reproduction within what-ever your budget may bear. Of course, I think the reviewers are sometimes in the tank for certain manufacturers because they are predisposed to them or maybe they are rewarded in certain ways by getting price discounts, trips, endless “loans”, meals, ego massage, etc. Same with the mags themselves maybe. Of course I really get tired of the cliche of:” this may be insanely, unreasonably overpriced for no good reason that we can tell, but it really is a bargain because( insert subjective reason) and I bought the review sample”.When I subscribed to Stereophile, I liked Jim Austin’s contributions-he seemed pretty straight to me-the opposite of the “Mikey” guy. I will check them out online which I have not done for a long time. I recall my favorite Sam Tellig trope-“I laugh my evil laugh” or words to that effect......
  13. captwillard

    captwillard Forum Resident

    I would say, that in my book, Ayre products are superior to Audio Note. Quoting Hansen must mean that you feel that way too. Othen than that, I don't see the point that you are trying to make.
  14. murphythecat

    murphythecat Forum Resident

    Will Stereophile still offer measurements of the gear they review?

    room treatment solve problems.
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2019
  15. Kal Rubinson

    Kal Rubinson Forum Resident

    John Atkinson, the new Technical Editor, will continue to test and measure equipment.
    LeeS, Bubbamike, timind and 4 others like this.
  16. Richard Austen

    Richard Austen Forum Resident

    Hong Kong
    Why must I feel that way too. Charlie ain't perfect. But he had his views on what the best sound is and understands the technology of MQA unlike everyone at Steeeophile. For SS sound, Ayre is quite good I must admit.

    If I could have converted their amps from 220v to 110v I would have bought a oower amp from them, but you can't so I didn't.

    I have long been looking for a good preferably class A SS amplifier with no feedback that offers reasonably high power that can drive a 2 ohm load that also doesn't cost too much and that has multivoltage taps and that sounds good.

    As for AN if Peter felt MQA or SS was any good he'd be making it. Unlike most audio companies, cost and selling to a price point doesn't impact their decision making.
  17. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    So would McIntosh and a lot of other company's.

    Most of the world seems to have declined the opportunity to pay them the tribute that they demand.
    Cyclone Ranger likes this.
  18. Archimago

    Archimago Forum Resident

    Mr. Atkinson I believe will be on the wrong side of history when it comes to MQA. He jumped on board the hype too quickly without thinking things through... We all can make these mistakes and IMO there are opportunities to review one's position. I hope in the days ahead he might rethink his endorsement and consider the impact (and IMO damage) the whole MQA affair has done to the credibility of Stereophile, the mainstream press, and audiophilia as a whole.

    Nonetheless, I do appreciate what he has done for Stereophile in keeping the magazine alive over the years. His measurements and comments accompanying them at times threw appropriate cold water on highly suspect subjective descriptions. Some have called these reviews "schizophrenic" but I think it's just an appropriate balance that's needed given the limitations of being human, of our idiosyncrasies, and ability to be emotionally biased.

    It marks an unfortunate last few years of his tenure as Editor; but I'm sure this controversy spurred many clicks and eyeballs on magazine pages! I do wish Jim Austin well in continuing the magazine...

    (Yeah, no need to degenerate this thread into another MQA battlezone... Plenty of those threads around. :wantsome:)
  19. captwillard

    captwillard Forum Resident

    Well, you didn't quote Peter, did you? If Ayre felt that tubes were better, they would have made components with them.
  20. TheVinylAddict

    TheVinylAddict ___The Enforcer___

    180 degrees here --- if I don't make a few mistakes a day, then I most likely didn't get out of bed --- then again not getting out of bed was probably a mistake too,, or at the very least one I made the night before! :)

    The day I stop making mistakes is the day I am pushin' up daisies!
    Don Parkhurst and SandAndGlass like this.
  21. cdash99

    cdash99 Forum Resident

    Has anyone received their May issue? ZINIO drops like clockwork at the beginning of the month and I’ve seen nothing to date.

    I went onto the stereophile web page and the two lead articles were reposts taken from reviews in the 90’s. Have print subscribers received the new issue?
  22. 5-String

    5-String Forum Resident

    Sunshine State
    No, I was wondering about this too.
  23. Kal Rubinson

    Kal Rubinson Forum Resident

    What is on the website is not directly correlated with what is in the printed magazine. What you are seeing is a continuing effort to make available older reviews.
  24. cdash99

    cdash99 Forum Resident

    Kal, thank you for your reply, as well as your overall writing.

    Related to the other portion of my earlier post, do you have any insight into possible changes in the publishing schedule? Normally I’d see the download pop up on my iPad no later than the 3rd or 4th of the month. Thanks again.
  25. Kal Rubinson

    Kal Rubinson Forum Resident

    I have no insight into such things other than what I observe (much as you do). I use the Zino app only as my archive.

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