Author Topic: John Atkinson stepping down as Editor of Stereophile Magazine  (Read 755 times)

Offline Nick B

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Re: John Atkinson stepping down as Editor of Stereophile Magazine
« Reply #15 on: February 12, 2020, 11:17:17 PM »

I don't think it has anything to do with the way the tests are run. Audio appears to be a field where DBT as we know them simply don't work at all.
To run a double blind test properly can take hours to arrive at a conclusive single answer.  We learned this back in the 80ís when the engineering staff at the recording studio I worked at decided to optimize the gear we had.  That is what happens when there isnít a ton of money to be able to buy ďbetterĒ gear.  The old POOGE process in application.

The impetus:  we had an Otari 1/2Ē 30 ips mastering recorder that blew up the power supply.  The four of us that had worked with it for years absolutely knew that machine inside out concerning sonics.  A replacement power supply was over $1K back then, but worse yet getting one was at least a month out due to the shortage of two generation old technology.  The option was to repair the power supply.  When I tore the power supply down it was obvious that some of the components were minimal at best.  I replaced the smoked transformer with the only one I could find quickly with one that had twice the current capability.  The diodes that the TX took with it in its death throes were replaced with newer higher current versions. Smoked resistors were replaced with 10W wirewounds.  Filter caps were doubled in capacity because I found them at Sandis National Labs salvage for pennies on the dollar - again it was what I could find.  Rebuild took a week.  When we did the cross our fingers test all of us were astounded at the improvement in SQ of that machine playing back our Reference Standard tapes.  That is when we decided to begin upgrading the essential gear we had when possible.

We opted to use the jury method of auditioning parts and pieces to be used to upgrade the equipment.  It didnít take us long to determine that in order to achieve 90%+ repeatability in selection meant spending time doing extended listening to choose the best parts, from caps to opamps and transistors, etc.

Why?

Simple.  Performance anxiety induced by making forced, hasty decisions.  One of the techs designed and built a random selection switch that was a choice of three.  It was the first ABX comparator any of us had seen.  When a test subject has time to leisurely do multiple comparisons with the opportunity to take breaks to prevent ear fatigue, all of us were able to independently determine the best sounding parts with repeatability and unanimity in selection as to what was best.

Total upgrade took a year.  From the original Otari victim through the outboard gear and finally the mixing desk...

The first Sara K GYPSY ALLEY album that got her a Chesky contract (another sordid story) was recorded on that gear.  The MCI JH16 2Ē multitrack recordings were mastered on a shitty Sony U-matic 14-bit (14 bits on a good day) digital recorder.  Even so, it still stands as a decent recording from the dawn of digital.

TMSAISTI...

Great story, Dave, about the inadvertent parts upgrade. I was wondering if that may have put you on the path to developing products like the Uber. The comment about audio performance anxiety rang true with me. Itís happened a number of times where our old audio group would do a very quick a/b. Then weíd sometimes get the comments like YOU canít hear THAT? Nope, sometimes it takes me a bit longer to hear if thereís a difference at all....
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Offline rollo

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Re: John Atkinson stepping down as Editor of Stereophile Magazine
« Reply #16 on: February 13, 2020, 08:45:10 AM »
  Nick I as well have a beef with JA over measurements of the Aqua Formula DAC. Many many sold and the buyers LOVE the sound. Same with Border Patrol DAC. Numerous units sold. Voicing is also an accepted means of music reproduction. IMHO that subject is the real reason. There have been complaints.  :roll:

charles

Charles,
I had no idea that one of your favorite dacs measured bad. Iím fine with measurements, but ultimately how does the thing sound when itís in my home. One of the guys here, maybe Doug, mentioned the detailed measurements that are done over at audiosciencereview and I do read some of the articles and check out the graphs. Fascinating stuff and nicely done.
Nick


  It is not that is measured "Bad". It did not match the measurements of of others. To be frank against the "Others" which I have heard no contest. The perfect measurement DACs were bright, lean and over detailed. The Aqua line just sounds correct. Meaning timbre, tonality and harmonics.
 
charles
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Offline doug s.

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Re: John Atkinson stepping down as Editor of Stereophile Magazine
« Reply #17 on: February 13, 2020, 10:37:40 AM »
while i've always appreciated measurements. i appreciate even more this quote:
"If it measures good and sounds bad, -- it is bad. If it sounds good and measures bad, -- you've measured the wrong thing."
- Daniel R. von Recklinghausen,
former Chief Research Engineer, H.H. Scott, 1946-1966
former Vice President of Research and Development for KLH, from 1975 (where he designed the emit tweeter, among other things)

interestingly enough, mr. atkinson stated this, in a 1992 article, regarding the "If it sounds good and measures bad, you've measured the wrong thing.":
"If one motto could sum up this magazine's philosophy, this would be it."
however, he then goes on to basically disagree w/that statement in the rest of the article.
https://www.stereophile.com/content/if-it-sounds-good

doug s.

Offline dBe

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Re: John Atkinson stepping down as Editor of Stereophile Magazine
« Reply #18 on: February 13, 2020, 08:02:35 PM »


Great story, Dave, about the inadvertent parts upgrade. I was wondering if that may have put you on the path to developing products like the Uber. The comment about audio performance anxiety rang true with me. Itís happened a number of times where our old audio group would do a very quick a/b. Then weíd sometimes get the comments like YOU canít hear THAT? Nope, sometimes it takes me a bit longer to hear if thereís a difference at all....
It was the beginning of the realization of two things:

Commercial gear is designed as much by accountants as it is by qualified engineers.

The power supply is the heart of a great piece of gear...

Which leads to power treatment.  The logical progression.   :thumb:
« Last Edit: February 13, 2020, 08:20:49 PM by dBe »