PS Audio: Why should you have to pay?

Paul McGowan: On the PS Community Forums we’ve been discussing a new product to serve music and how that product gained some features that not everyone agrees with: specifically a headphone amplifier.  The question asked is “why should I be required to pay for a feature I don’t want?”  This is an age old question […]

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Treating the room or the speakers?

Paul McGowan: The main listening room at PS Audio is approximately 16 feet wide by 35 feet long – not a huge room but not too small either.  Left bare and with nothing more than just the loudspeakers and equipment to power them in place, the room is an OK venue for sound reproduction. Add […]

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PS Audio: Smaller is better

  Paul McGowan writes: Boy, that sounds like a no-win claim.  🙂  In the case of a transformer, however, bigger is always better relative to what the designer is trying to accomplish from the viewpoint of power delivery at a certain frequency – at least from a sonic standpoint that’s true. Years ago we pioneered […]

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The sample and hold circuit

Paul McGowan: One of the basic elements in an Analog to Digital Converter is called a Sample and Hold Circuit.  Like the name implies, this circuit takes a sample of the incoming AC, holds that sample steady until the conversion circuit has time to turn the sample into a number (a word).  It’s really quite […]

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PS Audio: Listening without crossovers

Paul McGowan writes: Most loudspeakers have crossovers.  I am hard pressed to think of a full range loudspeaker that doesn’t.  I know they exist, but ….. The crossover is a filter network that makes sure the tweeter and woofer (and midrange) play only what they are supposed to play.  But you can imagine that any […]

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What if no one was there?

Paul McGowan: I figure there’s perhaps 100,000 Audiophiles in the world.  700 or so of them read this daily post I write. I often wonder if it makes sense to write something that most people will not read. I guess it’s the same basic question philosophers have been asking for centuries: if a tree falls […]

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The answer to this puzzle is interesting. The number does not describe the size of the wire, but the number of process needed to get it there

Paul McGowan: When it comes to wire sizes, numbers are confusing. Take for example our power cords. Our lowest cost power cable is based on 12 gauge wire, the next up 10 gauge, then 8. And from these numbers you’d imagine the size of each power cord is getting smaller, corresponding to the smaller number, […]

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It sounds so good sometimes I want to run out into the hall and grab someone and share it with them. I often do.

Paul McGowan: “How is it that Hi-Fi—or High End Audio—once the domain of doctors and attorneys, celebrated in magazines like Playboy and Esquire, essential element of bachelor-pads and dorm rooms alike, has come to be viewed as the realm of obsessives, a perverse diversion that requires defensiveness on the part of the “victim” of this […]

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Running at the mouth

Sometimes my mouth runs faster than my common sense and caution, research and fact checking are sacrificed for the heat of the moment.  Such was my proclamation that there is no such thing as a stepped staircase waveform at the output of a DAC.  Instead, said I, there are a series of pulses that look […]

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Cables – audiophile snake oil perhaps?

Paul McGowan writes: One of my readers asked a very legitimate question: one that is asked on an ongoing basis and it refers to my post about cables. “Help me here. I do believe a roadblock to a broader appreciation of our hobby is the perception that the high-end audio industry is lubricated with snake […]

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Everything is extremely complex – we just tend to keep it simple so we can grasp it.

Paul McGowan: I am always fascinated by macro views – those all encompassing views of complex interactions we tend to think of as simple and explainable when in reality they are terribly complicated and intertwined.  Let me give you some examples. Ever stop and wonder what the rules and mechanisms of automobile traffic patterns might […]

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We cling to our statements not out of an absolute truth, but out of truth as it has applied to you.

Paul McGowan: We all love to wrap thoughts and conclusions in blankets. It’s our brain’s way of categorizing complex data into chunks that can be more easily managed. But there’s often a downside to this. It can hold us back from experiencing that which is new to us. Silver is always bright, copper is always […]

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Is good enough good enough?

Paul McGowan writes: It sure is easy getting lulled into a routine and forgetting to think about those things that I know so well; but I seem to do it on a regular basis.  Case in point, the difference in cables. I’ve spent literally years designing audio and power cables and trying to gain an […]

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The cheapest tweak

Paul McGowan writes as follows: David Pogue, one of my readers, suggested to me “the cheapest tweak” that he’s ever tried and I thought it might be interesting, this fine Sunday morning, to give this tweak a try if you’re looking for something to do. The tweak concerns extreme toe in of the loudspeakers – […]

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…. are there any differences to be heard between live and recorded? Both are reproduced through an amplified chain.”

Paul McGowan writes: Last night we’re walking by a hotel and through an open window I hear the sound of a live piano. The folks I am with hear the same thing and comment on the fact it’s live. How is it we can tell something is live vs. recorded and reproduced from a distance […]

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It’s academic

Paul McGowan writes: You read the spec sheets of your new speaker. Flat to 17Hz! Brilliant. You wonder how an 8″ driver with a port can do something like that, but then, engineers are magicians. You fire the system up and there’s no low bass. The pipe organ rattles nothing, the notes of keyboards and […]

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Have you ever wondered what recording studio engineers use for monitors?

Paul McGowan: Have you ever wondered what recording studio engineers use for monitors?  I’ll tell you – probably nothing you’d have in your home or system.  For the most part they are anything but high-end. A few loudspeaker manufacturers proudly show us their products in the studios and mastering rooms of the world, but this […]

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The phantom center image

Paul McGowan writes: As part of my promised occasional setup tips, I thought it might be good to go to step two in system setup, where we focus on the phantom center image. Remembering that the goal for proper stereo imaging is two fold: the loudspeakers should disappear and the phantom stage is always behind […]

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Offended? Offended!

Paul McGowan writes: A while back I mentioned John Atkinson’s name and several of my readers were horrified–said they could not trust him–because he had heard a difference on a process that intellectually offended them. Rubbish. Let’s examine this notion. The offending item is the demagnetizing of CDs. I may be thrown out of the […]

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Is good enough, good enough?

Paul McGowan writes: It sure is easy getting lulled into a routine and forgetting to think about those things that I know so well; but I seem to do it on a regular basis.  Case in point, the difference in cables. I’ve spent literally years designing audio and power cables and trying to gain an […]

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Attention all Propeller Heads

Paul McGowan writes: I write a lot about audible differences and in those writings there are opinions and theories as to why certain aspects of what we do have audible effects.  Understanding the why and wherefores of what makes something sound better is important and whenever we can actually measure those changes it’s a great […]

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