PS AUDIO: Being safe is easy but uneventful

Paul McGowan writes: Ever notice how we all tend to gravitate towards the safe solution?  It’s something I am certainly consistent with. We are more comfortable following Stereophile’s Recommended Component list (just to be safe), we keep our preamp’s balance control right in the middle (safer, in case we’re wrong), we use the recommended filter […]

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PS AUDIO: Why it matters

Paul McGowan writes: We’ve been focusing on the designer’s choices when building a DAC or a preamp and one of my readers asked a great question: if even a single pot or stepped attenuator has a sonic signature that degrades the music, how is it then possible that the original recording chain can produce good […]

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PS AUDIO: “Traditionalist companies add technology only when forced into it by lagging sales and are dragged along – they too are in the minority”

Paul McGowan writes:  When it comes to implementing or even inventing new technology how does the High-End industry react?  Are we pushed, pulled or dragged? It is different for each company. For example, pushing the latest technology is something PS Audio and a few other forward thinking companies do – we are in the minority.  […]

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PS AUDIO: Unintended consequences

Paul McGowan writes: While enjoying a morning cup of coffee I was reading Art Dudley’s engaging article on his acquisition of an old pair of Altec Lansing loudspeakers in the May issue of Stereophile. In the latter half of the article he tries to tame the Altec horn of its tendency to ring when stimulated […]

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PS AUDIO: Best of both worlds

Paul McGowan writes: If you’ve managed to wade through this series of posts on tubes vs. transistors you’d know that while there are indeed fundamental differences between tubes and transistors that by themselves have a major impact on the sound of equipment using them, there is no single device that really does it all with […]

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Aha! moments

Paul McGowan writes ….. Few things in life are as satisfying as an aha! moment: the solving of a tough problem, the solution to a puzzle, getting your stereo system dialed in. One of the more common aha! moments for people is when they try easing up on speaker toe in. Most speakers don’t want […]

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Dopamine anyone?

Paul McGowan: My friend Robert sent me a link to a great article on how music affects the brain in the New York Times.  It’s well worth the read should you be as interested in the subject as I am. What it shows is the same mechanisms at work we use for figuring out all […]

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PS AUDIO: Do you treat the room or the system? The cause or the effect? The illness or the symptoms?

Our quick response to these questions would be to treat the cause rather than the symptoms – we’ve seen many examples of this in our lives and intuitively the answer seems obvious – but does it apply to our rooms? Should we be running digital correction, processors, equalizers to force our systems to work within […]

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Horn loudspeakers: “The next track was a female vocalist. I was equally stunned because this sounded so unnatural as to be unnerving.”

A lot of people love the sound of horns.  I am not one of them.I do love some of the qualities they present: high efficiency, terrific dynamic range, dynamic contrasts and great transient speed. I do not love their tonal characteristics.  Cup your hands around your mouth and speak – this is what horns do […]

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If you have to ask …..

We’re discussing audio blocking capacitors; elements in the signal path that our music has to run through to get to our ears.  These capacitors block DC and let AC pass through – AC being the essential element of music – DC is needed for things to work but we do not want it in our […]

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Most of us are familiar with the concept of mechanically isolating our equipment from vibrations; but do you know why it’s important?

Microphonics.  Certainly not the only reason, but clearly the most important.  Microphonics is the tendency of something to act like a microphone; picking up and reproducing sounds it “hears”. The sound producer is, of course, our loudspeakers – which is why headphones and their associated equipment are far less sensitive and needful of vibration dampers. […]

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PS AUDIO: A rose is a rose ……..

Paul McGowan writes: There’s increasing evidence that rhymes, poems, meter and cadence in stories were created not because they are beautiful but because they helped us keep the words straight before the advent of written language.  It is how our civilization kept important lessons, histories, messages and stories intact without writing anything down. Imagine any […]

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I wonder how many concepts we take for granted were born out of this very same process?

There appears to be an increasing customer frustration level in all sectors of business towards errors in products and services, reported through customer feedback, and the company’s response time to fix those errors. Customer expectation levels for faster error correction, perhaps even elimination of errors, appear to be rising exponentially. Here’s the interesting thing: all […]

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THD less than audibility. Now there’s a spec I can live with

Zero calories? Went to cook some scrambled eggs this morning and first sprayed the pan with one of those spray oils. Always conscious of my weight I checked the calorie content: zero.  Zero?  Really?  It is, after all, oil and oil is NOT zero calories. Turns out the agency that regulates the measurement standards has […]

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PS AUDIO: Getting audio satisfaction – it’s all about the mindset.

Paul McGowan: One of our readers made an interesting observation.  He writes: “selecting a record, cleaning that record, clamping the record, starting the motor, cleaning the stylus, cueing up the cartridge and sitting down to listen prepared me to listen in a way that a few mouse clicks or screen taps doesn’t.  I’d made a […]

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I wonder how many concepts we take for granted were born out of this very same process?

In the early 70′s Stan (The “S” in PS) and I only made phono preamplifiers. They had no controls, just a turntable input and a set of RCA outputs. Designed to go into the auxiliary inputs of the user’s preamplifier. But that was never how we used it. It was impossible for us to design […]

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