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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While not as overall full and harmonically rich as some …..

Originally published October 2015 Paul McGowan writes: There’s perhaps nothing more important to the success of a hi fi system than the synergy of its parts. We’ve been discussing how the addition of some preamps help the sound of some DACs; a perfect example of the synergistic quality of parts within a system. The speakers […]

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Funny how daily life can many times mirror the circuitry that runs our high-end systems.

First published November 2015 Paul McGowan writes: 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 […]

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Having enough juice

Paul McGowan writes ….. One of the hotly debated issues amongst designers is current capabilities of an output stage on a DAC or preamplifier.  It’s number 8 on our list of the duties of an output stage.  On the one hand it can be argued that modern interconnects placed between the DAC and the preamplifier […]

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How important are dynamics?

Paul McGowan writes …. My very first pair of high-performance loudspeakers were Magneplanars but the marriage didn’t last long. I soon found myself enamored with a different kind of panel speaker, an electrostat which was so much more revealing than the planar that I made the switch. This added window-like clarity was a result of […]

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Voicing to old ears

Paul McGowan writes …. Many of today’s audio equipment designers are getting on in years. I am a good example as I creep towards 70. Hard to imagine because in my mind I am still about in my mid-30s. Only the occasional look in the mirror proves that thought incorrect. As we age our hearing […]

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Using what we have

Paul McGowan writes …. Most real world home stereo systems are placed in rooms where circumstances permit, not necessarily where they sound best. The last system I had in a home the speakers were on either side of a long couch, their distance determined by the length of the furniture rather than achieving perfect tonal balance. […]

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Our path was not an easy one. Where classic tales of well-funded business plans and successful entrepreneurs might describe a lot of companies, it sure didn’t reflect our own.

Paul McGowan writes: Turning a good idea into a company is not easy. The devil, they say, is in the details; something Stan and I found to be true. In this video, Part II of the History of PS Audio, we learn how two wild-eyed hippie audiophiles turned a phono preamplifier into a business that today […]

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Are cables BS?

Paul McGowan writes: There must not be enough worms crawling around so I figure I’ll just go ahead and open a fresh can. Keeps it fun that way. Why is it we’re convinced we can hear changes in polarity, or MQA vs. non MQA, or the difference between CD and vinyl—but find it hard to accept […]

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Solid state vacuum tubes?

Paul McGowan writes: Most of us like the sound of vacuum tubes on an amplifier’s input: sweet, rich, full-bodied, musical. An equal number aren’t too happy about their downsides: heat, microphonics, size, and the 300-pound gorilla—their ephemeral lifespan. Which is why most customers rejoiced when we began to leverage a solid state equivalent, the FET. […]

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PS Audio: SET down for this one

Paul McGowan writes: One of the quirkier and exotic types of power amplifiers are a tube based product known as a Single Ended Triode or SET for short. A SET is a class A power amp using one output tube, typically a triode, to drive your loudspeaker.  They are generally low power devices with poor […]

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Armchair critics

Paul McGowan writes: It’s easy to ignore–often criticize–the hard won victories of creative people designing leading edge technology. In fact, it’s one of the double edged swords of our abundantly-connected society that empowers readers with just enough information to miss the bigger picture. And this is part of the problem I find in helping unravel the […]

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We wrote the refund check with great glee

Paul McGowan writes: It has always struck me as funny that the holy grail of system setup is for the speakers to disappear.  We know our system has reached the pinnacle of success when we can close our eyes and fail to point out the location of each speaker.  It seems so counter intuitive to […]

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A POINT OF VIEW: Getting connected

Paul McGowan writes ….. Several days ago I promised I’d tell you how I connected the mystery subwoofer to the system and why. The subwoofer is a sealed box powered subwoofer I am auditioning from a local company and it is really an excellent sounding product, easy to seamlessly integrate into the system and as […]

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A POINT OF VIEW: Keeping machines happy

Paul McGowan writes ….. When upsampling programs add bits to digital audio our machines are happier, but there’s no new information to hear, no increase in dynamics to be had. It’s tempting to think otherwise. When you read that an analog tape or vinyl album has been recorded with 24 bits rather than 16, you’re […]

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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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Can’t get no…

Paul McGowan writes: Satisfaction? Don’t feel badly, the Stones apparently couldn’t either. But is satisfaction the end game? And what happens after you achieve it? Are you ready for more? Something better? I don’t know about you, but I tend to categorize my achievements into three groups. The first is short, repetitive tasks with known outcomes, […]

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Designing by ear

Paul McGowan writes: How does someone train themselves to add their ears to the design tool set they use to build equipment and systems?  The answer’s the same as the age old joke about “how do I get to Carnegie Hall?” asked by a lost violinist in New York City.  The answer was “practice, pratice, […]

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One way of explaining high-end audio?

Paul McGowan: The justification for a great music system is the same as for a great instrument: It makes possible a musical experience that cannot be duplicated by lesser means” My friend Jim McCullough who owns the Cello brand sent me that quote which reflect the philosophy his company and its products are based on. […]

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A POINT OF VIEW: Rolling it off

Paul McGowan writes ….. Recently I explained the real problem in using a direct coupled product like a power amp or preamp is not the DC they produce, which is minimal at best, but how these products handle DC from OTHER products.  If the designer has built the classic “DC to light” amplifier,  you risk […]

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I think the answer is that the data, if identical, cannot be different. Therefore, we are looking in the wrong place for our answers.

Paul McGowan writes: My friend Andy sent me this link to the new Samsung 2TB solid state drive that’s smaller than a business card, launched this morning at CES. That’s amazing. A sold state drive capable of storing well over 2000 complete albums–and it’s smaller than a business card. Bit banging. It’s a term used […]

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A POINT OF VIEW: Where’s the music supposed to be?

Paul McGowan writes ….. Visiting audio clubs, dealers, trade shows and people’s homes is illuminating to me.  I am always learning.  Recently I sat in front of a dealer’s high-end demo system and was amazed at how wrong the image was. The entire presentation of the music was between my seating position and the loudspeakers: […]

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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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