PS AUDIO: “…… let the power amp drive the long cables and don’t stress out the preamp if you can help it.”

Paul McGowan writes: We all know it’s not good to get stressed out, but did you know preamp’s and sources feel the same way? Nothing stresses a preamp or source out more than having to drive an uncomfortable load like a long cable.  Some preamps and sources have better designs than others, but in general, […]

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Computer madness

Paul McGowan writes: Music servers are little more than computers in fancy boxes. So, what’s stopping us from simply buying a computer, installing some software and building our own media server at far lower prices than what we might pay a high-end audio company? Not too much, actually, but it turns out that won’t be […]

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Four letter words

We often joke around PS Audio’s halls that CODE is a four-letter word—especially when there’s a bug. In fact, we use other four-letter words not appropriate for these pages to describe uncooperating code. But, as much as we tongue-in-cheek bash-software code, we also have a deep appreciation for its power as well as its pervasiveness in […]

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Ask The Experts: Directional engineering – what is it and is it important?

Paul McGowan: There are two types of engineering directions if we take a broad stroke view: forward and reverse. Forward engineering might look like engineering a new product from a simple idea from scratch. Reverse engineering would look like the opposite: start with something that already works and take it apart to figure out how […]

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You pull out what appears to be a disposable diaper. What the hell?

What if you had just received your brand new P20 Power Plant, opened its packing box with high expectations of seeing your beautiful new product, but instead found something else: A small package you are asked to open first. Before you unseal the mysterious letter-sized envelope you notice there’s something lumpy inside and now your […]

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PS AUDIO: Just because you can’t measure something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

Paul McGowan writes: Just because you observe something doesn’t mean you understand how to measure and repeat it. We get confused a lot between the observations we make, the measurements we use to try and quantify those observations and the conclusions we draw from it all. For example, when a listener observes a change in […]

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Hearing aids and high-end audio

Paul McGowan writes ….. There are plenty of terms that don’t seem to fit together: literal interpretation, out like a light, self-help group, and my all time favorite, open secret. That said, let me add another: hearing aids for high-end audio. While the two terms together might be a head scratcher, there’s good news ahead. […]

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PS AUDIO: We’ve gone from thirsting for info to drowning in a sea of it.

Paul McGowan writes: In yesterday’s post we we lamented the shift away from the neighborhood dealer who provided our advice, information, opinions and service.  There are a number of reasons why this has taken place and one we’ve not yet touched upon is how we access information and form opinions today – it’s most certainly […]

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I have found myself rather addicted to these informative and entertaining means of consuming words

Podcast is a linguistic blend of two words: iPod and broadcast. It was first coined by British technologist Ben Hammersley and it’s since become somewhat of a household name in the same way tissues became Kleenex. I have found myself rather addicted to these informative and entertaining means of consuming words. My favorites are NPR’s […]

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Sweetening sound

Paul McGowan writes: We’re all looking for audio truth—getting as close to the live event as technically possible. So, why is it we tend to install equipment and systems that offer an artificially sweetened sound? Do we believe all recordings should be lush, romantic, and easy on our ears? Surely that wouldn’t be honest sound. […]

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It would be instructive to master for vinyl but transfer only to digital and compare

My friend and reviewer Michael Fremer loves his iPod when traveling – but he doesn’t think a lot of digital audio – preferring vinyl instead. Here’s what’s interesting: Michael digitally records his favorite music from his turntable and transfers to his iPod.  Indeed, I can attest to the wonderful sound he gets. Does this mean […]

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Do you want to spend a moment on the outer edge pieces …?

Paul McGowan writes: We’ve taken a simplistic look at recordings and shown what’s probably obvious to most – that recording and reproducing simple electrical signals like those out of a guitar is rather easy and something we need not question about preserving.  Quite a number of you pointed out that seems like a rather trivial […]

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PS AUDIO: “… Our goal will be to achieve a disappearing act in your living room where you ……”

  Paul McGowan writes: Many of my readers have asked for some setup help in these posts and what works for me is to simply throw one in here and there as the mood strikes. Perhaps one of the most fundamental setup procedures is speaker and listener placement in any given room.  You have to […]

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Why would those of us that love vinyl prefer a vinyl pressing of a digital recording?

So let me ask you a question.  Why would those of us that love vinyl prefer a vinyl pressing of a digital recording? Many new vinyl releases from today’s musician’s are recorded in the studio digitally, as opposed to using an analog tape machine, then mastered and released from analog masters created from the master […]

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PS AUDIO: “So for a moment let’s imagine a digital audio scheme that has no practical limits in loudness”

  Paul McGowan writes: I wrote a long post about a bit of high-end history covering the invention of the separate DAC for high-end audio. I promised another about a future idea that might be interesting. First, a primer. A DAC is a digital to analog converter – its name describing exactly what it does. […]

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Silicon stereo

Digital has been quite a revolution for me. I remember the first time I heard the term email. What was the E in front of mail for? Electronic mail? That’d never go anywhere I thought. If instant communication was email’s goal what was wrong with the telephone? I shook my head and went back to pounding […]

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So … you think you’d hear a difference between the two, do you?

Paul McGowan writes: A recent post got quite a few of you riled up when I suggested a guitar pickup is just as sensitive to transients and subtle details and produces the same “simple” electrical signals we need to record as even a “complex” microphone and exonerated the recording chain from blame in our loss […]

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