UNDERSTANDING: Balancing EQ and ketchup

PS AUDIO / Paul McGowan In just about every commercial recording studio in the world, (and most every recording you hear) the practice of EQ’ing is commonplace: correcting problems like unwanted background noise, microphone imbalances, and other anomalies that affect the clarity and quality of sound. Unfortunately, like ketchup, salt, pepper, and other condiments, it […]

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HELIUS DESIGNS: in conversation with Howard Popeck – part two

Geoffrey ….. When it comes to listening to what you’ve designed, do you worry that you can find yourself liking something which is actually wrong? How do you keep yourself on track? In the context of tonearms it’s difficult to imagine what I could do to make it sound ‘wrong’. This part of the system […]

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AUDIO INSIDER

CARTRIDGES: The strain gauge

For some strange reason, I have been thinking about the strain gauge phono cartridge. And, here’s the weird thing. I have never heard one. What’s interesting to me about this strange beast is how different it is from your conventional phono cartridge. I am always fascinated by truly different. Most phono cartridges are generators. They […]

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AUDIO INSIDER

The phono cartridge controversy continues

When I wrote about my memories of the strain gauge cartridge it was presented as mere ramblings. Since that post, there’s been a swirl of controversy and questions. Who knew? One question, in particular, revolved around the cartridge’s supposed disregard for the need of the RIAA curve. Several among you, including my friend Richard Murrison, questioned the […]

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UNDERSTANDING: Timbre

PS AUDIO / Paul McGowan: Musical timbre is the term we use to describe the sonic qualities that distinguish one instrument or voice from another. It’s a complex and subjective quality that includes the harmonic content (the collection of overtones), the attack and decay of the sound, and the envelope of the sound (the pattern […]

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HELIUS DESIGNS: Magic Pebbles, an explanation of tonearm bias and …

In my first article, I wrote about those wizened beings who occasionally materialise from the ether, intent on stretching the boundaries of plausibility with their over-active imaginations. These people would have us believe that a generous sprinkling of their particular flavour of fairy dust on your hi-fi will transport it to the realms of godliness. […]

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AUDIO INSIDER

ANALOGUE: Is it soft?

Paul McGowan / PS AUDIO When we think of the analog sound we’re inevitably referencing a reproduction. This is because we experience analog sound through our stereo systems which, of course, are reproduction playback systems. And every analog reproduction is either captured on vinyl or magnetic tape. This of course means everything we associate with […]

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HELIUS DESIGNS: Geoffrey Owen, founder, owner and senior design engineer writes about the 1983 Orion tone arm

The trouble with being an engineer is that one is born with a natural tendency to look at the world through critical eyes and consider how differently you might have designed the things around you had been have been given the job. But then, if ever you feel inclined to prompt such a discussion, most […]

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CELESTION LOUDSPEAKERS HUNDREDS OF PAIRS FOR SALE. If ever a defunct English brand needed reviving, then CELESTION is it. Don’t hold your breath though! Meanwhile, feast your eyes on this lot!

THE PUBLISHERS DO NOT VOUCH FOR ANY CONTENTS HERE.THE LISTING YOU ARE ABOUT TO VISIT MAY BE A SCAM. PLEASE BE CAREFUL —//— DITTON 66 … https://www.ukaudiomart.com/details/649908435-celestion-ditton-66/ DITTON 66 … https://www.gumtree.com/p/speakers/celestion-ditton-66-speakers-classic-vintage-design/1451655338 SL600 SI … https://www.gumtree.com/p/speakers/celestion-sl600-si-speakers-matched-pair-with-stands-/1451732987 5000 … https://www.hifi-forsale.co.uk/moreinfo.php?prod_title=Celestion_5000&p=standspeaker&prod_id=93868&offset= A1 … https://www.hifi-forsale.co.uk/moreinfo.php?prod_title=Celestion_A1&p=standspeaker&prod_id=109044&offset= C3 … https://www.gumtree.com/p/home-cinema/celestion-c3-speakers-/1450899652 DITTON 15XR … https://www.gumtree.com/p/speakers/celestion-ditton-15-xr-speakers/1443190517 V30 DRIVER … https://www.marktplaats.nl/v/audio-tv-en-foto/luidsprekers/m1847901359-celestion-v-30-speaker-16-ohm CS4 … https://www.marktplaats.nl/v/audio-tv-en-foto/luidsprekers/m1846386165-celestion-cs-4 […]

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TONE CONTROLS: What happened?

Paul McGowan writes: So, whatever happened to tone controls?  You know, the bass and treble boost/cut controls that used to adorn just about every 1950 and 1960′s era preamplifier? They fell out of fashion in the 1970′s because purists didn’t want them.  The analog audio path must be absolutely pure. They fell back into fashion […]

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TECHNICAL: Popping noise on turn off

Q: Hello Colin. The unit in question is a Lafayette 4 channel decoder. When turning off my system, there is a popping noise from the rear speakers unless I turn the volume down on the decoder first (I’m only using the rear outputs). I’d like to eliminate the problem. I’ve searched bypass capacitor and coupling […]

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MAINS TRANSFORMERS: Step-down transformers with unchanged mains frequency?

Hi Colin, Pls can you help me? Can I safely run a USA spec amp designed for 110v 60Hz in the UK on 240v 50Hz, with a step down transformer (but it will still be 50Hz). So many conflicting views across the web. I think a lot of people believe it can work ok the […]

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AUDIO INSIDER

COMPRESSING SOUND: In recordings, it is quite common for an engineer to use a compressor to better fit dynamics. Especially those of a …..

I like to imagine the art of compression is like the proper setup of a subwoofer. Properly done you shouldn’t notice it is there. Unfortunately, that’s not the norm. So many of today’s recordings have enough compression on the voice that we hear it: the singer gets loud but the sound level does not. Another […]

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OUTPUT TRANSISTORS: What is it that causes them to blow?

Dear Colin, Generally speaking, what is it that causes output transistors to blow? Do they tend to die a natural death? Bad drivers? Emitters? Problems with the rectifier circuit? Assuming there wasn’t shorted speaker wires or excessive moisture. The amp bias and the +/-77 voltage was fine before they blew. It happened on power up. […]

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AUDIO INSIDER

TONE ARM EFFECTIVE MASS: A cogent, scientifically based and rational explanation

Howard Popeck asked Geoffrey Owen, the driving force behind Helius Designs if he could and indeed would find the time to explain the reality behind effective mass and – in so doing – confound the misinformation, disinformation and scientific ignorance that clouds so many discussions of this topic. As an aside and somewhat mischievously, Howard […]

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AUDIO INSIDER

SPECIFICALLY: McIntosh transformers

PAUL McGOWAN: A recent post covered output transformers on tube power amplifiers and why they were needed.  It also covered the fact that IMHO transformers are the last thing I would add to the output stage of a solid state power amplifier because output transformers like this contribute so much to the sound quality of […]

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STAR EARTHING: What is it and what’s the point?

Hello Howard. Can you ask Colin please what is star earthing and does he / will he using it in his new designs? Ta muchly J.N Peterson {Colin} Dear J.N.Peterson star earthing should be used in all analog designs, that is a single zero or earth for every component on the circuit board and normally […]

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AUDIO INSIDER

SOME MAKERS WILL HATE THIS: How does one measure the differences between amplifiers when they clearly sound different?

How does one measure the differences between amplifiers when they clearly sound different? The first and simplest measurements are frequency response and noise levels: frequency response shows us that everything we put in makes it through to the output and noise levels are an obvious thing to measure so we don’t have hiss. Fancier measurements […]

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POWER LINES: The dedicated ones

Paul McGowan: If you’re serious about building a high-performance audio system you have to pay attention to the AC power. It’s a constant theme with me because power is the foundation of our systems. There aren’t many great structures standing on weak foundations. Power Plants solve many problems but they need a head start. One […]

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BATTLE OF THE BOXES

PS AUDIO / Paul McGowan In my post about Dr. Suess and HiFi, I mentioned the work on loudspeaker enclosures by British engineer Leslie Bucknell while at the company my father worked for, Stromberg Carlson. Bucknell’s approach to loudspeaker design was to create a speaker enclosure that would eliminate distortions that occur because of cancellations […]

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