One thing is obvious. A DAC without an integral volume control cannot be used without a preamplifier; either separate or integrated.

Paul McGowan writes: Here’s another thought on the continuing discussion of why a preamp matters in the chain. Perhaps it’s the DAC’s volume control itself. One thing is obvious. A DAC without an integral volume control cannot be used without a preamplifier; either separate or integrated. Thus, when we think of why preamps matter with […]

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PS AUDIO: One of the most difficult to reproduce bits of music is massed strings

Paul McGowan: One of the most difficult to reproduce bits of music is massed strings, whether they be cellos, violas, or violins.  It takes a complete and near perfect chain to get these right and they represent to me the biggest challenge and what I always turn to for the “final test” when designing product. […]

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PSA: Starting small

Paul McGowan writes: I would imagine the canon shots on Tchaikovsky’s 1812 might sound more like the banging of pots on a B&W Zepplin, or a pair of bookshelf speakers. Big music should be honored by full range gear. Conversely, Dave Brubeck, Miles Davis, or Red Norvo sound right at home on small kit. If […]

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PS AUDIO: What is listener fatigue, why does it occur and what is it we can do about it?

Paul McGowan writes: The term “listener fatigue” is something we’re all familiar with and something none of us want.  What is listener fatigue, why does it occur and what is it we can do about it? What’s interesting to me about this subject is there are no measurements, no rules, no clear answers to the […]

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Is it ethical to spend time at your local stereo dealer and then buy online at a lower price?

Paul McGowan Is it ethical to spend time at your local stereo dealer and then buy online at a lower price? This question is at the core of the situation dealers and customers find themselves in today and you might be surprised at Paul’s answer. Watch Now EDITORIAL NOTE: The opinions expressed in the above […]

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That missing element

Paul McGowan Life is often a series of trade-offs. We gain here, lose there, creating tough choices because gains and losses are rarely black and white. Such is the case with headphones for me. On the one hand, they are wonderfully focused sonic microscopes. They offer privacy and intimacy, and their output seamlessly covers the […]

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Component pedigree

Brand and pedigree set expectations. A Mundorf or REL capacitor has more good feelings associated with them than an XYZ capacitor. Yet, that XYZ capacitor might just blow the socks off either brand. The trick, then, is to avoid the manufacturer’s easy way out: choosing a recognizable brand to delight the eye of the customer […]

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