Optical is growing throughout the world and diminishing in audio. Optical passed the high-end by.

Paul McGowan:  In yesterday’s post I brought up the subject of the lowly TOSLINK cable, sometimes known as an optical cable. For most of us, this is the worst sounding digital audio interconnect made. Depending on the unit you are connecting to, sample rates are limited to 96kHz and below. Toshiba, the inventor and manufacturer […]

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Why would a heavier gauge power cable make any difference on a preamp?

During the latter half of the 1990′s I was busy with a new preamp design that was more of a personal project than anything for the company.  That project would become, after a number of years, the PCA-2 preamplifier we released after the turn of the millennium, but during the 90′s it was just something […]

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CONFIRMATION BIAS

Paul McGowan Wikipedia describes Confirmation Bias as this: The tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms or supports one’s prior beliefs or values. People display this bias when they select information that supports their views, ignoring contrary information, or when they interpret ambiguous evidence as supporting their existing […]

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It’s true a simple signal path is cleaner and has a better chance at purity than a many-stage device

Forty-something years ago we believed with all our hearts that simple was better. That a single potentiometer in the signal path was the cleanest, purest, best sounding preamplifier anyone could build. Today, we’ve come to understand it was close, yet no cigar. Rarely are things as simple as we would like them to be. We’re happiest […]

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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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BI-WIRING: Ask our editor Neil McCauley

Hello Neil. Can you suggest a practical, intelligent and understandable explanation of the pros and cons of biwiring please? Thanks.  AK Happy to help you Mr.K. I sniffed about a bit and below, written by Paul McGowan is the best I have found so far. Just when you thought I had abandoned everything high-end and […]

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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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Multiple stab wounds

Paul McGowan: I recently enjoyed the latest version of Murder on the Orient Express. I’m certain everyone’s seen at least one version of this Agatha Christie classic but if you haven’t, it’s alright because I won’t tell you who done it. The antagonist in the film is named Mr. Ratchett but his real identity is […]

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The mechanics of evoking emotion through well-crafted stories or poems

Paul McGowan We relate to collections of words because their meaning often generates empathy encouraging emotion: a smile for the happy ending, sadness at the loss of a friend. Music too can evoke emotion: inspiration from Stars and Stripes Forever, melancholy to Moonlight Sonata, a laugh from Yankee Doodle Dandy. But how? How do collections of […]

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SERIOUSLY: Speaker size should match the room

Paul McGowan writes …. This fact or fiction question is an interesting one because the notion of matching speaker size to room dimensions is so ingrained into our culture as to be taken for fact. But, some facts aren’t true no matter how much we want them to be. Here’s the deal. Any size loudspeaker […]

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How these digital wizards manage to pull this off is beyond me.

Paul McGowan writes ….. Just about everything Google does is free. Google search, Docs, Gmail, maps, Earth, and so on. In fact, one of the coolest apps I have ever used is Google Translate. And it’s free. Dining at an Italian, French, or Chinese restaurant and can’t read the menu? Open the app, click on […]

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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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Which would you choose?

Raul Montilla from Puerto Rico sent me a kind note about an interesting experiment from years past. In it, Jack Renner and the engineers from Telarc are said to have recorded the Cleveland Orchestra on both an analog tape recorder and a Soundstream Digital recorder. They then compared the output of the two and all selected the […]

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Do long cables matter?

Paul McGowan writes: Now you’ve gotten your main speaker system in order and imaging properly, according to yesterday’s post, it’s time to think about adding our subwoofer.  Let’s start with a fairly broad overview and then later we can dig down deep. Your subwoofers are going to be placed behind and to the outside of […]

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SATISFACTION: 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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“So, you still rock out,” he said with a touch of incredulity

My office door was open last night just before quitting time. I hardly noticed that James from customer service was grinning at me. “So, you still rock out,” he said with a touch of incredulity. And he was right. I had turned up the volume on my little recording studio monitors as the fingers of keyboardist […]

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