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Paul’s Posts

PS Audio founder and CEO, Paul McGowan, takes a few hours each day to write to readers of his daily post series. Subjects range from how to setup your system to helping you understand the complex technical issues of streaming, vinyl, tubes, transistors, loudspeakers, holographic imaging and more. Not much is sacred; there’s no hype or sales pitch. Easy to subscribe and even easier to unsubscribe if you wish. Join us.

Guilty pleasures 6

Posted 12 hours ago

Today is Labor Day in the US and Canada, perhaps other nations as well. I always relax and enjoy myself on this day and that makes me feel guilty. After all, it’s ‘labor’ day and it sounds like we should be laboring, not resting or celebrating. Of course that’s silly, since the day commemorates the […]
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The power of words 19

Posted 1 day ago

Words are powerful. Wars have been started and ended with their use. They convey meaning and, as such, we need to be careful with their use. On our forums, long timer poster Gordon suggested that it’s time to retire the terms ‘analog’ and ‘digital’ when it comes to describing the differences in sound quality in our […]
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What happens … 34

Posted 2 days ago

When there’s no more physical media to play from? No physical media to read books from? Reader Wim Moring of Japan wrote to me suggesting the question. It’s a good one, I ponder it often. Our chief engineer’s kid’s middle school has eliminated all textbooks, issuing iPads to every student instead. I no longer read physical […]
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The problem with better 26

Posted 3 days ago

This post is for those following along in the Music Room One saga. After Arnie Nudell came to reposition and adjust the IRSV system for optimum performance, nothing’s been quite the same since. First it was the preamp. I run the great sounding tube preamp by Aesthetix, the Calypso. Within a week of Arnie’s visit one […]
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Experts 39

Posted 4 days ago

Yesterday I messed up. Offended a lot of people. Got a lot of hate mail. It is interesting what you learn when you ‘go public’ with your thoughts on a regular basis. One of the things I learned is that people believe I put myself up as an expert. I am not sure where and at […]
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Sorry … 44

Posted 5 days ago

In this morning’s post I mistakenly characterized British law as ‘guilty till proven innocent’ and many of you have written expressing outrage at that statement’s inaccuracy. In fact, British law is exactly the opposite. ‘Innocent till proven guilty’ turns out to be a cornerstone of the system. My apologies. Not sure how that got in my […]
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White powdered wigs 19

Posted 5 days ago

In my rudimentary understanding of British law, everyone’s guilty until proven innocent. The opposite seems to be the case in the US, we’re all innocent until proven guilty. That may be a serious oversimplification of the facts but since this post is about audio and not legal mumbo jumbo, it’ll do. These two different mind […]
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Summing it all up 16

Posted 6 days ago

I think one of the major advantages to bi-amping is using different amps: each with their own qualities to add to the mix. I know this runs counter to many people’s opinions, but what the heck. This is mine. Here’s the deal. I designed the active woofer systems for several loudspeaker companies and in each case […]
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If it were me … 43

Posted 1 week ago

If I were designing a loudspeaker system and wanted it not for commercial release but just for myself, I’d bi-amp it or even tri-amp it, using an electronic crossover in front of the amps. Why? Because traditional passive speaker crossovers in a loudspeaker are a compromise relative to what one could achieve with an electronic […]
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Is one enough? 15

Posted 1 week ago

Recently we’ve been chewing the fat on bi-wiring, now it’s time to take it up a notch: bi-amping. Bi-amping is the ultimate bi-wiring. Not only do you have two separate loudspeaker connecting cables, one for the top end and one for the bottom end of the speaker, you also have separate power amplifiers connecting each. […]
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Building cables 25

Posted 1 week ago

If you want to make a decent sounding speaker cable it’s not terribly difficult. Go down to Home Depot and buy yourself a roll of 12/3 Romex cable. Cut two identical lengths and use the one for + (red) and the other length for – (black). Each of the two lengths has three solid core […]
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Mix and match 14

Posted 1 week ago

Yesterday I promised we’d go over one of the significant advantages of  using separate speaker cables for the top and bottom end of the loudspeaker. The practice is known as bi-wiring. The general notion is that by separating the tweeter/midrange signals from the bass signals in separate cables, benefits of isolation are achieved. It’s been […]
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Star wiring 8

Posted 1 week ago

Yesterday I wrote about bi-wiring and shotgun wiring to your loudspeakers. Bi-wire uses a separate high and low loudspeaker cable feeding two separate inputs on your speakers. Shotgun uses two speaker cables in parallel feeding one set of terminals on your speakers. Today let’s touch on bi-wire specifics. If you take two identical speaker cables, […]
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Bi-wire 33

Posted 1 week ago

How daring are you with your system? Have you ever tried to bi-wire it? Bi-wiring means to split the output power from your amplifier into two separate speaker cables: one for the top end and one for the bottom end. You can also tri-wire, of course, but that’s rarely done. So, how important is bi-wiring? […]
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Minority report 43

Posted 1 week ago

In a conversation with a customer over the weekend the question was posed to me: “Do you think it’ll ever be possible to bring high-performance sound to the masses?” The answer to that question is easy: no. But not for technical reasons. ‘The masses’ aren’t typically interested in high-performance sound. It’s a funny twist. I […]
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Musing about music 10

Posted 2 weeks ago

Music fascinates me. I am guessing you’re not much different if you read this column. Sure we all like hardware and playing with the toys but without something to play on the toys there isn’t much point to it. We play music. The word ‘music’ in English comes from the Greek word ‘mousike’ that means […]
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Learning on the fly 15

Posted 2 weeks ago

Yesterday’s post Bleeding Music talked about what I refer to as Bleed Through, where a master tape can magnetize the layers of tape wound tightly around each section above and below, causing a post or pre-echo you can occasionally hear. I included an example of this in the post. That brought a lot of comments. First, apparently […]
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Bleeding music 22

Posted 2 weeks ago

In my post of a few days ago, Steve Hoffman, he mentions on his cheap Henry Mancini CD there’s really good ‘bleed’ that he likes to listen to as a means of evaluating equipment’s ability to resolve small details. Several of you caught that reference and asked me to explain what he meant. ‘Bleed’ refers […]
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Try these 9

Posted 2 weeks ago

Several of you asked me to give you a couple of tracks so you could try flipping the polarity of your speakers (absolute phase) to see if you can hear the differences, as mentioned in the post Oops. There are many, some more obvious than others. Two that I think would be easy and perhaps likely to be in […]
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Steve Hoffman 8

Posted 2 weeks ago

I write much about Audiophiles, high-end audio and music on these posts. It’s what we’re into at PS and happiest when we’re engaged in these activities. Once in a great while we venture outside the realm of high-end audio to the somewhat unfamiliar world of the recording and mastering studios. Cookie Marenco’s Blue Coast label as well […]
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OOPS 39

Posted 2 weeks ago

Bill Low, the head cable guru at Audioquest frequently is a guest poster on Paul’s Post. He sent me this interesting note I wanted to share with you. It concerns our discussion on absolute polarity. My first awareness of the phenomenon was due to the advocacy of Trevor Lees, the Australian who I think marketed […]
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All the vinyl in the world 22

Posted 2 weeks ago

What a wonderful thing to be obsessed with something. At one time in my life I mentally heckled those that were obsessed. I remember one of the pals who lived down the street from me, Mike Meyer. Mike was obsessed with a 1953 MG sports car he got for his 16th birthday. The car was […]
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Wading in deeper 19

Posted 3 weeks ago

In yesterday’s post The beat goes on I shared with you an observation of PCM vs. DSD and how the sound differed: PCM always being a bit more ‘alive’ and ‘energetic’ while DSD being a bit more ‘laid back’ in its presentation. What I appreciated in the observation was the lack of a judgement as to […]
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And the beat goes on … 28

Posted 3 weeks ago

My friend John Darko is a well known reviewer who lives below me in Australia. John’s never been shy with his opinions, something we are all quite happy about, since strong opinions are what make the world a more interesting place to live in. In response to my post Oh boy about the surprising differences between […]
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Absolute phase 32

Posted 3 weeks ago

Absolute phase, or more properly ‘polarity’, has long been a hot topic. The concept is simple. In a stereo system a positive going waveform should result in the speaker driver moving forward, pushing and compressing the air in the room, rather than pulling and decompressing it, on the leading edge of the instrument or vocal […]
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