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Paul’s Posts

PS Audio founder and CEO, Paul McGowan, writes a daily blog: short, informative, fun, often controversial, but always interesting. Subjects range from personal stories, how to setup your system, news of the day, streaming, vinyl, tubes, transistors, loudspeakers, holographic imaging and more. Kind of like the Car Talk of audio. Not much is sacred, and there’s never a sales pitch. Easy to subscribe and even easier to unsubscribe if you wish. Join us.

Computer music 4

Posted 17 hours ago

I fear I have alienated some readers who believe in a NAS for their music systems. I haven’t an axe to grind, and support NAS devices for those versed in setting up network connected systems. Not all of us are so blessed. Me included. And I haven’t any problem with network connected audio, in fact, […]
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NAS bash 16

Posted 1 day ago

I do not use a NAS in my setup and there are several reasons why, but before I do a NAS bash, let’s examine some of the upsides of the device. In yesterday’s post I described a summary of what differentiates NAS from other storage schemes and of those differences, perhaps the two most significant […]
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Finishing up 4

Posted 2 days ago

Finishing up our chain of events to play music from a NAS based on UPnP (Universal Plug and Play) protocols, we discovered the controller displays the library contents sitting in the NAS, which is a network connected hard drive. Let’s imagine we picked the track Layla, by Eric Clapton. That track is actually nothing more than […]
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Yes, master! 6

Posted 3 days ago

Inside every NAS is a computer, and computers need operating systems and programs to run. The program we as music lovers are interested in is called a server, and it does what its name implies. I’ll explain its purpose but first let’s step back and look at our music system as a whole (rather than […]
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Mr. Rogers 11

Posted 4 days ago

Networks are like neighborhoods, each has an address where devices live. Mr. Rogers would be pleased to see things so orderly. If you have a computer, a NAS, a network attached DAC, a router, anything on the network, it too has an address that identifies it, like a house and street number. If you want to […]
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Double edged swords 3

Posted 5 days ago

NAS as storage devices sound pretty perfect from several standpoints, chief among them is isolation. They are not physically attached to a computer, like an external USB drive. Instead, they are isolated by the network cables or WIFI signals that connect them to computers sharing their services. This is a good thing because, as we know, […]
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Doesn’t matter where you are 11

Posted 6 days ago

Now that we understand a NAS (Network Attached Storage) is a computer with an attached hard drive running Linux as an operating system, the next step is to learn what it does and why it’s different than, say, a USB attached hard drive. The simplest explanation of a NAS is found in the first letter […]
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Linux rules the world 9

Posted 1 week ago

You would think that Windows, Microsoft’s ubiquitous operating system, is used by more computers around the world than any other, and you’d be wrong. Windows certainly dominates the desktop PC market, but when we view computers as a whole: phones, tablets, mainframes, servers, appliances, cars, and robots (yes, robots), Microsoft doesn’t hold a candle to Linux. Linux, first […]

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The NAS 8

Posted 1 week ago

A NAS is a Network Attached Storage device; a computer with a hard drive. Most computers have hard drives, so what makes this different? It is dedicated to the task of finding, storing and retrieving files on its hard drive. In addition a NAS is able to announce its presence over a home network and communicate with others sharing that […]
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To NAS or not 17

Posted 1 week ago

That is the question and I figured it might be worth a post or two to explore. The original question posted was this: what’s the sonic difference of using a Mac Mini or a NAS as a server? It’s a very good question, asked often. First, let’s get clear what each is, then we can go […]
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Too much salt 17

Posted 1 week ago

Some stereo systems are so accurate they’re sterile. Others are so euphonic they drip of syrup. And aren’t we all after accurately reproduced, emotionally involving music? I believe it is possible to have both, but attaining that lofty goal remains elusive for many. One of our customers just emailed me suggesting their system “lacked warmth” and hoped our DAC […]
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Take another look 21

Posted 1 week ago

I used to say to myself “I will never own a 4-cylinder engine automobile. Never.” They are weenies, they sound like sewing machines, they struggle to do what’s asked of them, and surely they won’t last long. No, give me a V8, perhaps a 6, but never a 4. And today, 4-cylinder cars are all […]
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Neil Young and streaming 21

Posted 1 week ago

Lawrence Schenbeck, author of two books on music, and our columnist on classical music, is exploring streaming services in his column this month. Aside from a great article, worth reading, I am reminded of something that got under my skin recently; Neil Young and his comments on streaming. I like Young’s music, but am uncomfortable when […]
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Squeezing turnips 9

Posted 1 week ago

If you take a turnip, put it in a vice and squeeze, no blood comes out. In fact, your efforts are rewarded with not much more than mashed turnip pulp which, I learned, holds little sway at a bank. In my newly formed company Infinitizer, circa 1973, I had convinced a local friend to invest […]
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Switched on Bach 11

Posted 2 weeks ago

Early musical synthesizers like the Moog had full piano-like keyboards, but only one key at a time could be pressed. Pianists are accustomed to playing chords using multiple keys and thus live performances of synthesizers were restricted to solo voices. I concluded their limitations were not insurmountable; they could be fixed through clever design. As I […]
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Oscillating 6

Posted 2 weeks ago

Continuing with my story from yesterday’s post on the birth of PS Audio’s original name, Infinitizer, the tale continues in Germany. Less than 6 months after learning from Giorgio Moroder’s engineer how a Moog worked I figured out the design of a voltage controlled oscillator and built 6 of them in a project box with […]
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ELP Concert 11

Posted 2 weeks ago

I fell in love with musical synthesizers at an Emerson Lake and Palmer concert in Munich, June, 1971. The venue was called Cirkus Krone, a theater in the round, and seated high above the stage I witnessed an extraordinary event in rock and roll history. Keith Emerson stood in front of the most magnificent machine I had ever seen. […]
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Changing the world 3

Posted 2 weeks ago

Not too many people know about Infinitizer, the likely first name of PS Audio had it not been for circumstances few of us could have imagined at the time. I have told the story many times of meeting Stan, my cofounder in PS Audio, in 1973. He, a waterbed installer and Audiophile, and me a […]
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Soulfood 23

Posted 2 weeks ago

I asked in yesterday’s post why some get so threatened by ideas that do not jive with their own worldviews and got some great answers. Thanks. Thinking more on the issue of feeling threatened about music’s reproduction, it occurs to me the very nature of music is emotional and perhaps that’s part of the problem. Emotions […]
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Threatening 43

Posted 2 weeks ago

There’s an intriguing dynamic in people; feeling threatened by other beliefs. We just launched the NuWave DSD, a great and economical entry level DAC. No sooner was it released when we get a note from a well known engineer proclaiming DSD a sham, a Sony storage mechanism pulling the wool over unsuspecting eyes. We are told by […]
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Chassis sounds 6

Posted 2 weeks ago

A wire’s outer wrap of insulation or shielding changes the sound of music passing through it. And so too does a chassis, a circuit board’s outer wrap. I mentioned in yesterday’s post, chassis serve many functional duties and a few aesthetic ones as well. What we didn’t discuss is how chassis change sound, and rarely for the […]
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The chassis 22

Posted 3 weeks ago

I have built stereo equipment sans chassis. In fact, most circuits start life without benefit of the outer enclosure, living on a naked circuit or proto board and they sound great. Once work has been completed on a circuit it’s placed into a chassis so it can be used and sold as a package. Chassis have a number […]
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Trade-offs 5

Posted 3 weeks ago

Every problem has multiple solutions, each with their own results. Some solved problems create more, others fewer, none are perfect. I mention this because as designers and engineers the choices we make have consequences both sonically as well as economically. For example, we can solve the problem of too few watts in an amplifier by using […]
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One at a time 12

Posted 3 weeks ago

I was cleaning my office Sunday and that got me thinking about process. When I decide to roll my sleeves up and dig in, it’s big time, not just small changes. And while this works well for a cleanup job, it isn’t always the best practice for stereo systems. We just launched a new operating […]
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No further analysis 14

Posted 3 weeks ago

One of the commenters reacting to the improvements he’s heard with Yale, our latest OS for DirectStream, was: “This is just right. There’s no need for further analysis.” Sure, we can always analyze something further, and sometimes we even succeed in finding greater strengths, more beauty or uncover still more information. But it’s also a wonderful […]
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