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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.

Do you share? 5

Posted 4 hours ago

It cannot just be me that wants to share every time I find something new and wonderful. I believe it must be human nature. I get a new album, find a cut that sounds stellar and my first thought is to grab someone else and share it with them. Last night I watched prisoner 24601 […]
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Driving wedges 8

Posted 1 day ago

In response to yesterday’s post Separates reader Chris Foreman commented: These smaller companies made one thing but did it really well and drove a wedge into the market share of the giants who didn’t have the talent or the budget to keep up in all of these product categories. This is a classic story repeated […]
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Separates 13

Posted 2 days ago

Where did the idea of separates come from? Planned or piecemeal? We started with all in ones: radios with speakers, consoles with turntables, complete systems. And then along came the separates, tearing apart the integrateds. The first separate I was aware of came from my father’s system. He had a separate tuner, turntable, amplifier and preamplifier. […]
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Comparisons 10

Posted 3 days ago

The day before yesterday I spoke at the Pacific Northwest Audio Society near Seattle and played Sprout as the main system. Sprout powered a set of Genesis 7.2s filling the large room with ease. The sound was wonderful and little Sprout got an ovation at the end. Go Sprout go! And yesterday I was in the […]
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Technology Train 15

Posted 4 days ago

MQA is coming, so too is Tidal, and then there’s the latest DAC, the brightest new invention. What wonders will we have tomorrow? Better wait, it’ll soon be a whole new world. The pace of technology speeds by us like a freight train; we wonder when the best time to jump on board might be. Oh […]
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This evening 17

Posted 5 days ago

This morning I am on a plane to Seattle and will be speaking to the Pacific Northwest Audio Society in Kirkland at 7 pm. Kirkland has to be the hometown of the Cosco brand of the same name, or at least I suppose it is. I’ll be bringing with me a Sprout which just appeared on […]
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Palpable 7

Posted 6 days ago

The dictionary defines Palpable as “so intense as to be almost touched or felt” and it’s a great word to describe that which sometimes eludes us in our stereo systems; but elicits ecstasy when we find it. Evaluating music, equipment, or tweaks by listening involves many different parameters and a great deal of focus. Listeners […]
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Error budgets 17

Posted 1 week ago

In response to my post of a few days ago, New Paths, reviewer Tony Cordesman wrote a brief essay on the subject I thought illuminating. “I never could figure out if Ivor was simply a con artist or really believed that first in the chain argument. It never made the slightest sense in terms of basic analytic modeling, […]
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What we don’t know does hurt us 17

Posted 1 week ago

It’s easy to know when something’s missing, but only if you had it in the first place. Imagine living in a remote village on the banks of a small stream. Neither you nor anyone in the community gave much thought to the stream; it was never enough to matter much. One day the stream level rose until […]
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New paths 6

Posted 1 week ago

I have been doing a lot of learning lately, yet it is a strange kind of education, one that is changing my worldview of the system hierarchy without providing a solid foothold to stand on. That type of learning is unnerving to me. I am comfortable with the importance of the source in the chain of reproduction […]
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Live 53

Posted 1 week ago

Terri and I attended a wonderful concert last night with great jazz players. The performance was minimally miked and properly done. Yet it did not sound live and I found myself missing my stereo system and wondering how a recording of this very performance would have sounded. When a live performance does not fit my […]
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Feeding transistors 0

Posted 1 week ago

The care and feeding of our friend the transistor is an art; many spend their lives learning it and all that is entailed. In yesterday’s post I showed a cascode circuit consisting of two such devices needing to be fed. This subject came up when those watching our new video series on the BHK amplifier heard […]
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Mirrored performance 6

Posted 1 week ago

I promised in yesterday’s post to explain more of a cascode and how it works. We use a cascode when we need to divide the duties of one transistor into two. The reasons are varied: too much voltage for the one, poor performance characteristics, we want a different sound. In the case of the new […]
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Cascode magic 1

Posted 1 week ago

In Bascom H. King’s video of the new BHK amplifier he talks about a cascode circuit, near the end of that film and several of you have asked me to expand on the subject. The first time I remember learning about a cascode was from the designer of another PS Audio amplifier, Bob Odell, or, as we […]
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Wizards 28

Posted 2 weeks ago

The 1939 MGM version of L. Frank Baum’s, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz aired each Thanksgiving when I was growing up and it never failed to scare me. Margret Hamilton’s character, the Wicked Witch of the West gave me nightmares, her squad of flying monkeys haunted me for days and her guard’s singing the Winkie […]
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Saturday videos 11

Posted 2 weeks ago

No, I don’t have videos of the Super Bowl, scenic wonders, spectacular feats of excess. I do have the complete video series of the world premier of the BHK Signature power amplifier finished; surely a close second. There’s a little less than one hour of video and I have broken it into three presentations: my […]
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Engineering fun 14

Posted 2 weeks ago

I often wonder how many of us equate the words “fun’ with “engineering”? Like any job there is drudgery, but fun moments as well: initial design phase, laying out the basic building blocks of a product, that eureka moment. In lengthy discussions with the designer of our next generation of preamplifier, Bascom H. King, we decided to move […]
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Dr. AIX 35

Posted 2 weeks ago

Life’s funny sometimes. Mark Waldrep, aka Dr. AIX, from AIX Records, and I haven’t always agreed. Mark too writes a daily blog and he likes to poke me in the ribs from time to time, which makes me smile. I am delighted he writes his blog and have always encouraged him to continue. Yesterday he […]
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Cynics and Tidal 23

Posted 2 weeks ago

The cynic in me wonders what’s really behind the new streaming music service called Tidal. Click this link to read a New York Times article describing how a dozen of the wealthiest musicians own the service, though it was purchased by just one; Shawn Carter (the rapper Jay-Z). Perhaps the others lay claim to ownership in the same way my […]
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So many choices 3

Posted 2 weeks ago

Have you ever considered how many choices we have in just our small niche of the market? The number is so great it makes my head spin. I write this because while attending the Montreal HiFi show we had a wonderful sounding room using Neat SX1 loudspeakers from the UK and Kimber Kables from the […]
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It all matters 17

Posted 2 weeks ago

My friend, George Louis, the Polarity Pundit, with all due respect to Einstein’s famous quote, said: There are only two things that don’t affect the sound of an audio system: the brand of batteries in the remote control and whether or not you’re wearing a digital watch, but I’m not sure about the latter. This statement may be […]
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Tiny vs. huge 0

Posted 3 weeks ago

One of the worst and best things that’s happened to passive components used in stereo equipment is the surface mount part. These tiny bits of silicon, plastic and metal are used to form the transistors, diodes, capacitors and resistors used in modern equipment. Before surface mount there were through hole parts and the differences between the […]
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2400 year advice 9

Posted 3 weeks ago

Every piece in an amp, preamp, DAC or link in the music reproduction chain matters; even the chassis itself. To believe otherwise ignores Aristotle’s insight the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. For more than 2,400 years we have known that everything matters and the passive bits in our hifi products are no different. I […]
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I nearly forgot 9

Posted 3 weeks ago

Today is the start of the Montreal hifi show and I neglected to let you know. Room 2417 will be my home for the next two days and if you are attending please give a listen to the BHK Signature amplifier and DirectStream DAC in our room. Travis Townes and I will play music from […]
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Passives 3

Posted 3 weeks ago

It is said you are what you eat and there is truth in that statement. We could also make a similar observation of our equipment’s sound quality: performance depends on passive components. Within each piece in the music reproduction chain are hundreds, perhaps thousands of building blocks called passive components that are not unlike the cells we are made of. From […]
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