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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.

Minority report 39

Posted 9 hours 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 1 day 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 days 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 21

Posted 3 days 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 4 days 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 5 days 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 6 days 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 1 week 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 1 week 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 1 week 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 1 week 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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Selling out 18

Posted 1 week ago

Should you be allowed to sell your music collection? I have a friend who wants to sell me his music collection for a good price. It includes both physical media as well as downloadable. On the physical media, mostly CDs I don’t think there’s much debate. A physical CD was purchased from the label, the […]
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Oh boy … 25

Posted 1 week ago

Yesterday’s post entitled The thing about facts got a few of you thinking and questioning. That’s a good thing. So here’s an example of what I am talking about. There are more than several people I respect that have presented the following ‘fact’ to me: “PCM sounds better than DSD. Even original DSD files, converted to […]
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The thing about facts 27

Posted 1 week ago

Yesterday I suggested facts aren’t always facts. Many ‘facts’ are relevant only to the times and our ignorance. Some facts you’ll recognize as coming from ignorance: the earth is the center of the universe, it is flat, it is round. I am reminded of one rather fascinating ‘fact’ that was universally accepted until just a […]
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Fact of the matter 38

Posted 2 weeks ago

Reader Brian Gray sent me a long treatise on burn-in and hearing. Too long for these posts, but I include a snippet from his thoughts. “… hearing the effects of burn-in … it’s analogous to the average person not being able to distinguish between a professional grade instrument and a student grade instrument.  To most people, […]
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How could it be any good? 40

Posted 2 weeks ago

Got a note from a reader concerning the new power amplifier I wrote about here. “Your new amp is going to sell for seven thousand and you write the goal is to make the best in the world. Really? How could it be any good at that price?” I was pretty shocked to read that. I […]
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A Sunday thought 3

Posted 2 weeks ago

I rarely do any actual circuit design anymore. There was a time in our history where I did all of it, including making the PC board artwork with tape, dots and a razor blade. It’s always been a very personal company. But over time and as we grew, we hired engineering people who could do […]
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New amplifier progress 31

Posted 2 weeks ago

I got pretty excited yesterday and wanted to share. Our chief engineer, Bob Stadtherr, has been doing the heavy lifting of hand building the first of two power amplifier prototypes at the direction of the amp’s designer, Bascom King. Yesterday we finally plugged it in to see if any of the smoke hiding in the […]
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Nature vs. nurture 18

Posted 2 weeks ago

The debate about break-in and its long term effect or, for that matter, whether there is any effect or not, is still being strongly debated. It’s unlikely through this blog of mine we’re going to solve it. However, I am hopeful we can continue shedding some light on the subject. One of the central questions […]
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My guess 9

Posted 2 weeks ago

On our comments page concerning break in there’s much discussion about why long term break-in matters. The biggest question revolves around the nature of music itself: an AC signal, and why that should have any type of lasting affect to a cable or piece of kit. i.e. break in should not really matter, all things […]
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I just smiled 2

Posted 2 weeks ago

On the phone with a customer about DirectStream. He asked a good question. “There are other DACs out there based on FPGA technology. What makes yours different?” I was going to spout off a flippant answer like “everything”, but decided that would not have answered his question, nor would it have been kind. It was, […]
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Dielectric 12

Posted 3 weeks ago

When we speak of break in much of what we are dealing with is purported to be about dielectrics. I am not expert enough to give you a lecture on this subject but here’s what I can share with you that matters. A dielectric is essentially an insulator of one type of non-conductive material or […]
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“What is this music?” 14

Posted 3 weeks ago

I am writing today’s post as I typically do, on the morning of the day before it goes live. Terri and I are in California, visiting grandma, and I am looking out at the calm blue ocean. This is a good place to write from. Sometimes it’s good to take a break from audio. If […]
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Yet another … 40

Posted 3 weeks ago

And just when I thought I’d get around to explaining some of the dielectric effects – or at least what some of that means – yet another opinion comes in. This one from someone I respect greatly, my friend Arnie Nudell. His thoughts run counter to my memory of how equipment responds to break-in, but that’s […]
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The light stays on! 15

Posted 3 weeks ago

The subject of break in, the tendency of equipment to improve (change) over on-time, is a controversial one. Yesterday’s post suggested ‘warm up’ might be a more accurate term, since burn-in or break-in implies a one-way effect, while warm-up has a less permanent connotation. But that didn’t keep some of you from writing me to […]
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