Call Us: +1 720-406-8946

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.

Obtuse 15

Posted 2 hours ago

Hmmm. Several of you wrote suggesting my post from yesterday was obtuse. My apologies. I will try harder to be clearer. And I think it’s important to be very clear on this subject of power cables. Without a good understanding of the underlying principals of power and how equipment connects to the home AC line, the […]
Read More

Stuck in the middle 5

Posted 1 day ago

As I pointed out in yesterday’s post your amplifier sits not at the end of the power cord but in the middle. This confused a number of people and it’s easy to see why. Take one look at your equipment. It is clearly tethered to the end of a long cable, but inside there are two that […]
Read More

Length matters not 26

Posted 2 days ago

One of the most vexing power cable questions is this: what possible difference can the last 6 feet make? We understand there are likely several hundred feet of power cable connecting our equipment to the circuit breaker distribution box, itself connected through several hundred more feet to the power transformer feeding our home. With all this cable […]
Read More

Another experiment 18

Posted 3 days ago

In our continuing series on power cables I had mentioned in an earlier post an easy experiment that brought instant benefits. I received many letters of thanks for this tip. Today, I would like to propose another experiment, only this time the results will be opposite, the unit will sound worse. Why tell you how to […]
Read More

The sky is not blue 32

Posted 4 days ago

There is no denying sky, ocean, and thick ice, are blue. Stare up to see the azure sky broken only by the white of clouds. Yet measure some blue air, ocean, or ice, and you will find not one molecule of color in it. Should we conclude what we see is wrong because we have measured proof there is no blue contained in air, […]
Read More

The IEC 13

Posted 5 days ago

One of the elements that permits - often encourages - power cord experimentation is built into most equipment. It is the IEC 60320. Here is a picture of it. Starting in the late 1960s and gaining popularity in HIFI circles in the 1970s, the ubiquitous IEC 320 (shortened from 60320) was immediately embraced by manufacturers; not because it is […]
Read More

Courtesy cables 22

Posted 6 days ago

I have known of the power cord’s effect on sound quality since the late 1970′s. My first exposure came from a request made by our purchasing manager. He had asked me to help source a power cord for a new preamplifier we were launching. Power cords have traditionally been added to the box containing new products. Called […]
Read More

An experiment 40

Posted 1 week ago

As we start our series on the mysterious power cord, asking the question of why it should make such a difference in sound, I want to offer an experiment for the adventurous few. I will make two assumptions: you have a separate power amplifier, and you haven’t changed your power cord in some time. If true, […]
Read More

Power cords 23

Posted 1 week ago

I recently finished the BHK Signature power amplifier pages for the website starting with an essay entitled, “One man’s pursuit of perfection.” The process is to write an essay, break it down into pages and sections, add specific product details that become the website’s More Details page. Proofreading the the BHK owner’s manual I ran across a […]
Read More

The other side of the coin 5

Posted 1 week ago

After all the negative things I said about integrateds you might think I dislike them as a category, but you’d be wrong. I actually like them a lot. I wanted to point out their drawbacks before extolling their virtues, which are many. Of course the convenience and compactness of integrateds is desirable, and that much […]
Read More

Yikes 8

Posted 1 week ago

While finishing work on crafting our website’s BHK Signature amplifier page I decided to update a few of the files that make the website run. Bad move. The website was hosed from 7 yesterday morning until 6 PM. Thank goodness for backups, even old ones. I apologize. They say you don’t really appreciate something until you […]
Read More

Another piece to the puzzle 0

Posted 1 week ago

One of my favorite stories comes from a kindergarten student brought before the teacher to face charges of selfishness. “It seems you do not like to share with the others.” “Oh, I do! I just don’t like them messing with my stuff.” The vast majority of integrateds achieve their compactness from a shared power supply, but […]
Read More

Putting it together 16

Posted 1 week ago

An integrated combines multiple systems together in one box. A good example is a laptop computer; its screen, keyboard, mouse, processor, hard drive, are all contained in one enclosure, when traditionally they are separate. Laptops offer greater portability and convenience than their mulit-part competitors, yet performance is compromised relative to the best assemblages. 2-channel audio systems can […]

Read More

Holistic 5

Posted 2 weeks ago

Holistic describes systems intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole. It defines our starting point to further understand two groups of music reproduction equipment: separates and integrateds.  We can examine individual components, and we will, but learn little until each is examined as a whole. The thousand foot view of a separates system looks like multiple boxes tied together with cables, powered by […]

Read More

Do you share? 7

Posted 2 weeks 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 […]
Read More

Driving wedges 9

Posted 2 weeks 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 […]
Read More

Separates 13

Posted 2 weeks 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. […]
Read More

Comparisons 10

Posted 2 weeks 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 […]
Read More

Technology Train 15

Posted 2 weeks 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 […]
Read More

This evening 17

Posted 2 weeks 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 […]
Read More

Palpable 7

Posted 3 weeks 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 […]
Read More

Error budgets 17

Posted 3 weeks 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, […]
Read More

What we don’t know does hurt us 17

Posted 3 weeks 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 […]
Read More

New paths 6

Posted 3 weeks 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 […]
Read More

Live 53

Posted 3 weeks 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 […]
Read More