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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.

Sub amps 2

Posted 21 minutes ago

We’ve covered much about the crossover workings of a subwoofer in these posts. We will cover more, such as phase, when we get to the setup portion of our efforts. For now let’s move on to the second category of a subwoofer, the power amplifier. For those just catching up with this series, you can […]
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Overlap 7

Posted 1 day ago

Let’s get back to our basic subwoofer crossover today. The purpose of the built in crossover is to make sure the subwoofer doesn’t play music higher than a specified frequency; that frequency specified by the user via a low pass filter control. Remembering the term ‘low pass’ means to pass the low frequencies, this seems […]
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Whoa, skippy! 30

Posted 2 days ago

My, my, there’s a lot of opinions out there. Thank goodness for that! I suppose a few hornets have been riled up by my comment of not rolling off the bottom of your main loudspeaker to accommodate the sub. I suppose that needs a little more explanation. First, let me repeat an oft mentioned ‘Paul’s […]
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Crossing the line 12

Posted 2 days ago

In our continuing series on subwoofers I’ve chosen to break the sub down into four primary sections: crossover, woofer, power amplifier and enclosure. Today let’s start to review the crossover. The purpose of a sub is to augment the low frequency performance of our stereo system. We want it to fill in the missing frequencies in […]
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Dissecting the sub 21

Posted 4 days ago

Let’s accept, for purposes of this discussion on subs, that you need one in your room (if you don’t already have one). Let’s also agree that whatever main speaker you have cannot produce the lowest bass notes found in music at your listening position. And lastly, let’s consent to the notion that a properly executed subwoofer completes […]
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It’s a new DAC 11

Posted 5 days ago

I know we’re on subwoofers but yesterday we launched  a new DirectStream DAC. I just couldn’t resist letting you know. Well, that’s probably a sensational way of putting it. But it feels that way. You can go here to read people’s reactions if you wish. We just released version 1.2.1 for DirectStream. It is, without question, […]
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Way down under 11

Posted 6 days ago

Yesterday I mentioned we’d jump into subwoofers as a series. Several of you suggested I start the series with a few explanations. Great idea. First question. What is a subwoofer? The answer lies in its name; sub – woofer. It is a woofer producing music below the lowest notes of your loudspeaker pair’s main woofer. […]
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Servo subs 25

Posted 6 days ago

There are many great subwoofers available today. Perhaps my favorites is REL out of England. But even as good as REL subs are, they don’t quite live up to the Nth degree afforded by a properly designed servo version. Like those we made at Genesis in the 1990′s. That’s always been a mystery to me why servo […]
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Stepping stones 7

Posted 1 week ago

As some of you know I am writing a novel. It’s a thriller with a message. I am not sure what that genre of book is, or if it even has a genre. None the less, I am now at the point of hiring an editor for the book. I have taken it as far as […]
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Digital DNA 10

Posted 1 week ago

We have our own group of wizards at PS Audio. I might call them alchemists, but I am happier with wizards. Ted Smith, the creator of DirectStream DAC, is a great example of a wizard. Ted just delivered to us a remarkable update to DirectStream. ‘Significant’ hardly describes the magnitude of improvement you’ll hear. And […]
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Hotel system 6

Posted 1 week ago

As we prepare for RMAF (Rocky Mountain Audio Fest) it fascinates me to think of the task ahead. On the one hand we’re doing nothing more than any of our customers: setting a stereo system up in a room that isn’t appreciative of big speakers, cables and boxes. On the other hand, it is different: […]
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9 + 3 and bliss or anxiety? 35

Posted 1 week ago

I had a bit of an anxiety attack recently over the installation of my new home theater. After going to CEDIA and hearing Dolby Atmos, the new 9 channel system Dolby is promoting, I was smitten and ordered even more loudspeakers for the room. Now, this proposed theater system, doubling as a music system, reminds […]
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The future of audio 15

Posted 1 week ago

My friend, Seth Godin, wrote a great post yesterday that included a link to one of the more fascinating articles I’ve yet read on the future of audio. If you think what we have now for home stereo systems is about all there is likely to be, that we are at the pinnacle of what’s […]
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The last 10% 11

Posted 1 week ago

Reader Kevin Norton asked a great question. “If you put all your music on an SSD on the Mac Mini music server, would you get that last 10% you’re missing?” It’s a truly great question because while I suspect the music will get better, the sound closer to that of the ideal, I doubt it’ll […]
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Have you ever noticed … 10

Posted 1 week ago

… that you don’t notice when something’s merely working right? It seems we notice only the extremes. We notice when something’s wrong. We notice when something’s extraordinary. But we rarely seem to notice when things are just right.
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Music from the bookshelf 6

Posted 2 weeks ago

Yesterday I attended the CEDIA event in Denver. For those unfamiliar with CEDIA it’s the industry’s home theater, custom installation trade show. I go never expecting much in the way of good performance. This is not a two channel show, after all. And I am always surprised when I do hear good sound. Such was the […]
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Not making sense 26

Posted 2 weeks ago

For quite some time I have labored under the conclusion that music ripped to a hard drive sounds better than playing it directly from the disc. In fact, many of us labor under this conclusion. And here’s another one. We believe that ripping a CD to a hard drive, then transferring it to a recordable […]
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A+ 6

Posted 2 weeks ago

I think I managed a single A in all my years of going to school. I was definitely happiest whenever I managed a C. The most recent print issue of Stereophile Magazine placed our DirectStream DAC in the A+ category. That’s quite a grade! (The online version hasn’t yet been updated as of this writing). And since […]
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Danger of words 14

Posted 2 weeks ago

We often use incorrect terminology. Take for example the terms “phase” and “polarity” when we talk of flipping the plus and minus of both channels at the same time. What we mean is polarity, but we often use the term “phase”. Gary Galo, a reader of these posts and an engineer, sent me an excellent […]
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Mac Mini server 7

Posted 2 weeks ago

In an earlier post I detailed how to build a music server from a Mac Mini. It’s now up on our How To Section of the website if you’re interested. I was, at first, quite happy with the sound. That is until the new power amplifier and IRS V setup in Music Room One. The improved resolution of […]
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Synergy 12

Posted 2 weeks ago

Wikipedia describes Synergy as “the creation of a whole that is greater than the simple sum of its parts.” And that’s what takes place with careful assembly of your audio system. One of the beauties of our passion to build great music systems is the mixing and matching of equipment. Just think of it. While […]
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Amp wars 31

Posted 3 weeks ago

In yesterday’s post Listening through another’s ears, I mentioned my trip to Arnie Nudell’s home to begin voicing the new BHK power amp. Many of you asked for the results. I won’t wax enthusiastically about its sound and trust that’s ok with you. As my hero Alfred E. Neuman was fond of saying, “What, me worry?” […]
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Listening through another’s ears 14

Posted 3 weeks ago

I recall the first time I visited MOMA in New York City. I stood in front on a Monet and found it childish, wondering how anyone could call it a masterpiece; little dabs of paint, no meticulous photographic-like quality to it at all. My son, Sean, smiled and walked me back and away from the picture […]
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Only in ‘America’ 20

Posted 3 weeks ago

In response to yesterday’s post, my friend Andy Benjamin pointed out that jitter is a measurable parameter that clearly affects sound quality. Thanks, I forgot that one. Now on to today’s post. Terri and I were watching Bernstein’s brilliant West Side Story the other night. Man what a great movie! Whoever lit that film was […]
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3 barleycorns 25

Posted 3 weeks ago

We discuss a lot how measurements have little correlation to sound quality. One of the reasons for this, of course, is that most measurements were never designed to inform us how something actually sounds. Rather, the original measurement standards, like THD, were designed to help engineers know if the amplifier they were building was working well enough […]
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