Call Us: +1 720-406-8946

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 rarely a mention of our own products. Easy to subscribe and even easier to unsubscribe if you wish. Join us.

Clean cables 6

Posted sometime

I don’t remember when balanced cables came onto the high-end audio scene but I do remember when no one but recording studios and radio stations had even heard of them. In the 70s, 80s, even into the 90s, single ended cables were the norm for audio systems. My many years in broadcasting and recording studios […]
Read More

Layer by layer 32

Posted 19 hours ago

It’s always exciting to get a new product. Who doesn’t like the thrill of opening the new box, pulling out the new toy? We hope each acquisition will move our lives forward. Make progress. Better what we have. And, while it is less exciting, I would propose that the thrill of the new product is maximized […]
Read More

What if we could measure it? 24

Posted 1 day ago

I wonder what it might look like if we could actually measure sound quality. A meter with poor to great? Numbers on some arbitrary scale? And, what would we be looking for? Imagining? Tonal balance? Harmonic integrity? Transient accuracy? Foot tapping intensity? Bass thumping levels? There was a time when measurements mattered. Wow and flutter […]
Read More

Why we’re here 76

Posted 2 days ago

I was replying to a forum post concerning our upcoming music management software, Octave, and explaining that its purpose is to make life simple: a true plug-and-play zero-fiddly musical interface enabling our customers easy access to both their libraries as well as online streaming services, when someone complained, “we should stick to our core business”. […]
Read More

Learn to unlearn 23

Posted 3 days ago

I love learning new things almost as much as unlearning them. The benefits of learning are doubled when we unlearn those same lessons—advantageous like the old Cert’s breath mint ad “two mints in one!”. Unlearning works because the knowledge erasure isn’t complete. Conclusions and lessons are retained while the thirst for learning is renewed in […]
Read More

Short fuse 66

Posted 4 days ago

Sometimes things seem impossible; like trying to see something directly behind you in the mirror. No matter how fast you move your reflected image blocks the view. Yet, sometimes the seemingly impossible works; like a simple AC fuse changing the sonic character of audio equipment. And maybe “impossible” is the wrong word. “Absurd” might be […]
Read More

You can’t do that! 17

Posted 5 days ago

The easiest way to get us to do something out of the ordinary is to suggest it can’t be done. It shouldn’t be done. It’s impossible. No one else has ever done it. When I first learned of musical synthesizers in the early 1970s I was told they could only play single notes because of their […]
Read More

The news cycle problem 39

Posted 6 days ago

Listen to the news, read the forums, react to a sensational headline, find overblown news stories on Facebook, and you might be afraid to walk outside. There just could be a war zone around the block. Yet, walking outside you see an entirely different view: the sun is shining, people appear to be at peace […]
Read More

Equalizing the room 37

Posted 1 week ago

Our rooms are like double-edged swords. We can’t live without them yet they are often our biggest nightmare. Rooms contribute irregularities like frequency bumps and dips, timing errors, and delayed reflections. It is rare that we have a chance to build our rooms from a clean sheet of paper because there are always constraints like […]
Read More

A digital world 21

Posted 1 week ago

I place calls to anywhere in the world from a video screen in my pocket that also happens to take pictures, book a flight, play music wirelessly to little thingies stuck in my ear, play movies, talks to me (and I to it), tells me where to drive my car, reminds me of my next meeting, […]
Read More

Spotify Connect 36

Posted 1 week ago

Redcloud, our free DAC upgrade, launches today at noon for DirectStream (DSJ shortly after). Details available here at 12 noon. Included in the launch is an all-new Bridge II build with a number of new features and services, one of which is called Spotify Connect. I want to tell you a little story about this and why […]
Read More

The audition 54

Posted 1 week ago

Yesterday and today are reserved for the audition process. Engineer Darren Myers and I began in Music Room One at about 10 AM, yesterday, with 20 slight variations of code for Redcloud, the next Ted Smith upgrade miracle of lowered noise and jitter and significantly better sound quality for DirectStream DACS. It’s an arduous process, culling […]
Read More

Tuning with current 4

Posted 1 week ago

When it comes to traditional class AB amplifiers there are two schools of thought about bias. Engineers can add enough class A current to satisfy their distortion analyzers or their ears. Most keep the analyzers happy without worrying about sound quality and it’s pretty easy to see why. Class A bias produces unwanted heat that is costly […]
Read More

Spectral balance 44

Posted 1 week ago

My mentors Arnie Nudell and Harry Pearson believed any system that could accurately reproduce the sound of an orchestra could easily play any other kind of music. The opposite is not true. A Marshall 4×12 Electric Guitar Cabinet can certainly play rock and roll, but I doubt a bassoon would sound like itself. Part of […]
Read More

Trusting your senses 25

Posted 1 week ago

Trust is a funny thing. We’d sooner trust a restaurant recommendation from a stranger or a Yelp review before a friend we suspect has an agenda—even if that person is a food expert. Often, we have trouble trusting ourselves. “Did I make the right decision?” “Can I trust what I am hearing with this new […]
Read More

Big speakers in small rooms 22

Posted 2 weeks ago

The room housing your loudspeaker is every bit as important as the device itself. Place a tiny pair of bookshelf speakers in an auditorium and they might get lost. An oversized behemoth in a closet will be unlistenable. Yet, there are reasonable in-betweens worth considering. Music Room One at PS Audio might be a great […]
Read More

The problem with capacitors 23

Posted 2 weeks ago

Capacitors perform many functions in our stereo systems. They smooth out power supplies, segregate frequencies, block DC, pass AC, and store energy. We encounter them most often in power supplies where their ability to store energy is invaluable, but also in speakers and filters where their frequency dividing characteristics are essential. A capacitor is a […]
Read More

Start low 11

Posted 2 weeks ago

The use of separates came about in the late 1940s, blossomed in the 50s and 60s, then exploded in the 70s. Stereo lovers had contracted mix-and-match fever. Before separates, of course, stereo manufacturing companies produced integrated products that just worked: no interconnects, multiple AC plugs, or collection of boxes common to separates. We moved away from all-in-one […]
Read More

Flat vs. musical 41

Posted 2 weeks ago

A ruler flat speaker response is neither desirable nor possible. In fact, few speakers are flatter than +/-2dB and the average has more peaks and valleys than that. If an electronic component measured like a speaker you’d be horrified. I have listened to a few misguided attempts at flat speakers. One (that shall go unnamed to […]
Read More

Long or short cables? 33

Posted 2 weeks ago

Where to place a power amplifier can cause one to question: Long speaker cables and short interconnects or the opposite? For some with limited space, the answer’s a snap: both source and amplifier are next to the speakers. But for those who have the luxury of space and distance to isolate your sensitive sources from the loudspeaker […]
Read More

The slow burn 24

Posted 2 weeks ago

Throughout one’s life, there are milestones we never forget: the birth of a child, a wedding, the passing of loved ones, that first big promotion, a new car, a first-time experience. I am fortunate to have had many such treasures in my life, but one that is hifi related and will never diminish is my […]
Read More

Starting from nothing 3

Posted 2 weeks ago

Thank you for all the kind notes about the videos I posted over the weekend detailing the history of PS Audio. I am glad you enjoyed them and it was an honor to share them with you. One of the few remaining videos I shot in the original Walk in the Woods With Paul series touched […]
Read More

Ideas to companies 9

Posted 3 weeks ago

Turning a good idea into a company is not easy. The devil, they say, is in the details; something Stan and I found to be true. In this video, Part II of the History of PS Audio, we learn how two wild-eyed hippie audiophiles turned a phono preamplifier into a business that today spans the globe […]
Read More

In the beginning 13

Posted 3 weeks ago

Stan Warren and I started PS Audio more than 40 years ago. Two enterprising young guys hell-bent to change the world. Stan moved on to other pastures. I’ve been at it ever since. I think what has always driven the PS team remains the same: using technology in clever ways to move the state of […]
Read More

How good is old? 20

Posted 3 weeks ago

Good memories sweeten with time. My first experience with a pair of exceptional loudspeakers was in the home of radio station engineer Jim Mussel in 1973. He and I worked for the same FM rock and roll radio station, KXFM in Santa Maria, California. We were both interested in good sound but he was farther […]
Read More