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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.

Independence day 7

Posted 7 hours ago

Happy 4th, as we like to say in the US. Today we celebrate our declaration of independence from British rule, which officially ended on this day in 1776, though it would take more than a declaration to achieve it. I remember a similar day in my life, a day too of independence. When Arnie Nudell […]
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Yale 18

Posted 1 day ago

I just finished auditioning what is likely the final version of Yale, the next major update to an amazing DAC, DirectStream. Ted Smith, inventor of DirectStream, has done it again. Not only has he managed to lower the noise floor another 3dB, but the sonic changes he has wrung out of the FPGA core engine are stunning. Have you […]
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Taking out the garbage 10

Posted 2 days ago

I mentioned in yesterday’s post it’s not a good idea to rely upon a low pass filter to reduce transient input problems if it is in the feedback loop of an output stage. The raw output of a DAC chip has lots of high frequency components that can agitate an output stage into sounding aggressive, bright, and […]
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Overload 3

Posted 3 days ago

Two things you should never do: tease an angry dog, or feed an amplifier too high a frequency. Both will result in bad stuff. Your rear end may be riddled with teeth marks from the dog, and bright and aggressive sound is likely from your amplifier. The dog’s obvious but perhaps the amplifier is less so. Any […]
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New DAC 8

Posted 4 days ago

I get few thrills bigger than launching new products. It’s what I live for… well… actually… listening to new improvements that lift the system beyond what I imagined probably trumps everything… but, what the hell, I love it all! Today marks the official launch of a new DAC for PS Audio, the NuWave DSD. Without […]
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Lucky breaks 9

Posted 5 days ago

When I described PS Audio’s beginnings I retold the story of building a phono preamplifier from a circuit I had gleaned from a simple textbook called The Op Amp Cookbook. At the time (around 1973 or 1974) it was the only easily understood book I could find at the local library. It wasn’t until many years later […]
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Change brings change 14

Posted 6 days ago

Chief engineer Bob Stadtherr rebuilt the IRSV crossovers in Music Room One. We poured a few thousand dollars in new capacitors and inductors for the crossover networks and the improvements were immediate and welcomed. Extended highs, fuller midrange, increased midbass to the point of rattling the drivers, were all benefits of investing the time and […]
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Beginnings 27

Posted 1 week ago

The summer of 1973 was hot in Santa Maria, atypical for the Central California Coast. I was the program director at a local rock and roll FM station when the FCC cited management for poor audio performance. The complaint focused on two pieces of equipment: the phono preamplifier and the STL (Studio Transmitter Link) to […]
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Biggest stereo ever 11

Posted 1 week ago

Imagine the shock, the dropped jaws of centuries ago when the first symphony orchestra played live. It must have been a stunning event, one preceded by the pipe organ, the first truly big and loud musical instrument, though I imagine there must have been big horns that impressed people before that. Weren’t the walls of […]
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Differences in perception 31

Posted 1 week ago

A question that seem to go unanswered concerns people’s perception of senses and their meaning. We have five: touch, sight, smell, taste, and sound. Most we agree upon. Fur vs. sandpaper, sharp vs. blurry, rotten egg vs. perfume, bitter vs. sweet, loud vs. soft. But when we look closer at some of technology’s simulations of naturally occurring sense stimulations, […]
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Leaving the room 10

Posted 1 week ago

We’ve written extensively about the room and how our systems interact with it. Steve Schliesman, owner of Synergy Audio and Video in Pennsylvania, wrote me with a few more thoughts that are perhaps appropriate for the last word on the subject. “It’s frustrating to see so many misguided audiophiles with great equipment, improperly placed in their rooms, deciding to […]
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Fine details 8

Posted 1 week ago

We’ve been writing about big sweeping new ideas for listening rooms. The idea of building walls that actively change the way they interact with speaker systems, and I shared some ideas of how that might work. I would consider those grandiose ideas that fundamentally change the dynamics of what we consider “normal”, but others might […]
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Anti sound 12

Posted 1 week ago

You may be wondering how my idea of Active Walls might work and what is taking place. Imagine taking one of your loudspeakers and placing it against a wall, facing into the room. Next to it place a microphone pointed in the same direction. If the microphone is connected to a clever circuit, the sound picked up […]
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Ignoring the room 28

Posted 1 week ago

There have been numerous attempts to bring live sound into our homes. Most have been collections of many speakers, a lot of processing, with mixed results. The most promising of the lot is perhaps Ralph Glasgal’s Ambiophonics which addresses problems in stereo reproduction, but ignores the room. My friend Peter Moncrief, publisher of the IAR, claims a full immersion […]
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Fundamental change 18

Posted 2 weeks ago

There are many great projects in the collective PS Audio head. We have lists of the things we’d love to tackle and our challenge is not coming up with more, but editing the list. Few companies have the resources to tackle all projects, big and small. It takes discipline and patience to focus only on […]
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When magic and science collide 10

Posted 2 weeks ago

It was author Arthur C. Clarke that wrote “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” That I can call my friend John Darko in Australia from a device in my pocket, travel across country in a matter of hours, watch live coverage of events in space, cure diseases with pills, and listen to the Chicago […]
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A few announcements 16

Posted 2 weeks ago

I had a few catch up pieces of news I wanted to share and then we’ll get back to this crazy idea of mine to make the walls disappear. First, for those following the BHK Monoblock saga, we finally found and fixed the last vestiges of hum that were nagging us. Prior to yesterday’s breakthrough we […]
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Taking walls for granted 19

Posted 2 weeks ago

The walls in our homes keeps us safe and warm, a modern cave protecting us from the outside elements. Playing music within those walls changes how we hear that music, a trumpet played in a small room vs. a large hall sound very different. The same is true for our stereo systems played within our […]
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It’s really the room 12

Posted 2 weeks ago

Though the titles of last week’s post reflect the challenges of achieving proper tonal balance and imaging through speaker placement, what we’ve really been discussing is the room. Those of us with in-room speakers have a much bigger challenge than over-ear users.  Audiophiles with headphones haven’t any setup issues because there is no room they must deal with. In-room […]

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Deeper into the music 11

Posted 2 weeks ago

Wow. I apologize to those readers taken aback by yesterday’s post. Surely I didn’t mean to make anyone depressed and to the one comment that I seemed despondent over the state of affairs in high-end audio, I find myself scratching my head. I must have written poorly. Fact is, I haven’t been so excited about […]
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You gotta be kidding me 42

Posted 2 weeks ago

Our goals in high-end audio are varied. On the one hand we want the system to recreate the sound of live musicians playing in our room. With few exceptions we have not gotten this to happen and with current equipment probably never will. The achievement of this lofty goal for all music types requires a tectonic shift […]
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Call me old fashioned 32

Posted 3 weeks ago

I posted pictures of the new crossover for the IRSV speakers in Music Room One. The work was researched, the parts curated for best sound, the construction about as high-end as it gets. And yet, there are those who emailed me suggesting all was for naught. They suggest I would be better off replacing the […]
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New lease on music 6

Posted 3 weeks ago

Every now and then we get a chance to have something extraordinary happen in our listening rooms. The introduction of the DirectStream DAC and the BHK amplifier are certainly good examples in my life. But recently there has been another and I was excited to share. The story is long and these posts should remain […]
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Room thirds 9

Posted 3 weeks ago

I think this short series on how to make loudspeakers disappear through proper setup may have run its course and I have other topics I am anxious to write about, so this will be the last in the series. In yesterday’s post we discovered how much the wall behind the loudspeaker effects the sound. Lower frequencies are […]
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Walls without reflections 18

Posted 3 weeks ago

Loudspeakers are designed in rooms without walls called anechoic chambers. At least they used to be, but most speaker companies haven’t an actual room with walls that do not reflect, and so today they create virtual anechoic chambers with software. None the less, speakers are designed to work in perfect rooms, rooms that do not […]
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