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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.

Burn in 35

Posted 10 hours ago

I have long wanted to tackle this subject of burn-in. I am not prepared to suggest I have a lot to offer. Perhaps a dialog will open that might shed light on the subject so we can all learn. Let’s define terms first. By ‘burn in’ I am referring, specifically, to the process we Audiophiles […]
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Be careful what you ask for 45

Posted 1 day ago

In a comment posted in response to my post Dogma of some days ago, Lawrence Schenbeck, a professor of music and our resident classical music expert asked an intriguing follow up question. “What if the “theoretically perfect transducer” re-creates an acoustic, or an instrument, that just sounds terrible? How many audiophiles would line up to […]
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Live vs. hifi 33

Posted 2 days ago

The basis for the magazine’s name: The Absolute Sound, was coined by its founder, Harry Pearson. It refers to his personal standard of evaluating hi fi equipment: to reproduce sound compared to the “absolute sound”; defined as the sound of live, unamplified music. Indeed, that’s a good absolute reference. But what of the Audiophile sound? Sometimes […]
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Dogma 16

Posted 3 days ago

It’s an interesting term. It means ‘a principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true’. Religions have a lot of them. So too does high end audio. I had written several days ago that a point source loudspeaker is the theoretically perfect transducer: infinitely small, infinitely loud. It is also currently […]
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Fine wine and tubes 18

Posted 4 days ago

Open a bottle of a fine red wine and the taste can sometimes be a bit harsh. A little too upfront; astringent, lacking body and air. We are then told to let it ‘open up’ to sit and ‘break in’ if you will, until that mellowness you’re looking for gets unmasked from the slightly forward […]
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Getting used to it 19

Posted 5 days ago

I wonder what ‘getting used to it’ actually means? I had so gotten used to the sound in Music Room One that until it got revamped, I ignored all its problems and soldiered on. This “getting used to it” problem was pervasive. When I first setup Music Room One many aspects of it were sounding soooo […]
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In the hands of a master 44

Posted 6 days ago

There are those among you that have had the chance to listen to the Infinity IRSV’s in Music Room One. Most have been impressed with the sound, the effortless quality of this system, its musicality; some more than others, but to all who have visited, we can agree it is something you don’t see every day. The […]
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Isn’t it odd? 21

Posted 1 week ago

The last video I made was of the Munich High End show. While creating the video a strange thing happened that I’ve been noodling about for some time now. When I walked into the Martin Logan room the speakers were playing and they instantly sounded like, well, Martin Logans. That wasn’t much of a surprise so […]
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Your last chance 2

Posted 1 week ago

Tomorrow morning, Wednesday the 16th at 8 A.M., the Kickstarter campaign for Sprout officially ends. It’s been a good effort and we all appreciate your support and help. My personal goal has always been to help sell 1,000 Sprouts for Scott, we’re not that far away, it’s a goal we can still achieve, maybe even beat. Sprout’s an […]
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Starting over 6

Posted 1 week ago

Most of our systems are a collection of components chosen one at a time, added, piece by piece. Certainly mine is. Rarely do we have a chance to start fresh with a clean slate. What would yours look like, had you the chance to start over? Would you repeat the same process: choose your speakers or electronics […]
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All choked up 9

Posted 1 week ago

There’s an interesting misunderstanding about attenuators I thought I might address today: they “choke” the sound. That ain’t necessarily so. I have been wondering where that thought process came from and it occurs to me it just might be closer to home than imagined. It might be me! Ok, so I’ve mentioned in a few posts […]
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Give yourself permission 10

Posted 1 week ago

We’re funny creatures, we humans. We seem to need permission to do things; to affect change; to step outside our comfort zones. It’s why a good review gives us permission to try something new; a bad one and we have permission to walk away. It seems a challenge to most of us to give ourselves permission: […]
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Full blown crossovers 12

Posted 1 week ago

One of my readers asked a great question. “You’ve described a simple low pass/high pass filter for a speaker’s crossover, but isn’t a real full blown crossover a lot more complex?” A “full blown” crossover of a 2-way is usually both a high pass and low pass filter together, just as I described in my […]
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Woofing 12

Posted 1 week ago

We’re discussing 2-way loudspeakers and the crossovers that make it possible for each of the two drivers to do what they’re best at. To make sure the tweeter only “tweets” high frequencies, we place a capacitor in series with it, low frequency musical notes just won’t pass through to the tweeter. The woofer is a […]
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Chuck Lamb 8

Posted 2 weeks ago

We’ll get back to speakers and crossovers tomorrow. I wanted to share with you a wonderful musical experience Terri and I had on 4th of July. We were invited to a friend’s home in Lyons Colorado to watch “some live music”. Little did I realize the live music was none other than Chuck Lamb, keyboardist […]
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Crossovers 4

Posted 2 weeks ago

Perhaps the single best reason to use separate speakers drivers is not to lower distortion, but to optimize performance. A woofer can move a lot of air because of its size, mass and length of piston movement; all necessary requirements for lower frequency musical notes. A tweeter, on the other hand, has the opposite characteristics: […]
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2-way loudspeakers 7

Posted 2 weeks ago

Whenever I think of a 2-way loudspeaker I inevitably refer to them as bookshelves and I am not sure why. There are, of course, many big-box loudspeakers with only two drivers. I suppose the reason might be that’s what you see the most of these days, smaller boxes with but two drivers. But the actual […]
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Speakers and mics 13

Posted 2 weeks ago

Reader David Blank pointed out something interesting to me in yesterday’s post. There are, in fact, two nearly perfect speakers that are full range: a headphone and a microphone. A headphone, like the excellent sound Audeze LCD2X that I am going to purchase, has a single planar driver that covers the entire range of frequencies […]
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Just one for the road 30

Posted 2 weeks ago

If you wanted the perfect loudspeaker it would be what we call a point source. An infinitely small point where a full range of sound comes from. To date achieving this has been impossible. The penultimate loudspeaker is a single source of sound, one that closely mimics real life where each sound we hear generally […]
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Is simple always better? 13

Posted 2 weeks ago

Happy Independence Day. It’s good to be independent. Spending time a few days ago with a wonderfully nice visitor from Australia in Music Room One prompted the subject of this post. On first look at the massive IRS V loudspeakers, my visitor Chris was struck by the speaker’s complexity (84 drivers IS a lot of complexity) compared […]
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Is passion contagious? 8

Posted 2 weeks ago

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve gotten passionate/excited about something and shared it with someone who might care, only to have them say “that’s nice” and go about their business. More often than not that’s the case. Sometimes, of course, you get excited, you share your passion with someone and that kickstarts […]
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Is it pure? 24

Posted 3 weeks ago

We all work so hard trying to achieve purity in our reproduction systems, and that’s a good thing. One of my readers, Mike, pointed out to me it’s paradoxical, the lack of purity found in a recording studio making the music in the first place; most modern studios awash in DSP and manipulations of all sorts. […]
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If you don’t know … 15

Posted 3 weeks ago

… where you’re going, how will you know when you get there? Are you looking for great sound out of your system regardless of what recording you play? Or, are you trying to get as close to the original recording as possible? Maybe all you’re interested in is having reproduced music sound real. Or, perhaps all […]
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Room correction 45

Posted 3 weeks ago

Rooms are bad for hi fi systems, yet necessary. Loudspeakers are designed to work inside our homes despite the fact our homes constantly get in the way: bass modes, sidewall reflections, too reflective, too absorptive, etc. One way to work with the problem is room correction software. This approach typically uses a digital equalizer in the […]
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Rate of change 11

Posted 3 weeks ago

When you’re in the middle of change it feels like change. As it settles out it becomes normal. Once it feels normal we move on and it is no longer changing, or at least that’s what it feels like. But it is changing, all around us. We just don’t notice that change. It is only when […]
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