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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.

Fundamentals 37

Posted 7 hours ago

There are fundamentals in high end audio: speakers, power, sources, control, connecting cables, the room. I would like to explore a few of the more cherished ones in the next few days. Ivor Tiefenbrum, founder of Linn product of Scotland, famously put forth the notion that the source (then a turntable) was the most important element in […]
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You probably have it wrong 23

Posted 1 day ago

I remember the first time I managed to find myself in close proximity to a pipe organ. Terri and I had spent the night at Denver’s Brown Palace hotel and after breakfast we wandered a bit. Across the street was a cool looking old church with obvious architectural delights adorning its sides. As it was […]
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The better it works … 12

Posted 2 days ago

If you think about it, the greater the impact something has in your system, the more important its role in your system. That might seem obvious, and it is, but it’s important to review again. An example would be subwoofers. If you add a sub to your system and that system’s transformed, I would suggest that […]
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Counter intuitive 20

Posted 3 days ago

As I have said many times in the past, few loudspeaker systems are truly full range. They are helped with the addition of a subwoofer. But one is enough? Or do you require a stereo pair? Perhaps more? Here’s a good rule of thumb for making this simple decision (other than ‘can I afford only […]
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Single or double? 11

Posted 4 days ago

Sounds like something a bartender might ask you. Instead, it’s a question relating to subwoofers and our home music systems. When subwoofers first appeared as separately purchasable products, the convention was to implement only a single sub. As they became more popular and as subwoofer manufacturers wanted to sell twice the number of products, two subs […]
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Punishment 13

Posted 5 days ago

In yesterday’s post I described the crime I committed; stealing change off my father’s dresser. He had laid a trap for the culprit, counting his change carefully each evening and now the family was gathered together for the showdown. As is typical in these family tribunals, my father would describe the crime and give the guilty […]
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The crime 10

Posted 6 days ago

In yesterday’s post I described a Heathkit lie detector my father had built for fun. He needed a victim, or in his eyes a criminal, to test it out. He didn’t have to wait too long with me in the family. I had figured out that before my father went to bed at night he’d empty […]
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Heathkits 19

Posted 1 week ago

I am certain much of my interest in electrical engineering came from my father, Don. He was always tweaking with the family TV, built our first stereo system, invented the first hands free intercom, converted the hall closet into a subwoofer cabinet, etc. In those days there was a product called a Heathkit. As the name […]
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Beware of comparisons 17

Posted 1 week ago

I’ve had it happen to me, I am sure it’s happened to you. It’s a beautiful winter day, the snow on the mountain is gorgeous, you’re skiing as well as you ever have, feeling pretty good about yourself. Then your mood changes. A far better skier races by, her form perfect, you notice everything that’s wrong […]
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Dedicating AC 24

Posted 1 week ago

We’re getting close to putting up the walls in my new home theater. I have never owned a home theater in the forty plus years I’ve been in audio. I’m kind of excited. Without even a moment’s hesitation, the first thing my designer, Robert Dreher, did was add dedicated lines to the theater. It’s something you […]
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Other ears 9

Posted 1 week ago

I’ve written on this before and probably will again. Looking through someone else’s eyes, or hearing through someone else’s ears is a great learning experience. Terri and I have been trying to pick out carpet for the home theater we’re building. It’s tough for both of us, me in particular. You look at small pieces […]
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Magicians 27

Posted 1 week ago

One of the strangest moments of the audio show in Denver was when Michael Fremer of Stereophile (and the Analog Planet) came into the room to listen to DirectStream and the new Bascom King power amp. Why strange? Because of the program material he brought to listen. Michael’s all analog through and through as is Bascom’s amp, but […]
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Being safe 15

Posted 1 week ago

We do appreciate single mindedness, dedicated purpose over multi-functioness, don’t we? We choose an Astell and Kern portable music player over an iPhone or Android multi-purpose phone, although the two have similar functions. We choose separates over integrateds and integrateds over receivers. We choose a purpose-built digital coax cable over a purpose-built audio interconnect, even if the two […]

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Extremes 25

Posted 1 week ago

Following RMAF a very nice couple came by to visit and hear Music Room One. They were excited to play their own music and see what it sounded like. It didn’t sound good. I felt badly and played some of my own music which did, in fact, sound good. Their music was  poorly recorded: compressed, […]
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I just couldn’t resist 15

Posted 2 weeks ago

When I saw the picture of Bascom King caressing his amplifier in Scott Hull’s Part Time Audiophile column, I just couldn’t resist posting it. I can’t think of a single thing to say beyond all the words this photograph conveys. In fact, words would only take away from its meaning and joy. A picture is […]
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Retro 24

Posted 2 weeks ago

I’ll warn you up front. I am going to whine. If that’s upsetting, skip reading today’s post. Sitting in our management meeting yesterday and our director of engineering, Dave Paananen, was going through all the open projects and their status. When he got to the new Bascom King designed power amplifier, one I am very […]
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The great divide 8

Posted 2 weeks ago

I was fascinated by the traffic flows at RMAF. We had two rooms connected together and separated by a door. In the larger room the main system, Sprout Lounge in the smaller of the two. The reactions to each venue were what really caught my attention. In the big room we featured the more expected high end speaker system, […]
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Compromised cabinets 29

Posted 2 weeks ago

While at RMAF one of my readers approached me asking what the ultimate subwoofer cabinet might be like. I replied that one made of concrete or stone would be best: one that did not move, did not flex, did not impart any noise or signature of its own. That wish list is a tall order […]
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Timing is everything 16

Posted 2 weeks ago

While at RMAF there was a lot of wonderful discussion amongst people far smarter than me about timing and music. Not the foot tapping kind of timing, but the idea that music itself can be more accurately described as a series of abrupt transients, their timing and reproduction critical to believability in a sound system, […]
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Show report 9

Posted 2 weeks ago

It’s not often you get two posts from me in one day, but today is the last day at RMAF (Rocky Mountain Audio Fest) and it seemed appropriate. We are quite pleased with our room, the sound, the attendance. Great show and thanks for those that come by to enjoy DirectStream, the new PerfectWave Power Amplifier, the […]
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Higher education 9

Posted 2 weeks ago

Much of the education I valued in high school was learning how to manipulate my environment. I didn’t care much for what they wanted me to learn. I was more interested in figuring out how to operate the world around me. It’s certainly strange they don’t teach this subject in school, focusing on making sure […]
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Getting lucky 6

Posted 2 weeks ago

Yesterday’s post was filled with excitement for the show and setup day. Then reality strikes. I tend to forget, year after year, what a pain in the keester it actually is. What awful rooms we’re given in hotels, never once designed to house a stereo system, of the multiple trips to the hardware store, the […]
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Tomorrow is today 7

Posted 3 weeks ago

I am writing this yesterday. You are reading it today. That will seem odd to me tomorrow. Actually, it seems odd to me today. I am taking a break from writing about subwoofers because on my mind is prepping for the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest which begins today for you, dear reader.  For me, ‘today’ […]
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Measuring change 12

Posted 3 weeks ago

Bascom King, the man now designing our new power amplifier, has worked on servo systems since the ‘early days’. After using expensive aerospace accelerometers to measure woofer movement for Infinity, Bascom came up with the idea of mounting a low cost piezo electric disc to the edge of the woofer’s voice coil instead. It was […]
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Aerospace in Sea Cliff 11

Posted 3 weeks ago

The first commercial use of a servo woofer in a stereo system was in 1968. The Infinity ServoStatik One. I graduated high school in 1966, two years earlier. That was a long time ago. The first time I ever heard of an accelerometer was from Harry Pearson, a.k.a. HP of of The Absolute Sound. On […]
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