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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.

Heathkits 0

Posted sometime

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 16

Posted 18 hours 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 day 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 2 days 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 3 days 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 4 days 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 5 days 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 6 days 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 23

Posted 1 week 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 1 week 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 26

Posted 1 week 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 1 week 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 1 week 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 1 week 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 1 week 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 1 week 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 2 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 2 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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Accelerometers 2

Posted 2 weeks ago

I mentioned in yesterday’s post motional feedback for woofers, sometimes known as servo systems. The idea behind them is simple, their execution not so much. Woofers have a great deal of mass and are a bit unruly. They do not follow their amplifier’s commands as well as a lighter mass driver might. We know their […]
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Feedback 3

Posted 2 weeks ago

It’s a case of inertia, plain and simple. A woofer cone with a lot of mass takes its sweet time getting started and stopping. And here’s the thing. The power amplifier running the woofer has no idea what’s going on; that the woofer isn’t doing what it’s told. And when woofers don’t do what they’re […]
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Stop and go 17

Posted 2 weeks ago

One of the challenges any woofer has, in particular subwoofers, is stopping and starting with any degree of accuracy. The mass of the cone on these woofers is high; there’s a lot there relative to a tiny tweeter or midrange. The woofer’s motor, not much more than a magnet and coil of wire, takes a […]
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Breaking up is hard to do 8

Posted 2 weeks ago

… as Neil Sedaka wrote, “breaking up is hard to do”. He must not have had woofers in mind because that’s apparently something that happens easily, unless enough care is taken in their design. The cone material of a woofer is critical. We do not want that material to do unexpected things. We want it […]
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Paper folding 5

Posted 2 weeks ago

I mentioned yesterday the power of music is typically below 1kHz if we’re talking about an orchestra. Of course a trumpet, a flute, a voice would stand out in loudness and be at a higher frequency than what I mentioned. Several of you asked me about this. There was a great picture I had of […]
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Bow wow 10

Posted 3 weeks ago

Woofers. Bass drivers. Big cones. All used to produce about 70% of our music’s content in terms of quantity. If you look at an amplitude spectrum of music you’ll find the vast majority is well below 1,000Hz and most of the energy our power amplifiers deliver to our loudspeakers is used by the woofer to reproduce […]
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Bashing amps 4

Posted 3 weeks ago

Yesterday’s post I mentioned there are multiple types of amplifier topologies used for subwoofers, the majority of modern ones Class D amps. I also mentioned another popular topology called BASH. Several of you asked me to expand upon the BASH amp and explain. First let me refresh your understanding of Class D vs. traditional Class A/B. […]
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