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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.

Are you an audiophile? 48

Posted 10 hours ago

I’ve noticed something interesting over the years. Many of us are uncomfortable referring to ourselves as audiophiles. Not amongst each other, but to the world—the great unwashed who don’t know what an audiophile is. Up until recently, I’ve been in that same camp. For some, it’s no big deal. Others won’t admit to it.  When […]
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Describing sound 16

Posted 1 day ago

We can’t accurately relay what we see, hear, or feel without a flurry of descriptive terms—and even then—the words only offer pale facsimiles. Imagine sharing the power of Beethoven’s 9th symphony with only words. The same is true when we attempt to share our experiences with sensory rich products like wine, or audio equipment. A […]
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Thirsty? 20

Posted 2 days ago

No problem, turn on the tap and quench that thirst. In my home, the water tastes a little funny so I installed a filter that is said to remove 99.9% of impurities. Water tastes better. Stay hydrated. It’s important to your health. We don’t think much about clean water. At least I don’t. I take […]
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Sound walls 30

Posted 3 days ago

One correction to yesterday’s post before we get rolling. I recommended Bridge owners use MConnect Player ($6) when in fact you want instead the free version called MConnect Control. Sorry about that. MConnect Control for Apple. MConnect Control for Android. In the app go to Browser/Tidal/Setup menu (three slashes at the top of the screen), […]
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Early Christmas 35

Posted 4 days ago

The process of getting MQA and Tidal onto the Bridge took so long I turned another year older. More gray hair. Fewer brain cells. Patience has never been one of my virtues. But, here we are. All Bridge II owners can now update to the latest Bridge OS for free and get full MQA unfolding […]
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Reference standards 34

Posted 5 days ago

We built DMP, a reference standard disc player, at a time when interest in the medium is said to be waning. Why do that? Why not march forward with products that many believe represent the future? There are two reasons. The world needs a reference standard, a benchmark from which to judge all future products. […]
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Designing for everyone 41

Posted 6 days ago

We don’t design products for everyone. Never have. Probably never will. Just like we don’t cook food that everyone likes. That kind of meal has to be bland enough to delight no one. The greater the level of delight, the higher the risk of offense. And more often than not, we design products that we […]
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Hi-fi furniture 49

Posted 1 week ago

In yesterday’s post, I mentioned a term many are unfamiliar with. Hi-fi furniture. Don’t feel bad. I made that term up, but not out of thin air. I have often wondered why no one is making high-end audio furniture. Sure, I’ve seen the cool stuff with built-in turntables, retro systems, a few tubes, even a […]
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I wonder… 30

Posted 1 week ago

My long-term goal for the company has never veered off course. Bring high-end audio to as many people around the world as possible. That’s quite a challenge, especially at a time when industry consensus is we’re shrinking and interest is waning. I don’t buy it. I don’t see it, either—and I am uncertain where those […]
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How many engineers… 12

Posted 1 week ago

There’s got to be a joke with a light bulb in here somewhere. But the fact of the matter is it takes a good number of engineers to make a product today. It wasn’t always that way. Years ago things were simpler, though I am convinced not necessarily better. Like the older cars where everything […]
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Last of the list 20

Posted 1 week ago

Over the last two days, I’ve shared with you some of my favorite tracks so you can not only see what it is I use for audio testing, but why. You probably have a few of these, but if not, it might help to grab a few. We continue today. Beethoven Violin Sonata #7 in […]
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More music 34

Posted 1 week ago

In yesterday’s post, I shared with you some of my playlist I use to design and verify equipment performance. That list continues today. San Jacinto, Peter Gabriel, New Blood. It’s Peter Gabriel and it’s a great recording. Not a lot more need be shared. Haydn Sonata 49, Lois Shapiro. Good luck finding this gem. I’ve […]
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My music 22

Posted 1 week ago

I suppose we all have our favorite music selections. The ones we show off our system with, those we cherish for the performance, the others we treasure for their sonic splendor. In my case, the list is long for a reason. When designing or upgrading a product Music Room One has to serve as the […]
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The new subwoofer 11

Posted 1 week ago

Wow. Thank you for all the kind letters and words of encouragement on the upcoming book Confessions of an Audiophile. It’ll be a few months before it’s available to read. Several have asked for one more story before moving on. I couldn’t resist the one about my father, Don, and the new subwoofer that my […]
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The Bedinis 30

Posted 2 weeks ago

In yesterday’s post, I shared part one of a story about the Bedini Brothers, John, and Gary. Their company made some great sounding equipment over the years and they were talented individuals, though a little off kilter when it came to the spreading of audiophile manure. I am sharing a few stories from my upcoming […]
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My crazy past 20

Posted 2 weeks ago

Several of my readers know I’ve written a book called Confessions of an Audiophile. It’s a project I’ve been laboring over for a bit now and I am excited to finally have it in the editing stage. The forthcoming book is a memoir of sorts—my crazy life starting in the mid-60s through today. Plenty of […]
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It all matters 41

Posted 2 weeks ago

Of course, the question we’ve been wrestling with—which matters most, source or output—is the same as the age-old chicken and egg conundrum. On the one hand, great speakers can magnify the inadequacies of lousy sources, and great sources cannot be appreciated through low resolving speakers. In the end it all matters. Yet, I lose sleep at night […]
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The lonely preamp 65

Posted 2 weeks ago

Pity the preamp. It sits alone neither a source nor an output. Its status is elevated beyond a power amplifier because we interact with it. Its very existence comes into question when others are available to do the same job. Yet, a great preamp is essential. Its contribution to overall sound quality cannot be ignored. […]
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Viewpoints 41

Posted 2 weeks ago

The problem with picking apart something is we leave out the meaning from the whole. For example, leave out the salad dressing and you have little more than raw lettuce. Concluding that salad dressing is a salad’s most critical element would be a mistake. The best dressing on wilted, tasteless, iceberg lettuce (a crime in itself) […]
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Audio counseling 20

Posted 2 weeks ago

When marriages struggle counselors mediate. In a marriage of hi-fi components, dealers were once arbiters, but times have changed. Where once high-end audio dealers were as thick as two short planks, today customers generally chat amongst themselves on forums or seek out advice from those they feel they can trust. The problem with all this […]
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Marriage 12

Posted 2 weeks ago

A hi-fi system is like a marriage. They both range in levels of success depending on the players and circumstances. There are plenty of dysfunctional marriages and systems, good and bad ones, spectacular and piss poor ones and everything in between. To suggest that a dysfunctional marriage of people or systems can be remedied by […]
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The heart of the system 32

Posted 3 weeks ago

The debate over the true heart of a system—amps or preamps—is as old as the category. What’s the truth? My pat answer is “both”, but that’s not always practical. What if economic constraints force you to choose between one or the other? Which do you select? The immediate answer is that it depends on what […]
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Count Basie 12

Posted 3 weeks ago

The name Count Basie is synonymous with big band jazz and few people interested in music haven’t heard of him. My friend and fellow manufacturer, Sandy Gross, turned me on to a great 5-disc CD of Basie jazz and I just had to share. Count Basie, the complete Live at the Crescendo series is a […]
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Batteries not included 11

Posted 3 weeks ago

When stereo equipment is concerned, the ultimate goal for AC wall power is to convert it to DC. Battery voltage. So, why not start with batteries in the first place? It’s a question we’re often asked. A handful of manufacturers of smaller source and control gear have relied upon battery power for years. A few […]
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Transients 30

Posted 3 weeks ago

Music is not a series of tones. Instead, it’s a series of transients—momentary changes in current, voltage or frequency. What’s interesting to me, given this fact, is our measurement equipment looks not at transients, but steady state tones—exactly what we don’t listen to on all but the lowest of frequencies. One of the fundamental tests […]
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