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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.

Something quite new 0

Posted 3 hours ago

So now that we know how conventional amplifiers and switchable amplifiers work, what is it we did differently in the BHK Signature Mono amplifier that started this thread? We built a parallel amplifier to turn the stereo BHK Signature into the Mono BHK Signature. A parallel amplifier simple means you take two channels of an […]
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Breaking conventions 6

Posted 1 day ago

When we think of a power amplifier we visualize a conventional design where the speaker is attached to the red (+) terminal and the black (-) terminal for each channel. The red is the output of the power amplifier, the black is ground.  But there is a different type of amplifier called a bridged amp. In […]
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The cost of a free lunch 4

Posted 2 days ago

Engineering products is a series of choices and compromises. The first rule designers learn is there is rarely a free lunch. One design choice that solves one set of problems often leads to another. And the greater the complexity of the system the fewer free lunches. I described in yesterday’s post how power amplifiers with a switch to choose […]
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A bridge over … 6

Posted 3 days ago

When it comes to making both stereo and mono amplifiers one solution is the easiest for manufacturers and consumers alike: the switchable amplifier. In this clever scheme customers are thrilled because they can turn their stereo amp into a mono with the click of a switch. Manufacturers are happy as well. Instead of separate models and […]
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Designing an amp 5

Posted 4 days ago

If you already design stereo amplifiers making a mono version is simple. Just remove one channel and its input and output connectors from the chassis, change its name, and you’re done. But what if you were starting from scratch? How much different would your design be than simply eviscerating a stereo model? Much would depend on […]
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The ways we think of amps 27

Posted 5 days ago

Before the late 1960s stereo sound systems in the home were rare, typically cobbled together by hobbyists using twin mono amplifiers, preamplifiers and loudspeakers. Though stereophonic sound was invented in the 1930s, it would be another 40 years to gain household acceptance. As the public became convinced of stereo’s lifelike sound and manufacturers made it easy to […]
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Definitions 18

Posted 6 days ago

Despite my rush of enthusiasm for the BHK monos, I am reminded just how good the stereo version is by what we heard at the Munich show. For those unable to attend I used the BHK Stereo 250 to play a pair of power hungry Magneplanar 20.7 and the amplifier hardly broke a sweat doing so. To […]
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Mono me 20

Posted 1 week ago

The BHK Signature 250 is the best power amplifier I had ever heard until the Signature 300 came along. When I was asked to audition the Signature 300, the stereo 250’s mono counterpart, I expected it would sound better, but not by leaps and bounds. Not as if it had taken a whole new look at […]
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Growing pains 14

Posted 1 week ago

I don’t know about you, but I rarely make calls on my iPhone. I use it a lot, but just not as its namesake. More often I am answering emails, checking the weather, seeing what’s on at the movies, asking Siri to set the timer. It’s my calculator, my calendar and my appointment book. But […]
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Tough situations 23

Posted 1 week ago

Setting up speaker systems at shows can be tough and almost always is. You start with an emptied room never designed for audio systems and within the course of one day, setup a system hundreds of knowing Audiophiles come to evaluate, often critically. Setup day is rife with sweating t-shirted manufacturers muscling large speaker systems […]
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Music in context 15

Posted 1 week ago

Have you ever noticed how the playback context affects your feelings towards music? This morning Terri and I ran through the Englischer Gardens in the heart of Munich. Similar to New York’s Central Park, the Gardens are more wild and, to my eye, beautiful in their naturalness. As we ran I listened to my favorite operas […]
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Sharing time 10

Posted 1 week ago

I wrote about experts yesterday and some of you asked me how to pick one with value. And I would answer that you pick them based on their track record applying what they know: Einstein on physics, Thomas Keller on cooking, Richard Petty on Racing, Ansel Adams on photography. An expert who has never designed a […]
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Experts 17

Posted 1 week ago

An expert, more generally, is a person with extensive knowledge or ability based on research, experience, or occupation and in a particular area of study. Experts are called in for advice on their respective subject, but they do not always agree on the particulars of a field of study. We love our experts and tend […]
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One last thing… 9

Posted 1 week ago

As you read this I will likely be winging my way across the Atlantic ocean on the way to Munich for the high end show. I wanted to answer a nagging question on the power cable series before my promised ending of the subject which I made to you yesterday. How can the last six […]
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Noise is bright 17

Posted 2 weeks ago

One of the lessons I learned when building the world’s first AC regenerator for stereo systems, the Power Plant, was the effect noise and distortion of the AC waveform had on sound. Or, better said, what effect the lack of noise and distortion had on sound. That which was bright and edgy became natural and without […]
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When better is worse 12

Posted 2 weeks ago

Solid core conductors in Romex (power cable in our walls) have less surface area than a same-gauge bundle of stranded wire, commonly found in stock power cables. Thus it can be said that solid core wire has less Skin Effect than its counterpart of many fine stranded wire. Skin effect describes the ability of conductors to pass high frequencies: more skin […]
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Speculation 24

Posted 2 weeks ago

I have reported that power cable construction affects sound. Thick solid core conductors sound weightier, thicker, fuller, with less aggression than thin, many stranded versions. And yesterday we explained the differences between thick and thin conductors, called skin effect; thinner cables have more of it and pass higher frequencies easier. But why should that matter? There […]
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Skin deep 1

Posted 2 weeks ago

What is it we actually know about electricity and wires that might help us figure out what’s causing us to hear differences in cables? In yesterday’s post I told a story of my first encounter with power cable differences. I found that wire with many thin strands sounded significantly worse than the same thickness wire with […]
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Spoiler alert 53

Posted 2 weeks ago

Today’s post has been preempted to bring you the following ravings of Lunatic Paul. We shall resume normally scheduled programming tomorrow. Yesterday I was tasked with first listen to the BHK Monos before sending to California to be blessed by BHK on the test bench. This is my report… no, ravings. I just walked in […]
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Cable geometries 6

Posted 2 weeks ago

Much to my surprise, as I mentioned in yesterday’s post, when I crafted a power cable from the same wire in the wall, Romex, and powered an amplifier through it, the sound was vastly better than the same amplifier fed AC through the stock power cable. This came as quite the shock (not to make a […]
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My first cable 18

Posted 2 weeks ago

Long ago when there were no aftermarket power cables I started work on the first. The idea for a cable better than what we included in the box came out of curiosity. If the stock cables I experimented with made such a difference in sound, what would happen if I simply made a power cable […]
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Obtuse 36

Posted 3 weeks ago

Hmmm. Several of you wrote suggesting my post from yesterday was obtuse. My apologies. I will try harder to be clearer. And I think it’s important to be very clear on this subject of power cables. Without a good understanding of the underlying principals of power and how equipment connects to the home AC line, the […]
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Stuck in the middle 5

Posted 3 weeks ago

As I pointed out in yesterday’s post your amplifier sits not at the end of the power cord but in the middle. This confused a number of people and it’s easy to see why. Take one look at your equipment. It is clearly tethered to the end of a long cable, but inside there are two that […]
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Length matters not 26

Posted 3 weeks ago

One of the most vexing power cable questions is this: what possible difference can the last 6 feet make? We understand there are likely several hundred feet of power cable connecting our equipment to the circuit breaker distribution box, itself connected through several hundred more feet to the power transformer feeding our home. With all this cable […]
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Another experiment 18

Posted 3 weeks ago

In our continuing series on power cables I had mentioned in an earlier post an easy experiment that brought instant benefits. I received many letters of thanks for this tip. Today, I would like to propose another experiment, only this time the results will be opposite, the unit will sound worse. Why tell you how to […]
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