Voicing PS Audio electronics

June 28, 2021
 by Paul McGowan

27 comments on “Voicing PS Audio electronics”

  1. Great, seeing the IRSVs being optimized using technologies of today’s drivers and components! The final step of optimization would probably getting the woofer towers phase and time aligned with the EMIMs and getting an improved line source design by adding some drivers filling the gap between the ceiling and the upper end of the towers/panels. The inherent disadvantage of this near-perfect set-up: every recording mastered in a studio with speakers not showing this degree of neutrality and linearity will sound suboptimal! 😉

    1. So is the answer to use a system which is less truthful? And if it is less truthful, since all systems vary where they are less accurate where should the truth be sacrificed?

      1. Isn’t the core question: what is the sound engineer’s truth? And an answer could be: create your own truth with the help of a powerful equalizer. 🙂 And doesn’t everybody has it’s own truth and view of the world – unless there are reproducible scientific facts and findings?

      2. There is no truth. Change a power cord you change the sound. Truth is what we enjoy our systems to sound like. The only truth is in the studio live, which is rare anymore with the digital recording process where one guy in LA plays his part another in NY does his part and the mixer takes all these tracks and puts together the final recording. But in the past when all bands and singers were in the same studio even then the master tape was as good as it could get then downhill after that.

        1. “Change the power chord, change the sound”?
          Oh, really? And this has been demonstrated in a controlled manner?
          Try UV light up your rear end for COVID. Same proof as power chords.

            1. Indeed, sometimes there are significant changes! But IMHO often due to a bad chassis/cabinet design. What about having shielded all audio circuits with MU metal? What about the bottom lid and the support forming a capacitor? What about internal currents and the induction effect in the metal chassis? In the early days there were wooden chassis! And I once removed the chassis of my CD Player and arranged all internal pc-boards on a wooden board and got the most significant sound improvement But who cares about the varying EM fields generated by each audio components?

              1. If it makes a difference you should care. The problem is deciding first if it’s a positive change. And if it is how to consistently implement the change.

          1. Very few interventions that involve humans are simple. We need more than a double-blind study, because humans aren’t double-blind. We know what’s on offer, and the story we tell ourselves changes how we behave.

            Science is often not the right answer to every question–it often fails to deliver what we need. Especially when an emotional response to differences is what’s on offer. Like a power cord and the difference in sound it makes.

            I understand how it’s easy for you to hide behind science when it comes to things you don’t understand nor have experienced for yourself, but maybe leave a little room for others. There’s a chance you might have it wrong or might have missed what others are telling you.

            Definitely there are placebos in audio, just as there are hucksters in science. By wearing the mantle of science, hypesters are not only able to charge more, but they also degrade the reputation of the very methods they purport to use–when we see firsthand that pretend science doesn’t work, we’re tempted to imagine that the same is true for interventions that are actually studied and tested.

            The knife cuts both ways.

            1. Thanks for telling me I don’t understand science while you hide by not demonstrating or proving “scientifically “ your products.
              Faith is for religion, homeopathy, politics and astrology.
              How do you know what I can hear?
              There are simple tests for showing the ability to hear frequency response, distortion, resolution, etc. But people prefer “belief”.
              Again, try Clorox or UV lights. What can you lose?
              Many statements on audio read like bias cliches demonstrated by Kahnemann.

              1. Well, that was an interesting but not particularly enlightening exchange.

                It’s obviously true that science isn’t the answer to every question, but the effect that a power cord has on the subjective performance of an audio system should be a proper area to apply principles of science and engineering. Let’s assume for now that the difference can’t be measured using standard measurement techniques. If the difference can’t be heard by an experienced listener under controlled conditions then I don’t have sufficient discretionary budget to buy an expensive power cord solely on the expectation of a pleasant placebo effect. We do seem to be straying perilously close to homeopathy and astrology here. I honestly don’t care if the copper was mined during a full moon.

                On the other hand, it’s good advice to assume that we don’t know everything. An incomplete understanding of the science sometimes leads us to reach erroneous conclusions. If a theory doesn’t explain the real world then it needs to be revised.

                1. Mark,
                  ‘CtA’ has shown us time & time again that he is aurally challenged as he relentlessly bangs on about science over hearing with regards to home audio…go figure.

                  1. I agree with CtA to some extent. I’m an engineer, and I expect to find engineering solutions to real-world problems. If power cords make a difference, then we we should be able to detect this in controlled listening tests. Actually, I would be astonished if listeners can identify the power cord in listening tests, but it’s not a test that I’ve done personally. Having said that, the world is a complicated old place, and most theories are a simplification. If real world experience does not agree with theory then the theory needs to be revised. Objectivists need to listen too.

  2. LOL Paul, I thought for a second you said that you have just under $100,000 in power and component cables in that system. 😉 I know, I must be nuts to think that I had heard that. 😀

  3. Paul,
    I noted that you are using 4 P20 Power Regenerators in your reference system. Does this indicate that only one P20 would be insufficient to power your mono blocks and subwoofers? If there is a benefit in having separate power plants for the high current components, should I use my P20 for my source components and pre amp and connect my Gryphon EVO power amp directly to the wall? Then, maybe save up for another P20 for my power amp.

    1. No. One would be entirely enough for the system (and for yours). I just like the improvements that multiple P20s make. It’s not a big improvement separating them (and each too has its own dedicated line), but it helps.

      I do it for two reasons. 1: I can.
      2: this is a reference system from which we build everything so it has to be as good as it possibly can.

  4. Thanks, Paul for your reply. One day, I would really love to visit the PS Audio facilities and hear your reference system. Your advice on audio is helpful and appreciated.

  5. What exactly is being voiced? The amplifier or preamplifier frequency response curve specification in the owners manual remains flat as a ruler like most Hi Fi amplifiers and preamplifiers. Do these voicing adjustments show up in any particular specification?

    1. I asked Paul about this in replies to an earlier video. Same as you, I thought that amplifiers could (and should) be made with ruler-flat frequency response. Paul explained that “voicing” was altogether more subtle than this. Apparently it deals with the sound characteristics that can’t be captured using simple measurement techniques.

      1. That’s exactly right. The simple measurements we generally make, THD, IM, noise, FR, can be identical on two amplifiers of the same gain that sound remarkably different. Those measurements tell us little about the issues that change sound quality. The components making up the circuit: transistor types, capacitors, etc. The other factors like how much loop feedback, square wave response, and onwards are more indicative of what makes a difference, yet they are not part of a standard measurement system.

        1. Kind of like the little things a cook might do that makes our dinner taste so good. Those are not things you want to disclose or you’re giving up your proprietary secrets.

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