Audio vanity

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How much are we paying for a beautiful chassis and is that money well spent?

I can recall long ago, in the first few years of our existence, that Stan (The "S" in PS) was of a mindset that it is "dishonest" to spend anything above functional operation requirements for a chassis. If it helped the sound quality, then we spent it. If it was added to enhance the perceived value, then we didn't. Stan was a minimalist. I was unsure. Our products reflected this minimalist thinking.

A few years later, while at a CES, I had an eye opener. A customer came through the room knocking on the top covers of our equipment with his knuckles. Curious as to what he was doing, I asked. "I am performing the knock, knock test. If your top cover rings or seems thin, then the audio equipment will sound bad." Ours failed the knock, knock test but sounded good.

At the time I scoffed at this test - not because I wasn't aware of vibrational issues affecting the audio - but because it seemed silly and did not take into account all the effort we put into our circuits. Over time I have come to realize this was a very shortsighted approach. The knock, knock tester had no technical background at all but had figured out a direct correlation between chassis build quality and how a product performed in his system. He was generally correct.

Putting resources into a chassis is not a waste of your money or the manufacturers. It honors what is inside.

Pride of ownership, resale value, public statements of value are all important in every field. Most of us are not so practical that we would drive an ugly car just because it performs slightly better than a good looking one.

Some manufacturers produce overkill in their chassis and some underkill. From my perspective, what's beautiful on the outside reflects the beauty from within.

It's not vain to want both.

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Paul McGowan

Founder & CEO

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