The first subwoofer

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The first subwoofer

The year was 1974. The place was Santa Maria, California.

Stan and I had barely started our fledgling company, PS Audio. We hadn't yet perfected our single future project, the PS Audio standalone phono stage. It would be another 6 months before we built the first production unit.

Our mission was to find as many HiFi systems as possible to listen to the prototype. We really needed to know how close (or far) from the very best phono preamplifiers ours was.

The one system we both lusted after was owned by Norm Little. After weeks of pestering him, Norm finally relented and invited Stan and me to his home to compare preamps.

Norm's was a tri-amped Audio Research rig with a pair of Cerwin Vega 18" subwoofers—the first I had ever heard and, for that matter, the first I had ever heard of.

Up until that moment, woofers were part of loudspeakers. Every box loudspeaker I had ever seen had a minimum of a woofer and a tweeter. Some were 3-way with a midrange, but all had woofers. The idea of a separate box with nothing but a woofer was completely alien to me.

To say I was smitten with the quality of bass out of those 18" Cerwin Vega woofers is an understatement. Clean, clear, and powerful. Like nothing I had ever experienced.

What I later realized is that because the subwoofer wasn't handling the normal frequency range of a standard woofer, those midrange areas handled exclusively with the midrange drivers (Jantzen electrostatic panels) were clean and crisp in a way I had yet to hear.

The subwoofer became part of my must-have arsenal from that day forward.

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Paul McGowan

Founder & CEO

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