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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.

Dark Rooms 19

Posted 7 hours ago

Go to a busy public place, a playground, a park. Sit. Listen. Wait and then close your eyes. Listen. What do you hear now? A whole lot more. More details, more sounds you were unaware of. More of everything you could not have perceived moments ago. Repeat the process as many times as you wish. […]
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The great conundrum 29

Posted 1 day ago

What makes buying speakers so different than electronics? We understand how essential it is to evaluate a new DAC or phono stage in our own system. How else would we know if it’s the right fit for our musical tastes? We happily invite electronics into our homes for a test drive. But speakers? Speakers feel […]
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Have we come that far? 14

Posted 2 days ago

Reader Ted Williams sent me the following photo of a 1959 Johnny Mathis album sleeve from Columbia Records. I love it. It’s educational and must have been a great tool for Columbia to sell their hardware products—products I didn’t even know existed. But, it begs the question, how far have we actually come since this […]
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Matters of opinion 20

Posted 3 days ago

Each of us has different wants and needs, yet all of us share much in common. While I might search for tonal accuracy, dynamics, and detachment from the speakers, and you might be more interested in transient and top-end response, we’re both here for the music. Our love of music and the home audio systems […]
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Music is essential 28

Posted 4 days ago

We imagine music as a luxury but I would argue it’s as essential as eating. We’re social creatures and music, speech, and the arts are core components dating back to our beginnings as a species. It’s easy enough to mistake what we want for what we need. Take cooking for example. We think of cooking […]
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Sharing noise 32

Posted 5 days ago

Few connection mediums have been more revolutionary than the internet. Where once I could only chatter and share what’s in my head with my neighbors and community, now the whole world’s abuzz with connection. And I am riffing on this today because of a recent comment to one of my Ask Paul videos about the […]
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The problem with exuberance 47

Posted 6 days ago

As I waxed enthusiastically about my vinyl experience shared in yesterday’s post, it never occurred to me I might have been divisive. That readers not included in the event might feel slighted or worried I was now suggesting a major shift in my long held views on DSD and digital audio, that vinyl’s superior to […]
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Vinyl exceeds CDs 74

Posted 1 week ago

Yesterday we learned that sales of vinyl have outstripped CDs for the first time in decades. An article posted in Rolling Stone Magazine (which I have not yet read) made the rounds at RMAF, yesterday. I haven’t yet figured out if this means sales of CDs are continuing their downward spiral or vinyl’s picking up […]
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Opening day 25

Posted 1 week ago

With apologies, I am writing this post a day before you actually get to read it. It’s not always easy to juggle all the balls I have in the air and sometimes it’s the best I can manage. Opening day at a trade show is mixed with both excitement and nerves. Excited because it’s new, […]
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Day one 12

Posted 1 week ago

Day one of any major hifi show is always interesting. By the time the door is open to the press or public, all the hard work and chaos of set up day is finished. Clothes are pressed, shoes cleaned, equipment’s polished and running, the tunes have been selected. The music begins to play. Like any […]
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Peeking behind the scenes 10

Posted 1 week ago

Designing and building new high-end audio products is a long and detailed process, often requiring years of design and engineering. It seems like members of our Hi-Fi Family really enjoy seeing behind the scenes of what it takes to craft those products and the people behind them. Whenever someone visits us for a tour (something […]
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Bits and pieces 28

Posted 1 week ago

We’re dipping into a bit of the past with this post but I thought you might find it of interest. As you read this we’re tearing down the finished AN3 loudspeakers we’ve been laboring over and putting them on a truck for tomorrow’s setup day at RMAF. Over the past few weeks, it’s been a […]
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Memories and feelings 19

Posted 1 week ago

Last night at dinner, Terri put on a copy of Cold Play’s A Rush Of Blood To The Head album. Instantly, I was immersed in not a rush of blood to the head, but a rush of memories and feelings of the night they played live at Red Rocks in Colorado. It wasn’t like a […]
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The stories we tell 43

Posted 1 week ago

I don’t know anyone that doesn’t have a dozen stories explaining everything they believe. From religion to politics to stereo systems, the stories we tell and believe explain the world to us. Until those stories change. It’s easy to buy into the notion your stories represent truth—an obvious contradiction since opposing stories can’t both be […]
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Whole systems 15

Posted 2 weeks ago

Holism suggests that systems should be viewed as wholes, not just collections of parts—but it’s not often enough we adopt holistic views. I believe that’s not always in our best interest. For example, if we categorize people by their component parts: color, sex, smarts, demeanor, or physical attributes, we wind up never really knowing the […]
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Engineering school 36

Posted 2 weeks ago

The traditional route traveled by aspiring audio engineers is school. Learn your basics then move on to higher-level classes in mathematics, physics, semiconductors, circuits, and so on. When you come out of school you’re, well, somewhat useless—a head filled with a lot of unconnected information waiting to be used. What those fresh out of school […]
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A dose of live 36

Posted 2 weeks ago

This past weekend I was in the Octave Recording Studio as an amazingly talented singer and songwriter, Jessica Carson, sang her heart out. Her performance that day sent chills up my spine, but what caught my attention, even more, was when Gus played it back. It was as close to live as I have ever […]
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Is perfection overrated? 17

Posted 2 weeks ago

Perfection in its literal form is a myth. We strive for perfection in our systems, our lives, our friends and come away frustrated. What we likely mean is perfect including the inevitable flaws, but not all of us see it that way. If I had to guess, I’d imagine perfectionism is more about our need […]
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Blacker backgrounds 25

Posted 2 weeks ago

I am endlessly fascinated by the term and concept of the blacker background. I can’t tell you the number of times we’ve made one technical change or another and hear the background noise drop away like black ink on velvet. But is that what’s really happening? I sincerely doubt I can hear the differences between […]
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When it rains, it… 34

Posted 2 weeks ago

Yesterday we showed you the new AN-3 beast of a woofer. Today I wanted to share the new 6.5″ midbass couplers. While not as big and beast-like, they’re even more important to sound quality than the woofer itself. Very few speaker systems are 4-way with midbass couplers. This 4th driver has been sparingly used on […]
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Uncovering the beast 31

Posted 2 weeks ago

We’ll be unveiling the final version of the AN-3 loudspeaker in a few days at RMAF and as parts show up, crossovers are voiced, and the next generation of the prototype we played for you at Axpona come together, I’ll be sharing them with you. I couldn’t be more excited. Enclosed are three photos of […]
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The value of shows 21

Posted 3 weeks ago

The upcoming Rocky Mountain Audio Fest opens on September 6th, just weeks away. We’ll be there showing off Stellar Phono and the production version of the new AN3 loudspeaker. Consumer audio shows offer the curious, the prospective buyer, the aficionado, and the newbie a chance to see all the new gear, hobnob with designers and […]
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The balancing act 30

Posted 3 weeks ago

There’s been an ongoing debate between balanced and unbalanced cables in HiFi as long as I have been involved. And, that’s a long time. I remember spirited debates with Audio Research founder Bill Johnson about it. AR equipment was a long hold out in adding balanced to their products but over time they gave in, […]
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In harm’s way 26

Posted 3 weeks ago

We have a pretty versatile warehouse at PS Audio. Where normally we’d be moving inventory in and out on a daily basis, the main warehouse has other uses too. In yesterday’s post, I showed how our engineers take over to make polar measurements of the new AN3 loudspeaker. Today I’ll show you quite another use. […]
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Warehouse sounds 33

Posted 3 weeks ago

Long ago, in the prehistoric days of HiFi, there was the first HiFi mail order catalog I knew of called Warehouse Sounds. They sold all kinds of stereo gear across the nation and even had “head cleaning kits” which consisted of a roach clip and pack of rolling papers. (Hey, it was the 70s). But […]
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