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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.

Equipment that makes you forget 15

Posted 6 hours ago

The best stereo equipment I know is forgettable. When everything’s just right I don’t think about the system, only the music. We work so hard to make products that are both remarkable and iconic. Yet, when they do their job, the best we can hope is for them to disappear. Imagine designing an automobile, computer, […]
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Switching valves 23

Posted 1 day ago

It’s remarkable how easy it is to get a little piece of information and turn that into an all inclusive proclamation. Dark clouds on the horizon mean rain. Hospitals are full of sick people, therefore hospitals make people sick. Lots of people bought this album, so it must be good. One of my favorites is […]
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Stupid vs. ignorant 54

Posted 2 days ago

Ok, file this post under Paul’s Pet Peeve department. In reading comments on YouTube and even our forums, why is it some call others “stupid” when they don’t see eye to eye? The dictionary defines stupid as: “having or showing a great lack of intelligence or common sense” and I don’t think most people actually […]
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The Oatmeal Syndrome 25

Posted 3 days ago

How many times have I read someone’s lament that despite their best efforts they’ve never once heard differences in sample rates, file types, or cables? That no matter what they try, differences others hear are unavailable to them. For the most part, that person concludes the differences aren’t real, that others are being fooled. And […]
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Designing options 10

Posted 4 days ago

One of the biggest temptations for designers and customers alike is the addition of options. Options, options, options. How can you have too many options? You know when you have too many options when using a product becomes daunting. JRiver Media Center is a good example. I can barely get music to play without having […]
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Is it live or… 31

Posted 5 days ago

Ad slogans that work are the ones most memorable, the ones we talk about like those from Geico or the older ones from cassette tape manufacturer Memorex. I haven’t thought of the slogan “Is it live or Memorex” for some time but, aside from the memories of a bygone era it brings back, I remain […]
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Ripping sound from the box 22

Posted 6 days ago

When Darren Myers and I were working on the AN3 prototype loudspeaker one of the many challenges came from the midrange. As those who have watched the video series on building the AN3 prototypes know, we went through several midrange drivers to get what we wanted. What we didn’t talk about was the struggle to […]
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7.83 Hz 20

Posted 1 week ago

The Schumann Resonance of the Earth is reported to be a very low 7.83Hz. If you duplicate this frequency major benefits to your health, sleep habits and stereo system are said to take place. You can spend $50 and have your own if you wish. As a natural skeptic, I surprised myself several years ago […]
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System reviews 61

Posted 1 week ago

Is it just me or are there no such things as system reviews anymore? I was thumbing through a couple of the more famous review magazines and the single equipment reviews just stuck out like a sore thumb. When’s the last time you remember seeing a system reviewed in a magazine? Dealers were once single-handedly […]
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The importance of stands 25

Posted 1 week ago

Bookshelf speakers are not what their name implies. Sure, they can be placed in a bookshelf or cabinet, but that doesn’t mean they’re designed to operate at their best amongst the books. No, the oddly named small two-way loudspeakers are, like any speaker, heard best when away from the confines of boundary walls and cabinet […]
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Welcoming attitudes 29

Posted 1 week ago

A day of shopping is not something high on my list of favorites. When I do go shopping I am always on the lookout for how I am treated. If it’s a welcoming event I might sniff around the store in search of those items I really don’t need but might consider. If it’s unwelcoming […]
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Peak power 25

Posted 1 week ago

Our system’s power amplifier is almost always bigger than needed. Or is it? We know that headroom, the reserve amplifier power we hope not to use, is important. But how much is enough? Do we have to acquire a scope and meter and dust off our engineering degrees to measure the peak power our system […]
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Can and should 22

Posted 1 week ago

I can stay with what I have and be happy though I think I should upgrade and get better. Can and should, two of my favorite words: I should avoid the calories but I can sneak this one butter tart if I promise myself not to do it again. Deciding between the two can be […]
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Capturing air 36

Posted 1 week ago

We’re happiest when recordings and systems capture the space as well as the music. Mastering and recording engineer Gus Skinas and I have been playing with microphones as of late and the biggest differences we hear are in the air, the room, the space. Sure, there are big differences between tonal qualities microphones capture (or […]
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Conductor’s perspective 26

Posted 2 weeks ago

Imagine how it must feel to stand in front of one hundred musicians at the ready. You’re just slightly elevated by the podium. Music gushes forth in a barrage of sound at the drop of your outstretched hand. The one hundred moving-part-machine dances to your every whim: louder now, then hushed to a whisper. Faster […]
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Preaching to the choir 40

Posted 2 weeks ago

It’s May 11th and, dammit, yesterday I turned 71 years old. I used to love birthdays. The older I get the less I want to prove anything to anyone. Experience suggests it’s a fool’s game. How many times have I produced videos demonstrating differences in audio equipment with the exact same results? My video of […]
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Tip of the iceberg 28

Posted 2 weeks ago

We got in big trouble with having enough amplifier power in yesterday’s post. In a very undemocratic and unfair fashion, we learned it takes crazy amounts of power to double loudness. But now let’s look at a few other reasons it’s best to use a big and powerful amplifier for our new loudspeakers despite the […]
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Lightning fast 26

Posted 2 weeks ago

At the risk of beating this poor horse to death, I thought I’d cover one more servo woofer item. Speed. We don’t normally associate woofers with speed. Slow and ponderous, woofers struggle to get out of their own way. But it’s not their fault. They have a heavy load to move around, the mass of […]
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Life’s not fair 20

Posted 2 weeks ago

In my earlier post, I mentioned the emergence of some angst by fellow audiophiles in response to our upcoming AN Series of loudspeakers. The fact that each pair is internally amplified with a servo woofer system means that your main power amplifier will only be responsible for the midrange and tweeter, not a very glamorous […]
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Removing the strain and stress 34

Posted 2 weeks ago

One of the defining characteristics of our new AN speaker line will be internally amplified servo bass. An accelerometer is mounted to the internal subwoofer and used to quicken the woofer’s transient response, lower distortion, and flatten its amplitude. People familiar with the advantages of servo controlled woofers are excited by the prospect of a […]
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Stacking the deck 20

Posted 2 weeks ago

In yesterday’s post, I offered the two main reasons I wrote my upcoming memoir, 99% True: spreading the word to an unsuspecting public that we audiophiles exist and helping aspiring entrepreneurs through their struggles. My challenge is to get noticed by potential readers that would normally not have any interest in a book about high-end […]
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My two main goals 13

Posted 3 weeks ago

In yesterday’s post of rejection, I spent some time explaining how the book publishing world used to work. Today I am going to explain what happens in this age of online bookselling and then ask if you’d be willing to help me stack the deck. In writing my soon-to-be-published memoir 99% True, I had two […]
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Rejection 10

Posted 3 weeks ago

My upcoming memoir, 99% True, is finally getting to the point of release. According to my publisher, the launch date is now set for Tuesday, June 4th. And in the meantime, I have been learning about modern book publishing and its inner workings. How different than in the past. Would be authors once approached publishers […]
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Inside looking out 18

Posted 3 weeks ago

There’s a very important picture within each of us, one we believe represents our persona. It’s almost always wrong. It’s wrong because of the constant conflict within our heads: I am good at this—well, maybe not so much. I am really bad at that—well, I’ve been better in the past. I’ve heard much better sound […]
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List of ingredients 11

Posted 3 weeks ago

Prepackaged foods list their ingredients so consumers know what they’re putting into their bodies. My rule of thumb is not to eat anything I cannot pronounce or if the list sounds more like a Gilbert Chemistry set than food. Stereo equipment manufacturers have no such rules though many tout the good stuff (and generally keep […]
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