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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.

Coils and gauges 30

Posted 15 hours ago

A coil of wire is a thing of magic. Pass an AC signal through it and as the frequency rises it gets harder to get through to the other side. Or, pass a steady current through the coil and use it to click a switch or pick up screws rattling around on the bench. And […]
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Equipment extremes 37

Posted 1 day ago

I would bet most of us have some sort of extremes in our systems: the expensive interconnect, an external clock, isolation feet that cost as much as the product it is isolating, a USB regenerator. And I’ll further bet there are few among us that have only middle of the road products throughout. Each of […]
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Just enough to be dangerous 34

Posted 2 days ago

They say a little knowledge goes a long way. They also say having just enough knowledge to get things misunderstood is a danger. Ours is a complicated endeavor. We interact with complex devices that most of us don’t understand. Yet, we’re encouraged to learn all we can to make informed decisions on what to buy, […]
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Anthropomorphism 45

Posted 3 days ago

My car is a she and we two have a relationship with each other. Some of my amp choices are brutish thugs, while others have a romantic streak in them. My DAC’s a delicate female while my cables are without personality. My listening room can move between various characters depending on my mood. It is […]
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No need to duck 22

Posted 4 days ago

We trust that when we buy a house the doorways are tall enough for us not to have to duck. And for most of us, it’s not a problem. But, imagine if you were 7 feet tall. You’d be concerned with headroom (it’s not called headroom for nothin’). Headroom is an elusive measure for us. […]
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Rosetta Stone 28

Posted 5 days ago

The Rosetta Stone was discovered in July, 1799 by French soldier Pierre-François Bouchard during the Napoleonic campaign in Egypt. It was the first Ancient Egyptian bilingual text recovered in modern times, and it became key to deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphs, ending one of the great mysteries of all time. Until its discovery, scholars had no idea […]
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Unexpected pleasures 26

Posted 6 days ago

When engineering handed me the fruits of their 10-month journey to build the Stellar Strata amplifier I was somewhat underwhelmed. It just worked. No bells, no whistles, no fireworks. It just flawlessly worked. A team of three full-time programmers had been laboring for nearly a year to make the control system for Stellar Strata unnoticeable. […]
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Tearing down walls 29

Posted 1 week ago

Innovation is the heart of forward progress. Just redoing the same old tried and true doesn’t push the boundaries of what’s possible, nor does it move the progress needle in the right direction. The companies I admire most are those that continue to tear down the walls and move the goalpost. It’s what drives us […]
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Full size 14

Posted 1 week ago

There was a time in PS Audio’s history where we only made little boxes. Our first product, the phono preamplifier, was about half the size of a pack of English muffins. We followed that with something closer to the traditional 19″ rack mount stereo equipment of yore, only ours were half sized. Our very first […]
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Drawing the line 16

Posted 1 week ago

One of the most difficult problems designers face is where to draw the line between vision and desire. A designer’s product vision starts out as a pure set of lofty goals imagined together in perfect harmony. Then, desire clouds vision. The gotta haves; wish it coulds; maybe it cans; creep in. Before you know it, […]
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The best seat 44

Posted 1 week ago

When we go to the theater or concert we buy the best seat we can afford. We don’t question the fact that a seat closer to the front costs more than the ones in the back. Yet, sometimes we’re surprised when we’re asked to pay a premium for better sounding audio equipment. “If all manufacturers […]
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How to train your ears 28

Posted 1 week ago

We learn how to hear from an early age. At first, sounds don’t make sense because we have yet to form pathways and relationships. Over time, we figure out that cooing sound is mom, and that clucking sound is dad. It’s not a whole lot different when we apply learned hearing to our Hi-Fi systems. […]
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Opinions and experiences 31

Posted 1 week ago

I am not a fan of passive radiators in full-range speaker cabinets. In every instance, I was underwhelmed with the sound of their bass and blamed the common denominator, the passive radiator. A passive radiator is a woofer without a motor. Just picture your favorite woofer cone and that’s how a passive radiator typically looks. […]
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Legacies 36

Posted 1 week ago

Nothing goes forever. Even our universe is said to have an end. And though we don’t actually believe it, the evidence appears pretty conclusive that none of us will make it out of this world alive. What happens to PS Audio when there’s no more me? I get asked this question a lot and it […]
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Good deals 21

Posted 2 weeks ago

Whether it’s a hand of cards or buying a new piece of audio equipment, we always like getting a good deal. Good deals don’t always have to refer to money. We can find deals by virtue of high value, unexpected performance, or enhanced synergy. It’s a good deal when my new amplifier helps the system […]
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Sonder 32

Posted 2 weeks ago

In 2006 John Koenig ran into a few roadblocks while writing poetry. He couldn’t find the right words to describe complex emotions. So he made some words up and added them to his own dictionary. Some of those words eventually came into the general lexicon. Like sonder: “…the realization that each random passerby is living […]
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Withdrawals 46

Posted 2 weeks ago

I swear music is addictive. If I go more than a few days without my dose I am unhappy. Jittery. Argumentative. And music in the car, or what passes as background music in my home, soothes the withdrawal symptoms but does not give me the fix I need. My true drug of choice is found […]
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Synergy vs. Accuracy 33

Posted 2 weeks ago

We hope for accuracy and pray for synergy. This might sound like an odd thought because we’re all so obsessed with getting it right, but since “right” cannot mean perfect, there’s always room for interpretation. For example, if I find a cable that has a more accurate and even-handed presentation than another, I’ll go with […]
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Fluid stability 16

Posted 2 weeks ago

For most of us, maintaining stability with our systems is paramount. Turn the system on, have it work the way we expect, enjoy the music without hassles. Not much better than that. Yet, to stay on top of the progress that’s being made we’re also obliged to remain a bit fluid: to stay up to […]
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I am always surprised… 77

Posted 2 weeks ago

…but rarely shocked when overwhelming evidence doesn’t at least spark a modicum of curiosity. Take the subject of Climate Change. We might dismiss California’s unprecedented droughts and fires as a warning, but when NASA and 18 scientific bodies again shows clear evidence our world is warming, one would think it might raise at least an […]
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Repercussions 23

Posted 2 weeks ago

Whatever changes we affect in our systems have repercussions: a new preamp changes the synergy of what came before it, records sound different with a new phono cartridge, AC power through a regenerator is radically different than straight from the wall. Our systems are sensitive enough that we need to be mindful of the repercussions […]
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Observations and theories 35

Posted 3 weeks ago

It might sound like a bird’s chirp, but scientists listening to what might be misunderstood as the sound from a video game is actually the billion-year-old echo of the collision of two black holes. This bird-chirp represents something extraordinary, something Einstein predicted more than 100 years ago. Ripples in the space-time continuum that are produced […]
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Isolated 40

Posted 3 weeks ago

Over time, our civilization has become increasingly isolated from the physical world. We wake from our warm beds and check the outside temperature to know how to dress ourselves. It wasn’t that long ago when the first out of bed had to start a fire to keep the others from freezing. Given our culture’s odd […]
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Death of a monster 97

Posted 3 weeks ago

Consider this post an unofficial death notice. Monster Cable appears to have died. If you go to their website https://monsterstore.com/ you get a notice no one is home. With a little further investigation you find that link is from Shopify, an online store service unrelated to them. The URL Monstercable.com doesn’t go anywhere yet it […]
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Misconceptions 18

Posted 3 weeks ago

It’s easy enough to have a misconception. It is a notion of one thing that turns out to be quite something else. Misconceptions happen because we go into a situation with a set of expectations that aren’t met. Then, we label the whole thing a misconception. When engineer Darren Myers took me upstairs and into […]
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