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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.

Vinyl best 21

Posted 11 hours ago

In my earlier post, Audio Pedigree I waxed on about how nice it would be to know the true origins of our music’s recordings. Remastered vinyl “improved” by digital enhancement from the original analog tape is rarely as good as the original and often worse. This prompted a few juicy questions about our own Octave […]
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The perfect spot 56

Posted 1 day ago

Your seating position is compromised. If you’ve done your system setup homework your chair sits at a comfortable distance from the loudspeakers. With the precision of a ruler, you’ve tweaked and adjusted the speaker’s position for best imaging. Though we call it the sweet spot, it’s certainly not the perfect spot. Within the boundaries of […]
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The asymptote 52

Posted 2 days ago

When energy is first applied to the building of a high-end audio system big improvements come quickly. Over time changes get increasingly smaller despite the same energy applied. We refer to this as an asymptote (diminishing returns). Rapid progress slows as the system coalesces into its final form. Thus, the new and exciting DAC everyone’s […]
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Take our breath away 26

Posted 3 days ago

It doesn’t happen often but when it does it makes everything worthwhile. Losing your breath. Sometimes my connection to the music is so intimate, personal, emotional, that I stop breathing for fear I might break the spell. “It took my breath away” is more than just a saying. When the lights are low, the family’s […]
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Temporary Circumstances 55

Posted 4 days ago

Boy, talk about aptly named. Octave Record’s latest release, Temporary Circumstances, is more than half gone. We just launched it yesterday. This is one hell of a great recording and tasty as it can be musically. We had to commit to a fixed number of SACDs due to our Austrian pressing plant’s lead times. So, […]
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Human engineering 31

Posted 5 days ago

If you were to have a choice in audio product design engineers would their temperaments be emotionally invested or analytically detached? It’s an interesting question because I imagine the final product outcomes would be substantially different. What if we flipped the question to surgeons? Emotionally invested or analytically detached? If you answered analytically detached would […]
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Audio pedigree 41

Posted 6 days ago

Pedigrees authenticate bloodline lineage. They’re important for dogs, royals, and source materials. If you’re hoping to purchase an analog recording, it’s not genuine if it was first recorded digitally. Which is why there’s often so much confusion around modern LPs or even remasters. I shake my head when I learn a particular vinyl released remaster […]
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Music’s soul 35

Posted 1 week ago

The Righteous Brothers, Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield, were unrelated. Their name came when a fan shouted, “That was righteous, brothers!”, and would often greet them with “Hey righteous brothers, how you doin’?”. Their music had soul. It touched us at an emotional level—as did Mozart, Gershwin, Lennon, Martens, Cash. It’s hard to put your […]
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The sound of skill 28

Posted 1 week ago

The first high-end turntable I owned was a second hand Linn LP12. I don’t remember the year but I do remember the era. Turntables had been elevated from utilitarian necessities to essential components. The story we were told through magazines and brochures was if you hoped to achieve great sound you started with the turntable, […]
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Holding ourselves back 14

Posted 1 week ago

Have you ever noticed how good we are at procrastination? When it comes to making change I often hem and I haw. I wait for the right moment: a sign; when I am feeling better; when time allows; when the weather changes; when it feels right; when I can squeeze it in; when the review […]
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Artificial sweeteners 42

Posted 1 week ago

Coffee. I never drink it black. A practice some baristas frown upon. Like putting ketchup on a steak. “What, you don’t like the taste of coffee?” scolded a local coffee aficionado. Here’s the thing. I do like the taste of coffee but only when sweetened. How’s that related to stereo? Simple. I love music and […]
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Fitting speakers to rooms 29

Posted 1 week ago

I get a lot of questions. Often, they start out with the room’s dimensions and then progress towards the meat of the subject. What speakers should I buy? I am unconvinced there’s a legitimate relationship between the room and the choice of speakers. Yes, of course it’s probably not a good idea to put a […]
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The opposite of spring 40

Posted 1 week ago

In our hemisphere, it’s now Fall. With winter’s approach, we’re going to be indoors a heck of a lot more than we already are—and for most of us, that’s been a lot. Were spring approaching I’d be guiding you to jump into the spring cleaning mode where we disconnect our systems, clean connections, tidy cables, […]
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Best of both worlds 20

Posted 1 week ago

I don’t like losing. Which is why as an engineer and designer I am not only comfortable with compromise but rely upon it to win. Twenty-five years ago when I first began experimenting with passive power conditioners and isolation transformers it didn’t take me long to figure out they were double-edged swords. They cleaned and […]
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The independent audiophile 39

Posted 2 weeks ago

In just about every endeavor I can think of there’s more imitation than originality. Groups who buy one sort of product fall into predictable patterns: Apple computer devotees rarely stray off brand, cowboys wear boots. Audiophiles are different. Duplicate systems are rare. Hard to say what electronics Magneplanar owners will have, just as it’s nearly […]
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What does it matter? 41

Posted 2 weeks ago

Miquela Sousa, or Lil Miquela as she’s often called, is a 19-year-old model who’s amassed nearly 3 million fans. She’s worked with fashion companies like Uggs, Supreme, and Chanel and released two pop singles which she crafted alongside Sarah Aarons, Whethan, and Jordan Palmer— a collective of talents whose writing credits include Zedd, Dua Lipa, […]
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Step inside the circuit 35

Posted 2 weeks ago

AC power regenerators are not power conditioners. A conditioner is a box of passive components that can clean the AC but cannot fix serious problems holding back performance like regulation and output impedance. For that task, you need an active AC regenerator like a Power Plant. As a circuit designer, it’s easy for me to […]
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The purity myth 29

Posted 2 weeks ago

Purity is defined as freedom from adulteration or contamination. In other words, nothing from the original is changed, added, or lost. With respect to the audio reproduction chain, we know that to be impossible. Everything from the microphones to the loudspeakers to some degree adulterates and contaminates. So the goal of a pure audio signal […]
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The Feeding Lens 24

Posted 2 weeks ago

Not many people knowingly continue down the wrong path. Whatever path we’re on, whatever our current mindset might be, we believe it’s the right one. As we move down the road we seek out positive affirmations of how correct our path is. We shield ourselves from distractions that cause us to veer off course. If […]
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Audiophile Day #5 57

Posted 2 weeks ago

Just a reminder that today, October 2nd, 2020, is Audiophile Day. On this day of celebration for what we all love—perhaps through our comments section—we can share some of our stories and thoughts about what it means to be an audiophile. I’ve told the story many times of my first experience with a high-end system. […]
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Can’t win for losing 35

Posted 2 weeks ago

When Don Grusin’s album Out of Thin Air launched we were ecstatic about the sound. The piano was expertly captured by former Telarc engineer Robert Freiderich and our own Gus Skinas. We just released a video about the recording which you can watch here. (Scroll down to the bottom of the pictures) So it was […]
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When it’s all the rage 24

Posted 3 weeks ago

Social media has added a new chapter to our society. Within microseconds, we get connected with what appears to be the latest trends. Suddenly we too are in the know. Here’s what’s funny about that. For those of us who do not pay attention to these breaking trends, life goes on as if they didn’t […]
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How many layers? 26

Posted 3 weeks ago

With some new circuit or software innovations, we hear deeper into the music—removed is an obfuscating layer revealing what lies just under the surface. Which begs two questions: are there actually layers to be removed and if so how many are there? The assumed layers blocking a closer look inside the music have been called […]
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Exceptions to the rule 27

Posted 3 weeks ago

Our opinions and judgments are strongly connected to our personal biases. If we’re convinced vinyl is superior to digital we carry that belief into a listening session. If we should hear something that counters our vinyl predisposition, we typically pass the experience off as an exception to the rule. The rules turn out to be […]
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October 2nd 20

Posted 3 weeks ago

Are you ready for October 2nd? It’s a celebration day, in fact, it’s Audiophile Day! This upcoming event is the 5th annual Audiophile Day and I would encourage you to mark it on your calendar, especially this year. With 2020 no doubt being the craziest most stressful year in my 72 years on the planet, […]
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