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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.

I liked you right up and until… 38

Posted 8 hours ago

People are a funny, fickle lot sometimes. We can turn on and off others in our community as if they had a switch. I had to smile after receiving a terse note from one of our HiFi Family members deriding me for my observations that fuses made a difference in sound. “I liked you and […]
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Attention does not equal worth 24

Posted 1 day ago

It used to be that when we read about some new thing in the papers or heard about it on the news it actually was newsworthy. A new miracle drug, a news event, an invention, a new discovery, even a new product that might capture our notice. Over time, marketers came to understand that they […]
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Adjusting to new worlds 27

Posted 2 days ago

I have now been on this planet for 72 years and in that time I have seen some radical shifts: the Cuban missile standoff, the assassination of our president and his brother, men walking on the moon, commercial jet travel, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Beatles, hippies, Vietnam, Nixon, the internet, home computers, […]
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The potentiometer preamp 34

Posted 3 days ago

A preamplifier is, as its name implies, an amplifier before an amplifier. Preamps are typically placed between the source and the power amplifier. They select inputs, control volume, and amplify the signal to a level acceptable to a power amplifier. Simple, right? Then comes along the idea of a passive preamplifier which is an absolutely […]
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Friend and foe 24

Posted 4 days ago

It’s a beautiful sunny day outside, a good day for those of us sequestered at home for an experiment. Take a small pair of bookshelf speakers and plop them down on the backyard lawn—not literally, of course, because you’re going to want to elevate them to a seated ear height. A bench, a chair, a […]
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Up notes 19

Posted 5 days ago

We certainly don’t want to end on a sour note. In fact, we’d much rather end on an up note. Sound familiar? It is endlessly fascinating to me how we tie our emotional states, our goals, hopes, and aspirations to music. If an idea resonates we’re in harmony with each other and discordant when in […]
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Emotional technology 37

Posted 6 days ago

For my 72nd birthday Terri surprised me with a present she said would be the greatest present I will have ever received. She was right. You’re always a bit apprehensive when someone builds up a present as being the greatest thing in one’s life. What if it isn’t? How do you gently let someone down […]
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Blocking capacitors 18

Posted 1 week ago

For many, many years we blocked unwanted signals and voltages with capacitors in the signal path. These were appropriately named, blocking capacitors, bits and bobs of circuitry designed to keep everything from DC to turntable rumble out of our stereo reproduction chains. And then one day we focused all our efforts on removing them from […]
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Umami 30

Posted 1 week ago

Umami is a word first coined in 1908 by Japanese chemist Kikunae Ikeda to describe the taste of glutamates and nucleotides. It is one of the five basic tastes (together with sweetness, sourness, bitterness, and saltiness). In simpler terms, we can describe Umami as a savory, “brothy” or “meaty” tasting element with a long-lasting, mouthwatering, […]
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Unique sounds 14

Posted 1 week ago

I am continually in awe of how personal is the world. Look into the sky with the knowledge that only you—not any other human in history—has ever witnessed that combination of blue and clouds. That no one has ever stood on that spot, at that moment, to enjoy that sky, smelled that air, felt that […]
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High-end ketchup 46

Posted 1 week ago

Tomato ketchup is a worldwide staple. It’s a sauce that’s more often used as a condiment to enhance (some would say cover-up) greasy foods like French fries or hamburgers. Original recipes used egg whites, mushrooms, oysters, grapes, mussels, or walnuts, among other ingredients, but the unmodified modern recipe refers to tomato-based ketchup made from tomatoes, […]
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Seeing is believing 61

Posted 1 week ago

Power Plant regenerators make a noticeable improvement to video screens and projectors. It’s a fact we almost never mention to folks because we’re 2-channel audio people—but it’s a fact, none the less. We’re used to getting eye rolls when we tell those who have never heard the improvements a Power Plant can make to their […]
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Same length cables 44

Posted 1 week ago

One of the often asked questions concerns speaker cable lengths. Should they be identical? For some reason, we rarely ask the same question about interconnects. Interconnects feel like a pair and I have never seen anyone use them otherwise. But, speaker cables? All the time I see speaker cables of differing lengths. I succumbed to […]
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Trees falling on deaf ears 18

Posted 1 week ago

Things happen whether we accept them or not, like the old question about trees making noise when they fall. What would happen if we framed the age-old question of measurements vs. subjectivity differently? Instead of stating what we cannot do—if you can’t measure it it doesn’t exist—why not ask—what can we do differently to measure […]
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In the groove 21

Posted 2 weeks ago

Listening to live recordings of jazz is pretty high on my list of enjoyable pastimes. You often hear great musicians floundering (just a little) as they search around for the groove. Once they find it, the entire group accommodates the riff until….inevitably….they track out of the groove and another musician takes over. Jazz is such […]
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Power calculations 30

Posted 2 weeks ago

One of the most common questions I cannot answer is about matching power amps to Power Plants. It seems such an obvious question and you’d think the answer would be straight forward. But, you’d be incorrect. The problem with matching power amps to Power Plants happens because we don’t have the complete story. What we’re […]
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Confirmations 21

Posted 2 weeks ago

As audiophiles were under constant criticism from those who haven’t gotten the opportunity to experience what we do. It’s just part of the landscape. Working recently with a new editor unfamiliar with our community, I was reminded just how out there some of our heated debates must appear to the uninitiated. The editor had spent […]
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Let’s get real 56

Posted 2 weeks ago

How many among us have true dedicated listening rooms? I’ll bet fewer than 1% of a fairly big audience. No, I think most people have their home audio systems in their shared living space. Part of the home decor, to be enjoyed by all who live in the house. In all the many decades I’ve […]
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Looks can be deceiving 23

Posted 2 weeks ago

The popularized term for not wanting to face hard facts is to bury your head in the sand as an ostrich does. Only, the myth that these big birds bury their heads in the sand is not true (they’d suffocate). The birds dig small nesting pockets in the warm protective earth, then stick their heads […]
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Defining high-end 26

Posted 2 weeks ago

It’s easy enough to bandy about the term high-end audio. Right? This is high-end, this is mid-fi, this is low-brow stuff. But, as easy as it might be to point and judge, what makes a product high-end? I think it’s an often asked question and probably one more difficult to answer than most. If I […]
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Power the Performers 21

Posted 2 weeks ago

There are very few add ons to our stereo systems that aren’t double-edged swords—they help and hurt at the same time. I remember the first time I played around with an inline vacuum tube “warming device”.  Placed between either the input to the preamp or its output, the box did as advertised but it wasn’t […]
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The death of tradeshows? 19

Posted 3 weeks ago

With the recent cancellation of the 2020 AXPONA show, coupled with all the other cancellations, it’s clear we’ll not be getting together to play with our stereo systems en masse. I am certain we all miss the camaraderie. To be honest, it’s being together in our big gatherings that’s interested me more than rooms filled […]
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The color of music 30

Posted 3 weeks ago

I often think of music in shades and hues: a light amber sheen from the delicate bowings of a string section, the fat gold honeypot of the double bases, the trombone’s bright blaring blat, the reed’s cold blue honk, or the unwanted glare of a misaligned phono cartridge. These are not just sounds, but complex […]
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Narrowing focus 17

Posted 3 weeks ago

When problems arise in our stereo systems we’re often at wit’s end to resolve them. I cannot tell you the number of exasperated calls and emails I have received from customers who have “tried everything” without success. Of course, trying everything is akin to having looked everywhere for something lost. Neither statement can be true. […]
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Struttin’ 23

Posted 3 weeks ago

Who doesn’t like to strut their stuff? I remember well my first acceptably cool car, a ’55 Chevy Bel Air. True, it was a 4-door and that wasn’t as cool as the 2-door model, but it was a Chevy and that, to the judges of such things, was at least a foot in the door. […]
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