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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.

Which to enjoy? 24

Posted 14 hours ago

There are people who use their stereo to enjoy their music. And there are people who use their music to enjoy their stereo. I do not begrudge those in the second group their fun, but I strive always to be in the first group. It’s an easy line to lose track of, but music just […]
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The two legged stool 50

Posted 1 day ago

PS Audio engineer Darren Myers asked me an interesting question yesterday. One I have been pondering for the last twelve hours. Why are speaker measurements made with only one speaker? This was an intriguing thought. We listen to two speakers yet concern ourselves only with the frequency, amplitude, and phase response of one. Why should […]
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Keeping secrets 45

Posted 2 days ago

I’ve gotten so many wonderful questions in our Ask Paul video series that I cannot possibly answer them all even in a second lifetime. That’s truly gratifying and encouraging for me. I thought perhaps I’d try and make a small dent by occasionally answering some here in these Paul’s Posts. Simon, in Toronto Canada, writes: […]
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Music’s what it’s all about 7

Posted 3 days ago

A high-performance audio system doesn’t matter much without music to play on it. Sure, we have scads of music in our library but if you’re like me, new music is always of interest. Especially new well recorded music. It’s no secret that the musicians of today are struggling in the post Napster economy. Heck, they […]
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Power to the speaker 17

Posted 4 days ago

We’ll wrap up our series on amplifiers today then move on to something else tomorrow. In yesterday’s post, I again pointed out the importance of the power amplifier’s input voltage gain stage. That all-important amplifier takes the small voltage from a preamp and raises it thirty times higher. It is the linchpin of the amplifier. […]
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Pressure to power 29

Posted 5 days ago

In yesterday’s post, we discussed the all-important input voltage gain stage at the heart of a power amplifier. The purpose of the input stage is to make the signal bigger. To increase the available pressure in preparation of converting that pressure into power. I refer to the input stage as “all important” because this is […]
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Choosing inputs 15

Posted 6 days ago

We started a little mini-series on how amps work. I know that some of you gloss over these details because you’ve heard them before or you don’t care. Others have large appetites for learning and it is to those hungry readers I continue. If we look at the block diagram of a power amplifier in […]
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Thirty times bigger 55

Posted 1 week ago

In yesterday’s post, I showed the block diagram of a power amplifier. The drawing detailed the three main structures within an analog power amplifier: input voltage gain stage, output current gain stage, and the power supply. Today we’ll take a brief look at what the jobs of the two gain stage elements are, then delve […]
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Peeking under the covers 32

Posted 1 week ago

It seems I may be alone in my enthusiasm to read about high dynamic range loudspeakers and systems in these blog posts so we’ll move on. That’s fine, it’s just that I am currently immersed in the subject because of our work on the new line of Arnie Nudell speakers. We’ve had some excellent work […]
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Unlocking dynamics 39

Posted 1 week ago

Dynamic range describes the difference between soft and loud. What’s not defined is how soft or how loud—only the magnitude between the two—which is a problem if the softest sounds fall below the threshold of audibility. When that happens the range of dynamics is truncated, a fact not apparent when quoting dynamic range figures. I’ll […]
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High efficiency loudspeakers 45

Posted 1 week ago

Not many stereo systems can come close to reproducing the peak levels of live music. In fact, I’ll step out onto the ledge and say you’ve never heard a speaker that can even come close to live levels. I know that I haven’t. And, yet, we believe our systems get close to the sound of […]
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Handing over the reins 12

Posted 1 week ago

We are all afraid to make mistakes, yet they are at the core of learning. We learn to walk by repeatedly falling down. So it’s hard to hand the reins to people when you know they will make mistakes—when you are counting on them to make mistakes. Leadership does not mean control. In fact, quite […]
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The $17.20 customer service fiasco 77

Posted 1 week ago

The lease on my little A3 ran out last month and I was excited to go pick up my new car—a car I had purchased online without ever going to a dealer or interacting with another human being other than via email. A new experience. And, I love new experiences. This particular car company makes […]
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Getting something for nothing 27

Posted 1 week ago

We all like the idea of getting something without having to pay a penalty: that free sample at the market, a kind gesture, a door being opened when your arms are full. Closer to home, more digital audio information than we started with. When we upsample a 44.1kHz 16-bit file to a higher rate and […]
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Learning patience 24

Posted 2 weeks ago

If you’re party to our forums you’re likely aware we have been working on a new music server as well as the music management software that operates it. It’s a long-term activity that’s been going on for a few years and is likely to keep us busy for the foreseeable future. When building products there are typically […]
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The downfall of music 55

Posted 2 weeks ago

My friend, Gordon, sent me a link to a great YouTube video worth watching. It’s about how music has changed and, in the opinion of the presenter, not for the better. You can watch it by clicking here. The program goes into great detail how most of today’s pop music has been reduced from creative […]
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Helping hands 33

Posted 2 weeks ago

Few acts in life are more rewarding than lending a helping hand to someone who wasn’t expecting it. I remember years back when we lived in a small community just north of Santa Maria California, Nipomo. Nearby was a hamburger stand we frequented called Little Jockos. Terri and I had already given up meat but […]
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Build then polish 14

Posted 2 weeks ago

It’s pretty rare we can start from scratch building a high-performance music system. More typical is when we cobble together bits from different eras or setups of the past to build new temples of sound—we already have a pair of speakers and we update electronics. Or, the opposite. And I think this is the preferred way […]
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Impossible ideas 18

Posted 2 weeks ago

We’re on vacation to celebrate my birthday but my mind’s never far from audio. When I am considering a problem I often imagine the impossible in order to explore the possible. This process helps free my mind from rehashing prior art. My impossible thought was to create a speaker where one set of drivers handles […]
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How could they be so far off? 48

Posted 2 weeks ago

We can, with all accuracy, suggest some speakers are bright while others are not. Or, some speakers have bass or they don’t. Or a recessed or forward midrange. This leads one to conclude there’s little to the notion of flat frequency response. For, if it were flat, there’d be no discussion needed. Take a pair of […]
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Thought plum 20

Posted 2 weeks ago

Some puzzles are quick to solve while others take a lifetime. I like to think of the long-term puzzles as thought plums. And, while I love plums, I am always sad to eat one because the longing for its pleasures is never as sweet as its fruit. One such plum has been with me for as […]
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Doubling up 19

Posted 3 weeks ago

Time to put these past few days of posts together for the final blast then back to the non-technical as I fear we’re losing some whose eyes glaze over. And I don’t blame you. I love this stuff with schematics and circuits but then, I am a confirmed nerd and most of my readers are normal […]
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Higher levels 19

Posted 3 weeks ago

Back to op-amps. We were just getting set to find out why we needed a high voltage op-amp. The vast majority of integrated circuit op-amps are power supply limited to 15 volts. What this means is that, with few exceptions, it’s tough to get more than a clean 10v rms out of the device. While this isn’t […]
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The Seagull Move 20

Posted 3 weeks ago

Oh, how we love our labels. It is endlessly fascinating to watch how people can change meaning by attaching a label then passing judgment. We see labels in politics all the time: liberal, conservative, them, us, immigrant, enemy (assign whatever judgment you wish). And we see it in audio too. I recently posted my thoughts on ABX […]
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Chips vs. discrete 7

Posted 3 weeks ago

In yesterday’s post, I explained the difference in terminology between a discrete component op-amp and an integrated circuit op-amp was the way they were manufactured and packaged. The circuit itself could be identical. But they are typically not. An op-amp is a functional amplifier that always has two defining blocks: an input differential pair and […]
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