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A sad event 62

Posted 3 weeks ago

Sadly, following a massive three-day fire at Japan’s Nobeoka City factory of semiconductor producer Asahi Kasei Microsystems (AKM), we have lost one of the great audio houses. AKM was one of the best manufacturers of audio ICs in the world, in particular, A/D and D/A converters. The AKM fire broke out at the semiconductor manufacturing […]
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The stereo pyramid 15

Posted 3 weeks ago

When I picture building a stereo system the image that first forms in my head is that of a pyramid. The pyramid’s base is AC power and upon that is stacked sources, followed by preamps, amps, and at the very tip of the pyramid the speakers. This hierarchy forms a helpful image when picturing how […]
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The break-in myth 106

Posted 3 weeks ago

When we take home new equipment it must spend time getting comfy within our system. New out-of-the-box gear can often sound tight, restricted, harsh. Over time and usage, products loosen up and become better suited to the new system. That, at least, embodies the break-in myth. Fact, or fiction? Are we the ones breaking-in or […]
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Audiophile labels 47

Posted 4 weeks ago

By the headline, you might think I am referring to record labels, but I am not. If you’re reading my words you own the label audiophile. You have an interest in better sound, in music, in attaining an emotional connection with that which emanates from two-speakers. You sometimes sit and stare at a blank wall […]
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Say what? 12

Posted 4 weeks ago

While emailing back and forth with several new members of PS Audio’s HiFi Family it became apparent they weren’t aware of our podcast, Ohm’s Law. In fact, turns out they had yet to ever listen to a podcast of any kind. This is foreign to me. I listen to podcasts daily and find them a […]
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Effortless is a virtue 41

Posted 1 month ago

One of the joys of a great system is often never noticed. Effortlessness. When the music just flows without strain, without drawing attention to itself, without making a fuss. We notice when things are wrong. Our ears perk up at the hint of compression or distortion. We wince at the bright note. Effortlessness is never […]
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Dips and bumps 22

Posted 1 month ago

Have you ever noticed how it’s the dips we tend to focus on rather than the bumps? That when things seem normal or even going great, we take them as one in the same. But as soon as something goes wrong, bingo! Now we notice. Things are no longer normal. I have for several years […]
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Recording power 27

Posted 1 month ago

The art of great recordings comes more from the engineer than their equipment and the same is true for just about any artist: A painter’s skill vs. her oils and brushes, a photographer’s eye vs. his camera, an author’s words vs. her keyboard. Imagine a recording session where there’s not enough presence to the cymbals […]
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The finer details 26

Posted 1 month ago

For lunch yesterday I planned to cook a yummy batch of risotto but found myself unable to begin without first determining which Arborio rice to use: bulk or the fancy stuff. I was ignoring the fact that in a risotto the rice itself is among the fine details. The broth and added vegetables account for […]
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Blind squirrels 41

Posted 1 month ago

There’s an old saying that even a blind squirrel on occasion finds a nut. A humorous aphorism about stumbling into success. The more we get involved in the recording industry the more convinced I become that the paucity of great recordings comes from the same set of circumstances dictating the quality of the average home […]
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Vinyl best 28

Posted 1 month 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 58

Posted 1 month 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 53

Posted 1 month 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 27

Posted 1 month 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 1 month 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 1 month 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 1 month 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 month 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 month 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 month 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 month 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 month 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 month 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 month 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 1 month 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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