Call Us: 1-800-PSAUDIO

How important is validation? 18

Posted 3 weeks ago

When my system choices hit the perfect sweet spot, and I know everything is just right, the first thing I want to do is share. “Come, you have to hear this!” This most basic of impulses is a genuine emotion with no hidden agendas. “I found something wonderful,” almost always evokes the desire to spread […]
Read More

Why not both? 28

Posted 3 weeks ago

The best audio products in the world measure great and sound great too. At least that’s what many of us want. What of the outliers? The ones that lean more in one direction than the other? The DAC that sounds amazing but is less than great in measuring. Or the perfect measuring DAC that causes […]
Read More

Does polish hide perfection? 25

Posted 3 weeks ago

Much of modern music is perfect to the point of boredom: Singers not hitting the right notes are tone shifted. Drumkits are replaced by beat samples. Mistakes are corrected. Nothing is left to art. Raw music is far more interesting because it’s believable. When I hear Johnny Cash singing his version of the Nine Inch […]
Read More

Clearing the cruft 34

Posted 4 weeks ago

I was answering a New Zealand Hi-Fi Family member’s question recently. Without warning, a question popped into my head. If he lives in New Zealand, where’s the Old Zealand? The origins to our own New England, New Haven and New York were fairly obvious given our British roots, but New Zealand? I don’t know of […]
Read More

Changing focus 21

Posted 4 weeks ago

If you’ve ever played around with cameras you’ll know it’s easy to change perspective. We can zoom in for closeup details or move back for a panoramic view. Each image offers an entirely different feel and focus. A closeup encourages examination of minute details. A more distant view offers a better sense of what goes […]
Read More

Changing expectations 20

Posted 1 month ago

I have built an imaginary world in my head. In this world, I know what to expect from my sound system; how to deal with people; how food is going to taste; how happy I am going to be at the completion of my work. My expectations are set by the rules and fences I […]
Read More

Music’s story 19

Posted 1 month ago

Music conveys story and emotions more easily than most art forms. Take literature for example. Novels and short stories can evoke emotion and action through the ideas put forward by their authors—but it typically takes some effort and time on the part of the reader to become one with the words. Often, it takes an […]
Read More

Negative voltage 16

Posted 1 month ago

When I was first learning electrical engineering one of the terms I struggled with was negative voltage. How could a voltage be negative? There was ground and there was + voltage. To me, voltage was always a higher potential than zero. I understand this is something most people don’t wake up in the morning and […]
Read More

Bias backfire 20

Posted 1 month ago

We’re conditioned by our culture to believe that bias affects opinion. That if we’re told something’s going to be a certain way that’s what we’ll experience. I would argue that’s true only in some circumstances. If I tell you to try on a shirt because it’ll look great, you’ll have an expectation that biases you. […]
Read More

Conspiracies 47

Posted 1 month ago

I sometimes get the craziest comments. Following the recent upgrades to DirectStream a flood of people smelling a conspiratorial cover-up have emerged. Weird, right? The general line goes something like this: “If you know how to improve the DAC’s performance why didn’t you just release it like that in the beginning? You’re purposefully holding back […]
Read More

Right or wrong? 13

Posted 1 month ago

It takes all sorts of different people to build a community. Some members are strong and resolute in their opinions and findings. It doesn’t take them more than a few seconds of listening to new software or that new cable or hardware to know if it’s right or wrong. Bam! That’s a winner or a […]
Read More

Music is more than sound 14

Posted 1 month ago

We find ourselves focusing on performance and sound quality a lot. Yet, music can be so much more than just sound. Music is communication. A means of reaching deep into our inner beings. Healing us when we’re sick. Energizing us when we’re down. Uplifting spirits. Tears. Laughter. Inspiration. Think of all the times you’ve been […]
Read More

The sound of noise 24

Posted 1 month ago

Ultrasonic noise should have no sound to it. It is, after all, “ultra” sonic which means it is beyond our hearing. Yet, we know removing ultrasonic noise riding on the music reduces glare and brightness. So, if we cannot hear noise how does it add to the brightness of sound? Here’s my unscientific guess as […]
Read More

History lessons 18

Posted 1 month ago

In yesterday’s post on listener fatigue, we came to understand it’s the over-etched quality of upper frequencies that often lead to our ear’s protective mechanisms engaging. Too much unnatural detail and we move away from the source as if it were a blinding light. Tracking down and fixing the problems at the root of listener […]
Read More

Getting tired? 25

Posted 1 month ago

We’re elated when our systems sound open, lush, and musical. We’re not so happy when they cause us fatigue. Yet, fatigue can be a useful indicator of system setup. When setting up a new system or working on a new design, one of the cautionary signals we look for is listener fatigue. If the music’s […]
Read More

Blind faith 41

Posted 1 month ago

When we hear a change in our systems or setups that we cannot explain or prove—or worse when it goes against accepted doctrine—some of us go with it while others don’t. It’s just human nature. Thankfully, there are those of us comfortable with relying more on observation than proof. Confidence in observations can sometimes save […]
Read More

Perfection vs. procrastination 40

Posted 1 month ago

It’s easy enough to mistake procrastination for perfection. “As soon as I get this last little tweak, I’ll go ahead and launch my new initiative or buy that new product.” Most of us are wonderful procrastinators. It’s built into our DNA. The less we do the more energy we preserve. Caveman thinking. We know our […]
Read More

5-star reviews 53

Posted 1 month ago

When we are in a new town we look for restaurants with 5-star reviews. We are almost always disappointed. A 5-star review of a steak house is likely not going to mean much of anything to us vegetarians. The good news and bad news of reviews is clear. It’s great to get reviews from users […]
Read More

The truth of it 33

Posted 1 month ago

Here’s an interesting fact. If you set a CD transport on an uneven surface and it lists to one side or another more than about 2 degrees, the sound is off? The laser, working harder in the uphill direction and easier in the opposite, will cause the error correction system to work harder, thus changing […]
Read More

Group auditions 19

Posted 1 month ago

In yesterday’s post, Synchronicity, I asked for volunteers to listen to three tracks and offer opinions on how the sound might have changed between our two DirectStream DAC firmware versions, Snowmass and Windom. I have created a forum topic here. Please go to that topic and post your results so that all can share in […]
Read More

Synchronicity 37

Posted 1 month ago

Now that Windom has been launched it might be interesting to try a new kind of experiment. My friend Seth suggested a synchronous listening evaluation. I will propose three tracks we should all listen to on both versions of firmware. We’ll then post our notes on the forums. The synchronicity comes from where our tracks […]
Read More

Audiophile day 26

Posted 1 month ago

Today is Audiophile Day. October 2nd of each year has officially been set aside as a special day for those of us that love music and revel in the beauty of it played in our homes. I would encourage each and every one of you that identifies as an audiophile to crank up your system […]
Read More

Windom is here 30

Posted 1 month ago

As promised, Windom is here and ready for DirectStream owners to enjoy. Windom is the newest upgrade for DirectStream and elevates the DAC’s performance way beyond anything yet heard. Go here and download either the DS or DSJ version of Windom and be prepared for awesome. Instructions for installing Windom on your DAC are there as […]
Read More

Broken rules 31

Posted 1 month ago

How important is it to follow the rules? Probably pretty important if you’re a surgeon, less so if you’re assembling a stereo system. Rules are guidelines that help us navigate uncharted waters. We follow them until we know the way and then it’s time to rethink our actions. Sometimes we get trapped in our penchant […]
Read More

Closer to the essence 36

Posted 1 month ago

My favorite breakfast jelly has almost no sugar in the mix. Instead, it’s a wonderful low-sugar fruit-intense jam—just enough sugar to bring forward the essence of the fruit. Compared to commercial alternatives like Smuckers, my choice in jellies tastes like what it’s made of instead of fruit-flavored-sugar. The comparison to audio seems rather obvious. When […]
Read More