July, 2020





Strata goes interstellar

I just had to write that headline. No, Strata’s not scheduled to fly aboard the next Space-X voyage to the International Space Station, nor is it on its way to the moon. It is, however, a stellar way of expressing what this latest product from PS Audio represents: the best of our award-winning Stellar line of products coming together into one incredibly self-sufficient package.

I like to think of Strata, our first full fledged super-integrated in decades, as the distillation of all the best features and functions in the Stellar line of electronics: the best of our DAC, Gain Cell preamp, and Stellar power amplifiers all baked into one synergistic component.

In my 45 years at PS Audio never has one component come together so wonderfully as Strata. Just add speakers and you’ve got all you need to enjoy what’s left of our dwindling summer months—and perfect for carrying you into the colors of fall and the chill of winter.

If you haven’t yet checked out Strata, maybe it’s time you do.

Please be careful

The pandemic, now in its 5th month in the United States, drags on without much we can do but get everyone onboard wearing masks and keeping our distance. If we can manage that we’ve got a fighting chance. In the meantime, there’s an unfortunate increase in people taking advantage of the situation by flooding us with bogus products; get rich schemes; sensationalist headlines; and lots of angry voices.

Hopefully, you can insulate yourselves from those who do not have your best interests at heart. I bring this to your attention because you matter to us. You’re family and together we can weather the storm better than we can apart.

As for PS Audio and its staff, we enter month 6 of the lockdown. We’re fortunate to have a great crew that’s able to work split shifts so we can maintain a safe distance. Our tireless hands-on president, Jim Laib, personally handles every aspect of the company’s day-to-day operation along with our remote admin staff. The engineering, sales, procurement, and customer service teams are working from home. For us, Zoom has become a new way of life, but we’re not going to let it slow us down or in any way dampen our spirits.

We’re doing our best to serve you, our family. If you order something we’re likely to be able to ship within a day or two. Our service department’s handling warranty at nearly the same rate, our engineering department’s bustin’ tail too. The long-awaited Transport is on track for September, the speakers continue to move forward, and there’s plenty up our sleeves I’ll let you know about when it’s time.

As for me, I am still putting out my daily Ask Paul videos as before, but now they are from Terri and my backyard. As long as the weather holds out, join me in my backyard for Ask Paul.

If you need anything just call us at 800PSAUDIO, email us (or me) and we’ll be back at you lickety-split.

In the meantime, take a deep breath before clicking on the tempting message. Even a moment’s reflection can help quell the unwanted noise that surrounds us.

We are here for you. Stay safe.

40 chief engineers

When reader Chris Kelley sent me this ad for the Harmon Kardon TA-120 receiver, an ear-to-ear smile flashed across my face.

The ad’s how they dealt with the move from hand wiring to printed circuit boards. This made me smile because even in the 46 years I have been designing and building audio equipment, we have never hand-wired anything other than a prototype.

It is a simple reminder of progress. How we move from innovation to innovation mostly for the better.

And, oh, by the way. Our chief engineer, Bob Stadtherr, is a decent solderer but when we need a real work of soldering art performed it’s sent to our head tech, Jordan Kamper, instead.

Chief engineers, while revered for their knowledge, aren’t typically great craftsmen.

Just sayin’.



Copper Magazine

Larry Schenbeck finds comfort and adventure in his music collection. John Seetoo concludes his interview with John Grado of Grado Labs. WL Woodward tells us about Memphis guitar legend Travis Wammack. Tom Gibbs finds solid hits from Sophia Portanet, Margo Price, Gerald Clayton and Gillian Welch. Anne E. Johnson listens to a difficult instrument to play: the natural horn, and digs Wanda Jackson, the Queen of Rockabilly. Ken hits the road with progressive rock masters Nektar.

Audio shows are on hold? Rudy Radelic prepares you for when they’ll come back. Roy Hall tells of four weddings and a funeral. J.I. Agnew looks at colored vinyl and asks: does it sound good? Wayne Robins enjoys new albums from Bananagun and Khruangbin. Frank Doris interview Carl Marchisotto of NOLA loudspeakers. Ray Chelstowski cranks his tube-amplified car stereo. Jay Jay French tells a reader why he had to abandon Grateful Dead fandom. To close the issue, Audio Anthropology takes the plunge, James Whitworth clocks in and our parting shotgun rider clowns around.

Copper is cost-free, ad-free, and committed to great articles without an attitude.

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The oldest stereo recordings

“IN THE SUMMER OF 1901, the German anthropologist Berthold Laufer departed for China, having been assigned by the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) to gather cultural items for the museum’s collections. In 1904, he returned to the United States with the kinds of items one expects museums to collect, such as shadow puppets, manuscripts, and pottery. But he also came back with what might have been a historic first, and an accidental one at that: stereo recordings, which preserved vocals and instruments from the same opera in separate channels of audio.

“If you’re coming at this from the standpoint of being a sound recording historian, this has always been a kind of a holy grail, to find pairs of cylinders recorded at the same time,” says Patrick Feaster, of Indiana University’s Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative. Before these 1901 recordings were found to fit the bill, Feaster believed that the oldest known stereo recording had been captured more than 25 years later.

ht: thanks to Robert Cleary for sending me this article

Read the article



Octave Downloads

As promised, we’ve finally managed to get the programmers to figure out how to make downloads available for Octave Records.

If you are interested in purchasing a download version of Don Grusin’s Out of Thin Air in DSD, high, medium, or standard resolution PCM, you can now do so on the product page here.

While many have purchased the physical disc itself, we’ve had a lot of requests to download the work in the format of your choice. We understand not everyone has a disc player and increasingly, our community is moving towards playing their favorite tracks via their servers.

For those waiting on their copies of the disc, we should be receiving the second batch from the Austrian manufacturer the first of next week. They were due in earlier but then missed the plane…and, well, I am certain many of you have had recent experiences with missed shipments during the pandemic.

We hopefully will be able to begin shipping from this second printing next week.

Download the disc