June, 2020





Power the Performers

During the month of May, we had a special on the Stellar Power Plant 3.  Get a great price and for every one sold in the US, we’ll donate $100 cash to Music Cares, the charity arm of the Grammys.

We are delighted to have presented Music Cares a check for $18,400 to help music creators, producers, recorders, stagehands, roadies, lighting people, and whoever is in need of some assistance during the pandemic. (We actually gave Music Cares a real check and not this big fake one Terri and Scott McGowan are holding).

It’s been one of our prouder moments in the company’s 50-year history to have helped the very people we depend so heavily on to craft our music.

In these difficult times, it’s music we increasingly turn to for relief and release from the pressures that have come to bear upon us.

Thank you to our PS Audio HiFi Family for your support helping music and musicians the world over. 

On a personal note, may I ask that each and every one of our HiFi Family members continue to be safe? In the United States, the pandemic remains in full swing. We, as a nation, haven’t fared as well as many other nations yet there’s talk of easing restrictions, of letting down our guards, of getting back to normal. Of course, that’s what we all hope for, but as I write this, 1,000 American lives per day are lost to the pandemic with no end in sight. I need each and every one of you to be safe. Please.

You matter. You are family.

If you wish to get a daily update on the pandemic, as I do, you can subscribe to this free newsletter. 



The F hole

Before electronic amplification, instrument makers and musicians had to find newer and better ways to make themselves heard among ensembles and orchestras and above the din of crowds. Many of the acoustic instruments we’re familiar with today—guitars, cellos, violas, etc.—are the result of hundreds of years of experimentation into solving just that problem. These hollow wooden resonance chambers amplify the sound of the strings, but that sound must escape, hence the circular sound hole under the strings of an acoustic guitar and the f-holes on either side of a violin.

As acoustician Nicholas Makris and his colleagues at MIT recently announced in a study published by the Royal Society, a violin’s f-holes serve as the perfect means of delivering its powerful acoustic sound. F-holes have “twice the sonic power,” The Economist reports, “of the circular holes of the fithele” (the violin’s 10th century ancestor and origin of the word “fiddle”).

ht to Sean McGowan for sending this to me.

Read the article



Octave Records

It’s about danged time! Finally, after nearly two years of building our studio and mastering lab, getting musicians lined up, processes in order, and all the many details tick and tied, we have launched Octave Records™.

Honoring the Music and those who make it

Our mission at Octave Records™ is simple – respect musicians by paying them fairly, and respect their music by bringing it to life in the highest-quality possible. 

Too often, musicians have to absorb the costs of production, leaving them little or any earnings – or even putting them in debt. And the quality of their recordings end up in last place. We at PS Audio and Octave Records are dedicated to correcting these inequities.

To support musicians, Octave covers 100% of all studio, mixing, mastering, production, distribution, and marketing expenses so that artists may directly share in retail sales revenues – while retaining ownership of their music.

Octave Records is dedicated to offering the highest-quality recordings in high-resolution formats including pure DSD on SACD, as well as 192kHz PCM. Located in Boulder, Colorado, Octave utilizes the world’s finest studio equipment, based around the acclaimed Sonoma™ DSD recording, mixing, and mastering system. Gus Skinas, our world-renowned mastering engineer, has hundreds of album credits and helped design the Sonoma system.

Visit Octave Records



Copper Magazine

In this issue: Anne E. Johnson riffs on bass great Marcus Miller and one of music’s most legendary figures: Johnny Cash. Tom Gibbs looks at new and reissued music from Rush, Jason Isbell, Dire Straits and Shostakovich. Professor Larry Schenbeck smiles over four Figaros. Roy Hall thinks about smuggling. Dan Schwartz notes the beautiful ordinariness of the band Elbow. John Seetoo continues his series, Songs of Praise from Unlikely Artists.

PS Audio has launched a new record label! Octave Records is here. John Seetoo does an interview with mastering maestro Steve Hoffman. Rich Isaacs’ second installment on Italian progressive rock features Sensations’ Fix and Arti & Mestieri. Wayne Robins basks in a Pacific Breeze of Japanese pop. J.I. Agnew concludes his Q & A on vinyl polarity. Jay Jay French realizes it’s never too late to start over. Ken Sander hangs with Labelle. The issue wraps up with cartoonist James Whitworth taking a stand, a tangerine dream and Bonnie bringin’ it.

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

Sign up for COPPER



Mastered by the master

Octave Records™ records and masters exclusively on the Sonoma multi-track workstation which uses pure one-bit Direct Stream Digital® (DSD) technology. From the format’s inception, the point man on DSD recording has been PS Audio’s own Gus Skinas, who has worked on countless SACD and other releases including reissues of nearly two dozen Rolling Stones titles, plus numerous classics from Nat King Cole, Pink Floyd, Aerosmith, Sheryl Crow, George Harrison and others.

“There were a lot of advantages back in the analog days — the warmth and emotion you got from music. And the Sonoma System gives you that emotional connection again. Once a recording artist experiences high-resolution audio, they can’t go back,” says Gus. “Sonoma brings this high-resolution music home.”

Sonoma uses one-bit sigma-delta technology for recording music, which we find has the character and “feel” of analog tape. We’re convinced that digital PCM music at lower sample rates has distortions in the time domain that can’t easily be measured, but that the brain knows isn’t quite right. When done right, DSD fixes that.



Out of Thin Air

Out of Thin Air is PS Audio’s Octave Records’ premier launch recording. This is a beautiful collection of music composed and performed by world-renowned pianist, Don Grusin.

We’ve spared no effort to create what we consider to be one of the finest piano recordings we’ve ever heard. We are excited to share this recording, featuring masterful solo piano playing by Don, as an ultimate reference for letting you hear how a piano can come alive in your room.

The first 1,000 copies of this terrific disc are spoken for, but another (the last 1,000) are on their way in a few weeks. If you want in on this premier recording, you can put it on backorder now.

Out of Thin Air