March, 2020





Staying Home

We have been publishing PS Audio’s monthly newsletter since the year 2000. By my count, that’s a solid 20 years during which all manner of crazy world-altering events occurred outside of HiFi. And, yet, they pale to today.

Within my 71 years on the planet, it feels like there have been more short term nail-biting moments: Cuban missiles, H-Bombs, 9/11. Yet, this outbreak of Covid-19 feels like the greatest stretch into the unknown. Everything seems alright at first glance—except the streets are empty; my daily meetings are virtual; we shop at the market with gloves; we keep our distance from strangers and family members too; we produce PS products in lonely isolation; birthday parties and dinner gatherings are courtesy Zoom.

Stuck at home except for exercise, dog walking, and trips to the market are made better by our stereo systems. And thank goodness for quality audio. I dread the idea of being stuck playing tunes through nothing more than a soundbar, Amazon Echo, or clock radios. I am thankful for how good music sounds in my home and have the time now to work on bettering it.

We will get through this if we’re careful, respectful, and generous.

Know that we are here for you. If you email or call us, we’re just as ready to pick up the keyboard or phone as before—even if just to chat if you’re lonely—but know that you might hear some kids running around in the background.

Life is moving forward. Call us, email us, visit our forums, share time with me on YouTube, read our free magazine of music and HiFi Copper, or just find what you want to play with at home on our website.

We’re here.

*ht to Michael in Denmark for his picture



What to do when the music’s not playing

If you, like Terri and me, are staying at home, it’s important to keep yourself active and engaged. Sure, we pick a good movie or book for the evening time, but that’s it. We don’t visit social media because it’ll just frighten and depress with its urgent panic messages and flood of misinformation. And news? We limit news to two doses a day: headlines in the morning and again in the evening.

In the meantime, we’re working, tackling those projects we just never had time for, and cooking. Oh my yes, three meals a day at home. Check out our friend, fellow audiophile, and PS Audio attorney, Peter Rudy. How’s that for a smile? He got on Amazon, ordered some new hardware, and is good to go. What fun!

Look, when things get tough, we gotta take care of our mental health too—and that means building routine, changing it up, and growing. Music. Books. The nightly film. Cooking. Projects. House cleaning. Stereo system.

Here’s one of my favorite pizza dough recipes from chef Bobby Flay.

Best pizza dough recipe


Copper Magazine

Listen to music. Read a book or magazine. Watch a movie. Play your instrument. Surf the web. Don’t let the endless barrage of TV news make you crazy. Ignore (except to debunk) misinformation on Facebook and social media. Call or video chat with a family member, friend or loved one. Though we may be temporarily separated, we’re all in this together and we’ll help each other stay strong.

In this issue: Anne E. Johnson gives us incisive looks into two of the modern era’s greatest artists: Frank Sinatra and the Kinks! John Seetoo contributes his CanJam NYC 2020 Part Two report. J.I. Agnew continues his series on linearity in audio, with clear explanations of this technical topic. Tom Gibbs gives unrestrained opinions on Brandy Clark, King Crimson, Charlie Parker and Tame Impala. Professor Larry Schenbeck enthuses about Sanctuary Road, a new oratorio. Dan Schwartz asks: why don’t musicians use audiophile speakers?

Veteran broadcaster Bob Wood shakes his head over the state of today’s commercial radio. Wayne Robins provides a step by step operating manual for Miss Anthropocene by Grimes. Ivan Berger peers into the state of the audio art – 80 years ago. I say the audio shows must go on. Rich Seetoo looks at unusual cover versions of well-known songs. Rudy Radelic takes us through a journey to electrostatic ecstacy. Finally, our A/V department asks if ewes are listening, contemplates a silent audio partner and toasts a former music landmark.

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

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The amazing Compact Disc

When the Compact Disc was first introduced in 1982 it took a great deal of ‘spalinin’ to get people comfortable with the idea of music coming from a little silver optical disc. A few in the public had heard of LaserDiscs, but the general public was used to playing music on 12″ platters of black vinyl: dropping a needle into the groove, turning the album over to hear the other side.

When the CD came bubbling up to technology’s surface marketing people rolled up their sleeves and did their best to explain a complicated subject in simple terms. This 1982 video is worth the watch to wrap your head around how very different our world was back in “the day”.

Watch the video



A Music Critic’s Empty Nights

New York Times music critic, Jon Pareles has penned a heartfelt essay on music and the changes we’re all going through.

“The shutdown has redoubled my appreciation for the mysterious alchemy that happens at so many concerts. It’s really, when you step back, a very peculiar human activity. Strangers — with perhaps a few familiar faces dotted among them — gather at an appointed time to watch and hear musicians doing their job. But it’s more than a job; it’s a ritual, a confluence of visible and invisible forces, acoustic and social and psychological. Heads may bob, toes may tap, singalongs may be joined, dancing may break out.

A roomful of individual reactions somehow adds up to a collective one, which might crest into a spontaneous ovation or a mesmerized gasp. Even with a seated, decorous audience, music can summon a certain quality of heightened collective awareness that I’ve only experienced at a live performance.”

Read the article