October 2014

 

27 year new speaker

Thanks to Herb Reichert from Stereophile for this great photo of the PS Audio room at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, better known simply as RMAF.

The room was packed all three days and we had a blast saying hello to the community. Coolest of all were the 27-year-new loudspeakers we ‘introduced’ to the high-end world; a system David Robinson of Positive Feedback Magazine gave us his Oasis award for “truly fine sound and providing a haven for the weary audio traveler”.

Pictured are the Infinity IRS Betas, fed from the DirectStream DAC and powered by a pair of Bascom King’s new PerfectWave amps. I found a virgin unused pair lovingly stored in a warehouse. They are in new condition and they are still breaking in! The design is all planar magnetic (ribbon) down to approximately 100Hz. There, a servo driven woofer setup takes over extending the bass response to 16Hz. Few systems today can equal their performance.

We were blessed by having its designer, Arnie Nudell, set them up for best sound in the room. These sounded so good, in fact, we received numerous ‘best sound in show’ awards from magazines.

Here’s Herb Reichert’s comments from Stereophile.

” . . . I got to hear vintage audio-salon chestnuts like the Eagles’ Hotel California, played through a NOS pair of Infinity IRS Beta speakers. (If they were mine, I would have got their designer Arnie Nudell to sign them right there on the spot!) Getting to hear an old song played through vintage speakers via brand new, leading-edge electronics seemed very revealing of how far we’ve come and where we are now—design-wise and audio aesthetic-wise.

Spout Lounge

Scott McGowan had a lot to be excited about at the same show. Sprout ships next month to a lot of hungry customers who have been waiting.

We built the first 50 pieces and had several at RMAF in what we affectionately called Sprout Lounge. Check Malachi Kenney’s photo from Part Time Audiophile along with a great article by Kristen Brodbeck Kenney.

John Atkinson, editor of Stereophile spent time in Sprout Lounge, as well as the big system, and had this to say.

But what I most wanted to hear from PS Audio was in the Colorado company’s smaller room, where the new Sprout D/A integrated amplifier was driving a pair of GoldenEar Aon3 stand-mounted speakers. Paul son Scott McGowan had set this room up as if it were his living room—much of the furniture inside actually was from his living room, Paul told me—and the entire system, with turntable, cost less than $2000! The nicely proportioned Sprout, the result of a Kickstarter fundraising campaign, includes a phono stage, AptX Bluetooth, and a 24/192 asynchronous USB port, and will cost just $799. Paul described the Sprout as “a lifestyle product, one that can be plunked down, connected and enjoyed.”

A product like this may well the key to exposing true high-end audio sound quality to a new generation—Herb Reichert has received an sample from the first production run for a Stereophile review.

Bascom King PerfectWave Amp

For those Newsletter readers that recall my announcement of last month about the new PerfectWave Power Amplifier having a vacuum tube on its front end, here’s a playful shot by Malachi Kenney of Bascom King embracing the same.

The vacuum tube front end, all MOSFET back end, high bias class A/B design worked its magic at the show and was enjoyed by the hundreds of visitors to the room. Bascom’s been designing amplifiers for years and it’s about time he designed our own.

As you may recall, after two frustrating years of trying to design my own world class amp, I threw in the towel and called the best analog power amp designer in the business today. The results were well worth the wait. We are still hoping to have the first pre-production release available to a lucky few of you, in March. Stay tuned, and drop me a note if you’re interested in being one of the first.

Meeting Derek Jeter

Should I be embarrassed admitting I didn’t know who Derek Jeter is when I read this quote?

Entering the PS Audio room, I felt like a Yankee fan waiting to meet Derek Jeter. I got to speak with audio legends, Paul McGowan (PS Audio), Arnie Nudell (Infinity/Genesis), and one of my old-school engineering heroes, Bascom King (Audio magazine).

So, I was forced to look up the name Derek Jeter and found he’s a famous American baseball player. I suppose that makes me something less than a sports fan. Just not my thing. In any case, this was but one of many very nice quotes and articles about the show. I list them all here for you to rummage through if you wish.

Stereophile, Herb Reichert

Stereophile, John Atkinson

TAS, Spencer Holbert

TAS, Steven Stone

Digital Audio Review, John Darko

Audio Traveller, Malachi Kenney

Audio Traveller, Kirsten Brodbeck-Kenney

Audio Stream, Michael Lavorgna

Audiophilia, Karl Sigman

Audio Federation, Michael Davis

Audio Federation, Michael Davis

CanJam pics, Jude Mansilla go to about 31:30 into the video

Designing a home music system

Reader Ken Vincellette sent me a really good article on treating a room for sound so one can achieve the most possible in any given situation.

The article covers much about a home recording studio and the building of it, but more valuable to me, the tips included on getting the room to perform its best. As many of you know, any stereo system is only as good as the room it is playing in.

If you have a moment to read, this is a good article on the subject.

Proud Bassoons

We owe the title of this month’s column to Johann Mattheson, 18th-century musical theorist and tastemaker, who opined in 1713 that “anyone who wishes to distinguish himself on the Proud Bassoon will find that elegance and speed especially in the high register will tax his powers to the full.” He also wrote that

It is, however, easier to play than the oboe, because it does not require the same finesse or manners (although other sorts are needed). . . . One has to depend especially with bassoons and oboes on good reeds, and the best maîtres labor to make them after their own embouchures, for a good reed is half the playing.

You can read the rest of Lawrence Schenbeck’s article by clicking this link.

The Rippingtons

Let it rip is an idiom that means to proceed at full speed without restraint. Guitarist Russ Freeman was very astute in choosing The Rippingtons as the name of the band that he formed in 1986.

Moving seamlessly between fusion and smooth jazz, The Rippingtons is a band that’s a joy to listen to both on studio recordings and live in concert.

You can read the rest of Keith Copeland’s article by clicking this link.

Until November

November’s newsletter will have some great new articles, Paul’s Posts and fun, interesting items hopefully you can enjoy.

Have fun and see you next month!

Paul McGowan