August 2013 PS Audio Newsletter

  • Back and raring to go
  • Be the first to own a NPC
  • The NuWave Phono Converter
  • A new video is released
  • We get voted best CD player (and we don’t make one)
  • Paul gets a tube preamp (among other things)
  • Music from Casiopia
  • Music, best of spring

I started out last month’s newsletter telling you that Terri and I were headed out to parts north of Boulder to enjoy some hiking and a few days off.

I think we may have found one of the prettiest spots ever – Lake Louise near Banff Canada. Here’s a shot I took with my phone – it was simply amazing.

Terri and I hiked for 9 straight hours to make the loop up to the glacier, through a series of “tea houses” and stunning beauty the likes of which neither of us have seen. Canada is cool!

I am back now and more excited than ever that our engineering and production teams got the NuWave Phono Converter done and ready to go!

Be one of the first

I am going to give you a short rundown on the NuWave Phono Converter in the next few paragraphs but wanted to let you in on a little surprise first.

The guys in engineering wanted to make an early adopter run on NPC’s that they personally blessed and made sure each and every one is perfect. Now, usually it’s our production teams that do this and they’re great, but the NPC is a technically challenging device for both engineering and production to build and make sure it’s right – more so even than a PerfectWave DAC.

So we decided to earmark the first 50 for our early adopters and make them available only in the United States and only to those folks who want to get in on the product early.

Presales are going on right now for the first 50 hand tuned and blessed units, $1895 each. If you’re interested in owning one, go here and place your order. If you’re one of the first 50, you’ll be sent the unit on about September 15. Of course, as always, it comes with free FedEx shipping and a 30 day in-home trial. Take it home, try it out, make sure you love it.

NuWave Phono Converter

The NuWave Phono Converter, NPC, is a new category of product for the high-end that I am extremely excited about. After years of development it’s finally here (well right around the corner anyway).

The NPC is a new category of product that combines a state-of-the-art phono preamplifier and analogDSD/PCMconverter together in one chassis.

You can input anything from an iPod to a $100,000 turntable setup and connect directly to a DAC, computer or preamplifier. Once connected you can play vinyl discs or any analog source either directly into your preamplifier or DAC.

You can also connect the NPC to your computer and RIP (record) content in either double DSD or 192kHz 24 bit PCM.

The NPC producesboth DSD and PCMfrom its digital outputs and high resolution fully balanced analog from its audio outputs.

The parallel digital path

The heart of the NPC’s design philosophy is running parallel and separate analog and digital paths, allowing each to be fully optimized for best performance and faithful to the original recording and mastering process.

Vinyl mastering is handled through filters and reverse RIAA EQ kept strictly in the analog domain from the input to the output of the cutting lathe. To help faithfully reproduce this delicate non-digital path an analog playback chain is the preferred reproduction method – which is why the NPC is 100% analog through its phono chain.

Once the playback and EQ requirements of the vinyl path have been properly amplified, it is then a relatively straightforward process to quantize the output through a state-of-the-art Analog to Digital Converter (A/D Converter).

Using the NPC

The NPC can be used as a standalone A/D converter through its auxiliary analog input, a digital output phono preamplifier feeding a DAC or computer, or as a purely analog phono preamplifier. Simultaneous analog and digital outputs are available on the NPC. Connections to a preamplifier, DAC, or computer are simple and direct.

Using appropriate software on a PC, NPC owners can RIP their entire vinyl collections to their computers at 192/24 PCM or up to double DSD rate.

Connecting to the computer

You can record either DSD or PCM through either Mac or Windows machines using an off-the-shelf program such asAudacity. Because DSD is sent using DoP, Audacity or other recording programs handle the files as if they were standard digital audio WAV files. DoP does not alter the DSD data; instead it cuts it up into acceptable packets that look like PCM but are not. The pure DSD stream is maintained perfectly for future playback.

Recorded files play directly on your computer using a program likeFoobarfor Windows OS andPure Musicfor the Mac operating system. You can also stream these files directly to a DAC via USB from the computer or Ethernet with an appropriate server.

Want more info or get in on the presale?Click this link to read all about it orClick here for the presale

A new video for you

Remember the video series on Building the new Music Room we produced? I promised in that series that once we’d gotten the room finished, the speakers installed and could measure results, I’d make a quick video letting you know how we did.

We didn’t do too well. I am sorry to say the Hemholtz Resonators we built had only a small impact on reducing the bass peaks we were hoping to lower. Sob. But we haven’t given up! We’re just scratching our chins and contemplating our next moves.

If you want to see the video explaining what we did, how we measured it and what the results were, click here and check it out.

We get CD Player of the year


..and we don’t even make a CD player. How’s that for cool?

Way down under, yup as in Australia, Sound and Vision holds quite a gala event for the audio industry. We’re talking black tie event – penguin suits as we used to call them – and this year PS Audio was voted best CD player for the PerfectWave DAC and PerfectWave Transport combo.

Now this is pretty cool because as we all know, a CD player is a transport and DAC in one box and the members felt strongly enough about the sound quality of our combo that they awarded us the top choice for a system playing CD’s and high rez files.

Seriously, we’re quite honored to be included among the other winners and if you wish, click here to see who else won – the list is rather impressive as is the event.

Paul gets a tube preamp?

I think the last tube preamp I listened to was decades ago and it was an Audio Research SP3 – owned by a friend of ours and we borrowed it to compare our phono stage development against the best (at the time).

So, here’s the deal. There’s been a continuing debate on both the Forums and Paul’s Post series about the merits of plugging the output of your DAC directly into the power amplifier.

I have maintained for years that “less is more” and adding something else into the signal path can only do damage and harm the musicality of the system. Logical, eh?

Over on the Paul’s Post side of things (my daily blog) I’ve been having second thoughts about this whole concept – as illogical as it may sound – and let everyone know there’s a new preamp on the way. Yes, it’s a tube, it’s highly regarded and yes, if I am wrong I’ll be having crow for dinner (and I am a vegetarian!).

But we need to know the truth and with the new system in Music Room One, we’ll know pretty quickly if there’s truth to this notion – and i’ll be reporting the results to those of you signed up.

If you’d like to keep up to date with the progress of this new development, or the current subject which is defining Audiophile terminology, I would encourage you to sign up by clicking this link. It’s at least different to wake up each morning to a new thought about high-end audio.

Easy to subscribe, easy to unsubscribe. Heck, the last subject I tackled – the history of one of the first aftermarket power cables – got a whole bunch of you to unsubscribe. You’re always welcome back when the subjects are what you’re interested in.

Music of Casiopea

“Casiopea is a jazz fusion group from Japan that was formed in 1976 by guitarist Issei Noro and bassist Tetsuo Sakurai and in 1977 was joined by keyboardist Minoru Mukaiya and drummer Takashi Sasaki (later replaced by Akira Jimbo).

The band debuted with their album Casiopea in 1979 featuring trumpeter Randy Brecker and his brother, the late great Michael Brecker on sax.”

Click here to read Keith’s Copeland’s article.

Britten bit by bit

“I was browsing (okay,lurking) on one of the audiophile chat sites last week and saw a question from someone who’d heard a Vivaldi recording he liked. It was apparently the first classical recording he’d ever really listened to, and now he wondered: What should I hear next?

Good question, right? And did he ever get answers. One well-meaning lurker recommended a complete set of the Beethoven symphonies. Just like that! Not only Beethoven and not only the symphonies, mind you, but a complete set from a particular conductor who is not yet, incidentally, a household name. Someone else recommended lists and essays compiled by one of the well-liked classical enthusiasts on the site. Two other respondents offered lists of record labels with good reputations. Short lists, incidentally, with almost no duplication between them, which I found interesting.

Nobody thought to ask our Accidental Vivaldi Fan whathehadlikedabout those concertos.”

Sounds like the beginning of a great article? You bet, read Larry Schenbeck’s terrific piece here.

Till September

Thanks for reading the Newsletter and we hope you’ve enjoyed it.

Over on the Community Forumswe’re having a lot of discussions that include streaming, the NPC, humor (and there’s some good ones) and just great camaraderie with our group of like-minded people.

Hope you’ll join us.

Paul McGowan

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