The Upgrade

One of the most exciting things a hifi buff can do is upgrade. The process of researching, noodling on choices, making the decision, pulling the trigger, receiving the new boxes, then upgrading the system is a real hoot. Few things I can think of get me more excited.

My son Scott McGowan has never owned a true high-performance audio system. Sure, he has daily access to Music Room One—a personal opportunity that inspired his design of our most popular integrated amplifier, Sprout. But to take the plunge and outfit his living room with a full BHK outfit powered by the mighty P20 is something even I haven’t been able to convince Terri of at home. And now he has done it.

Of course we had to video this momentous occasion: the unboxing, setup and volia! moment when music again plays. Scott’s Sprout’s made its way to his study powering a new prototype of a PS Audio 2-way that on first listen is extraordinary. (More on that subject later).

For now, enjoy this 5-minute video as Scott takes a major step in his audiophile journey.

I am envious.

Watch Scott’s upgrade

High-end conspiracy?

A local stereo dealer is trying to convince one of Paul’s listeners to spend “a lot more money” to fix a problem of listener fatigue. Is there a conspiracy going on? Is this a legitimate way to solve the problem of a revealing system perhaps revealing too much? Or is there a more basic problem that can be solved without the expense of new equipment? PS Audio CEO Paul McGowan faces the question head-on and you might be surprised at his answer.

Listen to the Podcast

Is stereo dead?

We hardly see stereo stores anymore and the stores that used to carry equipment seem to have vanished and not be replaced. What’s happening? Are smartphones and MP3 players taking over and decimating the good sound possible through high-end audio? Or, could it be something quite different? Something analogous to what happened nearly 100 years ago?

Watch the video

Copper Magazine

It’s entirely possible that audio in 2068 will look completely different from today’s gear, and may largely be invisible—I would expect systems integrated into the home to have taken several steps forward by then. Voice control and gestural control may be passe’ at that point…what’s next? Thought control?  I would also bet that there will be several new storage formats by then; I would expect even CDs to be viewed with the sense of novelty and nostalgia with which vinyl newbies approach LPs…

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Direct to Disc

Back when vinyl was king and there was no utterance of the word “digital” the cat’s meow was Direct to Disc. A live performance was captured directly onto the vinyl cutting lathe. This technique eliminated the dynamic restrictions of tape, the sonic loss of a mixing board, and adds the excitement of a live event.

These discs turn out to be so dynamic that I have had needles jump out of their grooves on some of the older Sheffield discs like Lincoln Mayorga.

With a hat tip to Mike Norton of the UK’s Midland HiFi studio, I learned that direct to disc is alive and well. Check out the offerings from Chasing the Dragon. If you’re heavy into vinyl, you might just want to grab a few of these gems.

Sell your headphones

Headphones may start to look like old technology in 2019 when Noveto, a startup based in Israel, showcases its new “focused audio” devices to attendees of the biggest tech show of any year, CES.

Noveto has come up with a technology that can do exactly the same thing as headphones — deliver sound right to your ears without disturbing those around you — except without the headphones themselves. In fact, you wouldn’t need to wear any device at all.

Focused audio can come either from a standalone device, which the company is calling Sowlo for now, that looks like a small soundbar or Bluetooth speaker, or from any device that usually makes sound, like a TV, computer monitor, smartphone, or tablet, or even things like a treadmill with Noveto’s technology built in.

It emits audio directly to your ears — and it’s amazing…

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