Paul's Posts

PS Audio founder and CEO, Paul McGowan, writes a daily blog: short, informative, fun, often controversial, but always interesting. Subjects range from personal stories, how to setup your system, news of the day, streaming, vinyl, tubes, transistors, loudspeakers, holographic imaging and more. Kind of like the Car Talk of audio. Not much is sacred, and there’s rarely a mention of our own products. Easy to subscribe and even easier to unsubscribe if you wish. Join us.
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Tech talk

I am most comfortable in the company of engineers. It's more than just camaraderie. To non-engineering folk, our conversations might sound like a different language what with all the terminology bandied about. But more than terminology is the implied understanding of bigger concepts. Terms like -3dB, half power, slew rate, open loop, rise times, wave...

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Things worth remembering

I've managed to live approximately 26,800 days so far. That seems like a lot of days and yet my memory of all that's transpired in that lifetime of days numbers fewer than one hundred. We remember the highlights, the remarkable, the good, and the bad. The rest passes by in the blur we call the...

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Holding back

While over the weekend I had the pleasure of spending time in Music Room Two and the IRS auditioning some new Octave releases. The producer and audio engineer, Scott, had worked hard on one particular complex mix and it was sounding amazing. Then it happened. Buried just beneath the other instruments rumbled in a low...

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Simplicity

Conventional wisdom would have us believe best results are obtained via simple solutions. The simpler the solution the better and cleaner the outcome. I find simple solutions are often the most difficult to accept and inevitably the hardest to find. How many times have you gone round and round in search of a solution only...

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The bark fix

In a recent post, The Bark Syndrome, I identified a problem that is difficult to pinpoint its source. Barking voices. You've no doubt experienced on multiple recordings the bark of a loud voice. The signer gets going and suddenly you wince. Your face scrunches. Where in the chain does this change in quality occur? If...

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The Bark Syndrome

When working within a complex system like that of a modern two-channel stereo, one of the most difficult tasks turns out to be accurate finger pointing. Identifying a specific culprit responsible for what we hear. I'll share with you a good example. One of my tasks at Octave Records is to be the judge and...

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Swept away

I find it ironic that our goal as audiophiles is to forget the equipment and be swept away by the music. But, of course, that's the only goal that makes sense. And yet, we have to think about the equipment in order to get to the point where we can then forget about the equipment....

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The price of scarcity

When something desirable is scarce its value increases. It's the old supply and demand theory we learned about in school. If more people want something than there is an available supply, the price adjusts upward. Think of a vinyl album where only so many copies were pressed. Or, consider that only 58 pairs of IRSV...

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Ignoring the obvious

At first glance, it is not clear to us why an oversized power supply sounds better, or one cable sonically outperforms another. This is because not everything is obvious. It helps to take some things on faith (at least for the briefest of moments). Faith for most of us comes only with great difficulty. We...

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Very different vs. right or wrong

Octave Recording artist and trumpeter extraordinaire, Gabriel Mervine, notes near the end of this video that "vinyl sounds different. Very different." In fact, identical master recordings sound very different depending on the recorded medium. Which one is right? One could easily suggest that because the recording was captured on DSD that playback would be right...

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Truth

The author of the Sherlock Holmes Mysteries, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famous line was, "Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth." And so it goes about the truth. We're taught as children to always be truthful but it doesn't take too long to figure out the truth...

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Pillars

At the base of The Statue of Liberty, there is a bronze plaque that in part reads: "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore." That famous line is a snippet from a poem entitled The New Colossus, written by the social activist...

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Fortune telling

Over my 73 years, I have come to discover I am not very good at foretelling the future. So why is it I put so much credence into worrying about a future I cannot accurately predict? That worry often stymies forward motion. Yet, there may be a light at the end of the tunnel. While...

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The power of separates

The central appeal of an integrated amplifier is the chance for a designer to maximize the synergy between internal systems: the preamp that best fits the amplifier. Unfortunately, most integrateds are not designed with synergy as their guiding principle but rather squeezing as much into a single box as budget will allow. I think of...

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Cross wired

When I hear someone suggest that as humans we're all the same I cringe. Thankfully, we are not all the same. Each of us is wired differently than the others. Sure, we have much in common (thank goodness), but what works for me might not work for you. The differences in our wiring can often...

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The $35 resistor

I am well aware people in our HiFi Family think were nuts. And, that's ok. Better nuts than boring. When people ask me if parts of identical value but different construction sound unlike one another I kind of scratch my head. In my world, parts in the signal path all sound different. It's like asking...

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Vanishing sound

One of the more ironic tasks in HiFi is to make the speakers disappear. Quite a feat of magic for big boxes dominating the room. Yeat, difficult or not, that's exactly what we want to do. One of the easiest ways to tell if you're system is working correctly is to close your eyes and...

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Why better?

In yesterday's post about the fluidity of my stereo system, I mentioned upgrading from the amazing BHK300 monoblock amplifiers to the newer BHK600s. More than a few people emailed me asking why. Why would I upgrade what is already an overkill amplifier to one with even more wattage? It's a good question. Let's look at...

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Work in progress

How many of us can say we've reached the highest pinnacle we're ever likely to achieve? That where we are and what we're doing is it. Fini, finito, finilizado! I suspect not many of us. Not if we're being honest. My stereo system is finished and perfect only in the sense of right now. It...

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Too wide of a gap

Between a high-performance audiophile system and the casual plop-it-down-and-listen setup, there seems to be a pretty wide gap. Which makes me wonder why there isn't something in the middle. Imagine a single wireless all-in-one floor-standing speaker. You unbox it, set it up along a living room wall, connect to your WiFi, and voila! A great,...

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Change and disruption

With the recent sad announcement of the closure of RMAF and the postponement of AXPONA, it would seem we are entering yet another era, one without mass gatherings. Given the current state of affairs coupled with the reluctance of so many to get vaccinated or wear a mask to protect others, we cannot in good...

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Hard wired

At first thought, it would seem obvious that a hard-wired connection between a digital source and a DAC would have to be better than a wireless connection where multiple steps and technologies combine to do the same, simple transfer of data as a simple hard wire. But because something is obvious doesn't necessarily mean it's...

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The Fairy Tale Twist

I was recently having an email conversation with a very nice gentleman who had written me about a subject we're all more than familiar with, the sound of cables. He had never heard one cable sound different than another. Couple that with the fact he'd read articles focused on convincing people those differences do not...

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What's up?

In a nutshell, it seems like everything’s up these days: shipping costs, parts costs, materials, labor. And, to make matters worse, I am certain it's not news that there’s even a worldwide parts shortage that’s become known as the Partsdemic. Our team at PS Audio has been working their ever-loving tails off to keep parts...

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Paul's annual report

For those fellow backyard gardeners that remember the beginning of the growing season where I stressed about bears, squirrels, pestilence, and poachers, I have good news. Our harvest has been over the top good. While last year Mr. Bear took for himself our peaches and broke our trees in the process, this year I solved...

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Cat's out of the bag

In case you have yet to see the latest issue of Stereophile Magazine, I wouldn't want you to be the last on the block to know what's going on. In that latest issue is a two-page color spread showing for the very first time our long-awaited FR-30 loudspeaker. At 60" tall it's not as big...

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Stop by for a tour:
4865 Sterling Dr.
Boulder, CO 80301

Join the hi-fi family

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