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.
SUBSCRIBE TO PAUL'S POSTS
Can’t vs. has

If you line up three blindfolded food tasters and rate their responses on the difference in taste between arugula and parsley, would it make sense to proclaim there are no taste differences if that should be their conclusion? More to the point, if in blind testing on someone’s HiFi system there are no differences heard…

Read More
Main Street

I wonder why some topics raise the hairs on the backs of our necks more than others. Any mention of cables and their sound quality and all hell breaks loose. Or, vibration control. Or electrical power improvements. Perhaps it can be said that the farther away from Main Street the more brightly the fires of…

Read More
Why not everything?

In a recent post, I wrote about balanced audio cables and how they work. Unlike simple RCA cables with their single signal conductor and ground wire, a balanced cable has two signal conductors with opposite polarity signals. The receiving equipment amplifies only the difference between the two opposing signals and ignores anything in common, such…

Read More
In or out?

Over on the PS Audio YouTube channel, there’s a spirited debate over terminology. In a balanced signal, are the two halves out of polarity or out of phase? I suppose the fact viewers are in a heated discussion over such semantic differences is a good thing. Or maybe it means folks have more time on…

Read More
Sting of the Dragon

A am utterly fascinated with cable break-in. For many people, the idea of a piece of wire breaking in or changing its audible character over time is questionable at best and for others bordering on the preposterous. And yet, cable break-in is as real as the sun rising each morning. Recently we have been assembling…

Read More
Rules need to be broken

There’s an old chestnut that goes “rules are meant to be broken”. The original quote was made by a man who should know: American General, Douglas MacArthur (who famously broke a lot of rules). His actual quote is: “Rules are mostly made to be broken and are too often for the lazy to hide behind.”…

Read More
The normal myth

How many times have you wished for just the normal kind? You know, the one like everyone else has: the standard room, the normal and accepted procedure, the one everyone else is happy with. Normalized standards are references from which everything else is judged. We can have better or worse. Standards touch most of the…

Read More
A touch of spice

One of the rules of successful cooking is the addition of spices and salts. When properly applied these flavor enhancers transform ordinary ingredients into works of art. We can say the same about the tweaks and upgrades we often lavish upon our audio equipment. Everything from aftermarket fuses, vibration controls, shelving, room acoustic enhancements…even setup….

Read More
Costumes

Costumes, uniforms, and appropriate dress rules are important to most in our society. We expect doctors with stethoscopes, scientists in white lab coats, police in uniform wearing a badge. We’re all susceptible. I would really struggle with my expectations at a fancy restaurant if the head chef came out in a grimy t-shirt and shorts….

Read More
Easy isn’t always better

How many times have you gotten advice to take the easy path, the quickest road? Why paddle upstream? Unfortunately, the easiest path often nets us the lowest return: snacks vs. real food, receivers vs. separates, driving your car around the block when you could get some exercise. In my experience, people often mistake simple for…

Read More
Puzzle pieces

Every bit of new information we receive can be viewed as a puzzle piece. Put enough of the puzzle pieces together and suddenly you have a picture of the whole. Those puzzle pieces are what contribute to an aha! moment. And we all love those aha! moments. Reading reviews, talking with fellow audiophiles, blog posts,…

Read More
Point of measurement

There’s typically a bit of confusion when it comes to speaker setup, in particular, around how far out into the room is best for soundstage and depth. Generally, we’d like to be something close to 1/3 the way into the room but rarely is that possible. These are for the most part living rooms (in…

Read More
Vinyl’s here

It’s been a long slog getting here but, at Octave, we’re finally launching vinyl. I am over the top excited. As some of you may know, there are only a couple of excellent vinyl pressing plants in the world and of the one or two of the best, they are back-ordered beyond anything I would…

Read More
Measure once, cut twice

Sorry for the opening humor. Measurements are essential. Without them, we could never design products. Especially speakers with their complex crossover and cabinet interactions. Sometimes you have to do what you have to do to make things work. Take for example the problem of measuring speakers without getting reflections from walls and floors. If you’re…

Read More
More mud

A few days ago I wrote a blog post about impedance. It seems to have stirred more mud than cleared the waters. Might as well go for broke. This post will focus on 4Ω vs. 8Ω speakers and varying impedances with frequency of those speakers. First a bit of a refresher. It is a misnomer…

Read More
It’s all in the translation

For most people, amplification of the musical signal means just that. Taking the original signal as generated by the source and making that signal bigger. Only, that’s not what happens. In the same way the energy from your leg pressing a gas pedal is not actually amplified in the movement of an automobile, it would…

Read More
Low to high or the opposite?

Impedance can often be a tough to understand subject. Is it better to have high or low? What’s the difference between the two in practical terms? For those with a clear understanding, this is a good post to skip. For those still unclear about what it means when we speak of high and low impedances,…

Read More
Passing the test

50 years ago in the dark ages of my past, I was determined to learn how circuits worked and what made amplifiers tick. Working full time as a disc jockey for the US Army in Germany at that time I had no practical means of attending school. Enter Herr Rudy Stroebel, chief engineer of the…

Read More
Audiophile Day

Every single day of the year there are multiple celebrations of every imaginable topic.  In fact, this month there are more celebrations than there are days in the year. And, among those, and special to all of us reading this post, is the 6th annual, Audiophile Day. It’s a day to remember why we’re here….

Read More
Keyboard warriors

“The pen is mightier than the sword” was first written by novelist and playwright Edward Bulwer-Lytton in 1839, in his historical play Cardinal Richelieu. It’s still true today though no one uses a pen anymore. Most of what we read is presented to us not by paper but via a video screen with a keyboard attached:…

Read More
Greener pastures

I think our memories tend to smooth out problems and give us a false sense of the past and its supposed greener pastures. Often, those pastures are colored a rich green because our memories seem to leave out the pain and problems and remember only the good stuff. I was reflecting back to the times…

Read More
DeoxIT or Zinfandel

“DeoxIT or Zinfandel – the struggle is real” — Sameer Verma c. 2021 When reader Sameer sent me a note about his struggles with upgrading and tweaking vs. simply sitting and listening I laughed out loud. Clean your connectors or sip a glass of fine wine and enjoy the music? What happens when we think…

Read More
Generalities

While reading through the comments section of this blog I stopped at one standout. “I prefer the sound of speakers from across the pond.” Generalities. We tend to group our opinions into neat little boxes: British speakers are bass deficient, American speakers are big and brash, silver conductors are brighter than copper, tubes are warmer…

Read More
Enhanced or held back?

If we make a change for the better to our room or equipment, one that gets us closer to the music, was it achieved by a fundamental change or by the removal of existing obstacles? When I first asked myself that question my immediate answer was semantics. What’s the difference if we achieve better by…

Read More
Op amps vs. chips

I wince when people equate op-amps with chips. An op-amp describes a topology, not a chip. Yes, the op-amp topology is often built onto a silicon wafer, but we should be careful not to forever bind the two together unless we’re clear about the difference. (If you’re technically minded there’s a great paper describing in…

Read More
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…

Read More
1 2 3 145
Stop by for a tour:
Mon-Fri, 8:30am-5pm MST

4865 Sterling Dr.
Boulder, CO 80301
1-800-PSAUDIO

Join the hi-fi family

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

Join the hi-fi family

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram