Community members

April 8, 2021
 by Paul McGowan

From as far back as 1974 (which to me doesn’t seem that long ago) I have felt part of a community. The community of people like you and me. Out of the ordinary folks who know what good sound is and are willing to invest their time, passion, and available funds into achieving great sound.

I suppose community can apply to any sort of group that finds more benefit from togetherness than from being apart. Certainly, I gain more from our community than I would setting out alone and I guess that’s true for most of you reading this post.

Communities give and they take. They give camaraderie, shared knowledge, friendships, and connections. But, like any community, those living within have to agree on some sorts of mutual terms. If we’re fighting and bickering amongst ourselves (as opposed to spirited debates) then we’re not enjoying the benefits of togetherness.

Our HiFi Family is one of the kindest, friendliest, and generous communities I have known. I am proud to call you my friends.

Thanks for all you do for our community.

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43 comments on “Community members”

  1. Paul,
    I agree with you, however you will always get one or two rude &/or arrogant ‘know-it-all’s’,
    who don’t actually know-it-all, that will join this community & start behaving badly.
    So if you have to delete some ‘sclaningham’, ‘CtA’, ‘Mike’, ‘Gravitas’ or ‘Fat Rat’ posts
    because we have, in your opinion, over-stepped, then so be it.
    I certainly don’t have a problem with that.
    And I do not require you to contact me privately to tell me that you are going to delete my comments or replies.
    It is after all your site & you are well within your rights to do so.
    You da man!

    Hey jb4,
    Following on from your 7:54am reply from yesterday, since we don’t get notifications any more.
    I’m not laughing at you for taking 14 years to get your loudspeakers sorted.
    I was more on the track of when you mentioned, a few months ago now, that you had pulled out your old(er) floorstanders & that you were blown away at how good they sounded after being stored away for so long (were they QUAD’s? I can’t remember)
    Anyway, my point was that from what you said, at the time, you sounded as if you were more impressed with the older (QUADs?) than you were with the Thiels.
    The point was to emphasize how we haven’t really progressed that far at all when it comes to home audio.
    Having said all that, I am very happy for you that you’ve now organised your Thiels & your room near perfectly for your listening pleasure.

    Question: Did you use Paul McGowan’s ‘The Audiophile’s Guide’ book & accompanying SACD/CD to get your audio set-up right?

  2. Thank you Paul und thank you Audiophile community! I’m one of the younger fellows (36y), but I’m interested in music und good reproduction over the last 25 years. I found you and your YT-channel barely two years ago. Since then I made a huge progress in my listening behavior, I set my stereo up correctly, I recognized, that there’re many many others out there, who are concerned about good sound reproduction. In my generation (collegues friends family) there’re not few, who are comfortable with mp3 und BT-speakers.
    Keep on listening und sharing your experience!
    Best regards from Germany!

  3. A gentle admonishment for us all today. 😉
    I now feel a bit like a naughty schoolboy being rapped across the knuckles with a ruler.
    (Oh for the good old days?)
    It wasn’t me sir, I didn’t do anything….

    Seriously though, well handled good advice, and I guess thanks for making me feel young again.

  4. Fat Rat,
    I never had Quad. The sound can be excellent (if you’re not a bass junkie !), but who wants those shower screens in the living room 🙁
    My 35 year old speakers are from the German brand Magnat.
    And I could still live with them.
    But I always knew AND heard that the15 year old Thiels have more potential. More refined and (dare I say it) a bit more audiophile. But also more difficult to position “correctly” in the room.
    But now I found it (yay). The trick was to place them a little bit closer to the backwall (= in my book the wall behind the speakers) and thus further away from my listening chair.
    Thiels are very, very transparent, and that’s great, but, if too close to the listening position, the sound can become a bit bright. And by bright I mean edgy. But now that problem is solved completely.
    Secondly I placed the speakers further away from each other with more toe in.
    (estimated 30 degrees).
    I did not buy PmcG’s book. Instead I contributed to his bank account by buying several PSA devices, so I paid my dues.
    But seriously, in the past 45 years I’v read enough about the Golden Rule,
    books about “Stereo Speaker Placement for Optimum Sound”. And that’s all well and good, but we have to deal with OUR OWN room where we hardly ever have the ideal conditions (and I think that’s an understatement).
    So, to wrap it up : I’m a happy camper now.

  5. You can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family.

    Paul may be the nicest guy in the world, but it does not make me buy his audio products. I’d bought two or three PS Audio products before I had even heard that there was an active user website and joined it in anticipation of considering further products. Since then, I have bought a server, a pair of speakers, a phono stage, a mains unit and a compact office system. The Octave server had been in development a while, but it was progressing very slowly, it was not going to be Roon Ready (other PSA products at the time were), so I bought another brand’s product. PS Audio speakers had been in development for the best part of 5 years, crunch time came for a change (a major refurb) so I bought another brand’s product. The Stellar Phono lost out on price.

    I hesitate to type the word “conditioner”, but I recently saw a video Paul did in 2019 in which he explained that he tested an MIT conditioner in the 1990s and found that impedance was killing the sound. So he decided to make regenerators. A wise decision? Probably, and I bought a P5 to replace a conditioner, due to a system change. Paul could have decided to design a better conditioner. He didn’t, but other people have, and times have moved on and in the 1990s people weren’t using switch mode power amplifiers. I have used them, twice, including for the last 5 years, and found conditioning has better results, so bought another brand’s product.

    So far as the compact office system goes, the PS Audio unit is three times the cost of the unit I bought. That unit was from a UK brand, so an argument recently ensued that I relentlessly promoted UK brands. It was designed in London, UK, manufactured in Asia and ships globally, so that unit is actually cheaper in the USA than the UK. Likewise, products designed 60 miles away by IAG are also manufactured in Asia and shipped globally. Those get accused of being Chinese c**p. So you just can’t win. Ironically, most of my expenditure has been on USA-made products.

    Have I been disappointed in PS Audio? In the past they offered products I chose to buy and more recently they haven’t. Maybe in the next year or so I will find what I have missed out on in relation to servers and speakers, but timing – as they say – is everything.

    I don’t take audio personally. Clearly a lot of people do and only want to discuss PS Audio products. In business I would far prefer to know what I’m doing wrong than what I’m doing right. I’ve only ever offered views based on my experience as an indifferent consumer.

    So maybe it’s time I made lots of people happy and checked out. Plus lockdown is ending this week, I’ll be getting out at last and THE IPL IS ABOUT TO KICK OFF.

    A thought from Darko this morning on a very attractive UK/Asian/global product: “Old school grumps will likely scream “lifestyle”. I’ll remind them that being a separates die-hard is also a lifestyle. For this is where Future-Fi is headed: into the mainstream where hi-fi racks housing multiple black boxes just won’t cut it.”

    1. Steven,
      Although I don’t always agree with your views I enjoy reading your frequently thought provoking posts.
      So, in response to your penultimate paragraph, in the words of K C and The Sunshine Band, ‘Please Don’t Go’ or, better still and needing no introduction, ‘You can check-out any time you like, but you can never leave!

    2. Steven,
      What about the people whom you will make unhappy by checking out from this site?
      Please have some consideration for them; you selfish bastard!

      1. FR, I concur that Steven is a selfish bastard to cut us off. For years now I have been living vicariously through Steven’s very well written and descriptive adventures and slants on life. Thoroughly enjoyable as most of the punts are on this site.

    3. Steven,

      I always search the comments to Paul’s Post to read what you have to say.

      I would very much like to encourage you to continue to comment. Your prose is insightful and has a sense of the man behind the words. Not easy to do from a spot beside the coffee maker!

      (Request: What is the conditioner that you ended up buying?)


    4. I don’t think it’s time for you to check out. Most of your answers are quite accurate and creditable. We need lots of different opinions without getting ugly with each other for the community to survive.

  6. Paul,
    Great reminder of how special this forum is. I’ve tried to contribute to other such groups (A-Gon for example) and it’s a very different, somewhat hostile environment. It’s awesome how much folks share in this group and that does make it feel like a family (albeit somewhat dysfunctional at times).

  7. You are a kind and decent person Paul. There is an emotional balance in your personality that is very appealing and although my comments are usually not very technically informative as are many of the other contributors, I still feel comfortable posting my little ditties to this community. You do a very good job of giving us freedom of expression.

    Long live the PS AUDIO community!

  8. One thing I have noticed in life, disagree with or insult someone and they’ll respond back to you quick as a flash.
    Say something nice or pay them a compliment and it will likely leave them nonplussed not knowing what to say.

  9. Paul, in general I agree. The closest example that comes to mind would be car clubs. Years ago I belonged to the Alfa Owners Club. There it was gentle teasing between owners of coupes VS spiders, with a few sedan fans on the fringe. But that was nothing like the arguments between tube and SS owners, or even more still between analog and digital.

    I was also in a photography group, but while Nikon and Canon owners each gently claimed superiority, that could not compare to what I’ve experienced among audio hobbyists.

    Maybe the difference is that audio is such a broad subject, with so many brands and variations. Possibly a specific Quad speakers group would be more similar to the Alfa Club, love of the brand with casual bantering between owners of different models?

    1. I had similar experiences being a member of the BMW of America and Lotus Seven communities. In both groups we seem to split into factions of those who wanted to talk about lap times, while others wanted to talk about the best car waxes available.

      Paul, I know moderating this group takes time and is not easy. But by the ease in which you perform this task you must be also very good at coaching peewee league soccer and herding cats 😉

    2. m3 lover,
      I’d have to agree, audio does inspire some strong views. Many years ago I remember being at a small hi-fi show here in the U.K. Passing one of the rooms it was obvious what had started out as a discussion was rapidly becoming very heated. I don’t recall the details but a potential customer’s question and differing view was making the seller very angry, I couldn’t believe it. The seller was a big imposing guy with a beard who was trying to dominate the other chap both vocally and with his physical presence. The customer seemed perfectly reasonable and I thought no way is this guy going to sell anything with that approach. I wonder how long he would have lasted here, but with anger and stress levels so high I doubt he’s around anymore. Like I said, it was a long time ago but this incident has stuck in my mind more than some of the equipment I’ve seen and heard over the years.

  10. This is a very interesting and heart felt post. I tend to value being a part of the PS family a lot and I’m actually quite new to it. I remember a couple months back about having posted a pretty spirited comment in response to Paul’s pro vaccine feelings. That really made me feel part of a community or family because we sometimes go beyond our comfort zones to talk about real and important stuff. That is what a family does. I’m honored to be here. I also think they’re are a ton of great minds on here that I know I can learn from further.

    Lastly, in my general experience, I find people who engage themselves with music on a more serious and regular basis tend to be nicer people all around. Music really is the healthy food to the soul. This is just my general experience though. I’ve never actually met a root of all bitterness jerk who absolutely adores his/her sonics. There is something truly special about that…at least in my world though.
    Anyhow. Thank you to all of you for accepting me here. It is an honor and a privilege.

  11. Ok, my turn. My brother who is a audiophile as well in my opinion, spends most of his time finding things to do away from his audio room, and I, on the other hand spend my time figuring out how to spend more time in my sound room. We have started finally, (due to Covid) our audiophile weekends where we take turns coming to each others area and traveling around to equipment and record shops. Great food and great laughter. This forum has yielded me a great friend in FatRat who in turn put me with a few others that I’ve gotten to know. We share and exchange equipment ideas as well as turning each other on to some great music each monthly. I’m comfortable posting here and look forward to reading what’s on Paul’s mind today and what you all think about what he has to say. I’m an extremely proud Spout owner and it(They), will forever be apart of my audio equipment lineup. One day, I hope to own a Steller phone stage and a set of M700 blocks. For now I’m very happy with my setup based on what you Paul has advised me to do. We need this community and thank you Paul for providing it to us all. I no longer post with the other communities after being raked over the coils because I could not give stats and was told my ear was flawed because of it! Again thanks Paul. Keep doing what you are doing and as always community, KEEP LISTENING 🙂

  12. Anyone of you know that Franz Schubert wrote his Swan Song not long before he died ?
    I can only hope the reason for SntbcwS to write his Swan Song (Swan Comment) is not bad news from the doctor.
    Most of the time (not always) I agreed with his view on audio (see, already talking as if he’s dead).
    At times a tiny little bit too jingoistic for my taste, but what else would you espect from a Brit.
    Okay SntbcwS, live long and prosper and enjoy the sport I don’t understand (at all).
    And of course your not so British audio system. So there is still hope

  13. Bestest family EVER!!!

    a) common interests 🙂
    2) the nearest family member lives at least…..I don’t even KNOW where they live! 🙂
    c) none of them know my phone number 🙂
    d) any form of family interaction can only be instigated by ME 🙂
    5) I can pick & choose who I want to listen to 🙂
    f) if I have a problem or question, it is an actual QUALIFIED family member who offers up USEFUL aid 🙂
    7) zero care or concern if one of you accidentally gets pregnant 🙂
    h) no one will ask me to look after their kids 🙂
    9) I don’t have to secretly ask another member “Is Fat Rat crying?? Why is Fat Rat CRYING?” 🙂
    and 10) Paul doesn’t have to pay child support for ALL US KIDS…! 🙂

    What better family could a fella have?? Win 🙂 Win 🙂 WIN! 🙂

    * I dunno why I picked you Fat Rat, for chits & giggles, it just had to be you…..comedy (?) needs a victim!
    Besides, family relationships are based on:
    4% love & respect
    3% help & support
    93% insult based humor…

    Cheers Mate!

  14. Community… it was around 1972 when audio engineer Jack Dodgson handed me a white paper (on the floor of a BSR turntable factory)… It showed how (at that time) that tubes sound superior to the solid state of the day. Community? When I began working later for an Audio shop some of the salesmen wanted to tar and feather me… and wished to keep me quiet. Then.. it happened. Absolute Sound magazine was published. I found a new friend.
    Yes… its community. But I learned at an early point that there can be bigotry amongst the town people in that community. Not being cynical. Just stating that it is a very real community. Not a mutual admiration society.. 😉

  15. Greetings all! I have been monitoring Paul’s posts and the interesting responses for about a month now. I fell on this site while reading Paul’s audio guide book and found that there actually is a community that shares opinions and thoughts without diverging into the politics of the day and other non-essentials. It is very refreshing and today’s topic is encouraging enough for me to try to participate. I have been pursuing the grail of wonderful sound for well over forty years now and this is one of the few groups I have run across that seems to be actually interested in the same pursuit, albeit with different approaches. Please go gentle on me, I hope you will accept a new woodwind in the orchestra.

    1. Welcome to you ‘BruceW’!
      I’m sure that I speak for all of us when I say that I for one am glad that you have joined us.

      Yes the ‘dirty politics’ have ceased here since Donald J Hump got dumped 😉

  16. Thanks Paul, love the PS Audio community and your videos. I hope to meet you in person someday. Get the tour and hear those IRSV and the other systems you’re developing. Hopefully going to make the trip someday with my son when we have Covid long behind us. Hes a 25 years old mechanical engineer working for a major space and defense group. I’m developing him into an audiophile. I spent almost an entire night with him recently listening to music on my system. I told him to bring his own CD’s. That’s important because it’s as if he’s hearing them for the first time. He appreciated how my system showed the subtle and sometimes vast sound quality differences of his CD’s. He spoke of it’s depth using the audiophile slang. He even understood what I meant by sweet. He loves the Rolling Stones and many of the classic rock bands that I love even going back to the fifties, BB King etc but I think his favorite band is the Ramones. Hes making me a big Ramones fan. 🙂

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