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
In memory

In light of recent events, I think it may be helpful to turn to the one thing we can all agree upon. Music. As some of you know, Octave Records is going to be launching an amazing work in May: the entire Bach Cello Suites, recorded in the cavernous Mesa Arts center by our friend,…

Read More
Studio sterile

When enjoying live recordings we get more than just a great capture of the music. We get a sense of the crowd, the stage, the air conditioning system, the floor bounce, the room acoustics. Live recordings are the polar opposite of the sterility of studio recordings where great pains are expended to neutralize studio acoustics,…

Read More
Price discrimination

When I am auditioning a new product, circuit, or technology I do not want to be prejudiced because of its price. Price discrimination is real. For most of us, it’s difficult not to be swayed by our perception of an object’s value. If it’s “too cheap to be any good”, or “so expensive it damned…

Read More
The plunge vs. the splash

When it comes to embracing change we’re typically afraid to take the plunge. But, why? The story we sometimes tell ourselves is that we’re afraid of the splash, but I wonder if that’s true. Could it be that we’re so afraid of upsetting the apples in the status quo cart that we lay blame on…

Read More
The new website

If you haven’t yet had a chance to check out PS Audio’s new website, please do. The new site replaces our nearly 10-year-old version that, while still useful, had outlived itself and was in desperate need of a rebuild. I hope you enjoy it. I wanted to make you aware of a fairly major change…

Read More
Lamp cord vs. Romex

One of my readers wrote to me with an interesting observation. I will present it to you as I received it, in two parts: First, after upgrading his receiver he decided at the same time to lay down enough shekels to also upgrade his speaker cable—from a low-cost off-the-shelf Amazon special with gold connectors to…

Read More
Watts vs. current

I am so often asked to explain the difference between high current and high wattage that I am convinced these are confusing terms. Most audiophiles understand wattage and current are connected, but how many actually understand the idea they are forever entwined like thunder and lightning? Wattage is an expression of current and voltage. Think…

Read More
Lossy

An MP3 is a lossy file. What that means is quite a lot of the music’s content has been removed in an effort to make the file smaller. Smaller file sizes mattered at a time when the information industry was moving faster than our ability to store and deliver content. We were willing to suffer…

Read More
Tweaks

To tweak is to improve something by making small, fine adjustments to it. In other words, we take something that we already like and make it slightly better. In our world of high-end audio tweaks abound: vibration dampers, cable lifters, tube rings, shorting plugs, green pens. I bristle when someone suggests a Power Plant AC…

Read More
Multitrack realism

It has been said that the simplest and most effective means of getting a perfect stereo recording is to plunk down a pair of stereo microphones and press the record button. The fact this is rarely done suggests there’s likely more to the story than simplistic views. In fact, the vast majority of recordings—especially the…

Read More
Age and youth

As the playwright George Bernard Shaw put it, “Youth is wasted on the young,” a perspective most often appreciated from the vantage point of experience. It’s a funny quote but one that hardly resonates with me in my doddering old age. As I look back over the decades I realize that when my youth’s vim…

Read More
Sound pit

My first live experience at the opera came years after I fell in love with the genre through enjoying the recorded medium of my home stereo system. Hours were spent with Maria Callas long after her death. Some of my favorite recordings were vinyl treasures I had amassed over the years, my favorite being Marie…

Read More
Reference

The three P20 Power Plants, two BHK monoblocks, 12 channels of 1,000 watt amplification, the Infinity IRSV and all the other peripherals to be found in Music Room Two form the basis of the PS Audio Reference System. Is it the best system in the world? Of course not. There’s likely no single system that…

Read More
Bernie

As we get deeper into Octave Records I am reminded of an interview I did a few years ago with mastering engineer Bernie Grundman. Bernie is one of the most famous mastering engineers in the business. As  I relistened to the episode, recorded about this time of the year back in 2018, I was reminded…

Read More
Lighting

One of the more overlooked aspects of the home listening room is lighting. Too often we take no pains at improving room lighting and take what’s there. I am as guilty as the next. In Music Room Two we went to a lot of trouble and expense to optimize the lighting options: soft wall sconces,…

Read More
The VPI Brick

Years ago, when Harry Weisfeld was running VPI and probably before son Matt was yet born, there was the Magic Brick. The Magic Brick isn’t all that complicated. Essentially a transformer without windings. Underneath the wood exterior are steel laminations like those in a transformer. The idea is to redirect and focus magnetic fields in…

Read More
Panacea

A panacea is a solution that is all encompassing: a miracle vaccine, a pure point source speaker, world peace, eternal life. Often I am asked if perhaps a great pair of headphones is a panacea for the ills that challenge high-end two-channel systems like rooms and speakers. Heck, headphones solve the loudness problem and avoid…

Read More
The illusion of sound

There is no such thing as sound or color. These are just imaginary representations crafted by our brains as a way of hearing and seeing our world. There is no green to the grass, yellow to the sun, or blue to the ocean: No A flat, G sharp, or C major in music—just different wavelengths…

Read More
Undressing

I know, you’re waking up to this blog post and getting all excited. Undressing! (Thank goodness it’s not me doing the disrobing). I am referring to the undressing of the grille cloth from in front of the speaker. How many times have you wondered about grilles on or off? Did the designer voice and measure…

Read More
Best place to set volume

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a simple set of rules and guidelines for audiophiles to follow? Do this and get that? I’ve tried my best, in the Audiophile’s Guide, to get as close as possible to that standard. Do this and get that works in the Guide because you’re part of a process…

Read More
My first electrostat

Until 1976 the only speakers I had ever spent any time with were either dynamic or planar, and 90% of that listening was through dynamic speakers. The sound of dynamic speakers set the standard for reproduced music. The only hint I had of something different came in the form of a Heil Air Motion Transformer….

Read More
Mikey Fremer and distortion

In one of my Ask Paul videos, I was asked about distortion in vinyl. My reply was, well, probably worth watching the video to see, but more importantly, in that video, I mentioned the fact that Stereophile reviewer, Michael Fremer, listened to vinyl captured digitally when he was out on the road. I had also…

Read More
Factory Tour

One of the greatest joys we once had was offering our community the chance to tour our Boulder facilities. We got to meet our HiFi Family members in person. That meant a lot to us. It’s been well over a year since we’ve been able to accommodate tours and that’s been hard on our team…

Read More
Strength of belief

I recently got this comment in response to a video I produced about interconnects and their differences. “Not with an interconnect. Not possible. They all sound the same. Exactly the same. Do a double-blind test under lab conditions, you’d only ever guess it right 50% of the time. You won’t do that of course. You’d…

Read More
A whole new experience

Octave Record’s first release, pianist Don Grusin’s Out Of Thin Air, was a huge success and much loved by those who bought it on SACD or download. We’re nearly sold out of the final edition of the SACD. The recording is one I am very familiar with, having heard it any number of times on…

Read More
Swiss cheese

Never question the efficacy and importance of keeping yourself and others safe during the pandemic. However, if you’re questioning your own sanity after more than a year of lockdown, here’s a story you might relate to. Still dressed in my PJs and after spending all morning in my downstairs office answering emails, it somehow was…

Read More
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