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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It’s ok to be different

I sense a growing aversion to being different and that concerns me. Of course, it’s nothing new to seek acceptance. We all want to be part of the group of people others trust and respect. But, what about different? Is it alright to speak differently? To act differently? To think differently? Are we afraid to…

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On the playground

As a kid in school, I was likely not alone in my favorite class, recess. The bell would ring and we kids were released onto the playground. Some kids liked sports, some the swings, others the monkey bars. Me? I liked the groups. The clans. Like-minded kids would gather together and plan and talk about…

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Confirmation bias

Wikipedia describes Confirmation Bias as this: The tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms or supports one’s prior beliefs or values. People display this bias when they select information that supports their views, ignoring contrary information, or when they interpret ambiguous evidence as supporting their existing attitudes. The…

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Moods

Ever notice how our mood changes our hearing? How good or bad our system sounds? We may or may not be in a mood to listen to one kind of music or another. We choose which to enjoy based on our inner feelings. What’s interesting to me is how much this affects our perception of…

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Peeling back the onion

It must have been a bit maddening as early researchers into the structure of the physical world kept finding smaller and smaller building blocks: molecules, atoms, electrons, protons, neutrons, and smaller. Every time they uncovered what they suspected must be the essential particle upon which everything else is built, they peeled back yet another layer…

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Passing judgment

Leafing through the latest Stereophile Magazine I ran across an interesting ad. Its question to me was whether I would get more excited about paying a high price for a product that weighed very little or half the price for one that weighed significantly more. Audio by the pound. How many of us really have…

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Obsessed

It’s been said that obsessed is a word lazy people use to describe dedication. I am not certain that’s right any more than I believe to be obsessed is something bad. Maybe that’s because when it comes to High-End Audio I am admittedly obsessed. It’s ok to point a finger at me or snicker. I…

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Sonic fireworks

In a few days, the night skies around my town will be exploding with bursts of color as the country celebrates what we call Independence Day. Bad day for animals, both domestic and wild, terrified by the explosions. Sometimes when I am in the mood, I love to throw on some sonic fireworks. Let ‘er…

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Presumed excellence

I don’t suppose that after all these years I should be surprised when a presumed expert shows off a system that sounds dreadful. It happens more than it should. How many times have I walked into a HiFi showroom and did an immediate 180? Far too many times. And it’s not just audio where presumed…

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Pigeonholed

One of my readers reminded me that I don’t like either electrostats or vacuum tube output stages. Funny thing is, it isn’t true. There was a period in my life where all I listened to was through electrostatic loudspeaker powered by vacuum tubes. I moved away from electrostats because I missed dynamics. I moved away…

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Comments section

I am going to venture a guess that while most people reading my daily posts enjoy their content, more read them for the lively banter they generate. It seems the same on our YouTube channel. Many of the more popular videos are judged by the number of comments than the actual content people are commenting…

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Poke the box

My friend, Seth, wrote a book called Poke the Box. It’s well worth the short read. In it, he argues that progress, real progress, happens when we move outside our comfort zone. When we take a leap without knowing if there will be a safe landing. It’s so easy and comforting to stay within the…

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Opening up

If we’re lucky, we learn something every day. While auditioning with the artist a new set of Octave record mixes we asked them to tell us which of the two they preferred. On the first go-round, the two musicians shrugged and said they didn’t hear much in the way of differences. Knowing they were not…

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truisms

It’s often tempting to believe that if one thing is true then ergo, something else must also be true. Take for example a system that excels at reproducing the sound of an orchestra. Beethoven, Mahler, Mozart, and Copeland are perfect. Does that mean Coltrane, Morrison, Hendrix, and Enya are equally represented? Are glorious highs and…

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Is it good enough?

I am often asked if a particular piece of equipment is “good enough”. Though this is a great question it’s often hard to answer. The problem is defining the boundaries. Good enough to work? Absolutely. Good enough to get your foot tapping? Probably. Good enough to suspend disbelief? Rarely. The age-old question of when something’s…

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FoxFeather

For those who have yet to hear about Octave’s latest release, The Nature of Things by FoxFeather, let me be the first to tell you about it. FoxFeather is two wonderfully talented ladies, Carly and Laura, backed up by a great band. Here’s a video I put together of the two. I am in love…

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Adding capacitors

For the last post in this impromptu series let’s look at my goal of somehow increasing the size of power supply capacitors within a unit connected to a Power Plant. On the surface, this seems like a crazy goal. How can we affect something internally? First, let’s think about what happens when we increase the…

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Peak demand

In yesterday’s post, I said that today we’d discuss how to increase the size of the power supply capacitors inside connected equipment. A tall order, indeed, but I got sidetracked. So many of you have written me asking about a certain statement made by my friend, Garth Powell at Audioquest. When asked about regeneration, Garth…

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The home stretch

In yesterday’s post, we learned that our homes present an impedance to our equipment of about 1Ω. This matters, as you can imagine, because when we try and drive a 4Ω speaker with a power source with that high of an impedance we get power line modulation. Put another way, we make things worse for…

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The free lunch counter

In yesterday’s post, we learned that to effectively lower impedance we need to add energy. That’s what a power amplifier does and what a passive power conditioner cannot do. In fact, a passive power conditioner (one without an active power amplifier inside) makes things worse. It raises impedance. Wrong direction. To get the most out…

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Shortening wire length

In yesterday’s post, we posed the question of what might happen if we were to lower or even eliminate the impedance inherent in the AC power wires feeding our home. The answer is simple. Dramatically better sound. Something we all want! But, how best to eliminate or significantly lower the impedance of hundreds (often thousands)…

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The pass through chain

In yesterday’s post, I gave a bit of background on our path at PS Audio of increasing power transformer sizing. Quite by accident, we had found that oversizing the power transformers in our products delivered audibly superior performance. It was the increased wire gauge with its subsequent lowering of impedance that brought us closer to…

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External cures

From as early as 1980 it had been clear to us that the bigger the power transformer the better the sound—a fact that at first didn’t make a whole lot of sense. Why would a preamplifier that consumed no more than a few watts benefit from a power transformer capable of 100 times that? Impedance….

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Virtual updates

In the late 1990s, at the beginning of our work on AC regeneration that became the Power Plant, one of our reasons for getting involved in the first place was a desire to replace the power supplies in high-end audio equipment. It had been clear to me for years that internal power supplies in audio…

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Miracle cures

While standing in the supermarket checkout line I couldn’t help but notice the splashy magazine headline. “Lose 13″ off your waist in 1 week”. The only way in 1 week to lose 13 inches off your waist is through surgery, something the magazine editors were not promoting. Most all of us are in one way…

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Amateur Audiophiles

One of the reasons I wrote The Audiophile’s Guide was to help fix the biggest problem in high-end audio systems. The one most of us take for granted, yet never master. Setup. Sure, we all know the basics: approximately where to place the speakers, how to connect the kit, how to tame a lousy room….

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

Join the hi-fi family

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