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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Neighbors

One of my readers in the UK, Kevin, asked me a very interesting question. “I’ve noticed that when my neighbours are away my system sounds better with wider and deeper soundstage, better bass etc. Is this because something next door is having an effect like electrical appliances or is it psychological because I know they’re…

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A whacky idea

Following my post about cable damage, it occurs to me that there is an opportunity for an interesting experiment. We’ve all seen the techno-wizard’s proof that cables make zero difference. They routinely put a cable on the AP and under real world conditions show that what goes in comes out the other end. I am…

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Cable damage

I often speak in terms that make a few people nervous. Take for example the notion that speaker cables damage sound quality. To me, this is a fairly obvious notion. Since cables are passive they cannot add anything, but they sure can subtract. When a conduit of sound subtracts from that which was intended to…

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Musicians know better

Musicians know best how their instruments and music sound. I disagree. Musicians have a unique perspective, one that is not shared by those of us who enjoy their music. Imagine how a violin must sound when the instrument is under your chin and your left ear is mere inches from the strings and bow. I…

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Audio Renaissance

According to Wikipedia, the Renaissance is a period in European history marking the transition from the Middle Ages to modernity and covering the 15th and 16th centuries, characterized by an effort to revive and surpass ideas and achievements of classical antiquity. It occurred after the Crisis of the Late Middle Ages and was associated with…

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Analog pure

Our perception of analog is one of purity. Analog is pure. Anything else is impure. Only, that’s never been true. The only “pure” analog is what we hear directly from the microphone feed. Once we record that feed it has in some manner been converted to something other than the original. No recording in the…

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Just a little off the top please

Darren Myers and I were having one of those classic water cooler conversations (even though we don’t have a water cooler). We were speaking about the upcoming FR20 loudspeaker Chris and Darren are working on voicing. Darren said something to me that really rang true. “A half or even a 1dB change between the midrange…

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Horns are good because…

In one of my YouTube videos, I railed against the sound of horns and how they are difficult for me to adjust to. They simply sound unnatural until my brain adjusts. Of course, that spurred a raft of opposition from horn lovers defending their turf (as it should). One of the long time beliefs about…

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Rules are made to be…

In any endeavor, rules, standards, and procedures are essential. They exist to help us wade through often complex tasks. Learning a new system or technique I find myself following carefully the rules that others have established. Once mastered it’s time to start questioning those rules. This approach certainly does not work for everyone. In fact,…

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Industry standards

When it comes to the recording industry there are no standards. There are, however, personal standards for each company. Take Octave Records for example. Working with DSD is always going to be a challenge with compromises, but so too is analog. In fact, the only analog process I know of without compromise is a direct-to-disc…

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Why DSD isn’t everywhere

As diehard advocates of DSD as the ultimate capture technology, we are in the infinitesimal minority. We find ourselves here on the wild frontier for one reason and one reason alone. DSD sounds remarkably better than any other capture method (including analog). So the question continues to pop up. If DSD is so darn good…

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Barking up the wrong tree

When we’re chasing down audio gremlins like hum or jitter it’s always helpful to know what’s actually happening. Take hum for example. We might suspect a nasty buzz is caused by something (seemingly) obvious, like the AC powerline, but later find out it was from a cable TV ground. Or jitter. If we hear an…

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Checkboxes

Low distortion? Check. DC to light frequency response? Check. Noise low enough that only the dead can hear it? Check. Even after all the checkboxes have been filled out and the final audio product has passed all the tests, what remains may or may not sound great. That’s because we haven’t yet figured out the…

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Ramifications

Ain’t it the truth? Everything we do has its consequences or, as the headline of today’s post suggests, ramifications. When we transfer digital audio out of a computer there are ramifications: noise from the computer is transferred to the DAC’s clean power supply grounds with noisy ones. And so we insert devices to fix those…

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The outer edge

It’s unlikely you’ll ever read in the local newspaper about your neighbor cutting their grass. It’s not news. News happens when an event we have some interest in moves far enough away from the everyday towards the outer edge. A new amp is news to me but probably not to my neighbor. Is everyone doing…

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Grab one before it’s too late

In case you haven’t heard, we produced a limited edition double vinyl album of Zuill Bailey’s brilliant work, the Bach Cello Suites. This work represents a lifetime achievement for the master cellist and this recording is perhaps the best ever made of a solo cello. The original work was captured on the Pyramix system in…

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A little tilt back

When setting up a pair of speakers it’s standard practice to move them closer or farther apart, more or less toe in, and away from or towards the front wall. Rarely do we remember to angle them forward or backward. This is because it is simply not part of the standard practice in speaker setup….

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The great unboxing

Unboxing videos have become quite popular. Like opening Christmas presents online to see what’s inside! Our BHK600 unboxing video is different. For one thing, it’s more than 30 minutes long. Half an hour to unbox this big amplifier? Allow me to explain. When our attorney (and the former president of PS Audio), Peter Rudy suggested…

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Using your own products

One of the delights of Apple products is their packaging. Easy to open, clean, simple, and elegant with a promise of more joy to come with the product itself. If the packaging is a joy think how nice what’s inside must be. What’s worth talking about is just how far removed they are from everyone…

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Tomatoes and stereos

In our country with its great distances between the agricultural areas and the cities that consume what’s grown, the tomato has been re-engineered. To survive long bumpy roads and the weeks required for transportation a thick-skinned heartier variety was designed with not a lot of flavor. Good enough. As a finishing touch, the tomato’s color…

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The rule of thirds

Rules are made to be broken and I cannot think of a better one to break than that of the Rule of Thirds. When that rule is applied to loudspeaker setup it calls for the room to be broken up into thirds: 1/3 of the room’s longest dimension away from the front wall is where…

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Budget systems

People new to our corner of the world of high-end audio often find what we do daunting. Eyebrows are raised at the idea of many thousands of dollars spent on electronics and speakers. What often brings them back to planet Earth is knowing that for around $1,000 one can bring the magic of high-end audio…

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The roundabout

With every major improvement to my system, I find myself revisiting all my favorite music. Tracks I haven’t heard for sometimes years get pulled off the shelf and replayed. Cutting-edge equipment or improvements that breathe new life into the system don’t demand a revisit to those older musical gems, they beckon me with the promise…

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Tentative steps

Our first steps are the most difficult. We’re in unfamiliar territory. Our brains haven’t yet caught up with our feet. Case in point, I’ve been immersing myself in learning the Pyramix DSD workstation. Every new step is my first and each seems mind-boggling until it’s clear and obvious. I tiptoe in and march out with…

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Viewpoint

When we make recordings the engineer has to decide from what viewpoint or perspective the recording should be made from. The best example of this is a symphonic orchestra. It’s pretty common and obvious that it is to be recorded from the perspective of the conductor. After all, it is the conductor to whom the…

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Shorting plugs

Whatever happened to the shorting plug? For those of you scratching your head, a shorting plug is an RCA connector with its signal and ground wires shorted together. Here’s a picture of some fancy gold-plated versions. The idea is to stuff these shorting plugs into the unused inputs on a preamplifier. The goal is to…

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

Join the hi-fi family

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