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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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…

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Half right

I was recently sent this picture as a joke and it is rather funny. Humor aside, it does point out a trend I’ve noticed as of late. Half-truths. The idea behind a half-truth is simple. Armed with half the story or half the understanding, we can sometimes fill in the other half with made-up assumptions…

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Oddballs

Of the hundreds of people I have been privileged to know it’s the oddballs, the characters, the off-the-charts bonkers people I remember most. I am not sure why I am so attracted to the oddballs. I remember the first time I met the Bedini Brothers. Crazy as loons but brilliant. I’ll never get the image…

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Visual roadblocks

Long ago, in a time far, far away, when there was no pandemic, visitors regularly flocked to Boulder Colorado to hear PS Audio’s reference system. Though the sound made us all happy there was a problem. To a person, the giant Infinity IRSV were a visual impediment. To fully get the illusion of the speakers…

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The new norm

I was just ruminating on the date. February 23, 2021. Two months into the second year of a pandemic lockdown. Who’d have guessed? As audiophiles, we’re thankful our passions are inside our homes. I mean, if you have to be trapped inside better with great music and sound than without. Thank goodness for music. Thank…

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Center perfection

Over the years I have noticed a perfect center fill can foretell a perfect soundstage. And while it might at first seem a simple formula—get the center image right and the soundstage falls into place—it doesn’t always work that way. The problem with relying upon the center fill as a harbinger of soundstage correctness can…

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Benchmark

The term benchmark, or bench mark, originates from the chiseled horizontal marks that surveyors made in stone structures, into which an angle-iron could be placed to form a “bench” for a leveling rod, thus ensuring that a leveling rod could be accurately repositioned in the same place in the future. These marks were usually indicated…

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Mixing purity

Octave Records continues to be a learning experience for both Terri and me. Which is one of the reasons we so love what we do. As we delve deeper into the process of music making some things remain obvious while others surprise and delight. For example, it’s obvious the better the original recording the closer…

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Hysteresis

Hysteresis describes how something appears or responds based on its history. What we see in the present is that way only because of what happened in the past. Stretch a rubber band and upon its release, the band does not return to its original shape. That’s hysteresis. Understanding hysteresis means we can put its somewhat…

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Lane changes

Whenever I veer away from writing strictly about audio I receive more than a few finger wags to “stay in my lane”. My recent Paul’s Post of my experience with the vaccine is a great example. The idea of me staying in my lane is as far away from understanding or relating to me as…

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Personal DSP

Our hearing is a combination of what we receive from our ears and how those signals are processed by our brains. As our ears change over time so too does our brain’s interpretation. What this means is that we can compensate for the peaks and valleys in our ear’s response. Think of it as an…

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Ferrotypes

My most productive mental state is the hour before I get out of bed and start my day. During that hour I drift in and out of sleep planning, inventing, figuring, remembering, and sorting. This morning I remembered my electric Ferrotype Plate and the struggles leading up to its purchase. Why am I telling you…

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Valves

We’re all familiar with the terms amplifiers and valves. We use electronic valves like vacuum tubes and transistors to amplify audio signals. Yet, even writing those words makes me a bit nervous because I can see how they might be misunderstood. When we talk of amplifying the input signal it sounds like we are taking…

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Brain fog

As I mentioned yesterday, I got my second vaccination for CoViD. I feel pretty lucky and this is one of the few times I am grateful for being more than 70 years old. 🙂 As we all need to get vaccinated I thought it might be helpful to briefly share my experience with you.  First…

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Our first integrated

I just received my second CoViD shot last night and so find myself on shaky ground at the moment but wanted to make sure I didn’t miss a day of a post. I was just ruminating on the steps leading up to our first integrated amplifier, the Elite. When Stan and I had built our…

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Starting point

Where you start matters. For example, when it comes to designing a new amplifying circuit, if your starting point is first the amplification path and second the power supply, you’ll get a very different amplifier than if you reversed the two. If instead, your starting point focused first on building the perfect power supply and…

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Over the top

When it comes to having company over for dinner my family’s general rule of thumb has always been better too much than too little. Too much at the dinner table just sets the stage for lunch leftovers. No big deal. But when it comes to your HiFi system, too much can be…dare I say…..too much….

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Start with the basics

There is nothing more basic to our HiFi systems than AC power. Everything starts out as a 50Hz or 60Hz sine wave and then gets converted to whatever form of power needed for the equipment to work its musical magic. But getting even more basic is the AC power at the very beginning of the…

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Reviewing the critics

A stereo reviewer is an audiophile with knowledge, experience, and the chops to write about it. They are essential community assets. Theirs is a tough job. Imagine the challenge of reviewing speakers. It’s hard enough for any of us to get a new pair of speakers and set them up properly. It must be a…

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Before taking the plunge

We are all different. When I want to learn something I jump in feet first, immerse myself, learn and do everything I can so that later it becomes easy—second-hand nature. Others ease into the learning slowly, drip by drip until it’s easy. My method works for me because I can quickly pivot if the path…

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Baseline

One of the reasons I created the Audiophile’s Reference disc to accompany the Audiophile’s Guide is the need for a baseline. In the past, we used our favorite music tracks for set up references. I even published a few lists of these favorites so we could all be on the same page. But being on…

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Feeling naked

Now there’s a ghastly thought. Me. In public. Naked. Never fear, ain’t gonna happen. I haven’t that big of a mean streak in me. But as an expression, I often feel naked: without my cell phone, without my glasses, without a good way to play music. The cell phone withdrawal is something I need to…

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Varying mileage

Two identical car models will both live up to their performance promise, yet they come with a warning their mileage will vary. Of course, the variance is not in the car’s performance but rather in the drivers. Stereo equipment is no different. Identical systems in different hands and rooms will never be the same. A…

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Walking backwards

The many forms of protection like limiters, fuses, clamps, compressors, and crowbars all have something in common. They don’t make things better. They make sure things don’t get worse. Very different than a technology that moves the progress bar forward. Which is why it can be confusing when we read about the amazing improvements wrought…

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Technique

have a look at these two very different loaves of sourdough bread. What’s remarkable is they are both made from the same three ingredients: flour, water, and salt. The difference, of course, is technique: the baker’s skill and equipment. Just as in the hands of an amateur the same canvas, brush, and paint aren’t likely…

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Subwoofer LFE

If you’re running a home theater receiver or surround sound processor it’s often tricky to get the subwoofer settings correct. Theater processors are almost always different than analog preamplifiers in the way they handle bass frequencies. Unlike SSPs they almost never have separate subwoofer outputs. Confusion arises between the two because (typical to) an SSP…

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

Join the hi-fi family

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