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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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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The kindness challenge

My wife Terri has on her small kitchen table blackboard a handwritten note: "Every person you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Treat them with kindness and understanding." What amazing advice for each and every one of us. It doesn't mean we can't get upset or object to the thoughts of others....

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Customer service

For nearly 50 years, PS has prided itself on helping customers get what they need. It's as simple as picking up the phone or dropping us an email. We're here to help with whatever we can do. It's just part of our DNA. It's how we would expect to be treated. Apparently, not everyone shares...

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Ethernet vs. USB

If you're looking for the best sonic solution for streaming music it matters how that music gets delivered. For example, if you're connecting with USB then the computer matters: faster, quieter, better built will sound better. And the USB cable matters. And then there's the requirement of an interface buffer to maximize sonics (the Matrix...

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The controversy continues

When I wrote about my memories of the strain gauge cartridge it was presented as mere ramblings. Since that post, there's been a swirl of controversy and questions. Who knew? One question, in particular, revolved around the cartridge's supposed disregard for the need of the RIAA curve. Several among you, including my friend Richard Murrison,...

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Decide for yourself

One of the oldest tropes in science fiction is sentient machines. HAL and Lieutenant Commander Data are some of the more famous versions. On June 11th the Washington Post reported that an engineer at Google, Blake Lemoine, had been suspended from his job for arguing that the firm’s “LaMDA” artificial-intelligence (AI) model may have become...

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The constant current source

Some of the most important circuit technology in audio is also the simplest. Take for example the constant current source. If we look at a simple single stage amplifier it is pretty straightforward: a single transistor (Q1) and a few resistors. Depending on the value of those resistors, we can get a certain amount of...

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The strain gauge

For some strange reason, I have been thinking about the strain gauge phono cartridge. And, here's the weird thing. I have never heard one. What's interesting to me about this strange beast is how different it is from your conventional phono cartridge. I am always fascinated by truly different. Most phono cartridges are generators. They...

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Conventions

Ever wonder why salad forks are smaller than dinner forks? Is it easier to pierce a shard of lettuce with a smaller instrument? I suspect it is merely convention. Sometime in the past when we were worried about being fancy there likely had to be a way to distinguish between the proper etiquette of which...

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The owner's manual

I am pretty certain that over the past 48 years I have never gotten excited about an owner's manual. In fact, let's be honest. Owner's manuals are a pain to write and a bigger pain to read. Now that has all changed. With the excitement growing of the launch of our most ambitious and anticipated...

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What are you hoping for?

I get a lot of email requests for advice on what to buy, how to get more out of a system, or how to solve a problem. The conversation typically starts out with the desired end product. "I was thinking about a new amplifier." One of the first questions I ask is "what is it...

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