Remembering CES

October 27, 2021
 by Paul McGowan

This May of 2021 marks the tenth year I’ve been writing this daily post.

To date, I’ve written well over 3,000 of them.

I am honored when people take the time to read what I have written.

Thank you.

It was my friend and fellow Audiophile, Seth Godin, that inspired me to begin writing a daily missive. And it was Seth who assured me I wouldn’t run out of topics to write about.

All it took, he said, was a leap of faith.

I lept off the ledge and never regretted it for a moment.

Looking back on that first post I was surprised by the subject’s length.

If you’re interested in reading how the sausage is made, with an overview of what used to be the main audio show, CES, have a look at it here.

And, thank you for all the kind words, community, and support you’ve offered in return.

It means everything to me.

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37 comments on “Remembering CES”

  1. Interesting to move through some of the ‘old’ July 2011 ‘Paul’s Posts’ & see the repetition of headings & subject matter.
    (July 30th 2011 – ‘The Phantom’ / Oct 26th 2021 – ‘Phantoms’)
    I guess there is only so much & so many topics within audio that you can cover in ten & a half years.
    This is not a criticism; just a fact.
    I’ve said it before & I’ll say it again, ‘Paul for you to post here daily for so long is just mind-blowing’.

  2. I absolutely love it, Paul. I’m truly grateful and I’ve made it part of my morning routine reading and sometimes responding to your posts. You definitely live and breathe audio, my friend. When you talk audio, I listen. 🙂
    When you talk politics or about vaccines? I cringe. Lol.
    We all have our main wheel houses. I love you regardless.
    I am truly honored and very happy to have this community of PSA because their are a ton of you that are incredibly smart and contribute a whole wealth of terrific information.

    Paul certainly gets the ball rolling, but we help keep that ball rolling for an incredible amount of time.

    Thank you to all of you.

  3. This May? May 2022? Well, anyway, I’ll look forward to wishing you a happy anniversary then Paul! 🙂

    I wasn’t on board for the beginning, subscribing in 2013, but over the years I’ve certainly enjoyed the posts, the comments from and diverse opinions of various ‘family’ members (well, mostly 😉 ).

  4. MikeK,

    I thought the same as you, May 2022. It just highlights the difficulties in conveying what you want to say. Suggest that May this year or May 2021 would have removed the ambiguity. It’s like on a Sunday when someone says next Monday. Do they mean tomorrow or the following week? Or when your navigator says “turn left” and you acknowledge with “right” instead of okay or similar. Confusion rules ko. There must be many more.

    Notwithstanding, many congratulations to Paul for dedication beyond the call of duty to all things audio and especially these posts, even on Christmas Day! (sorry to mention the C word in October). As Fat Rat has already mentioned, despite the repetition, which is unavoidable, I have no idea how Paul does it. Can anyone think of an audio related topic that hasn’t already been covered here?

    Actually, if you can, suggestions on a postcard please to, Paul McGowan at PS Audio in beautiful Boulder, Colorado. 🙂

  5. I think the thing about Paul’s posts is that he often writes about things people can relate to, or may take exception to (sometimes I assume he is provoking his audience).

    Had a look at a few oldies and there was one “Broccoli And Opera” about, after a solid diet of rock music, Mr Nudell introducing Paul to classical music, something he probably never expected to happen. I had the same thing this morning, when my wife was booking a new season at Covent Garden and said to me “do you fancy going to see Nabucco?”. The last time she ever even suggested going to an opera was over 25 years ago, when she naively asked I get tickets for La Traviata for her 25th birthday (Angela Georghiu and Roberto Alagna, conducted by Sir Georg Solti) – which I did, and consider one of the greatest and most unlikely achievements of my life. So a few clicks later and at 9:03am she’s an opera fan.

    Never say never.

      1. With big shows like this Nabucco with a top notch international cast (this one featuring Anna Netrebko), we used to get lots of people travelling from France, Italy and Germany. The last outing with her in late 2019 (and Jonas Kaufman, also Verdi) not much English was spoken in the stalls. Live streaming over the last 18 months has developed lots more interest with more local and noticeably younger people attending performances since the current season started in September.

        Many concert venues around Europe worried about attendances and cut prices. Not Covent Garden, and it’s packed. My next outing is a new production at the weird time of 11:30 am on Saturday morning, when the French are probably still in bed, and it’s been sold out for months.

        If people are happy to travel internationally for a music show, which we do from time to time, I have no idea why audiophiles consider it such a burden to get on a plane or train to audition an expensive pair of loudspeakers. Are audiophiles too lazy? Do you have to educate them to get off their rear ends and go listen to new kit? Is this the new reality post-Covid? Are home trials pandering too much to this apparent laziness?

  6. When I got back into the Audio scene, I wanted something different this time. I wanted to take my adventure to a new level. As I began, I started searching the web for like minded folks that I could talk too and ask questions. I got rejected and made to feel stupid on so many levels. If I didn’t spend a certain amount, nor have certain equipment, then I was no audiophile and talked down too and dismissed! I became gun shy and decided to continue alone with my brother as we stayed true to our adventure of building our systems. He, my brother a multi-channel man and me the two channel guy. I just happened upon you Paul and your post by accident. I watched, then I watched again and to my total surprise, I got hooked!! You my friend answered so many question as well as explained things to me that I had been doing and not knowing why I was doing them. You gave me a clearer perspective on things audio, and some life and cooking, and politics and gardening, you get where I’m going. As you gave me this wisdom, you also gave me curiosity and the ability to disagree on many topics(audio) and sound in general. All in all this has been one of the best things that could have happen to me in audio. I like responding without fear of rebut, so thank you for providing this platform for all of us and I’ve made quit a few audio friends from this group and we now have chats outside of this platform on music, equipment, repairs and just supporting each other in our audio endeavors. Great job! Happy Anniversary my friend. And by the way the support line fellas are wonderful too. I’m a proud SPROUT owner and hope to grab a stellar phono, P20 plant and some M700 blocks one day.

    And you know my motto, KEEP LISTENING 🙂

    1. Thanks, Hawkeye, it’s stories like yours that keep me going. I despise the talking down and made to feel stupid attitude of some of our fellow manufacturers and audio gurus. They do everyone a disservice. This is a “club” or family (as we prefer) that aims to be inclusive to everyone willing to learn and be a productive member.

      Welcome and thank you for sharing with us.

  7. A belated Happy Anniversary Paul. I figure your your pen would have run out of ink by now. I’m not sure when I began to read your posts but it’s not as long as you’ve been writing them. Nevertheless, 10 years prior to that date I already owned two ‘Jaw Dropping’ P 300 Power Regenerators with the latest multi-wave board updates and a few other doodads like wall outlets that was in your mind’s eye when I did not see products like this elsewhere except for Hospitals..You’ve contributed an intense amount of information to this Audio community and I’ve learned quite a bit from your posts over the years BUT I still can’t understand how you could do this every goddamn day. More power to you. Maybe soon a new and improved ‘Low Output Noise’ Nuclear Fusion powered version of the BHK amplifiers.

    I’ll be waiting for that post.

    The Best Is Yet To Come!

  8. Thank you Paul for the daily posts and also the videos have been reading them for over 3 years now and enjoy them and the comments, most of them are to technical for me to comment on but I read them without fail and learn quite a bit from them, thanks Alan

  9. Paul

    We met in 1990, that alone is crazy!
    At the time, I owned a PS Audio amp- 200cx, and a 4.6 Pre amp. It was first driving Acoustat 2+2 speakers and then Apogee Duetta’s.

    Apogee and Acoustat are long gone

    PS Audio not only survives but goes from strength to strength.

    You have done more to demystify, educate and enlighten me (and countless others) about this hobby that somehow grabbed us all at about the same time. The evolution of the hi end audio experience is astonishing
    (especially the last 10 years) Who knew how much better it could get? did!)

    Congratulations my friend on the last 10 and…the last 31

    1. Thanks, John. What a career you’ve had! From founding and running Twisted, one of the great metal bands in history, to selling HiFi out of Lyric in New York!

      There are so many rich and wonderful people in our community. It’s my honor to call folks family.

  10. Paul, Great story and thank you for the last decade plus of “Paul’s Post”. I am surprised that the bellman turned his nose up at the $5 tip. This was 1977 and $5 was still real money even in Chicago. There was a link to an image that no longer worked in the original CES post that you have since removed. What was the image?

  11. Congratulations! My first CES was…1988!? And I thought I was a latecomer at the time. Man have we had some good times over the years, with more to come.

      1. I regret that I didn’t keep a diary. But yeah…the Riviera, Sahara, the scene outside the bar at the pool at Alexis Park (it’s a wonder no one fell in, or maybe people did and I just missed it), the Flamingo, the Venetian; staying in dumps like the Paddlewheel and the La Concha (even the Magic Fingers beds didn’t work), the introduction of DVD, Record Surplus, the malfunction in the Central Hall that cleared everyone out for hours a few years ago and caused mayhem…taking a trip to the Mirage because when it was built it was like the Eighth Wonder of the World…the porn convention taking place in the same hall as CES…EveAnna Manley printing up T-shirts that listed the outrageous prices charged to exhibitors and passing them out at the show for people to wear…fun times!

        And of course, you and I doing The Three Stooges impersonations in the PS Audio booth while other people looked on in amusement…or thinking we had completely lost our minds.

  12. Paul’s posts are as regular and appreciated as my morning coffee and..

    My CES and first trip to Vegas was in 92, the entire trip was decided one Tuesday night at 1:45AM at the club: “Hey, Richie, itsh the Conshumer Electronicsh Show tomorrow in Vegas…. lets GO!” Home, laundry, (which died mid night – so I packed a bag of wet clothes – including ONE sock) two hours sleep, a drive & ferry ride off the Island to the Vancouver airport (where we decided we’d best phone our girlfriends) and FINALLY hook a flight at 6PM to Palm Springs (closest place we could muster a ticket – which was literally filled in with the mobile booth gal’s eyeliner pen followed with a finger point “Your gate is that way, just show them this – go Go GO!!!) We landed in Palm Springs and THEN asked – so… how far is it to Vegas? A rented Iroc convertible, a paper placemat map for directions… the rest of the four day excursion made movies like The Hangover look like a Hallmark flick. Best trip of a lifetime! We lived (and drank) a fortnight of play & conference in those four days. I still consider publishing the event as a screen play. Some of the stuff that happened were things you truly just can’t make up. Good times.

  13. Hi Paul. Your comment on CES brought back grand memories of Chicago CES in the early 1980s. I went with friends from Melos. To save money we slept on the floor of the exhibit room and spent the money on great restaurants like Le Francais and The Golden Ox, a German restaurant with food quality like a great French restaurant plus Gemuelichkeit.

    I recall one trip. Melos was still working on their first power amp at 5:50 on Friday. But we packed it up and drove through the night so we could set up the room on Saturday. The amplifier became dangerously hot but below the window was an air conditioner that pumped in lots of cold air. We took the bottom off the amp and put it on top of the air conditioner and by some miracle it survived the whole show. We got home after the show and turned on the amp again and it blew up in minutes.

  14. Hi Paul,
    A little late, but its early evening in the uk. I can only completely echo Hawkaudio. To post daily and keep the interest high is exceptional. That you are an expert and talented in audio should be obvious to all here. To continually explain in everyday language, what must be quite simple and obvious to you, the basics of audio and electronics, to us, as a varied audience, shows the patience of a master teacher.
    I don’t think I’m an audiophile, but your daily posts, like so many here, are essential reading. To think that a CEO of an audio company makes the time to regularly share your thoughts with all of us, open his company to see and be seen, invite criticism and to be so accessible shows your calibre and must be rare.
    As I (with your help!) keep on learning, I hope you will keep on posting.
    My congratulations to you-who would have thought you could make audio so damn interesting!

  15. Your posts are addictive, seductive, and thought-provoking, evoking a wide range of rational, delusionary, delirious, sometimes hilarious responses. You are like a psychologist leading a therapy group of misfits, intentionally stirring the pot, not knowing or really caring where the discussion will ultimately go, enjoying the sometimes raucous and psychotic behavior of your audience. Or like a pastor delivering an inspirational short homily each day to enlighten your flock, chide them for their sins, strengthen their faith in the unmeasurable and give them hope in their journey to audio heaven. After you publish and while you sleep, the first responses start flowing in from Australia and the UK, long before the rest of us even wake up and check-in. Comments (often more verbose than the post) continue to trickle in throughout the day, into the evening as the topics and sub-topics get further afield and we finally exhaust ourselves. You draw us in, or I should say, “we are drawn in.” Well done.

      1. I’m also honored Paul. Thanks. It’s a good thing I checked my junk email. That’s where I found your reply notification. That’s a first time anything from PS Audio ended up in my junk mail that I knew about. But it has happened with other email that was never marked junk. 🙁 I blame it on Outlooks algorithms. I marked it not junk but I’m going to have to sift through my junk mail now. I don’t know how long this has been happening but I have noticed fewer notifications from PS Audio in my email. Hopefully marking this not junk will fix the problem.


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