The loss of an old friend

December 3, 2018
 by Paul McGowan

Our new listening rooms are finished and ready to start life which means today is the end of one era and the beginning of another. I am not sure whether to be sad or excited. I suppose it’s a bit of both. The fact that I have been stressing over what musical piece will be the last played in Music Room One is probable evidence it’s the former emotion at stake.

Music Room One has a long and very personal history for me. Well more than a decade ago I staked my claim on a patch of real estate in our warehouse and we built a free-standing room to serve as our reference lab and musical showcase. That room has hosted Avalons, Magnepans, Revels, and finally the IRSV. It’s also hosted and entertained hundreds upon hundreds of visitors and dignitaries.

And now she’s the last bastion standing in an empty building waiting for new occupants. Today is her last day of operation and tomorrow she finds her new home.

Our aspirations are for a better experience yet better is a word that is too encompassing.

The fact of the matter is that it will never be the same—a true double-edged sword.

PS engineer Darren Myers and I posted a video you might want to watch. Go here to see the last of Music Room One and the first of its new home.

I’ll keep you updated on the progress of the move.

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36 comments on “The loss of an old friend”

      1. Listen, there’s an explanation. Denmark is a place described as 8 months of bad weather followed by winter. That’s enough to give anyone a sour disposition. In my case I have to work at it 🙂

        1. Sorry – we’re just some who do not believe the marketing PS audio run with around Infinity is okay. Especially after PS has not managed to get the website up and running. We are a part PS owns all the mistakes our equipment has and when we see that the server problem for the power machines is not resolved now, we are becoming more and more angry. Sorry we have just got a different opinion and attitude.
          And, of course, I apologize for my very bad English apology

          1. In fact, it is so far out that we have been threatened also with familie because we have written about this. So we sell our equipment from PS audio.

  1. Not having used any room correction for taming some inherent room mode effects I wonder which criteria Arnie used for optimizing the positions of the four towers. And was the air conditioning system deactivated? How much is the noise floor increased in the new music room when the air conditioner is working. Best wishes for an accident-free move of the towers to the new building.

  2. Are those things getting bigger or is Paul getting smaller? Has Paul’s analyst seen them? I still don’t understand demonstrating audio equipment with speakers that are not commercially available, or is it just that Mrs McGowan won’t have them in her living room? Sensible woman.
    I must admit I’ve never been sentimental about moving house, but moving warehouse? It’s just bricks and mortar (or steel and ply).
    So far as positioning speakers, mine are currently on wheels, as they are quite big, but a small fraction of the acreage of those ones. It used to be quite popular. How about a revival?

    1. I guess that there is much nostalgia and many personal emotions involved with these giant towers. I fully can understand this attitude. And finally the design of the IRS is the best approach for getting the core goal: a pseudo-line source – similar as Bob Carver tried with his smart ALS speakers designed to be driven by tube amps. To me such speakers are most frightening and always dominate the living room. No chance of near field listening. I once had a pair of speakers 2.2 m tall weighting some 250 kg each in my listening room. Thus I have a personal experience too. Good stereo recordings require listening with eyes closed avoiding any visual irritation and getting the phantom images and a sound image detached from the speakers’ drivers. Thus I would have no problems with strange room treatment in a dedicated listening room. But in a living room the speakers have to disappear not only virtually according to most consumers of music. I guess a compromise could be opting for in-wall-speakers for a living room.

      1. I think the tallest things you see over here are Focal Grand Utopia. People have been stacking Quad ESL’s for 50 years, sometimes three high, and it was part of the original concept. Would be over 3m high and weigh about 60kg, so quite practical. More a wall of sound than a line source. Various PMC MB2 and BB% speakers are effectively stacked.

        Actually listening with your eyes closed is just as relevant with live music as it is with sound coming from two boxes trying not to sound like two boxes. I’ve been to a live acoustic jazz concert in a blacked-out room with blindfolds. A remarkable experience.

        1. Indeed listening with blindfolds must have been a totally new experience compared with the normal and most familiar audio-visual experience. But isn’t this initially frightening too, especially in a crowded room?

    2. Steven – having a bit of a hard time sorting out if that’s all supposed to be funny. (3:06 am post)

      Perhaps like Michael and his Google issues, something is being lost in translation from the British… ; )

      1. More cynical than humorous, I suspect. I’ve always been a ‘less is more’ type of person, so speakers that would turn my house into an arboretum cause me to raise an eyebrow, possibly both. It’s the way Paul is sometimes seem caressing them that gives me cause for concern. He seems to have far too much emotional attachment to inert objects and partition walling for his own good. It’s not like it’s the Sistine Chapel, and even that is over-rated.

        1. Lotta History in those walls that goes along with the nature of his business vs. ours. Many amazing discoveries, evolution of systems, great times with amazing guests both great and small.

          And taken simply from the perspective that he is an audio and music geek, it’s his Best Stereo, built by a dear friend. I felt a bit of a wrench recently moving out of my house of the past 24 years, not only for the Family aspect, but it was my stereo, studio, home theater, etc. Lotsa good times. I know a couple of my neighbors were heartbroken ; ) (seriously – they told me so). One half-jokingly insisted on vetting whomever buys my house.

          But – N.B. – the enthusiasm for what is to come… : )

        2. “It’s the way Paul is sometimes seem caressing them that gives me cause for concern. He seems to have far too much emotional attachment to inert objects”
          In defence of Paul, I believe its less about an inanimate object and more about the connection to his late buddy and designer Arnie Nudell.
          There must be so much personal history attached to both the IRS V and AN1.

        3. Steven, I see nothing strange in relating to inanimate objects. It could be a car (automobile) which has given your family years of stalwart service, or a figurine you inherited from your grandmother. Even without that sort of indirect human association I know I felt quite sad when we moved and I had to junk my trusty old oscilloscope. That scope and I had a lot of history together. If any psychiatrist were to tell me that this was weird I would look for a better psychiatrist. Souvenirs are supposed to be good for you emotionally.

          1. What was that print ad from ages ago – was it Chivas or Crown Royal…a broken bottle on the floor with the caption, “Have you ever seen a grown man cry?”

            Imagine, Steven, your favorite, trusty Leica (or imagine whichever is your fave/irreplaceable) camera, smashed on the ground. No feeling about that?

            If my ‘63 Gibson J50 was smashed (my first guitar), you’d definitely see some tears.

  3. Hi Paul,

    I watched the video announcing the end of LR1 this evening. I know you mentioned that it features the last pair of IRS-V’s that your friend Arnie, set up personally.
    I hope the new LR1 will one day feature the new line of PS Audio speakers that Arnie was integral in designing with you. Let the circle be unbroken : )
    I certainly don’t mean to sound pretentious, but if you really struggle to try and pick that last song, it sounds to me like
    Waiting On A Friend might be a fittingly appropriate choice…….
    Take care,

  4. Back in September, I stopped by, and Paul was good enough to take me around on a tour of the new construction. Here he is in MR2. The hoses coming down from the roof are for that uber-quiet AC unit on the right wall (and you can see there’s one on the left wall of the new MR1 next door. Hard to see from this angle except straight ahead, but it’s double wall construction. Looking forward to seeing and hearing them!

    1. So I clicked on your link and what I found most interesting was the EXIF information along the side of the frame. Lots of details there. Of course then I went to look and see how I could view this information on my phone without exporting it to Lightroom or some other software and of course you cannot without great hassle. Geesh, why do they make it so hard.

      We must move you beyond the iPhone 6, ha ha. Maybe you have upgraded since September. I have an 8 and have been quite pleased with it. I was not unhappy with my previous 6 but when Apple upgraded the operating system to version 11 it brought my phone to a screaming halt. Of course Apple later admitted it was due to battery-saving slowdowns but I had upgraded before they undid their “fix” that slowed my device. I will say in the new one that camera quality is much better and while I don’t use it for my normal real estate work it works great to document things and help me jar my memory about stuff. It also will play flac files!

      1. That likely was info from LR, from which it was exported. I’ve had other priorities, and the 6 is still working pretty well. Though after just getting the new iPad Pro, and seeing the dual-lens stuff and the quality of even the selfie camera, I’m tempted to upgrade the phone.

        1. We used to have an iPhone 7 Plus and it had the portrait mode lens, and you are right it’s a great image. I understand only the Plus models had the fancy lens, but the new 10 has the better lens in the whole line.

          I forwarded some photos I took today on my regular 8 to my computer and opened it in Photo Viewer and all the EXIF info was there, it must just be that the iPhone’s photo app won’t display that without third party help!

          We have two different sized iPad Pro’s in the house and they really scream performance-wise over prior models!

          1. yes – there are a bunch of apps that will show that, as well as do a bunch of other “pro” sorts of things. I have a couple, but never use them ; ). It’s a Phone.

            I have the 1st Gen iPP, and this new one’s a screamer, not to mention smaller and with better keyboard and pencil.

  5. ” The fact that I have been stressing over what musical piece will be the last played in Music Room One is probable evidence it’s the former emotion at stake.”

    That is an easy one. Take the old out with Led Zeppelin I, II, lII, and IV. And Christen the new room with the same.

    Whenever I make a change, I go back to the classics like Zeppelin, for two reasons.
    My first real album, which I wore out the grooves was Led Zeppelin II, with headphones. My young brain was imprinted with the thought–“Yeah, This is what a Stereo should sound like”.

    Therefore it is always been the standard reference by which every component, speaker, or set of HPs has been judged since.

    Pink Floyd is a close second on my playlist when judging my changes.

  6. Saw the video. Very nice. My impression is that the sound will be more spacious and open. Greater reverberation time. As for the sadness on saying goodbye to the old room with so many memories, that is part of life. Soon the sadness will be replaced by fond memories and will become conversation topics as to how you did this and did that how this sounded there and how it sound here etc. It’s inevitable when one moves to something new. Enjoy the the fun of embarking on something new. Wish you the best. Regards.

  7. Yes, breaking up is hard to do and moving from the old loved to the new is almost always wrenching to some degree. What I’m not clear about from the video is the relevance of the measurements in the old room to the set up in the new one, except as a starting point that’s at least as good as any.

  8. Hi Paul,
    I think what’s killing you, is breaking down the last system Arnie set-up. I know it would be killing me as well. But it appears you did all the homework you could do in your measurements and such. As always, the trick is in the relationship of the woofer towers to the main panels. I’d try to keep the ratios the same as they were in Room 1 to start and work from there. Good luck. It should be fun.

  9. Paul,

    After watching you latest video documenting the measuring and positioning of speakers, I have come up with a new concept for the PS Audio product line: ASP, for Autonomus Speaker Platforms.

    Placed under each speaker the battery powered ASPs would lift and transport speakers to either preprogrammed positions, or by direct command by the user. Once in their desired position they would be lowered firmly in place. A variable tilt option could even be added to get the tweeeters to that exact right level.

    Now a listener can at a touch on an any smart device vary speaker placement based on seating position or music type. There can even be a “Spouse” setting that tucks the speakers into the back corners of the room when not in use. For the deluxe model you can even have a built in automatic cable reel.

    The technology is out there now to build ASPs. No doubt there are also audiophile customers willing to pay. If only for the fun of watching their speakers dancing.

  10. I do not have any experience using the IRS V but I thought they might sound even better in a larger room than in the past. I am looking forward to some recording after the set up in new Music Room 2.

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