Asheville, Walnut Cove, Biltmore Forrest and Western North Carolina’s Audio and Home Theater specialists present Cane Creek AV and Paul McGowan – PS Audio, Intl.

Paul’s post today talks about losing information in a playback chain of audio components, from a source component, like a turntable or CD player, through the components inside each of these, through wires and then through the loudspeakers.

All true and why things sound different. Different capacitors, wires, resistors and transformers, speaker cabinets, etc. will all alter sound and really, the same could be said about video components, by adding a video display of some sort, whether a TV, or video projector and t least 5 speakers and sometimes more..

Then…..There is the room to consider…..

Now from Paul…


Circling back

We’ve established the obvious truth about sources. Information lost, ignored, or distorted can never be recovered.

But that doesn’t mean the answer to our riddle of which is more important, sources or outputs, has any clearer answer.

For, as I hope will soon be obvious, even if you successfully capture all that is buried in the recorded media, it still can be altered or lost along the way to your ears.

Let us assume for argument’s sake we have managed to capture the lion’s share of information from the source.

Now, we begin the perilous journey through a maze of wires, capacitors, semiconductors, and solder, in our quest to reach the shores of the loudspeaker with most of what we started with. A tough task indeed.

What happens if we pick up unwanted baggage along the way? It’s instructive to remember that harmonics can be added, and sidetones can be generated. Or the opposite, where a few bags of info fall off the transport.

We could spend days stressing over the potholes and pitfalls presented by electronics. Instead, we’ll look at the far bigger highway bandits; speakers and rooms.

Stay tuned.

Asheville, Walnut Cove, Biltmore Forrest and Western North Carolina’s Audio and Home Theater specialists present Cane Creek AV and Paul McGowan – PS Audio, Intl.

Today Paul is talking about the founder of Linn, Ivor Tiefenbrun.

Linn was probably the first company to talk about retrieving all the detail there is to be had from record grooves and Ivor’s famous mantra was a system is only as good as its source component, mostly his turntables. So, if you want to capture all the details hidden in those record grooves, buy a good turntable and phono cartridge.

I maybe don’t know as much about great sound as Ivor, or Paul, but while I agree with this, but I guess I diverge by saying a system is only as good as its weakest link. If you have a great record player and cartridge, but a lousy phono stage, preamplifier, amplifier, loudspeakers or listening room, your system still won’t let you hear those details, no matter how good the record player playback is.

More on this another time, but now from Paul.

Buried treasure

Linn’s founder, Ivor Tiefenbrun, wanted to sell turntables. He did this in the early 1970s by building a great product, certainly. But more than just a product, he threw a bit of wisdom into the high end lexicon that I believe has had more of an impact than anything else I can think of.

The idea he put forth—that information locked away in recorded media, once lost or distorted, can never be recovered—was neither revolutionary nor original, yet it was profound, and for all the right reasons.

During those early days of audio the world viewed stereo kit as appliances, giving no more thought to their performance than that of a vacuum cleaner (and no, I don’t mean they all suck, but it’s a good line). When Tiefenbrun came round the timing was just right. He had, on his lips, the right thing to say at the right time and our world hasn’t been the same since.

The idea he put forth that all turntables were not the same, that some lost information, while others uncovered more, was a revolutionary thought—spoken at just the right moment—striking a chord I refer to as the quest for buried treasure.

When I first started down this lifelong journey of high end audio, it was the prospect of buried treasure that resonated with me more than anything. I believe I am still in search of treasure to this day. Hearing more in the music than I had known was there lights my light, floats my boat, sends chills down my spine, my raison d’être.

I have Tiefenbrun to thank for flicking the light switch in my head, for pointing out the obvious—when the obvious wasn’t clear—and for helping all of us realize that once lost, information cannot be recovered.

Losing or distorting information is akin to misreading the treasure map and digging in the wrong place.

No matter how deep the hole, if you’re information is wrong or distorted, you’ll never find the treasure buried deep within the music.