The value of shows
The upcoming Rocky Mountain Audio Fest opens on September 6th, just weeks away. We’ll be there showing off Stellar Phono and the production version of the new AN3 loudspeaker.
Consumer audio shows offer the curious, the prospective buyer, the aficionado, and the newbie a chance to see all the new gear, hobnob with designers and manufacturers, touch, listen and get a sense of what each company is offering.
Audio shows are fun. We focus on the two main shows, Axpona and RMAF, but that’s not to suggest there aren’t plenty of other smaller, regional shows to go to as well. I wish we had the bandwidth to do them all.
It takes a lot of money, time, and energy for PS to participate at a show, though that wasn’t always the case. When we were much smaller we could get by with one of those small bedroom displays. We’d borrow a pair of speakers and bring our entire audio system on a single bellman’s trolley. Today, it’s multiple pallets and a setup crew.
The value of shows for attendees seems obvious. Room after room of sound systems, new gear, interesting people. For us, the benefits are interacting and meeting with our extended Hi-Fi Family—a reunion.
I do hope you’ll have a chance to come visit us in Denver on the 6th.
The balancing act
There’s been an ongoing debate between balanced and unbalanced cables in HiFi as long as I have been involved. And, that’s a long time.
I remember spirited debates with Audio Research founder Bill Johnson about it. AR equipment was a long hold out in adding balanced to their products but over time they gave in, and I believe it to be a good thing.
Balanced interconnects sound better than single-ended do. I know, that’s perhaps too strong of an opinion, but I have yet to have any prove me wrong.
There’s little dispute of the technical advantages when balanced is done right: noise and distortion rejection, 6dB more signal, separation of signal conductors from shield duties.
What many folks perhaps don’t think about when mentally dissecting a single-ended cable is that there are only two conductors inside, and one of them is the outer shield. This asymmetry of design, where the hot lead is a solid core, stranded, or other construction, and the return lead is made of aluminum foil or braided/tinned copper, is not ideal. Rather, you’d want both conductors in a properly designed audio cable to be identical while the outer shield is separate and distinct from the conductors. That construction is only available in a balanced cable.
My question is a simple one. Why do we manufacturers bother keeping the single-ended RCA connectors on our equipment at all?
The answer in PS Audio’s case is likely the same as others. Compatability.
But it’s a shame.