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.

Terri and I are watching more movies in our home theater these days. And we’re listening to more music on our little home audio system, too.

There’s no better time to upgrade and lavish attention on what brings us joy at home.

When I learned of REL’s new Predator subwoofer for home theaters, I called my buddy John and put my order in. I had been reasonably happy with REL’s little weenie 10″ sub that had lived in my theater since we built it. It was a placeholder when it first went in. I had always intended to upgrade but somehow just never got around to it. Now, working on my stereo and home theater has taken on new importance.

The Predator is a brute: 15″ cone with 3″ travel, powered by an 800-watt amplifier. This beast barely fit in my cramped space, but removing its legs and resorting to a right angle power cord squeezed that baby into the space and worked.

I had never known what extraordinary bass sounded like in my theater. You get so used to something that it becomes normal. It’s why upgrading is so gratifying.

Now, if only I can get Terri to sit through another viewing of Avatar…..

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.

Evaluating audio equipment by ear can sometimes be challenging, while other times it’s as obvious as the nose on your face. It’s a lot easier to evaluate a video system, as our eyes are our dominant trait.

I’m always happiest when I know what an amplifier has to say for itself within the first 30 seconds of listening: yikes! this needs work; wow! this deserves more listening. Clear, clean, simple.

The tough part of evaluation comes when it’s not a clear matter of better or worse, but rather different and deciding which you prefer.

The upcoming M1200 monoblock amplifiers are like the latter. As soon as you put them in the system a smile pops on your face and your toe starts tapping. They are instantly great and you know it from the first few notes of music. Nothing is missing.

But are they better than the BHKs?

The quick answer is no. There’s a musicality and a sweetness to the BHKs that just can’t be touched, but without careful AB comparison, that’s not obvious.

To call one the “winner” and the other the “loser” has vast implications that hide the truth.

If we’re forced to think in terms of winners and losers, perhaps it’s best to imagine a close race rather than a football game.

Coming in second place by mere tenths of a second hardly qualifies one as a loser.