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.

When we visited PS Audio a few years ago, they had their Infinity IRS’s set up in a very small room. It somehow managed to image pretty well on a couple of tracks in terms of width, but not depth and otherwise didn’t sound like they probably could. I really don’t know how the IRS’s could sound, as I never hear a pair properly set up, in the right room, but this room was definitely too small for them.

I’ve owned three single family homes and each has had a dedicated music room, The first one was 12’x16′ and I used small Proac Response 2 speakers and a pair of HSU cylindrical subwoofers there. The next room was larger and I used an assortment of larger speakers and two subwoofers in that room and the current one is the largest yet, at 18’x23.5′.  Yep, beside either my own home built speakers, or my aperiodically loaded Daedalus Ulysses speakers, I use two Daedalus BOW subs there, each cabinet having two 12″ drivers, also in an aperiodically loaded cabinet, powered by a big Bryston amplifier.

Let’s get real

How many among us have true dedicated listening rooms? I’ll bet fewer than 1% of a fairly big audience. No, I think most people have their home audio systems in their shared living space. Part of the home decor, to be enjoyed by all who live in the house.

In all the many decades I’ve been building audio systems I’ve had only one dedicated listening room in my home, and frankly speaking, I would have been better off with that setup in the living room or going for a smaller system. The large bedroom I commandeered for myself wasn’t really big enough to handle the 4-piece Infinity RS1 that came into my possession after Absolute Sound Magazine’s HP first hooked me up with Arnie Nudell of Infinity. Arnie demanded I “get real” and lose the Magneplanars I had at the time for some “real” speakers. Wanting to play with the big dogs, I jumped at the chance for a pair of RS1s even though I hadn’t anywhere to put them.

The ones pictured here are just a pair I grabbed off the internet, but mine were very much the same.

Too big for a bedroom, I would have been so much happier had Terri let me take over the family’s living room. That was not to be as our fourth child was ready to enter the world and the house was barely big enough for all of us—so my first dedicated room was somewhat of a letdown for a system of this size.

The point of this post is not to whine but to suggest we’re often best served by outfitting our homes with systems that integrate well into the family living space.

Unless you’re lucky enough to have a proper dedicated listening room, you’re better off adjusting the main system to the home’s living space and enjoying music with the family.

Once I learned that lesson, life and my home music got a lot better.


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.

I get this and mostly agree.

Looks can be deceiving

The popularized term for not wanting to face hard facts is to bury your head in the sand as an ostrich does. Only, the myth that these big birds bury their heads in the sand is not true (they’d suffocate). The birds bury their eggs in small pockets in the warm protective earth, then stick their heads in the entrance hole to turn them.

Looks can be deceiving.

When it comes time to build (or build upon) our audio or video systems, it’s important we enter into the project with eyes wide open. We don’t want to move too far in any one direction because we believe in some sort of myth that in the worst case may not be true, and in any case may be misunderstood. For instance, it is misguided believing that a major investment in network cabling, high-performance routers, isolators, regenerators, and potions to clean and isolate streaming data is anywhere near as important as simply purchasing the right DAC. But, flipped around, where we start with a great DAC before adding the spit and polish of cabling and tweaking, makes a whole bunch of sense.

It often feels safe to immerse one’s self in the accepted lore of those who sometimes talk over our heads or are so deep into a subject that we assume they’ve already tried everything, but, looks can be deceiving.

My advice is to get the basics right first. Once you’re on solid ground with the essentials, it’s a good time to venture into the exotic.