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.

Power calculations

One of the most common questions I cannot answer is about matching power amps to Power Plants. It seems such an obvious question and you’d think the answer would be straight forward. But, you’d be incorrect.

The problem with matching power amps to Power Plants happens because we don’t have the complete story. What we’re missing are the speakers and your listening habits. An M1200 monoblock pair is capable of delivering massive amounts of power to speakers, yet in many cases, the pair can be powered with the smallest of our Power Plants, the P3. It all depends on what the amplifiers are being asked to do.

The easiest way to visualize what’s happening is to view the power amp/speaker as a pair. A power-hungry speaker will demand the same amount of wattage from any amp regardless of that amplifier’s rating. And conversely, even power-hungry speakers take less when not being played loudly.

I don’t mean to make this difficult. I bring this up merely to point out that what we might view as a straight forward calculation is, in fact, a bit more involved. If you’re confused, it’s always worth a call to us.

Here’s an easy rule of thumb you can use. If your power amplifier is a standard bias class AB or class D amplifier, and your speaker’s sensitivity hovers close to the 90dB/Watt/meter, then, on average, you’re likely not pushing much more than 100 watts even on peaks. Thus, any of our Power Plants would work just fine for you.

Just remember, amps and speakers should be thought of as pairs.


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.


As audiophiles were under constant criticism from those who haven’t gotten the opportunity to experience what we do. It’s just part of the landscape.

Working recently with a new editor unfamiliar with our community, I was reminded just how out there some of our heated debates must appear to the uninitiated. The editor had spent some internet hours familiarizing himself with our small section of the world and was shocked at the level of emotions expressed over issues he’d never known existed. “People were ready to come to blows over the differences in a cable!” he exclaimed.

Of course, this is all humdrum everyday occurrences to us.

One of the more satisfying aspects of what we do comes in the form of comments and opinions expressed on forums and letters. These comments are more often than not mirrors of our own conclusions—conclusions of how things sound we never publicly express. That to me is fascinating. We send out a product knowing its sonic strengths and weakness as heard on the PS Audio reference system. When those identical strengths and weaknesses are identified by others on completely different audio systems—and without any mention or prompting by us—it’s always a reminder of just how real what we do is.

The next time someone from outside our community lambasts you for hearing that which “cannot make a difference”, just smile with the knowledge their comment isn’t meant to be mean.

It’s just not something they have experienced themselves.