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 to upgrade

When is it time to upgrade? Add another component like a Power Plant, a new cable, a better DAC?

I get asked this question a lot. Just recently the question put to me was a tough one to answer. If the system is limited by the setup possibilities: loudspeakers shoved up against the wall, a lower end integrated driving them, and not much room for change, is it worth upgrading components?

Of course we understand an upgraded component will typically outperform its replacement but by how much? Is it worth adding a high-end power cable to an off-the-shelf integrated amp when it’s already difficult to hear small changes in music resolution?

These are the tough questions one must ask before dropping coin. My general advice on this question starts with asking what the person hopes to achieve. It’s a great question we should all be asking ourselves. If we’re hoping to make the speakers disappear, bring the sound of live musicians into the room, then simply upgrading components isn’t going to get us where we want to go—not if we’re unable to accommodate the space necessary for the speakers and proper setup.

If the basics are there then it makes sense to begin the upgrade process. But without the ability or willingness to dedicate a decent amount of living room space or take the time to set up properly, it’s probably not worth your time to start down the upgrade path.

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.

Relative better

Last night our Octave Records recording crew went live at a beautiful church venue here in Boulder. There we set up the Sonoma 8-track recorder, a Decca Tree microphone arrangement with DPA microphones, and recorded a spectacular string quartet.

What a great experience and I can’t wait to share with you the recording in a future Octave Records release. This particular recording will be on the upcoming Audiophile Guide setup SACD.

What caught my attention for the subject of today’s post was the little introductory speech I gave to the ladies before they began to play. Our producer, Giselle Collazo, asked me to brief them on what we were hoping to achieve with this recording. Soon I found myself explaining who audiophiles were and what makes us different than someone with a Sonos speaker or a Bose radio. Their blank stares were really telling.

Our world of high-end audio is so far removed from what people consider good home music reproduction as to be mind-boggling. I wish I could have invited these musicians over to PS Audio after the session and play for them their recording in Music Room Two. They would have been quickly brought up to speed of what’s possible in our world. But, alas, the pandemic…

Better is always a relative measure. Sometimes it is so far removed from what most consider normal as to be remarkable.