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.

Matching specs

Imagine for a moment two analog gain blocks, each with identical input and output impedance as well as gain.

To make our little thought experiment more interesting, let’s also imagine their THD and IM measurements are identical as well.

Now, here’s where it gets juicy. Let’s imagine circuit A is a traditional high open loop bandwidth amplifier with lots of negative feedback applied to establish its gain. Circuit B is the opposite. Here we have a circuit with very low open loop gain with very little negative feedback.

Would the two sound different if we played music through them and listened on a highly resolving stereo system?

Having made this comparison more than a few times I can tell you my own findings are pretty clear. Indeed they do sound quite different, especially when the type of music we’re using has lots of rich harmonics and overtones played in a non-cluttered setting where those overtones can easily be heard.

It’s in fact not even a contest. Instantly noticeable and consistently the same even in blind testing.

But, why? What measurements might we apply to see those differences?

A differential null test?

Why haven’t we, as an industry, together created a measurement system that clearly demonstrates those differences on a measurable basis?

And even if we did, would anyone care?

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.

Correctness

One of the reasons why we published the Audiophile’s Guide discs and book is simple. Getting the system to adhere to an easy to attain standard.

Standards are important for getting a stereo system to play nice with all types of music. If you can dial in a simple recording of voice and piano, for example, then chances are excellent a full orchestra will sound right too.

But it doesn’t always work in reverse.

In other words, if you try and use a large and complex piece of music as a standard for which you base your system on, it may not work with the simple.

I am certain better minds than mine have the reasons for this figured out, but in my experience, getting a simple trio or small non-complex group to play perfectly on your system almost always insures the large and complex with be near-perfect too.

Get the simple reference track dialed in and everything else will follow.

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.

How to PO your spouse in one easy lesson

How’s that headline for clickbait? Not too bad, eh? 🙂

But, I am serious.

A week or so ago I visited engineer Darren Myer’s house. Darren’s home is an audiophile’s temple. In one room is a beautiful pair of Wilsons and in the main living room a gorgeous white pair of PS Audio FR30s.

Both rooms are sonic stunners.

So, I am sitting in the Wilson room and Darren puts on a classic Reference Recording of Felix Hell at the pipe organ. Suddenly, as Hell’s feet dance upon the instrument’s pedals I find myself in the hall where it was recorded and there’s so much perfect sounding bass from those massive pipes that I am stunned.

“Wilson’s don’t have that kind of bass,” say I.

“I know, right?” He grins.

“What the hell?”

Darren tells me to turn around. Behind the couch I am sitting on, not more than a foot from my head, are pointed at me two of the biggest badass subwoofers I have ever seen. 18″ Eminence low distortion, high excursion, beauties and each with its own Stellar M1200 monoblock power amplifier feeding them.

Nearfield subwoofers. Subs not impacted by the room because they are not “in the room” but rather you are in the subwoofer.

I am certain this sounds insane. It is insane but it works. Properly set up you don’t even know there’s a subwoofer present. I didn’t.

Those Wilsons just had bass.

The damned subwoofers were inches from my head and I didn’t even know they were there.

Now, that’s magic and much for this poor head of mine to digest.

We shall be exploring this subject a great deal more.