Tag Archives: amplifier

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.

Building beasts

Building speakers is way different than electronics. For one thing, loudspeakers can be handcrafted and designed from scratch, where electronics require cobbling together off-the-shelf parts. No one in our industry is likely to invent new semiconductor physics and apply it to hand made transistors.

The opportunity to design and fabricate every single bit of a product and technology is really stimulating. When senior engineer Chris Brunhaver joined the PS Engineering Team his first task was to wipe the AN3 slate clean and start over. Why? Well, the simple answer is because we’re obsessed engineering nerds and he could. But I owe you a more detailed answer.

Take for example the 12″ servo woofer used in the AN3. In the prototypes we demonstrated at Axpona the maximum linear excursion of that woofer was less than what the 700 watt amplifier driving it could output. This required us to place carefully crafted dynamic limiters on the amp and its servo system so we wouldn’t exceed the woofer’s limits. Sure, it output prodigious bass, but we knew the system was capable of so much more. Scouring the multitude of catalogs from the world’s biggest driver manufacturers didn’t help. Finding that perfect combination of suspension, excursion, BL, voice coil capabilities, and so on proved fruitless.

There was no perfect woofer for our specific application, and why should there be? Driver manufacturers don’t build woofers with us in mind. They make the best general purpose drivers they know how to.

Then, Chris joined our engineering team. The first thing he did was put pen to paper and sketched out a massive new woofer that would not only handle every last watt the power amplifier could dish out but do so within a linear range. The resulting beast is breathtaking. Have a look at the frames being assembled as I write this.

Holy crap this thing is a monster! But, it’s our monster designed specifically for its intended purpose. Every bit of it—from the spider, suspension, cone material and dust cap to the way the lead wires are hand-sewn into the spider’s fabric so they don’t rattle—this beast is perfect for our application. Nothing else in the off-the-shelf-world can compete.

More to follow, but I wanted to share my excitement with you.

We’ll be demonstrating the next round of AN3 prototypes at the upcoming RMAF at the beginning of September.

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.

Generalizations

We make sense of a complicated world by neatly organizing products, ideas, and concepts into tidy little boxes. Unfortunately, there are consequences to generalizing because we ignore edge cases.

It is out in the fringes where the exceptional audio and video products and services live.

Take for example class D power amplifiers. Most of us have mentally cataloged them in the “powerful yet not quite up to the gold standard of Class AB amplifier” status. We believe them to be lacking in sweetness of top end and rarely do we ascribe openness and transparency to this class of amplifier. While this generalization might apply to many class D amplifiers it surely does an injustice to designs like our own M700 monoblocks, or some of Bruno Putzey’s latest work.

You can see the problem. There are hundreds of “better thought of” class AB and A amplifiers, and yet the majority pale when compared to exceptional designs from other disciplines. And let’s be honest. Within any category, there are only a few exceptions when it comes to performance. Hint: it’s why they’re called exceptions.

If you’re interested in exceptional performance you need to choose exceptional products. Our tendency to generalize pulls us away from the fringes and plops us smack dab in the middle where the dull live.

My advice is simple. Look to the people who design the products rather than where the common wisdom leads you.