Tag Archives: amplifiers

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.

The stories we tell

I don’t know anyone that doesn’t have a dozen stories explaining everything they believe. From religion to politics to stereo systems, the stories we tell and believe explain the world to us. Until those stories change.

It’s easy to buy into the notion your stories represent truth—an obvious contradiction since opposing stories can’t both be valid.

Remember the stories you once believed as a kid? Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy. They were all true back when, and now you smile and call them cute.

I am not convinced the stories we’re telling ourselves now have a whole lot more validity than the color of Rudolph’s nose but, in fairness, at least our stories are backed up with personal experience.

I am riffing on this today because I have been writing to an awful lot of audiophiles lately. Perhaps more than normal. And the general theme that got my attention was this belief that we should sequester ourselves in like-minded camps: vinyl heads, tube lovers, solid-state aficionados, class D haters. Their logic is interesting. By collecting in groups their cause finds strength.

Strong causes get attention.

I would like to argue just the opposite. By being open and accepting of the wealth of diversity in design we have better products: tube and solid-state hybrid amplifiers and preamplifiers like that of BHK, class D and sweet FETs as in Stellar, electrostatic panel coupled with dynamic woofers as you find in Martin Logans.

Diversity leads to creation and opens new doors.

Clustering in like-minded packs moves us back into the caves.

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.

Answer is stereo!!

The mono world

Our sources are all monophonic. Single point sources of sound without any directional cues whatsoever. A violin, voice, horn, or any acoustic instrument I can imagine is mono, yet our systems require two channels to properly reproduce that monophonic source.

The difference, of course, is positional. Where in the soundscape does that monophonic instrument reside? Our 2-channel ears, like our 2-channel eyes, capture the monophonic source from slightly different angles and distances, adding perspective to the mix.

Because each ear is judging what it assumes is a single mono source, it is essential that reproduced sound between channels be as identical and independent as possible. The left channel reproduced mono needs to be independent of the right channel’s presentation, and both have to be as true to the original as technically possible.

Deviations from sameness, as well as interactions between the two channels, are injurious to a proper spatial illusion—a good argument in favor of mono amplifiers and excellent channel separation.

Attempting to reproduce single-source mono with 2-channels might seem counter-intuitive, but for the moment it’s all we’ve got.