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.

Devils and details

Part of the challenge in audio engineering is to know when to use certain processes or devices and when to use others. For example, a tube in the input stage works well, but not so much in the output. Or, a capacitor used as a DC blocker might sound better than the complexity of a servo, or, vice versa.

Analog integrated circuits, like op amps, can typically be bettered by their discrete counterparts in some cases, but not all. For example, if component matching is a critical aspect to your design then there’s likely no better process than integrating everything on a single piece of silicone. Each component tracks the temperature variations of the other for near-perfect matching.

Yet, in the same way separates can outperform integrated amplifiers, there are disadvantages to IC solutions too. The limitations of single silicone, including low power requirements and a lack of isolation between components, can hinder performance levels in highly resolving systems like the kind you and I might want at home.

It’s always a good idea to keep sweeping proclamations of better and worse at a minimum.

Like just about everything else in life, it’s the details that flush out the devil.

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.

Judging bass

When you look at the self-amplified subwoofer system of the mighty IRSV you might think it’s not a great speaker to judge bass performance of the main power amp.

You would be wrong. Few systems I have owned have been so revealing of bass performance than the IRSV.

Bass performance begins well before the lowest notes of the system. The slam, impact, and transient quickness we hear are the result of the system’s performance starting at about 150Hz. There, if the phase angle varies, or the signal hesitates, our perceptual hearing tells us there’s something wrong in the lowest bass regions. Which is why we can tell differences in power amplifiers on full range systems augmented with powered subwoofers.

If you doubt that fact, listen to the subwoofers without the main speakers. All you’ll hear are dull and sloppy thuds.

It is the amplifier driving the main speakers that provide the snap of a stand-up bass, or the kick of a drum. And the lowest notes? Those too. If the amp doesn’t produce unfettered subterranean bass you’ll hear that weakness in the same way.

You don’t need to watch the race to predict the winner between a tortoise and hare.

It’s obvious by the time they get to the starting line.