Tag Archives: amps

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.

Good fences

The poet Robert Frost wrote, “good fences make good neighbors”. If you’d never read his poem, Mending Wall, you might think he liked fences. You would be wrong. The poem is actually about the opposite.

One of the dichotomies of product design is about fences. It’s a problem faced by companies as big as Microsoft and Apple (Apple likes fences, Microsoft not so much), and as small as PS Audio (we’re on the fence about it to make a pun).

Interface fences are needed. Boundaries and standards are set to ensure the proper interface of equipment with the outside world. As in any neighborhood, we all have to agree on some level or sources would not interface with preamps and amps.

One of my readers cried out when I suggested an end-to-end system approach to building our new loudspeakers. “But I like to mix and match equipment. It’s part of the fun of our hobby.” Indeed, our customers run the gamut from tear-the-walls-down tweakers to folks who like their fences.

There’s no way to keep everyone happy. This we know. I think the secret to great products lies in the notion of maintaining outside accessibility of equipment while, at the same time, offering a PS-specific connection scheme. It’s an idea that’s been bubbling in me for some time. Not fully formed yet, but slowly creeping in.

Good fences make good neighbors as long as they aren’t impenetrable walls.

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 little things

We just officially launched the new Power Plants P20, P15, and P12. These are the culmination of seven years of learning and polishing and the hard work of engineers Bob Stadtherr, Daren Myers, and Tyera Eulberg.

After fielding the inevitable barrage of questions two little things come to my attention because they both have huge implications.

First, specs. There’s really only one that changed significantly: the impedance is half that of any Power Plant ever made. That may seem inconsequential, something easy to ignore. Yet, that would be a mistake. What that spec doesn’t explain—because specs never do—is what that took to achieve and what it means. Lowering impedance in an amplifier of this caliber required us to redesign it from scratch. That’s a big deal where I come from, not because of the work involved, but because a new topology is a new amplifier and innovation floats my boat.

Boiling an entirely new design down to a single spec doesn’t tell the story. Imagine what a powerful story that is, like the efforts engineers go through doubling a car’s gas mileage, or halving the travel time in an airplane. The seemingly inconsequential number on the spec sheet does not share the grandeur of the task nor the benefits of its completion. And that’s the problem with specs and why I hate to even present them. Half the impedance is A BIG DEAL.

Second, use cases. While we understand low impedance is significant for demanding amplifiers, what about those easy-going digital products or laid back source equipment? How might they benefit? And the answer is, even more than the brutes we call amplifiers.

When we first discovered the benefits of overkill power transformers in audio equipment it was with wimpy source equipment and preamplifiers where the differences were biggest. And the same is now true with the improvements in these new Power Plants. You’ll notice improvements most with DACs, preamps, and sources than with the big amps, though obviously big amps benefit.

It’s sometimes the little things in life that matter most.