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.

Velvet blackness

We’ve likely all experienced the sensation of a blacker audio background. Perhaps it’s a new audio or video cable or a software update that did the trick. Or maybe a power conditioner or regenerator that removed a layer of noise. Whatever the cause, when there’s a deeper blackness we hear it.

Or do we?

In a digital audio system, typical background noise levels are very low—well below the threshold of audibility. When we place our ear close to the tweeter we hear some amount of hiss from the analog chain of amps and preamp (or DAC). In a quiet system that small amount of tweeter noise isn’t typically audible at our listening position. So, even if we made a change to the system that lowered the tiny amount of noise broadcasting out our tweeter, it’s unlikely we’d be able to hear less of it.

So, what gives?

My guess is that when we hear a deeper blackness it’s because the noise we’re lowering is part of the softest passages of music. In other words, it’s embedded or riding on the music. We are hearing the lack of that noise piggybacked on the music.

My logic is simple. When the music’s not playing there’s zero difference I can hear in noise levels. It’s only when the music plays that I notice these deeper velvet moments. Thus, it must have something to do with unwanted energy riding atop the music in the same way we sometimes hear glare and tizz.

It’s little more than an observation, but I’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

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.

Tube time

As I look out my office window I see tufts of melted snow, bare trees, a busy highway of squirrel traffic gathering whatever it is they store for the winter, and our cute, red, neighborhood fox keeping those same squirrels from overrunning the place.

It is fall and soon to be winter.

That’s the perfect time for me to run through Music Room Two and Three and change out all the tubes in the BHK amps and preamps. I use the cold of fall as a reminder to swap out the year-old vacuum tubes for new fresh ones.

Over time, vacuum tubes tend to lose some of their life, vim, and vigor. It’s a slow loss, one you don’t notice until a year has passed.

The fun of upgrading the tubes comes with the first listen. Wow! Time to go through all that new music you accumulated over the summer and relisten with the new fire bottles in place.

If you have tubes in your equipment, it might be worth thinking about changing them out for a fresh pair.

Fall is Tube Time!