Tag Archives: Arnie Nudell

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.


To some, winning is everything. It was that way with my mentor, and former business partner, Arnie Nudell.

Arnie hated losing. Which is likely why he had so many wins, like building the biggest loudspeaker company in the world, Infinity.

One of my fondest memories centers around a ping-pong table. Arnie and I both loved ping-pong but for me, it was often more frustration than pleasure—at least when Arnie played. There’s no doubt he was better at the game than me, but once in a great while I got lucky. And that’s when The Arnold went into kamikaze mode. Once beaten his need to win amped him up to the point of bouncing off walls and diving for the impossible shot, ramping up his merciless spin on the serve. It seemed his hair was on fire until he won again at which time we could stop playing.

A year or two after launching Genesis Technologies, the loudspeaker company Arnie and I started in 1990, we had put together the biggest deal in the company’s brief history. In exchange for the exclusive right to distribute Genesis throughout Asia a potential new distributor by the name of Mr. Pu had negotiated a deal with us for nearly half a million dollars. In cash. This was at a point in our young company’s history where we desperately needed the money that Pu dangled in front of us. We’d want to make sure nothing went wrong.

Mr. Pu arrived in Denver with two cashiers checks for the aforementioned sum and we arranged for his airport pickup and travel to Vail, Colorado for dinner. A pleasant meal later we headed to The Arnold’s house to conclude the deal with a handshake and acceptance of those checks. Checks we needed badly. As Arnie toured Mr. Pu around his home Pu spied the basement ping-pong table.

“You play?” Pu asked Arnie, his eyes lighting up with anticipation.

Down to the basement we went and the games began. Arnie was in fine form as was Pu and they were evenly matched. Pu’s serve outdid The Arnold’s but Arnie played the table close, jamming shots back at Pu seemingly before they bounded off the table. After five rounds Pu was up one game but out of breath and sweating profusely. Vail’s 8,500 foot altitude was tough on lowlanders. A truce was called as ice tea was poured and I pulled Arnie aside.

“What the hell are you doing?” I whispered. “Let the guy win. It’s part of their culture. Let’s be good hosts.”

“I can’t,” said Arnie with his all-to-familiar kamikaze-intense eyes ready for battle. “I just can’t.”

The games began again and I could see Pu wearing down from Arnie’s relentless assault—and once Arnie saw his victim start to fade his intensity ramped even higher. Paddle whack after paddle whack Arnie pounced, leaped, and jumped in the air never to miss a shot. Poor Mr. Pu finally exhausted into a limp heap in the chair, sweat soaking his shirt, and put his hands up in surrender.

“I give,” he said with head bowed. “You win.”

After dinner that night I drove Pu back to his hotel and he turned to me. “I somehow offended Arnie?”

I felt so bad. I made excuses. Over time Mr. Pu was OK and he and Arnie became fast friends, but that night I wasn’t so sure.

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.

PS Audio has been working on a new speaker system that Arnie Nudell was helping Paul design.  Unfortunately, Arnie recently passed away, so Paul is now on his own, although he has an excellent team to support his efforts, so the future of the project seems bright. Here is what he is thinking.

Live music

Before Infinity Speaker founder Arnie Nudell’s unfortunate passing, he and I were working on a new concept in loudspeakers, one based on the idea that it just might be possible to get closer to live orchestral sound levels than we have in the past.

A full orchestra can hit peak levels as high as 120dB. That exceeds the point of hearing damage, which of course was never our intent. And it is not hearing damage we get when in row one of an orchestra because peaks of this magnitude are both brief and rare. Arnie and I had become convinced this was the one quality still missing in speakers.

A few horn-type speakers can manage these extremes but none I know of without colorations (maybe the giant Magicos with their multiple horns? and extremely high price). Might it be possible to achieve these peak extremes without distortion, coloration, mega-amplifiers and bankruptcy court?

That is our challenge. Before his passing, he had made some good progress in a prototype he referred to as the IRS Killer. And it was. What we lacked to complete the design was a midrange driver of a very special kind. And that is now being worked on. It may yet be possible to complete the dream.

If you want to see what Arnie’s last prototype speaker system looks like, you can watch this video here. The midrange driver in this amazing reference design is a Bohlender Graebener creation no longer available, but that’s ok because it was the prototype’s’ one shortcoming.