Tag Archives: audio system

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.

Reality checks

When we attend a live music concert we don’t require a reality check. We know with our eyes and ears it’s real. We see the musicians performing on the stage. The sound is what the sound is. We don’t have to compare mental notes of our reference library to know how real the sound is.

Evaluating a high-end audio system or new piece of gear within that system requires a reality check. Does the sound come close to what we would hear at a live concert? Does the blat of that horn sound real? How fresh the rosin of the violin bow?

We’re much more demanding of our systems to sound live than we might be of a live concert.

Part of the problem comes from the inadequacies of our two-channel systems themselves. Compared to an actual live event, our home audio systems are far removed from duplicating live. What they’re good at is replicating the source material fed them. Sadly, the majority of recordings fail to capture the essence of live.

I am guessing this is why we have a favorite list of go-to recordings for our reality checks. We know what to expect.

I don’t see any way around cumbersome reality checks when it comes to evaluating gear. They are just part of the high-end landscape.

What’s thrilling are those rare moments where you don’t have to go through the ritual. You instantly know it’s right. No time is needed.

When a piece of gear or an entire system gets it right, there’s magic. No reality check needed.

Just for a moment, it’s as if you were there.


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 gone to a direct sales model, so no more dealers, including me, although I sold nothing for them as they have been competing with their dealers for years. So, as in this blog, you will see some PS Audio “advertising”, which is understandable, considering that Paul writes every day and I will try to continue supporting him by re-posting this daily blog.

Still, Paul is an excellent writer and has something new to say every day, so with his permission, I’ve been posting his blogs for some time now and will continue to do so.

The search for panaceas

Silver bullets kill werewolves. Penicillin cures all infections. Cod liver oil eases aches and pains. Aftermarket audio fuses always improve the sound.

We’re continuously in search of magic potions, silver bullets, clear remedies to improve our high end audio systems. One magic cure for all is the shortest path to audio nirvana. Who wouldn’t want that?

Unfortunately, the truth of the matter is rather different (and boring).

There are no panaceas. Not in medicine nor in high-end audio.

Building a wonderful HiFi system that enriches our lives with music takes some time and often a bit of patience.

Like anything good, to reach a certain level of perfection one must work at the details until they are just right.

This isn’t intended to cause us to shy away from building an audio system, but rather to remind us that when we hear of this or that changing everything for the better and ending our quest for perfection, we should be a bit careful.

Miracles are the result of getting the right building blocks together.

If you need help, feel free to call us.