Tag Archives: Audiophile

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.

Cats and stereos

Cats have always loved our products. Not because they’re qualified listeners that appreciate the fine sounds PS Audio products produce, but because of our equipment’s heat.

Cats love nothing more than to curl atop a warm metal box and bask in the glow of a south-facing window.

My first encounter with feline audiophiles came from our 200C power amplifier of the 1980s. This 200 watt per channel stereo amp was the biggest we’d ever made: 200 watts per channel into 8Ω and double that into 4Ω. Solid copper bus bars connected power supplies directly to the output transistors for unimpeded flow. It was a technical tour de force of the state of the art in 1980 and broke with the tradition of external heat sinks by internalizing them instead.

Not many amps had internal heat sinks in those days but we liked the svelt look the simple box offered. To get rid of the heat we copied what worked for tube power amplifiers, a perforated metal top and bottom to promote air flow. While this worked well for cooling the power amp there were unintended consequences from our feline friends. They liked to vomit hairballs into the amplifier’s innards.

This tendency of cats relieving their digestive tracts into warm metallic boxes was unknown to me from my days of cats and tube amplifiers. My guess as to why the 200C was preferred is because the vacuum tube amps were probably a little too hot for tabby to get a decent snooze. Those glass envelope fire bottles are pinpoint hot if you’re right over them. The 200C, on the other hand, had even heat distributed in a democratic fashion across the entire 19″ surface.

Most of us know of the dangers of cat claws and grille cloths, but I’ll bet few among us have spent much time contemplating the joys of taking a 200C amplifier to the local car wash to hose out cat vomit. I can tell you from experience it’s something very special.

Yes, we have an entire subset of furred audiophile admirers still in our camp, but we’ve since moved on to solid metal top covers.

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.

A bigger audio enthusiast than I….Building microphones now…

Microphone preamps

As Gus Skinas and we build out the new recording facility we run into the inevitable issues of electronics, in particular, the microphone preamplifiers. There are so many opinions on which preamp topology betters the next you’d think we were back in audiophile land. Maybe worse.

There’s transformer coupled designs, transformerless, tubes, transistors, high voltage, low voltage, vintage, and modern miracles to choose from. And, of course, it’s us so we will roll our sleeves up and design our own. Heck, it’s what we do.

And, like audio electronics, we’ll use (gasp) our ears! in the designs.

As we do in our stereo products we’ll start with a supposition based on a lot of research. We’ll then poke around at what’s available and see what floats our collective boats when it comes to capturing the essence and soul of music through microphones. And then we will combine all that we’ve learned into crafting a new device that perfectly suits our needs.

No, we’re not going to worry about making commercially viable microphone preamplifiers for the recording industry. We won’t be hamstrung by the needs for differentiating them in the marketplace, the trap of building what we hope others will like and buy.

For our quest to capture music’s heart and soul we need only to focus on the results. Like a magician building the perfect trick to elicit gasps of astonishment our only goal is to build what pleases our ears and bags the beauty of voices and instruments.

I cannot imagine a more exciting project.