Tag Archives: audiophiles

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.

Navigating through fog

When we attempt to navigate through the unknown we rely on what’s worked in the past. This matters because we often find ourselves in unfamiliar territories, like when we get a new piece of gear.

If you’re installing a new audio, or even a new video, component in your stereo system, your hopes for success are likely high. You’ve pre-imagined how it might sound.

What happens if your expectations aren’t met? Do you switch to autopilot and rely on what’s worked in the past or roll your sleeves up and experiment with the new?

If you’re in the first camp—rejecting what doesn’t immediately work and embracing what does—what would happen if the next time your expectations aren’t met you try a new tack instead: letting the new piece burn in longer than normal, living with it for longer than you’re used to, swapping tried and true cables with something different.

I make pretty quick go-no-go decisions but they often deprive me of learning and growth as I motor through a busy day. In fact, I’d go so far as to suggest that unless someone asks me to slow down and give a second chance to that new piece of music, cable, circuit design, or thought process I am likely to just go on autopilot with my decisions.

It’s far too easy to sift through the myriad of decisions we’re faced with from day to day by skirting the fog of the unfamiliar, the new idea, the tweak everyone’s raving about.

Airline passengers are a lot safer because pilots aren’t adventurous when visibility challenges them.

I am not so certain safe is where we as audiophiles want to be when it comes to the new.

Are we prepared to navigate through a bit of fog to discover the new and exciting?