Tag Archives: bass

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.

Lightning fast

At the risk of beating this poor horse to death, I thought I’d cover one more servo woofer item.


We don’t normally associate woofers with speed. Slow and ponderous, woofers struggle to get out of their own way. But it’s not their fault. They have a heavy load to move around, the mass of their cones.

When a bass transient occurs, the speed of the woofer can make all the difference in the world.

Imagine a big bass drum and a musician’s furious whack of the mallet. That whack occurs quickly and the transient response might resemble the instantaneous abruptness of a square wave. The quickest bits of the mallet’s whack are reproduced by the midrange or midbass driver and the rest by the woofer. If the speed of one does not match the other a discontinuity occurs and we say the drum doesn’t have the snap it should.

It’s easy to see why. Woofers generally cannot reproduce square waves on their own. The quick start and stop of transients aren’t reflected in the woofer because of its great mass fighting the forces of inertia.

Enter the servo woofer with its accelerometer-based motional feedback system that compares the woofer’s movement (or lack of it) to the demands of the input signal. The mallet’s whack demands a near instant start and stop yet the driver cannot respond because it takes time to get moving. In even the best woofer systems this is a problem because they have no means of circumventing physics.

Sir Isaac Newton will not be denied!

Yet, the application of a motional feedback system means we can augment the laws of physics by applying a disproportional amount of power to compensate for inertia’s demands.

Which is why a proper servo bass system is the only woofer technology I know of that can keep pace with the demands of music.

And, since the sole purpose of our new speaker line is to honor the music, an accelerometer-based servo woofer system is a prerequisite for a full range setup.

It’s lightning fast.

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.

The learning funnel

My post about mavens got me to thinking about how our learning curve funnels from the big to the small. We start with a big idea or project and over time narrow down to the nitty-gritty.

Working with the new PS Audio AN3 loudspeakers has been a challenge made easier because of our ready access to Arnie Nudell’s reference speaker system. Both systems are in the new Music Room One and it’s pretty easy to compare the same cut of music on both. But that’s a lot to take in especially if the differences are big.

If one sounds significantly different than the other how do you narrow the learning funnel down to simple enough elements to get to the problem?

We start with the grand idea of designing the new system to sound as close as possible to the reference but the differences between the two quickly surface: The new system is based on improved drivers, more advanced servo systems, DSP bass, an entirely different cabinet, and a price point target of 1/3 what Arnie’s speakers would have cost. These are big differences. No wonder the task is not an easy one.

The trick to solving complex problems is to strip the myriad problems down to a single quotient.

I like to think of this as a learning funnel: big complex ideas and concepts narrow through the funnel until a clear and simple task plops through the other side. Solve that simple task and move on to the next.

Tomorrow we’ll look at the first set of problems we tackled.