Tag Archives: DAC

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.


Imagine the angst of a first-time buyer of high-end audio equipment. Few places offer systems and everywhere there’s a bewildering array of component choices.

Where does one start on a hi-fi journey? It used to be that we went to our local dealer and picked from amongst a tier of systems from the affordable to the absurd. Today there’s far fewer qualified dealers and so first-time buyers are either left to their own devices or take what they can get from megastores like Best Buy.

Even magazines like Stereophile and The Absolute Sound focus more on components than systems. If I didn’t know better I’d simply do my research and purchase the best I could afford in any one category, tie it all together with what I could afford in cabling, press play and then pray.

Nowhere am I helped with maximizing synergy between components. If I bought the best DAC I could afford and played it through speakers that were too forward or bright what would I do to remedy the situation or even know where to start?

I suppose this all sounds like doom and gloom and that’s not my intent. I just felt it was important to let some of the issues facing first-time buyers bubble to the surface in the hopes of sparking conversation and debate. If we can talk problems through perhaps solution are right around the corner.

For our part, we’re working on the end goal of building stereo systems first-time or experienced buyers can slip into without worry or bewilderment: choose your price point and be assured the system will work perfectly together.

I am certain there are other paths as well.

Asheville, Walnut Cove, Brevard, Biltmore Forrest and Western North Carolina’s Audio and Home Theater specialists present Cane Creek AV and Paul McGowan – PS Audio, Intl.

The squash blossom conundrum

A white table cloth and high prices don’t make food any better than a fancy chassis and gold connectors make an audio product sound good. Yet, we often have little more to judge quality on than outside appearances.

But, we keep trying.

Doing our best to find artful, inspired, food in the Southwest Florida city of Naples we spotted an offering of squash blossoms on the menu. These delicate morsels are very difficult to cook while maintaining their nuanced flavors. Even the mention of them on the menu gave us a clue The French Restaurant might offer a prayer of gourmet delights. What we got was more reminiscent of Colonel Sanders than Danny Myers: lightly battered and deep-fried, the fact there was a delicate young plant inside was lost in the puddle of melted cheese and the blandness of the tomato sauce.

It’s hard finding high-end anything as marketers continue to abuse the clues to a product’s value.

A DAC that advertises every sample rate and spec possible doesn’t stand any more of a chance of sounding great than a squash blossom deep-fried in tempura batter has of tasting like its namesake.

It’s tough out there.