Tag Archives: digital audio

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.

This is technical, but I can tell you that if you pay proper attention to galvanic isolation in D/A digital to analog circuits, you will have less noise, better resolution and a better sounding stereo.

PS Audio is seemingly just discoverint this, but my T+A DAC 8 DSD is galvanically isolated and sounds incredible!!

Galvanic isolation

As we talk more of the virtues of galvanic isolation in digital audio, perhaps it’s of value to take a moment out of our busy day to understand just what that means.

The term galvanic refers to a galvanic cell, named after its inventor, Luigi Galvani. The Galvanic Cell is technically described with a mumbo jumbo of words: “an electrochemical cell that derives electrical energy from spontaneous redox reactions taking place within the cell.”

More simply stated, it’s a battery.

This can be confusing because when we refer to galvanic isolation we’re not talking of batteries, but rather we’re referring to electrical isolation. A battery operated flashlight can be said to be electrically isolated, but so too could we suggest a battery operated DAC is electrically isolated, yet we’d be incorrect unless that DAC’s inputs and outputs are connected via optical cables.

And it is to this last point that we get to the heart of the matter.

To be galvanically isolated there can be neither physical connection nor direct electrical current involved. Even our old friend ground must not touch. In this way, whatever happens on one side theoretically shouldn’t be mirrored on the other side of the circuit.

The methods of achieving such isolation are to connect via non-physical means such as magnetic fields or light—hence the use of isolation transformers and optocouplers.

None of this is easy to digest, but at least we can try and gain a little understanding.

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.

This morning, I learned that my favorite Hi-Fi writer ever, from Stereophile Magazine, Art Dudley, passed away on April 14th of this year.

I had no clue Art was sick and this came as a shock to me, as well as just plain sad. He wasn’t that old, in his early to mid 60’s,  and always looked healthy and robust in the pictures and videos of him, I was able to see. Truly, life is fragile and this has hit home for me.

Art loved Single Ended Triode amps and tube preamplifiers, which I’ve owned many of in the past and one of his favorite pair of loudspeakers is an old high efficiency Altec design from 1966, called the Flamenco, similar to one of the speakers I own and use now. I say “similar to”, because the driver I use, the Altec 604, has been brought back to life by Great Plains Audio, so while mine is a copy and my cabinet is a one of a kind thing I designed and had someone build, the driver does use original Altec tooling, so an Altec driver. Art would probably disagree and I wish I could have had that conversation with him.

He used old vintage Garrard and Thorens turntables that he re-conditioned himself and digital audio was pretty much an afterthought for him. I don’t think he thought digital was listenable enough for him to enjoy. He also didn’t sweat room acoustics and audio tweaks. Probably better off that way. He was also an accomplished guitar player.

I was hoping to go to the 2020 Axpona show, where he would have been and meet and talk to him for a couple of minutes. Maybe have a discussion about that Altec driver. I’m truly sorry I won’t ever be able to now.

Anyway,  Art was an opinionated writer, but could put sound into words, like no other writer I’ve ever read.  I can tell from things he wrote about and things I read about him that he was a good husband, father, animal owner and human being. I just watched a video of him from 2017 describing his system in great detail, his thoughts on stereo equipment and at the end, he is driving somewhere and sees a turtle in the road. He pulled his car over, took out his floor mat and pushed the turtle to the other side of the road. Only a good person would do this and I will miss him.

Our thoughts go out to his wife and daughter and all his friends and co-workers  that were able to interact with him often. I regret never meeting him in person, although I felt I knew much about him from his writings. He will be missed by many.