Tag Archives: electronics

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 cost of a soundstage

Visitors to PS Audio often walk away from Music Room 2 with their jaws still open.

Following a recent visit, Karel Osten wrote to me:

“I know you have described the sound but until I heard it for myself I had no concept of the depth and rock solid placing of the sound. Words are inadequate to describe the effect of the wide soundstage but at the same time the precise location of instruments and vocals. It seemed to me to be a strange combination of mono and stereo if that makes sense. How much do you think you have to spend to get anywhere close to the same sense of depth and soundstage?”

This is a great question and one we struggle with all the time. Fact is, what you hear in MR2 is not just the IRSV but an entire audio system. Those speakers are some of the more revealing speakers made. Thus, anything before the speakers gets shown in a harsh light—for better or for worse. There’s no hiding possible.

When it comes to the specifics of Karel’s question of depth and soundstage, that’s a little easier to answer. Given decent electronics, even a low cost loudspeaker system can disappear and in its place, listeners can experience a full soundstage. It just takes some setup skills, enough room for the speakers to breathe, and the right group of equipment. Synergy focused on soundstage.

I am pretty confident most of us already have many of the basic components needed to achieve what Karel’s looking for.

The reason we don’t get there is often a single missing piece in the chain.


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.

Strangling meaning

One of my readers emailed me worried about Power Plant regenerators. I thought his concern, along with my answer, might be interesting.

The concern is one we get a lot. “All power regenerators limit current. They can only provide a percentage of the total available current in the wall. I am worried about restricting current to my equipment.”

It is true that any piece of electronics connected to the wall has a limit, including power regenerators. And it would seem that at some point the power fed our equipment will get strangled, compressed, run out of gas. I mean, the words we use suggest that, right?

Words can mislead.

When a Power Plant exceeds its limits it shuts down (something they almost never do in real life). There’s no restriction so obvious as the unit turning off.

But, up until that rare occurrence, a proper regenerator does not restrict or limit power. In fact, the opposite is true.

Our wall AC sockets are limited to their rated power before they shut down. Let’s use 15 amps as an example. If we exceed the wall’s rated power, we trip the breaker.

Now let’s add a regenerator between the wall and our stereo system. Suddenly, we’re able to exceed the wall’s 15 amp rating and not by a little.  A regenerator like the Power Plant can deliver as much as 70 amps at peak—more than 4 times the current available from the wall at the top of each cycle.

This is possible because of its onboard storage reserves which the AC system in your home does not have.

So, while the word “limiting” has a frightening connotation to us audiophiles who want nothing to do with terms like limiting, compression, restriction, choke points, etc, its actual meaning is far more benign and the truth is very different.

Once we understand, the simple words we use will no longer strangle meaning.