Tag Archives: Golden Ear

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


One of the PS Audio Rooms at Axpona has their more inexpensive lines of Stellar audio electronics., showing with a moderately expensive Golden Ear loudspeaker, which aren’t much to look at, but sound pretty good. Guessing the system sounds pretty darn good.

Note the lack of our best efforts. No BHK. No DirectStream. No Wilson speakers or Focal speakers.

What’s going on? Why a Stellar Stack? Why approachable speakers like the Tritons?

Sometimes it’s worth showing what can be done with approachable. That we don’t always have to bring out the finest china and silver. That it’s ok to proudly share with people what can be done with $12K all in.

For me this is fun. I think the system sounds great and exemplifies all that is great with going the opposite of pedal to the metal.

After all, it doesn’t have to cost a lot to shine.



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.

My home made, but great sounding, speakers have two holes in their cabinets, but not to extend bass response. They use a large 15″ midrange/bass driver and don’t need help from the cabinet to make bass. They are there more to let the driver do what it was designed to do, without interference from the cabinet and have the added benefit of lessening  pressure on the side walls of the speaker, making for a quieter cabinet.

Boxes with holes

Woofers are in boxes so the front wave doesn’t get canceled by the out of phase back wave. So, why do some speaker boxes have holes that let out that threatening back wave?

Those holes are called ports and to understand what’s going on let’s start with the problem of putting a woofer in a box. Pressure. The pressure resisting the movement of the woofer is greater when it is mounted in a box. The smaller the box, the greater the resistance to movement.

One way to relieve some of that pressure is by punching a hole in the box. That’s the port. But, it cannot be any sized or shaped hole. As with most things engineering the hole has specific qualities to tune what comes out of the hole and what sound the speaker produces. If done properly, the pressure exhausting the port both adds to the bass as well as enables the woofer to breathe a bit easier. The net result is lower bass with fewer watts than from a sealed box.

Many designers, including myself and my speaker mentor, Arnie Nudell, are not fans of ports. Asked why Arnie used to roll his eyes and encourage the questioner to place their ear near a port for the “farting” it produced. In all the many years of speaker designs, Arnie rarely tolerated ports. One series Infinity had them in, the SM line (officially Studio Monitors but around Infinity’s hallowed halls more properly Sado Masochist), made plenty of bass. They were most often demonstrated at shows reproducing the sound of a 747 landing and rarely music.

There are certainly well behaved ported loudspeakers on the market. Some, like Bud Fried’s famous IMF line, used a type of front port called a transmission line. The idea of the transmission line was a long, folded acoustic path for bass frequencies that delayed the port’s output by 180˚ so it was in phase. Though Arnie and Bud were lifelong friends, the two never agreed on the use of the port. Other ported schemes include the passive radiator you often see in older Polk Audios, Definitive Technology and modern Golden Ear products.