Tag Archives: High End 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.

I think music does more than help with mental health.

Music as medicine

In my upcoming book 99% True, the long talked about memoir, I refer to high-end audio as a well kept secret and I believe that to be true. After all, the vast majority of humans on this planet have never heard of an audiophile much less met one in person.

All of us participating in the connected world have heard reproduced music. Few on Earth have heard it reproduced as we do. Or, for that matter, are even aware there is another level of listening pleasure available to them.

Some of us don’t share our secret with friends and family for fear of ridicule or misunderstanding. Others don’t share it because it can be an expensive endeavor and perhaps we’re a little embarrassed. Still others shout out their passion from the highest rooftops only to have their words fall on deaf ears.

And the secretive nature is a shame because music can heal the troubled soul.

I wonder what would happen if knowledge of our world became well known. Some, I suspect, would be delighted. Others might be bothered by the invasion. I, for one, would be thrilled. Not because I’d sell more products but because I believe better sound benefits the world in the same way better food makes us healthier. I’ve watched hardened people melt in the presence of beautifully reproduced music.

What we love most may be the best medicine for mental health.

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.

What makes an amp musical?

As design engineers, we all have different rules of thumb design crib sheets. If we want to design a servo-controlled power amplifier we engineer for maximum control and fast step rate. On the other hand, if we want to build a syrupy-sweet sounding amp we’d use a soft-focus input like a JFET or a vacuum tube. (If you’re a design engineer and want to test this just listen to the difference between a 5532 and a TL082 op-amp).

Each amplifier design is specific to the task at hand because no amplifier is perfect. When we focus our efforts in one area like high damping, low distortion, or high wattage, we do so at the expense of another.

I’ve mentioned this before but it likely bears repeating. Engineering is the art of minimizing compromise to achieve the design criteria. We gain here by losing a little over there.

The broader question posited in today’s post’s is so system dependent it’s almost difficult to answer with any clarity, though we can offer a few observations. Musically pleasing amps generally have the following attributes: voltage-centric devices at their inputs (FETS or tubes), stable open loop performance (they don’t require feedback to keep amplifying), relatively high bias at their output stages.

There are hundreds of designs in the world of high-end audio. Some are more musical than others.