Tag Archives: loudspeaker

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.

Whacky ideas

If you want to send a spacecraft to another star you’re going to have to wait a long time. Our nearest neighbor, Alpha Centauri, is 4.3 light-years away. Today’s spacecraft could reach the star in 81,000 years. It would then take an additional 4.3 years for pictures to reach us. Let’s call it 85,000 years. I haven’t yet looked at my calendar, but I suspect I might not be available to view the results.

There is, however, a wacky idea that could get there in a mere about 20 years, delivering photos in 25.

The idea, called Starshot, was originally proposed by Stephen Hawkings. It involves a massive solar sail and a bunch of high powered lasers. Like the ships of old, Starshot will sail to the stars on a solar wind generated by an earthbound laser. The laser array’s stream of photons accelerates the craft to 1/4 the speed of light and off she goes.

Crazy, right?

Here’s the thing. Crazy, whacky, off the wall, is where true innovation comes from. In our industry, think of Peter Walker’s electrostatic loudspeaker, Alan Blumlein’s idea of stereo itself, Alan Hill’s Plasmatronic, Nelson Pass’s Phantom Acoustic room corrector, and the list goes on.

While most of us are content to repolish and rehash the tried and true, it’s the wacky ideas that actually move us forward.

Here’s to all the whack jobs and their crazy ideas. Keep on keepin’ on!

 

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.

Paul is introducing a new amplifier from PS Audio. It’s based on a B&O Ice Power module, which is a lot better sounding Class D module than any Hypex based amp I’ve heard and is very powerful, efficient and probably sounds very good, if not excellent.

Myth busting

Just about everything in our lives goes back to a story living in our heads. Perhaps it’s the story of your childhood, or maybe how you learned to drive, or your first stereo system. When we think back over our experiences we come to understand we’ve built stories around them, stories that help us navigate the world.

When those stories are incorrect we refer to them as myths.

One of the most common audio myths is the need to match a power amplifier’s output wattage to the connected loudspeaker. It’s been taught to us we don’t want to overpower a speaker. Connecting a 1,000 watt amplifier to a bookshelf speaker just feels wrong, yet that’s only a myth.

The facts of the matter are pretty clear. All power amplifiers deliver only the number of watts they are told to by the preamplifier. The speaker’s role involves only its impedance. A 4Ω speaker draws twice the 8Ω power needs for a given volume level.

Of course, most myths have their roots in truth. A 1kw power amplifier has the potential to fry the crap out of a small speaker just like a 500 horsepower engine has the potential to slam your car into a cement abutment at 100 miles an hour. But, potential should not conflate to will.

I bring this to your attention because we’re just now making public the webpages for our new 1.2kw monoblock amplifier, the Stellar M1200.

We’ll be beta testing the Stellar M1200s this month, and I can tell you that it is a stunning achievement. Rarely have I ever heard dynamics as uncompressed and open as what the M1200 provides. I mean, I’ll go so far as to suggest that in my 50 years of HiFi listening I have yet to hear anything as dynamic as these new monoblocks.

When the going gets tough, when the orchestra revs up, the trombones blat, the 32 violins get rippin’, the double basses get bowin’, the tympanis are poundin’, and the horn section blares, I swear I’ve never experienced anything quite like it. The crescendos seem to just soar outside the room with zero hint of compression.

Until you hear 1.2kw driving the system you simply do not know what’s been holding things back. You can’t. Not until it’s been removed can we know what we’ve been missing.