Tag Archives: music

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.

Seeds of change

It was Henry David Thoreau that wrote: “Dreams are the seeds of change. Nothing ever grows without a seed, and nothing ever changes without a dream. Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.”

Indeed, every day we absorb new information, chat on the forums with our fellow Hi-Fi Family members, listen to new music, hear a friend’s system, or attend an audio show, we are planting the seeds of change.

And in my view, change is what keeps us healthy and mentally stimulated.

It’s comfortable to follow the same path day in and day out. Lord knows I am as guilty of sameness as anyone. Perhaps more. But once shaken out of complacency, I am so much more invigorated.

I have relied upon the key elements within Music Room 2 as a reference for so long that change is difficult. Some things are better, some things are worse, but few things can be said to make an unequivocal improvement to the point of being keepers.

That was true until our friend Isaac Markowitz brought us new power cables to try. For years we have relied upon our own AC12 power cables. They are some of the best I have ever heard and remain so today. Isaac brought with him three Audioquest Dragon power cables to power the main P20 Power Plant and the pair of BHK 300 Monoblock amplifiers connected to the P20—an experiment I initially recoiled from.

These Dragon power cables are stupid expensive. Like as much as the equipment they are powering. They are made from silver and configured in a 3-wire braid with fancy ends. I suppose they’re worth their asking price on construction alone, but my objection ran deeper. Does it make sense to double the price of a piece of equipment by virtue of a cable? Somehow that just sticks in my craw.

But change never happens without dreams, hopes, failures, and heartaches. It was worth a shot.

The transformation I heard was not only immediate, it was staggering to the point of near absurdity. Suddenly, Music Room Two is a new reference, the likes of which I hadn’t imagined possible. Openness, space, tonal correctness. I do not possess enough words to describe what I heard and so I shan’t.

I have demanded that my friend Bill Low of Audioquest cut me a deal.

These cables are not leaving the building.

 

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.

Reality checks

When we attend a live music concert we don’t require a reality check. We know with our eyes and ears it’s real. We see the musicians performing on the stage. The sound is what the sound is. We don’t have to compare mental notes of our reference library to know how real the sound is.

Evaluating a high-end audio system or new piece of gear within that system requires a reality check. Does the sound come close to what we would hear at a live concert? Does the blat of that horn sound real? How fresh the rosin of the violin bow?

We’re much more demanding of our systems to sound live than we might be of a live concert.

Part of the problem comes from the inadequacies of our two-channel systems themselves. Compared to an actual live event, our home audio systems are far removed from duplicating live. What they’re good at is replicating the source material fed them. Sadly, the majority of recordings fail to capture the essence of live.

I am guessing this is why we have a favorite list of go-to recordings for our reality checks. We know what to expect.

I don’t see any way around cumbersome reality checks when it comes to evaluating gear. They are just part of the high-end landscape.

What’s thrilling are those rare moments where you don’t have to go through the ritual. You instantly know it’s right. No time is needed.

When a piece of gear or an entire system gets it right, there’s magic. No reality check needed.

Just for a moment, it’s as if you were there.