Tag Archives: nuwave

Asheville, Walnut Cove, Biltmore Forrest and Western North Carolinas Audio and Home Theater specialists present Cane Creek AV and Paul McGowan – PS Audio, Intl.


There’s an intriguing dynamic in people; feeling threatened by other beliefs.

We just launched the NuWave DSD, a great and economical entry level DAC. No sooner was it released when we get a note from a well known engineer proclaiming DSD a sham, a Sony storage mechanism pulling the wool over unsuspecting eyes. We are told by this engineer that before too long the blindfold will be removed and we’ll finally understand what a scam DSD is!!!

And, of course, we’re among the evil people perpetrating the ruse.

First, of course, the person is completely misguided and incorrect. DSD is a format (not a storage medium) that uses pulse density modulation where PCM is another format that uses pulse code modulation. They both have their benefits and problems; neither is perfect. I like and listen to both, though my preference leans towards DSD as closer to analog than PCM. But I do not get angry over the situation and question why anyone would take this personally.

Similarly I do not understand why people are threatened with tattoos, or piercings. Are they something I would ever consider? No, but I don’t feel threatened by them. That segment of the population feels compelled to stand out against the norm. When I was a lad some of us grew our hair long, smoked pot and listened to rock and roll, much to the horror of our parents. I don’t typically feel threatened by other beliefs or viewpoints when they do not affect me. But getting worked up over PCM or DSD? Really?

I understand feeling threatened when our homes, children, livelihoods, or safety are at stake. But personal beliefs and practices that do not affect others? I guess I just don’t get it. Maybe I am being shallow or don’t want to look.


Macro micro

I finally got my little tape mastering studio setup in the back room.  It consists of an Otari MTR-10 tape deck feeding a NuWave Phono Converter through its auxiliary inputs and then into my computer through USB.

I am monitoring everything on a PWD.  I use the HDMI connector for tape and USB for the computer output.  176kHz/24 for PCM and eventually DSD will be included.  It’s a reasonable setup and as I mentioned in an earlier post, I have a pair of Era loudspeakers in a home audio configuration for monitoring.

My idea is simple.  If I want to achieve a perfect sound on my stereo system when I am done mastering, why not start out mastering on the very same system I want to eventually listen to?  Turns out this may not be the best idea.  I am having great trouble hearing small changes; yet I recognize that fixing these small changes results in a better overall recording.  Intense work at the micro level yields the best results on a macro level.

I recall a conversation I had years ago with Keith Johnson, master recordist at Reference Recordings about loudspeakers.  Because his recording pretty much hit the mark every time, I naturally wanted to know what loudspeakers he used to master his work.  What he told me surprised me.  He used a homemade pair of near field monitors as best I remember.  This made little sense at the time and when questioned about that he merely said “it’s what I am used to”.  Perhaps now it makes a bit more sense.  I think many mastering studios and recording engineers prefer near field monitors, relative to a home stereo setup like you and I might listen to the end results on.

What I am discovering during this mastering project is that I may need a micro view of the music in order to wind up with a great macro view.  I think it’s somewhat like digital photography.  I use Photoshop quite a lot and when I am working on what will eventually be a large print photograph, intended to be viewed from several feet away, I routinely zoom into the picture to find and fix small problems.  This focus on the micro brings great benefit to the macro.  I am getting the sense mastering may be somewhat the same.

I have tried headphones as the ultimate micro loudspeaker and find them too near field for the task.  A set of bookshelf loudspeakers, placed in close proximity to the work station seems to work well.

More on this project as time goes by.

Paul McGowan – PS Audio, Intl.