Tag Archives: Power Amplifier

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.

Customize

It won’t be too much longer before we release our newest power amplifier, the Stellar M1200. Hopefully, we’ll be able to unveil this beauty in March.

When engineer Darren Myers came to us with the idea of a 1200 watt monoblock power amplifier with a vacuum tube front end, it wasn’t in the form of an idea. No, he had already built it and was listening to it at home.

It doesn’t get any better or more personal than that.

Because the sound of an amplifier is so dependent on its input stage—something obvious to those lucky enough to own BHK power amplifiers—it was fun to experiment with different vacuum tubes. Every variety of tube we played changed the sound of the M1200, just as you’d expect.

Of course, tube rolling is nothing new. In fact, customizing the tubes in equipment is just part of the experience many expect when acquiring a vacuum tube-based product.

Yet, more than a few are just as happy leaving the customization to others. In fact, despite what many think, the vast majority of vacuum tube equipment owners never customize their products.

I still run our stock tubes in all my BHK equipment.

Customizing can be fun, but it’s not for everyone.

Sometimes, just the fact you can customize is enough of a feature to keep us happy.

 

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.

Steam power

I love the term “running out of steam”. It’s an obvious reference to the beginnings of the industrial age where our world transitioned from animal power to steam power. When something runs close to its limits we say it’s running out of steam, or gas.

Recently there’s been quite a flap over on Ask Paul’s Videos. A question came to me about a subject that seems a tough one to grasp. Can preamp gain make up for low wattage? You can see the video response here.

Turns out this is a tough one for many to understand. I’ll see if I can approach it from a slightly different angle to chip away at the answer.

What’s confusing is the idea that if you put the same loudness music signal into both a big amp and a small amp, they produce the same number of watts (assuming they have the same gain – which most do).

To be more specific, let’s assume we have a 50 watt amplifier and a 500 watt amp, each with the same gain. Put 1 volt of music into either amp, and you will get (for this example) 30 watts out of both.

With me so far?

Using the same setup, now we will double the input voltage to both amps. Same thing happens, only the little amp will run out of steam—it can’t produce double the 30 watts and it clips. The bigger amplifier has plenty more steam available so it merrily outputs the expected 60 watts.

So, going back to the original question, can preamp gain make up for amplifier power, the answer is no. More preamp gain simply increases the input signal size to the power amplifier. It will still run out of steam at the same point. A preamp just gets it there quicker.