Tag Archives: preamp

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.

PS Audio is having a sale. I’m no longer a dealer as they have gone direct,  but here it is and if you buy, they donate money to musicians!

Power the Performers

There are very few add ons to our stereo systems that aren’t double-edged swords—they help and hurt at the same time. I remember the first time I played around with an inline vacuum tube “warming device”.  Placed between either the input to the preamp or its output, the box did as advertised but it wasn’t a free lunch. The warmed music had also gotten blurred and lost specificity.

One technological add on that offers benefits without losing something in the bargain is a proper power regenerator. Placed inline with the incoming AC power, waveform distortion is reduced by a factor of 10 or more, voltage variations become so low as to be inconsequential, and most importantly, the impedance of the AC power source drops by magnitudes. It’s as if your stereo system were next door to the city power supply, unmolested by neighbors and miles of wires and transformers.

One of the best uses of a regenerator is for our sources and preamplifiers. These ultra-sensitive devices are not appreciative of the noises and unwanted emissions generated by their fellow system companions and vice versa. The noise and hash that comes out of the AC inlet of a DAC or CD transport are easily injected right into your sensitive preamp or phono stage. The ultra-low impedance AC source of a regenerator, like our Power Plant, stops those emissions dead in their tracks. Their pollution is unable to pass between sources, DACs, and preamps.

If your sources, DACS, and preamps aren’t benefitting from a dedicated Power Plant, you’re missing out on what just might be one of the bigger improvements possible.

This month, we’ve got the Stellar P3 Power Plant available to US residents at a remarkably low price. It’s the perfect Power Plant for your sources, or even to power a smaller system. Our program is entitled Power the Performers. You’ve no doubt caught on to the first idea of powering your source performers, but there’s more power yet available.

For every US P3 purchased in the month of May, we’ll cut a check for $100 cash and send it to the Grammy’s MusicCares program where Spotify will match those funds, getting $200 into the hands of musicians in need.

Now’s your chance to make a difference to your system and those in need. Head here and grab one before the end of the month.

Your ears and our musicians will thank you.

*Not in the US? Check with your country’s dealer/distributor to find out if they too are offering similar price reductions in May.

 

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.