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.

Unspoken language

There are plenty of things understood that don’t require words. If I list something for sale on Craigslist for $125 it’s understood I am really asking $100.

We don’t need words to set our expectations for a high-performance audio system because we’re already in the know. We’ve been here before; done that before; know what to expect.

But what of the newbie: the person who heard a rumor there’s something better in sound quality just around the corner? How much of the unspoken language are they required to navigate to get to the story?

We’ve been looking at redoing our website. It’s been close to a decade without change and time for a refresh. When we asked our designer for an opinion on what the current website meant to them we were surprised at the answer.

“When I go to your home page I am presented with pictures of boxes that I know nothing about and below that calls to join a community I never heard of.”

Fresh eyes tell powerful stories.

Indeed, our website (and most others in our industry) rely on unspoken language to tell their story. Imagine if you didn’t know what a DAC was, or a power amp, or, for that matter, what a preamp does (and let’s not even go to regenerators). You’d be lost in a vast wilderness of unknowns.

And yet those that are our core customers don’t want to wade through newbie puff either.

I think it’s helpful to take a look at who we’re talking to and what kind of demands we’re placing on people interested in good sound reproduction but clueless what all this means.

Is it better to spit out simple words the cognoscenti can gloss over in the hopes of reaching out or leave the message a mystery?

 

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.

It doesn’t have to make sense

We love things to make sense and fit into neat little boxes so we can manage our view of the world. When they don’t we can take a number of different paths: ignore, anguish, change the story, disbelief, start researching.

We understand that at the heart of 2-channel high-end audio is the goal of doing no harm: the purer the signal, the better the sound. It’s why we make sure there’s perfect power, low distortion, unfettered transient response. We also understand that less is more—the fewer stages a signal has to pass through the better its chance of arriving unscathed.

Which is why it is so maddening that a good preamp placed between the DAC and amplifier sounds better than going direct.

When this statement of fact is presented to people you can almost always categorize their response: agreement from those that have a proper preamp, disbelief from those that don’t, or sometimes anguish and denial because it rubs against the grain of all they know.

The idea that audiophiles often make decisions based on what they hear as opposed to what they “know” is what drives the Objectivists bonkers.

It doesn’t have to make sense.

It just has to sound good.