Tag Archives: preamps

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.

I sure don’t want to change my audio system, although if we move, because of the size of my current loudspeakers, augmented by my Daedalus BOW Subwoofers, this may have to happen. Even my pair of Rogue Apollo Dark tube monoblock amps take up a lot of space and at 100 lbs each, they are a bit unwieldy, just because of their weight. At least they have handles built into them, so  relatively easy carrying for two people with strong backs.  I may have to change things at some point, but if  I do, I do  have a back up plan,  so it’s all good.

Personal choices

Terri and I chose to live in the safety and quiet of Boulder, while my son Scott and his wife Teresa chose the much livelier city of Denver. They get the nightlife in trade for tolerating the city’s chaos, something Terri and I have less interest in.

All our choices come with baggage. I chose the Infinity IRSV because I wanted one of the best reference loudspeaker systems in the world. But I had to build a custom room and dedicate nearly $100,000 in “stuff” to make it what it is.

You’ve made choices too, like where to place your investment. Conventional audiophile wisdom suggests speakers receive the bulk of funds apportioned to the sound system. Amps and preamps are next, followed by source equipment and cables last.

Where’s the room in all this? How about the AC power from which everything we hear comes from? Afterthoughts?

It’s rare we’re ever in a position to have all the decisions made, roll up our sleeves, and build a system from scratch. Most of us start small and build up over time. What we inevitably wind up with is a patchwork of products that mostly work together.

I have always been an advocate of starting with a solid foundation that begins with the room, then to the AC, building out from there. But it’s not often we have a chance to do that.

Take a look at your system with fresh eyes from time to time and see if the choices you’ve made are the ones you would have made given what you now know.

It might just be time for change.

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.

I’m very picky about how my stereo system sounds, but like Paul, I don’t fret over an occasional tick, or pop, or even a not so great recording.

However, if things don’t sound great to me, for whatever reason, like relative humidity, power delivery to my system, breaking in a component or part, I just turn the system off and look forward to trying again the next day.

If I ever quit screwing with my system, it would probably sound great every day, but such is being an Asheville audiophile. Always looking for a little better and willing to try new things, although at this point, the big things are set in stone, like Rogue Audio and Aragon power amplifiers, Rogue RP-7 preamps, Well Tempered Labs turntable, PS Audio DSD DAC, etc.

Finding irregularities

We love smooth and perfect and shy away from irregularities. When I find a smooth surface, like a kitchen countertop, I feel compelled to rub my hand on its face to appreciate its perfection. Bumps and blits underhand are noticed immediately and I want to get a wet rag and scrub them clean.

It’s almost as if we expect perfection to be the norm, rather than the extraordinary, and we work at eliminating all that does not qualify. Yet, when you think about it, most of what we see, hear, taste, feel, and smell is unremarkable; normal, as in having its fair share of irregularities.

On a good day, I am a tolerant listener ignoring the occasional bloated bass peak or tick and pop heard in Music Room One. On other days it’s all I can do to not to cringe when I hear them.

I have come to a sort of peace with the matter by developing an internal switch I can mostly toggle at will. On days when all I want to do is kick back and enjoy the music, I turn off my irregularity microscope. On days where I need the laser focus required for voicing equipment, back on it goes.

Indeed, our internal measurement systems are far more variable than the machines that attempt to emulate us. Learning that my sensor’s tolerance levels are adjustable through training has been a big help to me in my quest to both build better equipment and enjoy it too.