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

Something for nothing

We all like something for nothing: the extra scoop of ice cream, the baker’s dozen, the unexpected set of vibration canceling feet included with our new amp purchase.

Rarely are we pleased with the opposite—something intangible for plenty more. Yet, this is the conundrum we face when considering headroom.

Headroom in amplification—both preamps and power amps—offer huge benefits that we never notice until they are missing. Compare a low headroom amplifier with its polar opposite and the problems of compression, increased non-linearities, and eye-squinting strain become apparent.

It’s not easy to plunk down more funds for greater headroom because it requires a leap of faith, and faith is something we all struggle with.

It’s often the invisible we benefit from the most.

 

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.

Pauls post reminds me of a joke I heard at a MD’s convention a few years back. The Audiophile version of this applies and would be the following:

If you ask 10 Audiophiles how to set up a system, you’ll get 20 answers as each of them would eventually change their minds, at least once.

Holograms

There are numerous aspects to the high-end audio system: tonality, resolution, inner detail, micro, and macro dynamics, and of course, the holographic image.

Whether your system provides little more than the basic phantom center channel or a full-on three-dimensional holographic soundstage, you’re always dealing with an audio hologram.

A few days ago I wrote about the importance of not cluttering up with equipment the space between the loudspeakers. That’s important for two reasons. First, our sources and preamps are sensitive to microphonics. We should get them as far away from the speakers as is possible. Second, that clutter of equipment visually interferes with the hologram.

Whether we like it or not, our vision is often a distraction when it comes to generating a perfect audio hologram. It’s why it sounds better when we lower the lights or listen in the dark. Once our visual distractions are removed, the brain can more easily process the deep, tall, and wide soundstage that lurks behind our loudspeakers.

Of course, not all setups have managed to build the proper holographic image where the speakers have disappeared, and the musicians are standing behind them. But, on a proper system, this holographic image can be breathtaking—an essential element in a great high-end rig.

If your HiFi doesn’t image the way it should, consider removing physical and visual clutter from where you hope the phantom soundstage will appear.

If it hasn’t a place to exist, it likely will not.