Tag Archives: speaker

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.

Feels wrong

I remember how proud I was upon learning the trick of screwing a stubborn lid onto a jar. Though it feels wrong, my father counseled, you first unscrew the lid until the threads are aligned, then turn the opposite direction and tighten ‘er down.

There’s plenty we do that’s seemingly incorrect to get things right: increasing the length of the audio chain with a preamplifier to improve sound quality. Or adding another speaker cable in parallel with an existing one to get tonality in line. Or powering small speakers with big amplifiers so as not to limit dynamics.

Doing what feels wrong to get things right is the inflection point where experience trumps intuition.

When we know enough to pull ourselves out of the rigors of standard practices and leap into the chaotic, we can confidently say we’ve arrived. And that’s a great feeling in whatever endeavor we hope to succeed at.

The circle of experience and knowledge is actually a spiral that is never in the same place at the same time, yet repeats itself in slightly different form as we each share what knowledge and wisdom we’ve accumulated over the years.

It made me feel good when years later I was able to return my father’s lesson. As I watched his face scrunch up as he tried in vain to open a stuck jar lid, I shared my own experience. I turned the jar upside down and demonstrated how a stuck lid needs only a couple of sharp bangs on the countertop to free itself for the turning.

As audiophiles, we have knowledge about music and its reproduction that not many others do. If we can share that wisdom and experience, we lift up those around us.

Just as music was always intended to be shared, so it is with our knowledge. It might feel wrong to speak up in the presence of bad sound, but I’d lean in the opposite direction.

There are few gifts better shared than properly reproduced music and the knowledge required to achieve it in our homes.


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.

Short vs. long

If we have a choice (and we almost always do), we’d prefer short speaker cables to long interconnects. This because passing unimpeded music down a speaker cable into the complex load of a speaker is far more of a challenge than sending music between two low-level sources or controllers.

Sources and controllers are almost always easy loads. Low impedance out and higher impedance in. The signal size isn’t too big and properly designed equipment and cables have an easier time making it from point A to point B without too much trouble.

That’s hardly the case when delivering high powered, high voltage signals to speakers. Here, the challenge of passing music unimpeded is magnified by 30 times in the voltage realm and thousands of times in the current world. To make matters worse, speakers are finicky, demanding clients. Their impedance is all over the map. To get music to sound right we must deliver both voltage and current without distortion or modification.

As a rule of thumb, it’s good to arrange your system around this idea of short speaker cables. When we’re at shows it’s not a problem because we want the audience to see our equipment while the music’s playing, so all cables are short. But, near the speakers is not sonically the best place for sources and controllers, but hey! it’s a show and we’re here to get people into the equipment. At home, we’d like to keep our sources as far from the speakers as we can.

When it comes to speaker cables, short’s the ticket.