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.

High efficiency loudspeakers

Not many stereo systems can come close to reproducing the peak levels of live music. In fact, I’ll step out onto the ledge and say you’ve never heard a speaker that can even come close to live levels. I know that I haven’t. And, yet, we believe our audio systems get close to the sound of live music.

Often, what we want to be true just simply isn’t. I know, it’s as painful as when I tell people their loudspeakers need a subwoofer. They don’t like to be told that because the story they bought into from the speaker manufacturer was that it’s “full range”, dipping its toe into the 20Hz region. No, it probably isn’t. Just like no, your speaker isn’t hitting 120dB peaks like instruments can.

For example, did you know a piano can hit peaks of 110dB? Electric keyboards 118dB, a piccolo 120dB, a trumpet 113dB, and a symphonic orchestra peaks of 120dB to 137dB are common.

I have been convinced for quite some time, as was our codesigner in the upcoming PS Audio loudspeaker line, the late Arnie Nudell, that a speaker’s inability to hit these peaks without distortion or compression is a key factor in getting us closer to the sound we all crave, live unamplified music.

To be clear, I am not talking about playing music at loud levels. Quite the contrary. As my readers know I believe every track of music has a perfect volume setting within a room. Too loud or too quiet beyond the perfect and we lose the magic inside the music. But once you listen at the proper levels, is your system—both electronic and speaker—capable of hitting the same loud peaks a musician does?

The answer is no. And if you think that’s incorrect, have another thought.

Over the next few days, we will spend some time looking and learning together on the subject.

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.

Taking a stand

One of the hallmark indicators of low impedance is a firm stand. External forces have little sway over a device with low output impedance. This can be seen in a high damping factor amplifier and loudspeaker combination where the amp exerts control over the speaker, yet the speaker cannot do the same to the amp.

It can also be seen in a power regenerator, something I’ll explain. But, let’s start with one of the basic problems power regenerators are trying to fix. The wire feeding power in your home’s wall. The receptacle feeding your stereo equipment is connected through a series of long wires to a distant power transformer on a utility pole or box. Often, there are hundreds, sometimes thousands, of feet of wire between you and the source of AC power. That’s a problem because wire has resistance.

Resistance and impedance are close cousins. Resistance means a consistent restriction of power flow while impedance is a frequency dependent restriction. The restriction of power in your home’s wires means that every time you draw current to play music, watch television, heat the oven, or vacuum the rug, the available voltage from your receptacle drops. It drops for the same reason your water pressure goes down when more than one faucet is turned on or the toilet flushes.

This is a problem for us audiophiles hoping to perfect the sound of our system. If the power feeding our equipment is fluctuating—and it most certainly is—then we aren’t getting all that we could were that problem fixed.

What’s needed is either a shorter wire or some other means to lower resistance in that wire.

That’s what we’ll discuss tomorrow.