Tag Archives: stereo system

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.

By plug and play, Paul is referring to an audio component that replaces computers in our music systems. One that can rip music, store music, stream music and give us a way to control it. Maybe add a DAC and even an amplifier, like the UK stalwart, Naim Audio is doing now. Maybe incorporate a turntable  and speakers!!

Plug and play

What a great idea someone came up with when they first coined the term plug-and-play. Easy peezy, right? Plug the device in and it just works.

If you own a Mac you already know what this feels like. Windows 10 owners finally get a taste, but most people on the planet never really get to experience this miracle of technology.

Wouldn’t it be something if someone managed to figure out a small stereo system that would fit that bill? Plug it in, it auto corrects for the room, knows your musical preference, begins to play music you already have approved.

As Buck Rogers as this sounds, I predict within the next decade this will happen. How you ask? Through the miracle of complexity: building blocks stacked over time.

Our meager minds can only understand small snippets of complex structures. We can visualize how a computer system does math and we understand the language it uses, but more than that and we’re lost. Try visualizing the path required for you to read these words on a screen from a device in your pocket. I am sitting in my basement office in Boulder, Colorado, typing. Tomorrow my thoughts spread around the globe. To us, it’s magic because no one person understands how it all works.

Imagine other complex systems. You are a perfect example. We can figure out down to a molecular level how small systems within us work but not the whole.

Once a system exceeds a certain level of complexity it becomes unknowable by any one person. This means that with each layer of added complexity we can only build with ever-increasing complex blocks—never knowing the whole. Block-upon-block until it all seems like magic. A miracle.

Which is why I predict the miracle of a plug-and-play system is within our horizon. How exciting is that?


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.

Helping hands

Few acts in life are more rewarding than lending a helping hand to someone who wasn’t expecting it.

I remember years back when we lived in a small community just north of Santa Maria California, Nipomo. Nearby was a hamburger stand we frequented called Little Jockos. Terri and I had already given up meat but we still enjoyed Jocko’s version of a grilled cheese: hamburger bun, melted cheese, tomato, pickles, lettuce and thousand island dressing, and french fries cooked the right way—in saturated fats—and before the 1990 disaster McDonald’s (and others) perpetrated on their once signature fries.

One of the kids working at the stand, Barry, was an eager 16-year old that loved music. As I waited for my order he and I would often chat about music and he learned that I was an audiophile. I never thought much about it until one day I had a wild hair of an idea. Maybe Barry would like to hear what real music sounded like on a decent hifi system. At first, he declined, convinced it would be a burden (or maybe I was some weirdo). But, over time, he relented.

At the time, I had a pair of Infinity RS1s, the lowest cost 4-piece Infinity speaker system of the day. These were set up in our home’s spare bedroom and sounded pretty respectable, and for good reason. The twin servo controlled woofer towers had six 8″ polypropylene woofers each, the midrange set had seven EMIM midrange drivers and these were married to three EMIT tweeters. It was a heck of a system and far beyond anything young Barry had ever dreamt was even possible.

He came to the house to hear a “real stereo system” and I think he walked away in a dream state. He had never heard recorded music reproduced with the power and beauty only a good system can offer. It was a pure joy to watch the astonished looks and mile-wide grins on Barry’s face as we played track after track.

Years later I got a letter from Barry. He’d become an audiophile himself. A small pair of excellent bookshelf speakers and respectable electronics. A system that brought him great joy.

It’s a joy he would likely never have enriched his life had he not gotten a taste of good sound.

If you want to have great joy in your own life, share yours with someone who might appreciate it.

You never know when a simple act of kindness might change someone’s life.