Tag Archives: subwoofer

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.

Judging bass

When you look at the self-amplified subwoofer system of the mighty IRSV you might think it’s not a great speaker to judge bass performance of the main power amp.

You would be wrong. Few systems I have owned have been so revealing of bass performance than the IRSV.

Bass performance begins well before the lowest notes of the system. The slam, impact, and transient quickness we hear are the result of the system’s performance starting at about 150Hz. There, if the phase angle varies, or the signal hesitates, our perceptual hearing tells us there’s something wrong in the lowest bass regions. Which is why we can tell differences in power amplifiers on full range systems augmented with powered subwoofers.

If you doubt that fact, listen to the subwoofers without the main speakers. All you’ll hear are dull and sloppy thuds.

It is the amplifier driving the main speakers that provide the snap of a stand-up bass, or the kick of a drum. And the lowest notes? Those too. If the amp doesn’t produce unfettered subterranean bass you’ll hear that weakness in the same way.

You don’t need to watch the race to predict the winner between a tortoise and hare.

It’s obvious by the time they get to the starting line.