Tag Archives: tube

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.

Devils and details

Part of the challenge in audio engineering is to know when to use certain processes or devices and when to use others. For example, a tube in the input stage works well, but not so much in the output. Or, a capacitor used as a DC blocker might sound better than the complexity of a servo, or, vice versa.

Analog integrated circuits, like op amps, can typically be bettered by their discrete counterparts in some cases, but not all. For example, if component matching is a critical aspect to your design then there’s likely no better process than integrating everything on a single piece of silicone. Each component tracks the temperature variations of the other for near-perfect matching.

Yet, in the same way separates can outperform integrated amplifiers, there are disadvantages to IC solutions too. The limitations of single silicone, including low power requirements and a lack of isolation between components, can hinder performance levels in highly resolving systems like the kind you and I might want at home.

It’s always a good idea to keep sweeping proclamations of better and worse at a minimum.

Like just about everything else in life, it’s the details that flush out the devil.

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.

PS Audio has announced the availability of their newest and most advanced AC power re-generator, called the P 20, for high end audio systems.  What a piece of  audio equipment!

I wish I could both afford this and had space for it, as its expensive, big and heavy.  However, with one kid in college and another getting married this fall, it will have to wait. Besides, the Furman IT Ref20 I am using, which is a big, balanced power, isolation transformer, works pretty darn good and at 85 lbs, I’m not so interested in moving it. If I didn’t live out in the country and had friends closer to help me move stuff, maybe, just maybe, Id be tempted, as this piece from PS Audio is the absolute state of the art in feeding our audio systems perfect power.

Rabbit holes

The problem with rabbit holes is they are easy to go deep before you realize it’s the wrong one. I went down several in the design of the amplifier line that eventually became the BHK, as well as building the first Power Plant two decades ago.

My first idea to design a perfect AC power generator was a carbon copy of what powers our cities. A spinning, mechanical, power generator. Mine would not be spun by the fires of coal or natural gas, but instead by the very power I wanted to replace. On paper, I built an electric motor coupled to a generator like you might have on your bicycle. From it would come perfect, clean, low distortion sine waves regardless of the power quality coming in.

That rabbit hole venture was quickly abandoned as Terri told me there’s no way she’d allow a spinning noisy mechanical generator anywhere near the inside of our home. I suspected others would feel the same way.

My second rabbit hole got me closer. A tube-based HP sinewave generator connected to a stereo power amplifier. Though kludgy and impractical, it worked and proved my idea that the best AC power in the world had to be generated. Nothing else would do. Certainly not a simple power conditioner, which seemed to me at the time about as useful as the polishing of a turd. Brighter and shiner but it still stinks.

Today we officially launch the DirectStream P20, our finest expression of the art of regenerating new, perfect AC.