Tag Archives: tubes

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.

A bigger audio enthusiast than I….Building microphones now…

Microphone preamps

As Gus Skinas and we build out the new recording facility we run into the inevitable issues of electronics, in particular, the microphone preamplifiers. There are so many opinions on which preamp topology betters the next you’d think we were back in audiophile land. Maybe worse.

There’s transformer coupled designs, transformerless, tubes, transistors, high voltage, low voltage, vintage, and modern miracles to choose from. And, of course, it’s us so we will roll our sleeves up and design our own. Heck, it’s what we do.

And, like audio electronics, we’ll use (gasp) our ears! in the designs.

As we do in our stereo products we’ll start with a supposition based on a lot of research. We’ll then poke around at what’s available and see what floats our collective boats when it comes to capturing the essence and soul of music through microphones. And then we will combine all that we’ve learned into crafting a new device that perfectly suits our needs.

No, we’re not going to worry about making commercially viable microphone preamplifiers for the recording industry. We won’t be hamstrung by the needs for differentiating them in the marketplace, the trap of building what we hope others will like and buy.

For our quest to capture music’s heart and soul we need only to focus on the results. Like a magician building the perfect trick to elicit gasps of astonishment our only goal is to build what pleases our ears and bags the beauty of voices and instruments.

I cannot imagine a more exciting project.

 

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.

Too much?

The race for dynamic range in the recording industry is over. We won.

At the beginning of the 20th century the first sound recordings achieved about 15dB of dynamic range. 30 years later, following the Roaring Twenties and the advent of vacuum tubes, we had doubled that number to 30dB. The march ever forward has continued to where today, with the benefit of digital recording, we can boast 120dB and beyond.

And here’s the thing. We do not benefit from greater dynamic range in audio recordings. Already we can capture everything from the movement of a few molecules of air to the sound pressure of a jet engine.

Loudspeakers have yet to catch up but they cannot be too far behind.

The question then is why, after beating THD and IM below the level of audibility, increasing dynamic range past the point of absurdity, laying flat frequency response beyond measure by our ears, are we so danged far from fooling ourselves that music is live in our rooms?

Should we blame the microphones that captured the music? The rooms we play them in? Or just question the viability of the task altogether?

As engineers, we often get mired in minutiae that doesn’t move the needle any closer to the goal—like building better roads on the wrong path.

I have my guesses. You?