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 Clean

I am pretty certain I have never washed my hands this many times in a day: after getting the mail, after removing my gloves from a trip to the market. Wait. Even writing the words “removing my gloves” is totally foreign. It’s all different yet eerily the same. I go to the same daily meetings as before but now I see our engineers and management on a video screen. Strange times, indeed.

We’ll get through this if we use our heads and keep them screwed on as well.

Can a music system be too clean? By that I mean, sometimes clean works against us like when we add too much absorption to our walls or scrub our power incorrectly. That’s when we clean away some of what’s important in music’s reproduction, like subtle harmonics, room interactions, and imaging cues.

Clean audio and video reproduction is important, but be careful not to scrub too hard. If you are working on your room, cabling, or power, be aware one can go too far in cleaning up the sound.

You don’t want it so clean you strip the life from the music.

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.

Far too often I repeat my oft said pearl: the only thing remaining constant is change.

That said, sometimes it’s a real eye-opener to look far enough in the past that the changes of yesteryear seem laughable. The introduction of the Compact Disc, now known simply as the CD, is one such example.

When reader Paul Stevenson sent me a link to this video  I laughed off my ever-lovin’ arse.

Watch the video. It’ll put a big smile on your face.

But once finished laughing, pause for a moment of reflection. Then, imagine how silly today’s going to look in another 40 years.

 

What we do today seems perfectly normal until you compare it to a handful of tomorrows.

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.

This is an original article, inspired by a very recent experience with my wonderful son in law and an article I saw on The Audiophile Voice, of what’s called the Loudness Wars. Basically, a little information on why much of the music we listen to, sounds the way that it does.

I’m no recording or mastering engineer, but I do understand much of it. I also attend music concerts regularly and I still get baffled by how bad some of the shows we see, sound, at least before intermission.

More tomorrow, unless Paul posts a good one.

 

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.

Terri and I are watching more movies in our home theater these days. And we’re listening to more music on our little home audio system, too.

There’s no better time to upgrade and lavish attention on what brings us joy at home.

When I learned of REL’s new Predator subwoofer for home theaters, I called my buddy John and put my order in. I had been reasonably happy with REL’s little weenie 10″ sub that had lived in my theater since we built it. It was a placeholder when it first went in. I had always intended to upgrade but somehow just never got around to it. Now, working on my stereo and home theater has taken on new importance.

The Predator is a brute: 15″ cone with 3″ travel, powered by an 800-watt amplifier. This beast barely fit in my cramped space, but removing its legs and resorting to a right angle power cord squeezed that baby into the space and worked.

I had never known what extraordinary bass sounded like in my theater. You get so used to something that it becomes normal. It’s why upgrading is so gratifying.

Now, if only I can get Terri to sit through another viewing of Avatar…..

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.

Evaluating audio equipment by ear can sometimes be challenging, while other times it’s as obvious as the nose on your face. It’s a lot easier to evaluate a video system, as our eyes are our dominant trait.

I’m always happiest when I know what an amplifier has to say for itself within the first 30 seconds of listening: yikes! this needs work; wow! this deserves more listening. Clear, clean, simple.

The tough part of evaluation comes when it’s not a clear matter of better or worse, but rather different and deciding which you prefer.

The upcoming M1200 monoblock amplifiers are like the latter. As soon as you put them in the system a smile pops on your face and your toe starts tapping. They are instantly great and you know it from the first few notes of music. Nothing is missing.

But are they better than the BHKs?

The quick answer is no. There’s a musicality and a sweetness to the BHKs that just can’t be touched, but without careful AB comparison, that’s not obvious.

To call one the “winner” and the other the “loser” has vast implications that hide the truth.

If we’re forced to think in terms of winners and losers, perhaps it’s best to imagine a close race rather than a football game.

Coming in second place by mere tenths of a second hardly qualifies one as a loser.

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.

Paul is currently posting excerpts from a book he is writing, which do not have much to do with audio, or even video, for that matter.

I’ll still post things, although some of them will be original writings by me and maybe articles or reviews I see of audio or video stuff, that I think people might enjoy.

Lance and I stopped working last week, to try and make sure we and are customers are as safe as possible. We are hoping to start working again in a few weeks. However, it will be as long as it needs to be.

Back tomorrow and hope everyone takes care and stays inside, as best they can.

 

 

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.

Resurrection

Many of us are staying at home being safe. That’s great. While at home, we’re upgrading our stereo systems, repositioning the speakers for best sound, enjoying music. All the things we didn’t have time to do before this.

It’s what it is and I am encouraging us all to enjoy the moment and make the most of it.

To that end, how about adding some reading to your list of things to do?

 

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.

We are special

Indeed. Audiophiles and music lovers, we’re different, special. We take care of each other, we are a community. A family.

For those watchers of my daily YouTube videos you may have noticed I haven’t mentioned much at all about how life has changed so rapidly. There’s a good reason for that, most of those videos were recorded earlier—like weeks earlier and back then, we weren’t thinking about it.

But, now we are.

Yesterday, here in Boulder, the snows were gently falling. It was a beautiful day and since I am not leaving the house I thought I’d hop up onto our deck and make a video. The video will tell you where we’re at as a company. How most of us are working from home, and the production and shipping people, along with our President, Jim Laib, our CFO, Keenan Haga, are working in the PS Audio mothership with as much space and care as is needed to keep them safe.

We are here for you. Our customer service, sales, engineering staffs are plugged in and working as if nothing had changed. Call 800PSAUDIO and you’ll be connected to a HiFi Specialist just like before—only this time there might be the sounds of a couple of kids in the background.

Hang out with us on the forums where Elk and I are working hard to keep it as fun and uplifting as we can. Listen to stereo. Enjoy being at home if you are, and do your best to keep smilin’.

Look, we’re going to get through this. We’re special, we care, we’re community.

We are here for you.

 

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.

Whacky ideas

If you want to send a spacecraft to another star you’re going to have to wait a long time. Our nearest neighbor, Alpha Centauri, is 4.3 light-years away. Today’s spacecraft could reach the star in 81,000 years. It would then take an additional 4.3 years for pictures to reach us. Let’s call it 85,000 years. I haven’t yet looked at my calendar, but I suspect I might not be available to view the results.

There is, however, a wacky idea that could get there in a mere about 20 years, delivering photos in 25.

The idea, called Starshot, was originally proposed by Stephen Hawkings. It involves a massive solar sail and a bunch of high powered lasers. Like the ships of old, Starshot will sail to the stars on a solar wind generated by an earthbound laser. The laser array’s stream of photons accelerates the craft to 1/4 the speed of light and off she goes.

Crazy, right?

Here’s the thing. Crazy, whacky, off the wall, is where true innovation comes from. In our industry, think of Peter Walker’s electrostatic loudspeaker, Alan Blumlein’s idea of stereo itself, Alan Hill’s Plasmatronic, Nelson Pass’s Phantom Acoustic room corrector, and the list goes on.

While most of us are content to repolish and rehash the tried and true, it’s the wacky ideas that actually move us forward.

Here’s to all the whack jobs and their crazy ideas. Keep on keepin’ on!

 

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.

Me too!!

Home systems

With the closings of restaurants, bars, and public meeting places to help stop the spread of the virus, many of us are wisely spending more time at home.

Home is where the music is.

Last night over dinner, Terri cranked up our home system: KEF LS-50s, REL 10, Rega Planar 3, Sprout. She chose one of our favorite albums, Blind Pilot’s 3 rounds and a sound. Where normally we would have listened at a level low enough for conversation, last night she grabbed the remote and let ‘er rip.

It was good to be home.

We’re likely going to be spending more time at home in the coming weeks. I am thankful for the great system we have (and looking forward to maybe upgrading to Strata when I can get my hands on one).

As a community, we can band together and help each other find new and innovative things to do while at home.

On our forums, there’s a great thread started Things to do while at home.

I would encourage you to have a look and post your thoughts.

Meanwhile, I am going to crank up the tunes again.