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PS Audio February, 2024 Newsletter

By Paul McGowan From PS Audio

Hi ieyenews readers,

It’s hard for me to imagine we’re already heading into month three of the new year. Seems like Christmas and skiing were just last week, though I know better.

As I look out my office window, it’s starting to snow again. Sigh. I cannot wait for allergy season—oops, I meant Spring—to come around again so I can walk down our driveway without killing myself on the ice.

The new speaker
I don’t know how many of you read my daily posts, so forgive me if you’ve already read my comments upon hearing the production samples of our newest loudspeaker, the FR5. For those of you who have not had the chance, let me bring you up to speed.

The FR5 is what many of us affectionately refer to as a bookshelf speaker, though I detest the term—preferring stand-mount speaker instead. Why the distinction? Well, to me, a bookshelf speaker is one you actually might consider placing into a bookshelf. Horrors! Nothing personal, but I do hope no one actually places these beauties in a bookshelf. Never mind that the rear of the FR5 has a huge passive radiator (that allows it to get down into the 30Hz regions). And never mind that you would lose most of the speaker’s amazing imaging and soundstage.

No, the bottom line for me is respecting this amazing work of art and giving it the space to blow you away with its performance.

Ok, I will now step down off my high horse and share with you my first feelings of this remarkable achievement.

“So, when I took a moment out of my hectic day, grabbed the iPad and went to our playlist on Qobuz, selected a Norah Jones classic, imagine my surprise when it sounded like the larger FR20s were actually attached.

Have a look at this picture I shot from my listening position.

Chris just smiled.

This was wicked sorcery on a level that should be illegal. The entire room came alive with a soundstage as big, wide, and deep as anything I have ever heard in that room including the Infinity IRSV.

I kept shaking my head in disbelief. I know the FR5s reach down into the 30’ish Hz region. I know it has the same tweeter as the 10s, 20s and 30s. But dammit! Take a look at the thing! 

There’s nothing there! It’s a tiny stand-mounted white box with two drivers.

The only way I could make sense of what I was hearing was to close my eyes—remove the image that couldn’t make sense.

Track after track—all my favorites, from Octave to the classics, this pair of little boxes simply stunned me. Set me back on my heels. Had my head shaking in disbelief.”

The only downside to this? The FR5s won’t be available until early summer. I know. That’s a long time to wait.

Two new Octave releases
Way back in the days many of us would prefer to forget—the pandemic—Terri and I braved our first outing in public. Masked up and nervous as hell, we sat front row in a tightly packed nightclub at Denver’s Dazzle and found ourselves spellbound. On stage were three of the most amazing musicians ever: pianist Erik Deutsch, vocalist Theo Bleckmann, and a man of many instruments, Sly5thAve. Together, they ripped up the stage with music that was new to me. Totally new.

And, what was even cooler was the knowledge that downstairs in the basement we had a DSD recorder connected up to our on-stage microphones capturing every moment. The results are finally ready.

Reason is now available on Octave Records. Get set for some amazing music and a wonderful recording captured in pure DSD and mixed and mastered at our Octave Studios.

And, not to be overshadowed, we also just launched a new Audiophile Masters series, IX, that is a must-own for anyone’s collection. The first track is a familiar one to you: a beautiful rendition of While My Guitar Gently Weeps and is bookended with guitarist Alexios Anest’s rendition of Francisco Tárrega’s Capricho Árabe. The light and airy vocals of Kyle Donovan singing his original composition, Jupiter, is a wonderful reference quality trackfor your library. I use it now as my main setup for the center channel fill in new system setups. Octave fan-favorite Seth Lewis Quintet gives us two great jazz tracks, Cagey and Sweet Leaf, featuring Octave artists trumpeter Gabriel Mervine and pianist Tom Amend.

Audiophile Masters IX is a must have addition to anyone’s music library.

A quick toot of the horn
We were super proud to see in the Editor’s Choice Awards in the latest issue of The Absolute Sound Magazine that we had no less than seven products listed, including The Stellar S300 amplifier, the Stellar M1200 amplifier, the BHK Signature 300 amplifier, the remarkable Sprout100 integrated amplifier, the DirectStream MK2 DAC, the amazing aspen FR30 loudspeakers, and the Bridge II network card.

Wowsers. Thanks!

Paul McGowan


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