PS Audio: a Video Factory Tour

Immediately following the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show, our resident videographer Jana Dagdagan and I visited PS Audio in Boulder Colorado. The company's founder, Paul McGowan, gave up his Saturday to give us a tour of the factory.

In Jana's video, we start with the "Hall of Fame" in the vestibule, visit Paul's office/studio, PS Audio's engineering, production, and shipping departments, and end up in Paul's dedicated listening room, "Music Room One," where he has a pair of fully restored Infinity IRS V loudspeakers set-up.

In the next two videos we shot in Boulder, I talk to Paul about high-end audio, product philosophy and design, and his plans for future PS Audio products, followed by a binaurally recorded audition of the legendary IRS Vs. But for now sit back and see what it takes to bring a high-end audio component to market.

tonykaz's picture

I've been in shops my entire life, this one looks like an Operating Room. In the old days the techs would have stamped alum. ash-trays with cigarette smoke curling up to the ceiling. But, PS Audio is from San Louis Obispo where smoking & drinking are outlawed and Mortal Sins ( unless Ur smoking medicine, of course ).

I can't see any room for a line of Loudspeakers. Needing double the space?, I'd probably do triple ( it's easy for me to spend Paul's money ) with another 25% for Shipping Docks and related. Any extra space would allow some Fulfillment services for AudioQuest or some other complimentary outfit. All reliable outfits need a little extra room, from time to time.

Over 300 communications per day, phew....

I'm itchy to see those three new Loudspeakers.

Thanks for the Tour,

Tony in Michigan

ps. considering all the folks we've been loosing, Paul looks pretty darn healthy. ( not a single slight cough hinting of C ) Fingers Crossed from here on out !

Jikester's picture

It's a lovely town with plenty of smoking and drinking, it's a college town after all.

tonykaz's picture

SBO was the very first City in the World ( 1990 ) to ban Smoking in all Public Buildings. Big Tobacco lost in Court.

I didn't realize the above when traveling thru SBO with my Sales Manager and CEO and were confronted for Smoking. Hmm.

They also banned "drive thru" places and selling booze at Gas Stations.

I'm a Monterey man, SBO can do as they please.

Tony in Michigan

amco's picture

PS Audio is clearly a tightly managed company, but with boutique prices and novelistic marketing for boutique equipment...

Anton's picture

If you see Paul again, tell him his newsletter is fun and thank you for Copper!

I have an old Lambda II Pro transport that will someday get traded is for the new digital stack, but my rate of savings is frustratingly slow.

I think those would be a good final digital destination.

airdronian's picture

In the opening sequence I wonder if there was a Model IV preamp. That was my first preamp in the move to separates, and what an eye opener it was when compared to my Japanese branded integrated amp.

Very enjoyable video, time just flew as I watched. I almost spat out my coffee when JA mentioned "slew rate of a week".

hollowman's picture

PM's account of cart./stylus damage is a bit odd. That rack, with the TT, seems to be well designed. If a naked (audiophile) TT is the issue, get something with hinged cover (Technics, etc.).

Shifting gears ...
That listening room seem a bit small for THOSE speakers.

Does PS Audio have other listening rooms? I.e., with more real-world systems?

The video quality suffers from having poor contrast. Too bright ... or too dark (as in the case behind the Infinity speakers)

Bill Leebens's picture

The size of Listening Room 1 was initially determined by how much space could be stolen from the warehouse, given how crowded the factory is---as John noted. Paul described a number of design features that were made in order to allow the IRS to shine, and these were conceived with the help of Arnie Nudell, the designer of the speakers. Arnie also supervised the placement of the speakers and final tuning of the room.

The result is, shall we say, satisfactory---you'll see JA's appraisal in subsequent footage.

Due to the growth of the company over the past few years, we've lost our second dedicated listening room, but there are systems set up all over the factory utilizing everything from budget ELACs and GoldenEars to Harbeths and Acoustats. My desk holds a PS Sprout feeding some excellent small prototype speakers on IsoAcoustics stands.

We hope to be moving to a much larger space, soon. When that happens, space will be set aside for several dedicated listening rooms.

Bill Leebens
Director of Marketing, PS Audio

Anton's picture

Great little creature, it is!

He drives my old La Scalas and rocks the house.

The Sprout is a no lose proposition.

Bob Henry's picture

What if any critical listening is done in employees' homes -- starting with Paul's, or your chief design engineer's?

-Rudy-'s picture

Please!! For the love of all things video, please do yourselves a favor on future videos. Go out and 1) get a serious camcorder and 2) a Steadicam. Maybe even hire (or borrow) a videographer who has years of experience behind the lens of professional video equipment. I nearly got seasick watching the unsteady movements and fast pans in this video, not to mention the poor rendering of light, saturation and contrast. (It nearly reminds me of the type of video which delusional hipsters shoot on their crappy iphones.)

Stereophile deserves better than something that looks so amateurish. At least the listening room interview was watchable. This was a spinning headache of the Tilt-A-Whirl variety.

Sorry... :(

Bob Henry's picture

Back in 1971, Northwestern Business School professors Philip Kotler & Sidney J. Levy published an article in the Harvard Business Review titled "Demarketing, yes demarketing."

It presciently addressed issues of excess demand for products and services in limited supply, through "shaping" the demand curve via "demarketing" efforts.

HBR article excerpt:

"In this article we will describe three different types of demarketing:

"1. General demarketing, which is required when a company wants to shrink the level of total demand.
"2. Selective demarketing, which is required when a company wants to discourage the demand coming from certain customer classes.
"3. Ostensible demarketing, which involves the appearance of trying to discourage demand as a device for actually increasing it.
"(A fourth type, unintentional demarketing, is also important but does not need to be considered here. So many abortive efforts to increase demand, resulting actually in driving customers away, have been reported in recent years that the dreary tale does not need to be told again.)"

Using Google's search engine, you can read (with a little bit of effort using the right side slider bar) the now out-of-print article, reproduced in Sidney J. Levy's book titled "Brands, Consumers, Symbols and Research":

Alternately, you can purchase a copy of the article here:

(Both Kotler and Levy were each kind enough to mail me a HBR hard copy.)