DirectStream DAC, REL & The McGowan Note


Like most people, I don’t own $80,000 Wilson speakers, and my room does not have a whopping six feet wall clearance for Magnepan speakers. I am trying to dial in my REL subwoofer to augment my modest system properly. Currently my sub disappears into room and the crossover is set fairly low. But my (Andrew Jones designed) speakers have a frequency range of 39 to 35,000 Hz and my REL subwoofer only goes down to 30 Hz. Am I wasting my time trying to get my system to reproduce the McGowan Note? :thinking: For those unfamiliar with this challenging note…

“… Boz Scaggs and his album, Dig. One track in particular, Thanks To You , features an electronic keyboard. At exactly 26 seconds into the track the pianist, David Paich of Toto fame, hits a low note at the end of a riff–just before Boz starts to sing. Very few systems ever produce that note. Instead, we’re left with it going nowhere. The (Infinity) IRSV produces it just fine. Systems with good subs do as well. Once you hear the note, you’ll understand. Most other speakers, even those purported to go down to 20Hz, don’t reproduce it. And expensive ones too.” - Paul McGowan, CEO PS Audio

Thus far, like most, I cannot reproduce this note. I am able to reproduce those two very low notes at the 1:01 mark. REL makes subwoofers higher up the line that go down to 20Hz, but at significantly more cost and a much larger size. The T/7i allows me to add a second one later. Any advice is appreciated. Thank you.

Happy Listening!



PS Audio DirectStream DAC, PS Audio Network Bridge II, ELAC Adante Floorstanding Speakers [AF-61], REL T/7i Subwoofer, Emotiva XPA-5 GEN3 Amp, Roon ROCK Intel NUC Core i7 Music Server, HDPLEX 200W Linear Power Supply, Oppo UDP-203, ELAC Adante Center Channel Speaker [AC-61], Klipsch RP-402S Reference Premiere Surround Speakers, Marantz AV7705 AV Surround Pre-Amplifier/Processor, PS Audio Detect Power Center, PS Audio Power Port Classic (2).

I would suggest it is not the speakers or subs but your placement of them. That “Paul” note can be reproduced even on a passive speaker. When designer Chris Brunhaver demonstrated his first cut of the new Sprout speaker with a 6.5” woofer and a larger specially designed passive radiator, it hit that note perfectly.

Many times it’s placement that nips us in the butt. You can put your hand on the woofer while it’s playing that note and I’ll bet you’ll feel it.

Put it on repeat and walk the length of the room (front to back) as it is playing, moving in 1 foot increments and I’ll bet it’ll reveal itself.

Or, use my subwoofer placement trick. Put the subs in the listening position, put the track on repeat, walk the area where the subs would be, find where the note hits, and then put them back there.

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Good to know! I played with the position of the sub. I can definitely hear the note, but I am unsure of how it’s supposed to sound. It sounds VERY deep, but seems to “fall off” really fast. I am not sure if that is correct.

My double Maggie’s (1120 sq inches of bass panels) have no problem reproducing the note — couldn’t help myself :blush:

After much experimentation with the configuration, the best setup seems to be crossing the supplemental panels over at 200 Hz at 6db/oct connected reverse polarity.

The best blend is achieved with a 1 ohm series resister on the supplement panels.

If you have a spare Maggie pair, I highly recommend the setup (if your power amp can handle 2 ohm loads comfortably)!!

  • Main Maggie’s: 3.6R with updated ribbon tweeters
  • Supplement bass panels: 3A’s with mid panel and tweeter disabled

I am listening to that track right now. I don’t know if it’s my Wilsons or my T/9i subs but I heard that note and felt it. Whew. At the end of the track it gets low a lot. The brown note can’t be far away.

Dang, this is one good sounding album!!

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Just tried it on my Family Room system which at the moment is Reynaud Abscisse Jubilee’s and a pair of Rythmik F-12G’s and it is all there. The Rythmik’s make the mid-teens so not surprised. And yes Al a great album all around.

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I hit the note every time on Amazon HD. I’m sure I’d get better results If I had the original CD (maybe). The only hi res version I see is a DVD-Audio version selling for $100 online at a Goodwill in Orange County (Paul’s post must have caused the jump in price…LOL).

I am just streaming it from Qobuz. Good old 16.44 getting the job done nicely.

Letting Roon Radio take over after that album ends is pretty sweet as well. In a word, smooth.


I listened to it it in every sitting position in my family and also out of the room. There were no apparent bass nulls anywhere and i can feel and hear the note at at relatively low listening levels below 10 watt meter peaks. I did not need to attempt anything more. My line arrays have response to 16 Hz. Just for grins I turned off the Room Perfect DSP. It was really room shaking and amps started using ten times the power and the dishes in the kitchen started rattling. Most gratifying for any bass junkie. All streams were from Qobuz. Almost made me want to leave it in Pure Stereo but listen must be done at lower levels. Who needs loudness with big XR290 line arrays. Room Perfect is better for imaging or if you’re listening louder.