An all-new family of loudspeakers from Canada's PSB Speakers, the Toronto-area firm expects the PSB "Imagine" to find instant favor among buyers who covet its Synchrony designs, introduced one year ago, but who have been deterred by those models' not inconsequential cost.
"The Imagine lineup is the latest example of what PSB does best," says company founder and chief designer Paul Barton. "That is, to make top-of-the-heap sonics and quality accessible to the widest possible range of potential owners." Barton continues: "It would be almost criminally misleading to dismiss the Imagine range as 'Synchrony Junior,' but we freely acknowledge that a good deal of what we learned over Synchrony's three-year development, particularly in cabinet design and manufacture, empowered the Imagine concept and execution, and has thus enabled us to complete its development in far less time."
Early in the Imagine design process, PSB elected to bring in designer David Farrage, to help guide early concepts to final forms. "David's a brilliant industrial designer," says Barton. "He and the PSB design team worked together every step of the way, from the earliest napkin-sketches to 3D models, CAD files, and actual prototypes, to get the organic forms and high-end textures we wanted and to make sure they would coexist with the engineering performance parameters."
The resulting four models comprise the Imagine T, a three-driver, two-and-a-half-way tower full-range floor-standing design, and Imagine B two-way stand/bookshelf-mount are intended primarily for front-channels/stereo playback. The Imagine C is a dual-woofer, horizontal two-way center-channel speaker, while the Imagine S is a dual-two-way, selectable dipole/bipole/dual channel monopole surround loudspeaker which may be connected as two discrete (side/rear) two-way pairs in compatible systems. All four Imagine models share a common driver family, with an all-new, high-output 5.25-inch woofer, and a titanium-dome 1-inch tweeter inspired by the Synchrony high-frequency unit.
PSB Imagine begins with a method of cabinet construction that exploits in equal measure computer-controlled machining, and the touch of hand craftsmanship. The result is a quartet of enclosures that rivals the Synchrony line for acoustical performance and whose surfaces present an integrated visual form. Compound-curved on every vertical face and braced internally, each Imagine enclosure is acoustically inert (resistant to vibration), and flush, fastener-less driver mounts promote ripple-free high-frequency response and horizontal dispersion. All cabinets have baffles that are 1.5" thick with sides, tops and bottoms constructed with 7 layers of 3mm MDF laminated together along with internal bracing.
PSB's Imagine woofers incorporate injection-molded diaphragms of a proprietary, ceramic-filled polypropylene that delivers stiffness, internal damping, and low mass. A motor system's compound magnet structure "forces" the driver into delivering higher sensitivity at declining frequencies. The woofer's molded-polycarbonate basket contributes stiffness and aerodynamics as well as magnetic indifference, and features a bullet-shaped aluminum phase-plug for linearity at higher frequencies. The Imagine tweeter, also common to all models, features a neodymium-magnet design with high power handling.
Like nearly every PSB design, the Imagine networks employ fourth-order acoustic Linkwitz-Reilly topology. All-metal multiway binding posts on all Imagine models accept bare wire (up to 10-gauge), lugs, banana plugs, open and closed spades, and enable bi-wiring or bi-amplifying. The dual-ported Imagine T tower and Imagine C center channel are each supplied with one port-cover per speaker, enabling a modest degree of system tuning to accommodate individual room acoustics, speaker setup or listener preference.
Like all PSBs, Imagine's design exploited the acoustical resources of Canada's National Research Council in Ottawa, Canada. Imagine relied on studies conducted at the NRC's anechoic chamber and listening-studio facilities.
The curved cabinets feature hand-selected and individually matched real-wood veneers, and all four are offered in a choice of black-ash or dark-cherry furniture-grade veneers, "cathedral"-matched and hand-finished.
The PSB Imagine loudspeakers will be premiered at CEDIA Expo 2008, booth 900, Colorado Convention Center, and are available immediately, at the following manufacturer's suggested U.S. prices:
Imagine T (3-driver tower): $2,000/pair
Imagine B (two-way stand/bookshelf): $1,000/pair
Imagine C (2-way center-channel): $800/ea.
Imagine S (Tri-mode surround-channel): $1,200/pair