PSB Image T55 Speaker Reviews

PSB Image T55 Speaker Reviews

A compact speaker designed for the budget minded, PSB offers a complete compliment of speakers to round out a home theater or these can be used for two-channel listening.

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In today's market, we are spoiled. If we have a problem, a solution can be found quickly on the Internet. If a product doesn't meet our satisfaction, there are plenty of replacement options. However, over 30 years ago that wasn't the case for Paul Barton. As a violinist and engineer, Barton discovered that even the best speakers of the day failed to produce a musically accurate recorded playback. Therefore, he set out to create a loud-speaker to bear his initials that was musically transparent, dynamically honest and truer to the original sound.

Additional Resources
• Read more floorstanding speaker reviews from HomeTheaterReview.com.
• Explore amplifier options in our Amplifier Review section.

Starting his Canadian speaker company proved to be no small feat. A lot of work and study went into designing each speaker product that would wear the company's PSB badge. With support from his wife, Sue (the "S" in PSB), Paul Barton continued on a path to excellence. PSB speakers have been recognized as sonic marvels, bestowed with numerous engineering awards for design innovations. PSB's secret has been avoiding exotic materials or technological breakthroughs, unlike many other companies. Instead, the methodical, long-term, rigorous study program incorporated in their research and development breeds a refined interaction between loud-speaker, listener and room acoustics.

Unique Features
Today, PSB offers a broad range of speakers for movie and music applications in four distinct product lines, ranging from high-end and costly
to compact and inexpensive. The company manufactures a speaker system for nearly every budget and application without sacrificing quality. In the middle of the road is the PSB Image Series with performance close to the high-end models at competitively moderate pricing.

The Image Series is comprised of eight models of speakers. These include three tower speakers (T45, T55 and T65), two bookshelf models (B15 and B25), two center channel speakers (C40 and C60), and a bipole surround speaker (S50). Any of the current line of PSB SubSonic subwoofers can be integrated into an Image Series speaker configuration to match the room size and budget. I tested a pair of T55 tower speakers, a pair of S50 surround speakers and a C60 center channel. A corresponding PSB SubSonic 6i subwoofer was added to enhance the performance characteristics of this reasonably priced ensemble. I played sounded clear with realistic sound effects. No matter what came next, the Image Series were always up for the challenge. Performance this good is only sweetened by the affordable price.

The exterior of the Image Series is attractive without being overassertive. Two appealing wood grain finishes are available: Maple with light gray grilles and Black Ash with black grilles. The smaller S50 surrounds are only available in black or white textured vinyl veneer to better blend in with the surroundings. Beneath the surface, you'll find redesigned proprietary drivers that have replaced the previous vacuum-formed cone design. These new drivers feature a metalized injection- molded polypropylene woofer that has the advantage of a higher consistency during the manufacturing process for a more uniform performance across the frequency spectrum. PSB also touts a smoother high-end response and enhanced overall performance from refinements found in the new tweeter phase plugs and superior crossovers.

A critical, often understated element to a successful speaker design is proper baffling. The Image Series uses a uniquely molded curved baffle, engineered to provide strength and rigidity to reduce unwanted colorations and reverberation. This is readily apparent in the solid overall construction found in the T55s. Each tower speaker enclosure is home to a one-inch Ferrofluid-cooled aluminum dome tweeter mounted on the baffle above a pair of 6.5-inch woofers for a 2.5-way configuration with a smooth response and a strong bass impact. Similar in design but with a horizontal arrangement, the C60 contains the same one-inch Image tweeter flanked by two 6.5-inch drivers. Each of the S50 surrounds has two identical baffles positioned at a 45-degree angle, each with a single 5.25-inch driver and a one-inch Image tweeter. This diffused sound- field disperses surround sounds across the rear plane while maintaining the ability to play directional effects.

Read more about the T55 on Page 2.
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The ample-sized PSB SubSonic 6i subwoofer has a molded curved front
edge and grille that blend well with the Image Series. The ported
SubSonic 6i cabinet houses a metalized polypropylene cone woofer like
the other speakers, but in a 12-inch model with a robust 53-ounce
magnet. This hearty driver is powered by an efficient Class H amp.
Conveniently located on the front of the cabinet are knobs to adjust
volume and crossover frequency.

Installation/Setup/Ease of Use
The T55 tower speakers were placed on either side of my Mitsubishi
display and the C60 center channel was set on top, angled slightly
downward. I placed the S50 surround speakers on stands and adjusted
them toward the room's center before playing a test pattern and making
adjustments. The 6i sub was nestled near a corner and connected to a
NAD 1763 A/V receiver with the other speakers. I used the line level
inputs on the sub and bypassed the internal crossover with the LFE
crossover bypass switch so the 1763 could filter the signal. I don't
care if the results are fabulous, if it takes an engineering degree to
properly set up home theater speakers, I don't want them. Too many
things in this world are complicated, so speakers should be plug and
play. Well, sort of. The Image Series is simple to install and easy to
calibrate. My receiver was adjusted so the tower speakers were "large",
the center channel was "medium" and the surrounds were "small". Test
tones allowed me to increase the rear speakers' volume slightly and
tweak the delay. Once satisfied, I got down to business.

Final Take
Depending on my mood and the time of day, I listen to my media soft and
mellow or loud and intense. Happily, the Image Series ensemble worked
well on both ends of the scale. When I listened to Billy Joel's opus on
"Scenes from an Italian Restaurant" (The Stranger), I could hear Billy
tickling the ivories very distinctly, as if the piano was in the front
left corner of the room. Vocals had clarity and there was a nice tone
from the whistling opening of the title track. At high volume, the
music was strong but not overpowering. Bass response was fast, punchy
and tight and the surrounds had just the right amount of ambient echo.
The system sounded rich, warm and spacious with everything from classic
rock to old rap.

Running through some DVDs and watching the cannons fire in Pirates
of the Caribbean, I enjoyed the oomph the SubSonic 6i exhibited. As the
low rumbling of each salvo rang out between the Black Pearl and the
Interceptor, I wanted to duck my head. During music scenes in Chicago,
center channel vocals were bright and lively, complemented by
accompanying vocals from the T55s and S50s.

Over the course of several hours, I listened to challenging music
tracks at peak levels, but the PSBs never let me down. Audio tracks
from the different categories of movies

Additional Resources
• Read more floorstanding speaker reviews from HomeTheaterReview.com.
• Explore amplifier options in our Amplifier Review section.

Image T55
Floor-Standing Tower Speakers
(1)1" Aluminum Dome Tweeter
(2) 6.5" Metalized Polypropylene Woofers
Frequency Response: 32Hz -- 23kHz
Power Handling:10 --175 Watts
36'H x 8.5W x 14.9"D
Weight: 42 lbs. each
MSRP: $899/pair

Image S50
Surround Speakers
(2)1" Aluminum Dome Tweeters
(2) 5.25" Metalized Polypropylene Woofers
Frequency Response: 65Hz -- 23kHz
Power Handling:10 -- 200 Watts
13"H x12.75W x 7.4"D
Weight:18 lbs. each
MSRP: $749/pair

Image C60
Center Channel Speaker
(1)1" Aluminum Dome Tweeter
(2) 6.5" Metalized Polypropylene Woofers
Frequency Response: 40Hz -- 23kHz
Power Handling:10 --175 Watts
8.5"H x 27.4"W x 11.9"D
Weight: 25 lbs.
MSRP: $449

SubSonic 6i
Ported Bass Reflex Subwoofer
(1) 12" Active Driver
Frequency Response: 29Hz --150Hz
Power Handling: 225 Watts RMS / 600 Watts Peak
19.88"H x 15"W x 20"D
Weight: 46 lbs.
MSRP: $699

Additional Resources
• Read more floorstanding speaker reviews from HomeTheaterReview.com.
• Explore amplifier options in our Amplifier Review section.

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