PSB Speakers just introduced a dramatically new edition of its successful Image Series speakers benefiting from top-level technology trickled down from the highly acclaimed Synchrony and Imagine Series. Many of the features that debuted in the flagship Synchrony Series in 2007, and were then introduced to the stylish Imagine Series in 2008, are now available in the all-new Image Series.
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Long considered among the most versatile and affordable of PSB's major speaker lines, Image Series speakers have been remodeled and equipped with many of the features and enhancements developed in recent years for PSB's award-winning Synchrony and Imagine Series loudspeakers. Scaling the size of the whole Image project was a major objective. The new Image Series represents the final stage of a profound three-phase reconsideration of PSB product offerings in free-standing speakers that began with Synchrony, then moved to the Imagine Series. With the new Image Series, PSB again raises the traditional PSB virtues to new heights of performance and sophistication, whether judged technically or by rigorous standards of subjective evaluation.
The new Image Series consists of eight models, including two full-range tower designs, two compact monitors, two center-channel speakers, one bipole surround for side and rear locations, and one sub-compact monitor/surround. The models are based on six-, five- and four-inch woofer platforms that further extend the Image Series' already broad range of applications and budgetary options. All the models share PSB's recent advances as well as its obsessive dedication to performance, quality and value.
Like all PSB speakers, the new Image designs benefit from the world-class acoustical resources of Canada's National Research Council in Ottawa, Canada. For more than 35 years PSB founder and design team chief Paul Barton has returned again and again to the NRC to conduct fundamental studies of loudspeakers and room acoustics in its anechoic chamber as well as vital subjective evaluations in its listening-studio facilities. Mr. Barton's research at the NRC, which included an extensive three-year development project for Synchrony, played an important role in the design of the new Image Series.
"The frequency response of the listening window over their operating range is within 1dB for every model in the new Image line," noted Barton.
Significant among the Image Series' enhancements is its driver platform, which is based on what PSB developed for the Synchrony and Imagine Series. All the Image models share long-excursion, very high-output woofers resulting in compact designs with output capabilities as high as much larger traditional systems.
A highly accurate, one-inch titanium dome tweeter with ferrofluid and a very efficient neodymium magnet structure, borrowed from the Synchrony design portfolio, helps to extend output for effortless, airy top octaves and smooth, uncolored response.
The new Image Series also display an esthetic dimension that pulls design cues from the Imagine series. "We focused on softer shapes for the cabinets rather than a rigid boxy look," said Barton. "We maintained the Image Series' somewhat rounded front and back, but changed the shape slightly to make the speakers a little more organic-looking."
Along with more robust baffles made from 1-1/8-inch thick MDF, a material usually reserved for more expensive models, the new Image speakers exhibit a highly finished look, with clean and soft, esthetically pleasing lines and no visible fasteners. Regardless of configuration, they comfortably integrate into today's varied listening environments. Additional high-value features include PSB's five-way gold-plated binding posts, adjustable feet with spikes, port covers and rubber levelers.
"Delivering high value has always been one of my passions," said Paul Barton. "And the Image Series represents my best achievement."
The Image T5 and T6 Towers
The Image Series' two towers -- the T5 and T6 -- are slim floorstanding models 37 and 41 inches high that deliver full-bodied, technically refined sound with tonal, spatial and dynamic accuracy. The T5 is a dual woofer transitional two-and-a-half way design with identical 5-1/4-inch woofers and a one-inch titanium tweeter. The T6 is a three-way dual-cavity, dual-ported design with 6-1/2-inch woofers and a discrete 5-1/4-inch self-contained midrange driver. The T5 and T6 are rated up to 175 and 200 watts at 6 ohms, respectively. Many of these design features are similar to those in found in the award-winning Synchrony One design approach.
The woofers employ injection-molded diaphragms with a proprietary, clay/ceramic-filled polypropylene cone that uniquely optimizes stiffness, internal damping and low mass. The woofers' magnetically neutral polycarbonate basket contributes additional stiffness, while its bullet-shaped phase-plug (borrowing from the Synchrony design) enhances linearity at higher frequencies.
"The T6 Tower is a three-way system similar in execution to the Synchrony One," explained Barton. "Not only are the orientation and arrangement on the front baffle similar to that of the Synchrony One, the arrangement helps the in-phase lobe tilt up so that the speaker has a very similar voice whether the listener is sitting down or standing up."
The T6 cabinet is also designed in a way similar to that of the Synchrony One,
in which each woofer is divided and ported in individual chambers. The T6 employs two separate chambers and ports, which eliminates such issues as standing waves inside the box.
"In dividing and individually porting the cabinet we address the problem of a standing wave inside the box found in many tall, slim speaker designs," explained Barton. "Dividing the cavity into two smaller cavities eliminates the ability of a standing wave to set up inside the enclosure. Also, putting woofers in multiple positions reduces the first reflection phenomenon, minimizing the negative effects of the primary 'floor bounce' reflections, resulting in a much more accurate and tuneful bass performance in any setup."
The Image B5 and B6 Monitors
The Images' two monitors -- the B5 and B6 -- are ideal for multichannel deployments, 2.1 subwoofer/satellite systems, and main-channel use in smaller rooms or systems. They feature a single 5-1/4-inch and 6-1/2-inch speaker plus the one-inch tweeter in 12-1/2-inch and 14-inch high cabinets, respectively. They share the injection-molded, clay/ceramic-filled polypropylene designs of the Tower drivers, which also include dual magnets, polycarbonate baskets, and rubber surrounds. The monitors are rated up to 125 and 150 watts at 6 ohms, respectively.
The speakers also feature 40mm rear ports and, like the Towers, PSB's sturdy multiway gold-plated binding posts that accept bare wire, lugs, banana plugs, open and closed spades, and enable bi-wiring and bi-amplification. Bi-wiring reduces interference by allowing the two channels to separate electronically when routed through an amplifier. Bi-amping allows the use of two amplifiers to separately power the woofer and the tweeter.