A slight step up in all cabinet dimensions and woofer size (6.5"), This compact monitor produces full-weight sound down to a satisfying point both for musical instruments and movie effects. The Image aluminum-dome tweeter produces superb highs. Whether tucked into a bookcase, placed on a stand, or mounted on the wall for surround use, it is easy to use and enjoy.
Having worked in hifi retail on and off for years, I've heard many dozens...perhaps hundreds of pairs of mid-priced bookshelf speakers (similar in size and price). These are probably one of the best "overall" sounding speakers I've heard. Very wide-band and well-balanced frequency response, include nice presence and accuracy in the most critical midrange (not really a conflict I hope).
LIke others, I tend to fall into the audiophile pre-occupation of listening for "transparency" or "tight bass" or "smooth highs" etc. And to a critical audiophile, these speakers do have some low-grade resonance colorations *as compared to higher end "audiophile" speakers. (No doubt, the inexpensive cabinet, sparse amount of acoustic fill, the lack of hefty bracing - and the relatively inexpensive drivers). But then again, so many speakers with those kinds of refinements fall down in the big picture by not have an overall balanced performance - and overall balance is what makes music so enjoyable to listen to through these speakers.
(Makes me wonder what PSB's "high end" line sounds like hmmm...)
This is not a highly techincal review. Just wanted to put a quick note in that I've had these little (or not so little) gems for around 6 months now and I am absolutely in love with them. I am using them with an OPPO 981player and a Pioneer 1018 receiver. I was intent on setting up a good (excellent for me) entry level 2 channel system but for some reason I can't accurately recall at this point, I decided to buy the multimedia reciever. I can't say I regret it but do wonder what I'm leaving on the table, so to speak.
Anyway, the speakers...Did I mention I love them? I take every opportunity to just sit and listen to them and I can't think of any higher praise. Some of the music that I've found sound best through them is, of course, acoustic in nature. I am still enjoying reacquainting myself with my cds and one of my favorites, by far is Tori Amos' Boys for Pele. It's like the piano and harpsichord are in the room. The magic of her heavy breathing into the mic cannot be overstated, either. The voices are great, the bass is strong. It's amazing how much more I hear of what is going on in the music. Tom Waits sounds amazing, Pink Floyd's Dark side of the Moon SACD...Wow! and I'm not even a big Pink Floyd fan. What else..? Rockabilly sounds great through the PSBs due to rich sound of the hollow body guitars generally used. The sounds are very complimentary with these speakers. I don't listen to much Jazz but what I have listened to has been impressive to me. Has actually made me start listening to more. I have not listened to anything classical through them.
If there is any downside it is that I am not as impressed with them on rock music with a lot of distortion and for lack of a better word, noise. Maybe it's just because the quality of the speaker is lost on that kind of music or, and this is a distinct possibility, it could be my room.
I have a small house with a small living room. I do NOT have the speakers ideally placed due to the arrangement of the room and yet they still sound great. I set about 8 feet from the speakers equally spaced with them pointing slightly inward at me and it is just aural bliss on most music. I have a wall directly behind me. I get a lot of (remember...I'm not techinal as far as audio is concerned) bass reflection or something like that. Basically muddy sounding bass when I turn it up on music that is complex but without knowing how to explain it correctly, I can tell that is from reflections off the walls. It's a rental so at the next place I will spend some time on acoustic treatment but right now I don't have any. I can't guarantee it but I am almost positive the muddy bass is not due to the speakers.
And on the subject of bass, I am amazed at how much they put out. On music like folk or rockabilly the bass is rock solid and very present.
They really do just have a very full and rich sound. I did a moderate amount of looking before buying these...I wouldn't call it a comprehensive search and I don't have all the model numbers at hand but I listened to B&W's, Focal, Klipsh, Totems, and the shiny little red ones I can't think of the name for right now... The PSB's were the best all around for a bunch of different music I brought with me. I had a budget of $800 and I spent $465 w/tax so I could not be happier. I am convinced I will have to spend over a thousand (and maybe quite a bit more than that) to do better.
I don't actually know what the year of the speaker design is...I bought them new, 10/08.
My next purchase will probably be a DAC so I can use my computer in my system but after that I am planning on a Hsu Subwoofer and will post an update when that happens.
Good luck and really, if these are in your price range, you can't go wrong.
Phil Barton’s Canadian PSB B25s – Possibly the best bookshelf speaker available.
In search of a fine sounding pair of bookshelf size speakers I called a local electronics supplier. The friendly fellow said, "I have PSB Speakers that are an excellent brand with fine sound." "Never heard of them", I said. "I'll have to come listen." In his long narrow showroom, I first listened to the Alpha Bs. "Excellent", I thought. Then the B15s. "Also excellent", I thought. Then the B25s. My impression was "Good sound, but almost tubby compared the smaller PSBs." The salesman told me that if I was looking for mains (and I was), he recommended the B25s. After reading some of the postings here and elsewhere, not to mention the brochure describing PSB’s various models, I decided to have the B25s. Their flat bass response to 50 Hz was important to me because I didn’t want to spend the extra for a sub.
Firstly I set them up in my great room, perching them atop my old EPI 500s that flank the television. I connected them to my Kenwood AV receiver and watched a good DVD with a rich soundtrack. Initially the PSBs produced very clear, but the bass response was basically AWOL. Halfway through the DVD, the bass began to emerge, possibly suggesting the shortest break in period on record. Then they sounded very good, less bassy than the EPI 500s, but never really filled the room with sound. This was due largely to my 18-foot high ceiling and the slightly too-high perch for the speakers.
Shortly thereafter I completed remodeling of my listening room that also serves as a home office and moved them in. My listening room measures about 10.5 ft wide x 13.5 ft long x 8 ft high. Because I had read that stands would be important for these speakers, I assembled a pair of 25-inch high pedestals from 2-inch PVC pipe with poplar top and bottom plates, glued and screwed together. I had just completed refurbishing my 25-year old Kenwood integrated amplifier, and mail ordered a Samsung HD 841 disc player capable of reading SACDs ($87 for a refurbished unit online). I ordered the SACD hybrid version of Floyd’s Dark Side for $13 and was pleasantly surprised to see Wish Your Were Here for just another $13 bucks. I also ordered Mahler’s 2nd on SACD (Gilbert Kaplan directing the Vienna PHO) and sat down for a good listen.
Yea!!! I was pretty well freaked out. Wish You Were Here was amazing. This is a recording a little on the boomy side to begin with, but in my dedicated listening room the B25s just sounded rich and detailed, with very nice bass response (try Welcome to the Machine). The stereo imaging that folks often write about with these speakers was right there to hear and see. With Dark Side, the first thing I noticed was that the disc player’s output was lower, requiring more knob for the same volume. Nevertheless, the SACD sound was like polished sterling. Then I listened to Mahler’s 2nd, first movement. Some reviewers sniff when Gilbert Kaplan is mentioned, calling him an amateur director and dismissing him without serious comment. If Kaplan is an amateur, I would like to hear a professional. His SACD recording of Mahler is fantastic. With my 100 or so available watts of power, the dynamic range on the B25s reached from nothingness to blowing my hair back in a very pleasant way. In my small room, the timpani drums and bass violins rolled with authority; no sub is needed here. Really . . . words are inadequate to describe the difference between these speakers and any others I have owned. Stereo imaging is three-dimensional; treble, mid, and bass are all there for your listening pleasure. Rather surprising for a 6.5-inch woofer. As an Oldergeek, proper stereo speakers in my heyday had 10-inch woofers at the entry level, 12 at the mid level, and 15 if you were serious. Methinks technology has progressed.
In conclusion, I recommend these speakers without reservation to anybody, regardless of budget.
There's muchto recommend these little speakers. They have an energetic and highly musical sound that is he opposite of fatiguing--they draw you in to listen more and for longer periods. The cabinets (maple) and gray grills look good and would blend inconspicuously into most setings. Due to space restrictions, I have them set up awkwardly--one is a bit higher than the other, and they are quite forgiving of the eccentric placement. Very clear, detailed sound--vocals seem a bit forward, highs roll off a touch, though I may just be hearing how the recordings are mixed. The only serious deficiency is bass response. These speakers make no attempt to handle material that they don't do really well, so what bass is present is crisp and clear. But there's a fair bit of music missing--I find myself wishing for a subwoofer to complete the sounds of , for examples, cellos. Other than the shortage of bass, they are excellent, and remarkably musical at this price.
These are a great pair of speakers for the money, and are very forgiving to placement. I live in an Air Force dorm, and they are perfect for the situation. I wanted to get a good sounding pair of speakers, too used to my dad's "always strive for perfection" system, but am on a far lower budget. These afforded me into the good audio world without draining the bank. They have moddest bass on their own, but if you want to party with them, it's a good idea to compliment them with a sub. Another thing, the more power you drive them with, the better they sound. I am using an inexpensive Yamaha RX-V440 reciever with 75w, but will soon upgrade to an NAD integrated amp.