Coupling the Image tweeter with a pair of 6.5" rubber-surround woofers, this speaker combines great definition with amazingly potent and extended low-frequency response. The addition in enclosure size to accommodate the larger woofers helps add power handling as well as deep bass, for more performance in larger rooms.
For the price I paid, I believe the PSB Image 5T is simply the best floorstanding speaker available. It has no doubt been superseded in performance by PSB's own Image T55, and speakers like the Axiom Audio M60ti and Monitor Audio Silver S6 are certainly more refined performers. But all three cost significantly more than the Image 5T's, and should be judged accordingly. (If purchased online, the Image T55 is in the $750 range, and the M60ti and Silver S6 each run about $900.)
But for a little more than $500, the Image 5T's are absolute standouts. They have disarmingly natural soundstaging, a terrific way with instrumental tone and timbre, and bass that must be heard to be believed. Although not the last word in transparency and detail, only bookshelf-size speakers at a similar price point can outdo them in this regard. Add in the cost of stands, and the pendulum swings back in the PSB's favor.
And no bookshelf speaker, perhaps for any price, can do what the PSB's can in the bass. For their modest size, cost, and driver complement, the PSB's produce the kind of bass that makes you shake you head in wonder. It's deep, taut, tuneful, and natural, yet so powerful when called for that you'll likely be caught off guard, as I was. In concert with the 5T's dynamics, which are exceptional at this price, the speaker rocks harder and more convincingly than it has any right to. And even if you aren't a bass head or a rock fan, the PSB's imaging in the bass defines the boundaries of a recording venue in a way that its direct rivals can't quite match.
This last bit is an example of why Paul Barton, perhaps more than any of his contemporaries, is able to produce such universally well-regarded products. Although fellow Canadian speaker companies like Paradigm, Axiom, and Mirage also have access to the same NRC research and facilities that PSB does, it is Barton that seems to do more with less, price-wise, than anyone else. I would argue that for more than $1000, it is the Paradigm product that has the slight edge, but in terms of under-$1000 offerings, PSB holds the advantage.
Barton seems to understand something about how to control dispersion patterns that renders his under-$1000 speakers not only more natural-sounding (especially in terms of warmth of tone) than those from other manufacturers, but also easier to place in a room and more forgiving of upstream electronics. This is something he refers to as "Sound Power", and you'll likely appreciate its effectiveness even more if your listening room is less than ideal (as most are), or your choice of speaker position is somehow limited.
Even if neither is the case, the 5T's dispersion characteristics will combine with its commendably flat frequency response, easy-to-drive load, and good sensitivity to give convincing results in nearly any listening space. It is this agreeable nature that makes PSB speakers so endearing, and why I ended up purchasing the 5T's as the successors to my beloved Spica TC-60's (which are a nightmare to position in a room).
Even when compared to the Axiom M60ti's, which are more transparent and detailed, the Image 5T competes favorably due to its greater warmth and humanity, which makes the Axiom sound a bit too bright in the treble and dry in the midbass. And head-to-head against the Monitor Audio Silver S6, the Image 5T falls behind when compared to the S6's beautifully refined, crystalline treble, but comes storming back with superior integration of the midbass and bass ranges with the rest of the audible spectrum.
If I were shopping for a floorstanding speaker in the $750 to $1000 range, the PSB Image T55 is where I would start. But if your budget is limited to a speaker under $600 a pair, I strongly urge you to audition a pair of Image 5T's. As of this writing, dealers should still have some 5T stock left, and will likely be keen to move it. So bargain to your heart's content, take your new speakers home, give them a good 100 hours of high-level play to break in (the 5T's sound AWFUL out of the box), sit back with a cold one, and enjoy. You can thank me later.
These are very good sounding speakers. I audtioned some that were 2-3 times their price and really found none that were worth the extra money. I'm very happy with these and I will probably have them for a very long time.
This is my second review of theese fantastic speakers. Why I write this review is because I have owned them for about 3 years now, and they still impress me. I have owned several amps, recivers, and everytime I uppgrade to a bether amp, reciver, the sound gets bether. I have owned NAD, Denon, Sony recivers, amps, the time I been using the 5T, and they can't match the speakers not even the Denon AVR-3802 that is a pretty expensive. To get the best out of theese speakers you have to get some pretty expensive Amps. What that means is that theese speakers are close to hi-end stuff, that costs a whole lot more. To get the best out of theese fantastic speakers I would recomed a integrated AMP that costs at least 1000$ no recivers on the marked today can match theese speakers. So to everybody out there that give theese speakers less that 5 stars, buy bether AMPs, or try them with bether AMPS before saying anything about them. My friend that have a system that costs around 50000$ are very impressed by theese speakers. He can't belive what they can do. Right now I'm using a LFD Mistral integrated AMP that costs around 1000$. I think that this is the price to pay to get the most out of this fantastic speakers. The speakers have everyting you will ever need. It plays classic, pop, rock, jazz, metal, like a dream. The bass is the best I ever heard, but it takes a real god CD-player and AMP.
i demoed these psbs along with paradigm monitor 7's, after reading the rave reviews for both speakers. quite frankly, i was blown away by how much better the paradigms sounded. i had listened to the pbss before and had been veyr very impressed with there imaging and overall smoothness. however, next to the paradigms, they sounded like they should have been costing 300 dollars less. i went in expecting a long deliberation process, armed with many cds, but after the first 3 i ahd laready amde my decison.
The paradigms were far more dynamic, with much smoother and more lively bass, as well as treble that was even less harsh than the psbs excelent treble. dont get me wrong, the psbs are excellent speakers, and were a little more accurate overall than the paradigms, but overall the paradigms made the music far warmer and alive. As for home theater, teh paradigms most assuredly beat the psbs.