PSB Speakers Alpha A/V Floorstanding Speakers

Alpha A/V

The Alpha A/V is a magnetically shielded version of the Alpha. It is composed of a 1/2" (14mm) Poly-flare Dome Tweeter with Ferrofluid and a 6 1/2" (165mm) Poly-coated Fiber Cone Woofer with Rubber Surround.

User Reviews (16)

Showing 1-10 of 16  
alfa   Audio Enthusiast [Jun 02, 2003]
Strength:

Quality construction, attractive finish, good reproduction of mids.

Weakness:

Highs are almost non-existent at low to moderate volumes. Can't remove grilles to allow sound to breathe.

I bought the A/V's to replace an old pair of Bose bookshelf speakers. They sounded incredible in the soundroom at the dealer, reproducing complex material with clarity and unexpected dynamics for their size. When I brought them home, it was a different story. The sound is very compressed at anything below screaming volume, difficult to get any high-end despite tedious EQ tweaking. Planning to upgrade to a better receiver soon, hope to enjoy improved results.

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
3
bluesboy   Audio Enthusiast [Nov 27, 2002]
Strength:

This speaker one has one strength. But it takes it a long way! natural, elegant, and balanced tonal character. And by this i mean it does nothing wrong. The ones how say these speakers don't have slam you are definetly not pairing them to the equipment they deserve :P

Weakness:

As the room gets larger, their sound dilutes and starts losing coherency, bass, and focus. Keep them in a small to medium sized room.

I believe my pair was bought in'98. Even though i'm looking to upgrade my psb alphas I love these speakers. Very natural and elegant sounding for the price. These speakers have lots of potential. They are very quiet (no typical mid-fi sizzle) and love resolution. I used to use a cambridge audio integraded with them and this this combo gave me a very, natural and true sound with a stunning ability for timbre and especially ambience. They are awesome for all kinds of music. I do'nt know what else to say. I would buy these over any paradigm speakers in a second. Or for that matter any other similarily priced speaker. They make the music sound closer and more intimate to your ear than the competitors. Have phun!

Similar Products Used: paradigm mini monitors, b&w 302
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Erik Buehler   Audio Enthusiast [Apr 20, 2001]
Strength:

accuracy, warmth, frequency response, driver and crossover quality, appearance, reputation, build quality (with an exception), bass reproduction for size, ease of positioning

Weakness:

quality of sealing, quality of port (but not too bad)

POSITIVE:
Let me start by saying that these are great speakers. They use a very nice crossover network that uses air core inductors rather than ferrite core, so they introduce no non-linearities (thus lowering the THD drastically). They use a high excursion, shielded 6.5" woofer, and a very nice tweeter. They look great, especially with the cherry finish. Their main purpose in life is as low SPL compact monitors, but to crank up the volume, you'll need to make some super simple mods (see below). Their crossover seems to use at least one Zobel network for impedence equalization(I think, I haven't traced it thouroughly) and two 1st order networks for the woofer and tweeter. Since the rolloff of the mechanical woofer and tweeter is also first order, they add to the crossover to make the rolloff 2nd order overall. Once again, very nice flat frequency response and respectable phase response. The port is bigger in diameter than the previous model of Alpha, this results in marked reduction in wind noise, assuming you perform the below modifications.

NEGATIVES: (but these have remedies, read below)
These speakers are not well sealed, in fact, if you blow into the port, a significant amount of air whistles out the back and from around the woofer. This whistling is audible during low, heavy, bass hits (like in movies, not usually in music). This leakage also decreases the bass capability a bit, especially at very low frequencies (where the speaker needs all the efficiency it can get).

Also, the ports have sharp edges inside and out, and even a bit of burring from production. This causes excess wind noise during heavy bass reproduction.

SIMPLE REMEDIES:
The great thing PSB did while introducing these faults, was make the speaker disassemblable. Just unscrew the back and remove it. Unplug the speaker connectors, being careful to mark where they went. Use some caulk to caulk around the woofer where most of the leakage is. Buy some very thin weather stripping and line the edge where the back presses against (the screws will punch through the stripping).

Now, use some really coarse sand paper to sand down the edges of the inside of the port, making them nice and round and burr free.

Reconnect the speaker connectors (if you want, you can solder them as a "feel good"), put the insulation back in, and seal 'm up.

You now have some Alphas that will perform up there with speakers 2-3 times the price.

I highly recommend these speakers. The simple performance enhancing mods are actually kind of fun to make, plus, you get to see the quality of the speaker inside and out. The crossover looks very professional (not slapped together like cheaper brands). There is a lack of saw dust and wood chips in the interior, unlike cheaper brands, and everything looks precision fit. I just wonder why PSB didn't seal the woofer and the rear panel more effectively and round out the port edges. Oh well. That's why they git a 5 star bargain and only a 4 star overall rating!

Buy these, and have fun!
-Erik
PS I'll be putting a section on these mods on my website:
www.crazyprojects.org
Look for it (today is friday 4/20/2001, it oughta be up this weekend). E-mail me with questions or comments: erikb@ksu.edu

Similar Products Used: Alphas (the grand daddies to the AVs)
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Scott Olson   Audio Enthusiast [Oct 25, 2000]
Strength:

Can't be beat for the money. Great highs, and mid-range, more low-end than expected from small speakers. Video shielded. Clear, crisp sound, little coloration.

Weakness:

not at this price, well maybe the speaker-grills--they can't be removed. And, they are not bi-wireable.

Auditioned some models in my price range: the PSB Alpha A/Vs, the PSB Image 1B, and the Paradigm Mini Monitors.

To my ear the Alpha A/Vs had a more listenable sound than the Mini Monitors or the Image 1Bs. The Mini Monitors had a tendency to be way too bright in the high-end, and the Image 1Bs just didn't seem to have the range of these wondrous little Alphas.

My only pet-peeves with this speaker is the unremovable speaker-grille and the lack of bi-wireability. But, at under $250 per pair, they are awesome.

I originaly intended to use these as temporary front LR speakers in the 5.1 set-up I'm building, and then move them to the rear surround LR stations. However, for my small apartment, I think they will serve very well for the front LR, and I will add more Alpha A/Vs for the rear surrounds.

If you have a small place and a small budget, buy these speakers.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
Mark   Audio Enthusiast [Apr 06, 2000]
Strength:

Good bass response for its size, good sound stage for a small speaker

Weakness:

Highs seemed a little "tiney" and harsh on some music, might cure itself with proper break-in

The I was shopping for a bookshelf speaker for my office. I listened to a few listed above which are all generally in the same price range, the KEF dose retail for $100.00 more but i have a source where I can get them for just over $200.00. The PSB has a good sound stage and good bass response for a small speaker. The mids are also right on target. The cymbal crashes and upper highs seemed a little harsh. That would likely cure itself with proper break-in. I prefer them to the Paradigms and the Boston but the KEF just did everything better except for the lower bass say below 50 cycles. This may not be a fair comparason considering the difference in price, but for what I can get the KEFS for I felt it was fitting. I think if you are looking for a bookshelf speaker you should audition the PSB ALpha a/v. The price is right for the qaulity you get and I don't think you would be unhappy with their sound.

Similar Products Used: KEF Q-15, Paradigm Titans, Atoms, Boston CR7
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
William   Audio Enthusiast [Jan 08, 2001]
Strength:

Price, performance.

Weakness:

Does not put out strong bass, but if you're utilizing this for home cinema, you're covered by the subwoofer.

This is a very good speaker for the price. It is crisp and does a very good job at sound reproduction in the mids and the highs. HOWEVER, as most of the people here have mentioned, these are not going to be putting out room shaking bass. They can be put right next to the wall and you still aren't going to be impressed. Since I use these for my front right lefts in my home theater, though, the subwoofer more than makes up for this speaker's one serious weakness. Still, though, these are going to be doing a hell of a lot better than any minisystem and nearly all of the bookshelfs out there.

I've had these speakers for a while now and I can't complain about the value. I auditioned many speakers before settling on the PSBs and I think the are doing exactly what I expected of them. They are a really fine addition to any starting home cinema enthusiast and I wouldn't have any qualms about recommending them to anyone looking to spend under 400 bucks on a pair of bookshelfs.

I am giving them a five star value rating and a three star overall rating. While they are very good speakers for the price (I'm willing to go so far as to say the best), they will never, ever hold a candle to a Stereophile A-listed piece of equipment.

Similar Products Used: some aiwa and pioneer minisystems.
OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
5
Zeus   Audio Enthusiast [May 21, 2001]
Strength:

Better sound than anticipated out of these boxes

Weakness:

Speaker wire connectors could be better

A great small speaker, using them for my rears in surround sound. Would not hesitate to use them up front for main speakers. Surprisingly good bass out of these boxes.

Build quilty could be a little better. But they do sound nice with excellent detail.

An excellent value, may buy a second pair as B speakers for the dining room.

Similar Products Used: Def Tech, Bose, JBL
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Duan   Casual Listener [Apr 26, 2001]
Strength:

Great sound for the size and price

Weakness:

Non-removeable grill

Shopping to upgrade my Home Theater and was completely sold on these babies.

Great sound! The DefTech's I listened to couldn't compete.
Music sounds great as well as movies. For their size, I loved the bass. That sounded great for music. For movies, though, the sub is definitely needed. Has a nice crossover for music and movies when using the sub.

The non-removeable grill is more of a mental thing that you can't actually look at the speaker. Its a minor drawback.

Similar Products Used: Definitive ProCinema
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Patrick   Audio Enthusiast [Feb 15, 2001]
Strength:

Smooth mid and treble, decent bass for the size and easy to place.

Weakness:

Still lacking punch in bass; needs a subwoofer to complement it.

For $140, I'd say these speakers are the best bargains I've ever found in audio gear. I have them driven with a JVC 817 A/V Receiver and the sound is quite amazing in its overall balance for classical music. The soundstage is wide open and quite airy. Though they need the help of a good subwoofer for home theater, rock music application. Furthermore, they are very easy to place in various listening positions. I can listen to them whole day without fatiguing. WOW!

Similar Products Used: Polk LS50
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
C Lee   Casual Listener [Jan 10, 2001]
Strength:

Clean mids - uncluttered upper

Weakness:

Bass-less

For close to $200, these speakers are quite amazing. While many people would not rate these speakers so highly, they have to keep in mind the price point. Care must be taken in purchasing a quality receiver which can deal with the impedance. As such, you may end up using the savings on these speakers to spend toward a better receiver.

Similar Products Used: B&W DM302
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
4
Showing 1-10 of 16  

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