PSB Speakers Alpha Mini Floorstanding Speakers

Alpha Mini

This tiny (6-1/2 x 10-3/8 x 9-3/4 inches) bookshelf speaker combines a 5-1/4-inch woofer (treated fiber cone and rubber surround) with a 1/2-inch polycarbonate dome tweeter that is cooled with ferrofluid.

User Reviews (25)

Showing 1-10 of 25  
Henry Underwood   Audio Enthusiast [Dec 03, 2003]
Strength:

Bass response, price, quality Sounds like a much larger speaker Easy to be in a "sweet spot" (best imaging, response)

Weakness:

there are no weaknesses to a speaker with this kind of performance for the money

An amazing bookshelf speaker with great bass response and "musicality." I have used them alone for a few years listening to mostly electronic and dance music. I am currently driving them with a Yamaha USB device called with RP-U100, which claims to have about 30 watts for each f the two channels. But I have found they make more volume than i ever care to use anyway :). They have also been powered much more generously by a Nakamichi RE-3. These are great bookshelf speakers that don't need a lot of power. They make very good bass, but are a great match for a tight, powered subwoofer.

Similar Products Used: I have heard a lot, but this was my first pair of speakers.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
MaxxC   Audio Enthusiast [Sep 20, 2003]
Strength:

Very solid all around performer. Can be used without a subwoofer in smaller rooms. Adds life to poor recordings. Nice alternative to Pardigm atoms which sound a little flat in comparison.

Weakness:

Midrange while good dosent sound quite as fluid as the Aperions or Axioms on Acoustic tracks. Soundstage at time can sound a little constricted.

I have often recommended the Alpha Minis to those looking to budget bookshelf speakers but realize I have never reviewed them. I have reviewed several other speakers at audioreview: Aperion 502d, Axiom Mzeroti, Polk r10, and Pinnacle PN5+ and these are probably the most difficult ones to review. Difficult because they really seem to be to have any particular sound or coloration. Treble is detailed but not analytical, midrange neutral and bass appears to go deeper then any of the above speakers. I get the impression these speakers were voiced to work well with budget components and recordings of less then audiophile quality. Using a tube amp in place of a generic receiver didn't have the impact on the sound that seemed to help some of the other speakers. Conversely the Alpha minis seemed to sound good regardless of the type of music or recording quality. A rare quality indeed. Without knowing ones musical taste or what equipment a listener would be using I would probaly be inclined to recommend these before any of the above mentioned speakers. Are they better then all the above? No. But all around think most listeners, especially new into hifi, would really appreciate the overall sound and their ability to add life to flat or poor quality recordings.

Similar Products Used: Aperion 502d ($380) Axioms Mzerti ($185) Pinnacle PN5+ ($140) Polk r10 ($160) Minimus-7 ($100) Focus Audio FS688 ($2600) and some Acoustic Research AR18's.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
johnrivers   Casual Listener [Jan 27, 2003]
Strength:

sound quality / price ratio.

Weakness:

Cabinet material, rear port ( I prefer front ports for wall mounting/placement), fixed grills.

Great set of speakers (for the price and size). I bought them for the kitchen and was rather surprised at the bloom and bass of these little speakers. Upper octave range was handled well too.

Similar Products Used: Mirage sats. H/K amp.
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
mesten   Audio Enthusiast [Jul 27, 2002]
Strength:

Openness, imaging, vocals, bass.

Weakness:

Should be on stands, not on shelving unless it is open in the back. The rear port causes booming if too close to a wall.

Wonderful, open sound, with surprising base from so small a speaker. Outstanding vocals as well. My listening room is 13x13, and this speaker fills it nicely.

Similar Products Used: Mirage, Boston Acoustics, Cambridge Soundworks, Aura.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Jim   Audio Enthusiast [Mar 01, 2002]
Strength:

Clear and solid. Very transparent and stage well.

Weakness:

Pushing a lot of bass through them will cause distortion at higher levels, but that''s to be expected. Adding a sub should alleviate.

Excellent! No drawn out review here. These speakers sound wonderful and I''m surprised at the quality of the low range. Superb speakers for the money.

Similar Products Used: KEF, Klipsch
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Jim   Audio Enthusiast [Feb 27, 2002]
Strength:

Good but not great midrange,imaging and dynamics.

Weakness:

Not a great sounstage,a little boxy.

Very good little speaker.For the money it does a lot of things right.It has good imaging with good midrange and voices are very good.I won''t however say that it sounds like a speaker 2 or 3 times more expensive.My Snell K111 were more expensive and the little PSB''s can''t touch them.But again for the money they are a real nice small speaker for a bedroom as i use them or other small room or for surrounds.I got the older model which to my ear sound better than PSB''s newer version.

Similar Products Used: Snell speakers(AWESOME),Paradigm,AR,NHT,Mirage.
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Will Binegar   Audio Enthusiast [May 04, 2001]
Strength:

Surprisingly big sound for such a little speaker

This is a great little speaker at the price. I set up four of them with a PSB sub for my in-laws in a large room with a fairly high ceiling, and they sound great.

A comment on the review below: For $200 (street price), you can move up to the Alpha A/V.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
M.J.(Bubba) Hacker Jr.   Audio Enthusiast [May 02, 2001]
Strength:

Nice compact monitor with good bass!

Weakness:

Detail is good, but sounds as if coming from a box.

I used the PSB Alpha Mini with an NAD C740 receiver, and a Yamaha RX496 receiver. This was in my office which is just for music listening. I liked the sound of the PSB's...it is non fatigueing and pleasant. Something seemed to be missing though so I looked elsewhere. I found the Phase Tech Teatro 4.5's and now I know what was missing. The Teatro lets the music breath. It's a much more transparent speaker. The bass is right up there with the Alpha Mini, but the Teatro is so much more spacious in sound. Unbelievable is a better word. They also only cost $200.00 a pair and their very attractive too. Check it out for yourself. Enjoy!

Similar Products Used: Phase Tech Teatro 4.5
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Jota Gomez   Audiophile [Jun 30, 2001]
Strength:

Vocals - midrange, treble; Price; Overall a very fine sonic reproduction at an unbeatable price.

Weakness:

Cannot take off the speaker grill; as with the majority of bookshelf speakers bass reproduction is not the final word.

First let me state that this speaker is being used in a second system in small room with the approximate measurements of 9 ft x 9 ft. Therefore the goal was to purchase an inexpensive bookshelf speaker(<$350) that would be paired with mid-fi electronics.

Associated equipment:
Sony XA20ES single cd player
NAD 350 integrated amplifier
Monster interconnect 850
Monster spkr cable MCX-2s

It is known that one cannot expect a deep bass reproduction from a bookshelf spkr. What I was searching for was an accurate reproduction of the midrange, treble frequencies that sound natural - not too "warm" nor too "cold".
Granted my Sony cd player is a tad bit on the analytic side but paired with the warm NAD integrated amp, their synergies work out perfect.

Out of the bookshelf spkrs that I've auditioned, the two that were possible candidates were: KEF Q5(?) and a new aluminum monitor from Pinnacle (Quantum series?).
-The Pinnacle was the front runner (small, beautiful looks, big sound towards the analytic side, overall great presentation from such a small spkr). Downside was the price tag of $400.00 & you had to turn up the volume to fully appreciate the spkrs capabilities.
-The KEF sounded great - bass was more pronounced & the vocal presentation was the focal point - warm, sweet. However the price tag was still a little high $350.00
-The Paradigm Atom seemed to be my choice - $190.00, great overall balance - not too warm, not too cold. Very good value for the money.

Of the speakers that I was not able to audition, I have heard people raving about the Axiom M 3Ti - Soundstage.com; it's affiliate Goodsound.com; positive comments on Audio Asylum & Audio review. The only thing is that one has to purchase them direct from the manufacturer, via mail before auditioning them. I spoke with them & they seemed very nice, stating the 30 day return policy & reimbursement of the shipping charges if one returned the spkrs.
The same for the Triangle Titus, however they are currently experiencing a backlog & a dealer is not located nearby.
The other speakers I found positive reviews, but no dealers close by.

When I bought the NAD 350 integrated amp (great sound!), I found a special on the PSB Alpha Mini blemished for $150. I auditioned them with the NAD & assaulted them with a wide range of music. Granted the bass was not the best but with bookshelfs I believe one must look for vocals. The Alpha mini's did this perfect. I compared them to their big brother Alpha A/V but in my humble opinion I thought that the extra bass "clouded" the presentation. Regarding the blemish, I really could not find it. No streaks or discoloration of the speaker enclosure.

I must say that that for the price & 5 yr warranty & sound, one cannot go wrong with the PSB Alpha Mini's. To do these speakers justice, possible suggestions are NAD, Cambridge Audio, or Creek for <$600.00 With my setup I am really enjoying the music.

A word of advice for those looking to purchase an inexpensive pair of bookshelf spkrs (<$350):
1. have your priorities straight in the what you are looking for in the spkrs
2. establish your budget
3. audition

As to give this review as much transparency as possible, I am very much drawn by the accurate, natural representations of vocals, thus judging from my reference gear I may be inclined towards a "warmer" sound but not at the expense of accuracy & detail. As always listen with your ears, not with these words!

Reference system:
Avantgarde Duos
BAT Tube amplifier
BAT Tube preamplifier
Meridian CD player
Analysis plus spkr cables
Tara Labs I/C (Preamp to amp)
Harmonic Technologies I/C (CD to preamp)

Similar Products Used: Auditioned: Paradigm Atom, Paradigm Mini monitor; KEF; Pinnacle; Mission; Polk; Klipsch; NHT Super Zero.
Researched but did not audition: Ascend acoustics; Triangle Titus; Axiom M 3Ti; Energy; Phase Technology.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Stuart   Audio Enthusiast [Oct 31, 2000]
Strength:

Quality for the price, excellent clarity and staging

Weakness:

At the price point ...none

Great little speakers, tremendous value for the price, there are smaller speakers out there for sure but these speakers are sized to give a little bit more bass. Highly recommended for a smaller room....give them a listen and compare to other speakers in the same price range.

Similar Products Used: Boston Acoustics HD5
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 25  

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