Psb imagine xb speaker review
Panurgic, Sonics, Badinage enough said!
I have the priviliege of reviewing Paul (Sue) Barton's (PSB) Imagine XB bookshelf speakers and the NAD D3020 in my home studio in a 2 channel setup only.
Having warmed up the Imagine XB's with a variety of music to break-in the drivers (in which i am a firm believer) the words to describe them are panurgic, sonics, badinage.
Before i describe the sound of the XB's i want to comment on the packaging as often i find in reviews no-one comments on how the manufacturer takes time to make sure you get an undamaged package.
As you can see the XB's are protected very well in their containers. This reviewer got a good vibe seeing the care PSB puts into its packaging. Their casing was tight and well protected in its styrofoam surround and plastic coverings.
The PSB imagine XB's were attached to the NAD D3020 2 channel processor ($600). 16 guage speaker wire. An Onkyo 7030 CD player with Wolfson DAC and a Toshiba Satelite 650 (MP3) were used to evaluate these speakers. Toed-in to 15 degrees at the main listening position (MLP).
The word panurgic means to be good at all kinds of tasks. That is the best characteristic to describe these little gems. The PSB Imagine XB's sound like more expensive speakers than their asking price of $500 a pair.
Kiesza's Sound of a Woman is well produced. Her voice sounds pronounced on the XB's. I was quite impressed by just how well these speakers did in imaging. It sounded like she was in the center of the room. I was surprised at the openess the Imagine XB's offer.
I thought well, maybe it was the production and that other less produced recordings (MP3) would not sound as good. I was wrong.....
I used Sade's Ultimate Collection and again the Imagine XB's didn't break a sweat. They met every demand Sade's tracks gave them.
Bookshelf speakers are supposed to sound tinny and not be very good at handling dynamics? Not an issue with these guys. I switched music sources on the NAD D3020 to my computer and sent MP3 recordings to the XB's. I was not disappointed with what i heard. I set my MP3 player on the Toshiba Satelite 650 on random. A few tracks that were surprisingly detailed for an MP3 besides Sade's Ultimate Collection was...
Tori Amos: Flavor and Winter from Gold Dust. This is a great album for listening to the imaging and nuances of your speakers. Tori is accompanied by an orchestra for the entire album. The Imagine XB's seamlessly integrated Tori's piano into my listening area. Each key stroke was easily heard and if I closed my eyes I could almost picture her playing in my studio.
As i couldn't wait to get back to the Wolfson DAC of the Onkyo 7030, i decided to switch from dance and r&b music to blues. I wanted to listen for detail i know very well in the Black Keys tribute to the late, great Junior Kimbrough. Chulahoma is my go to disc for blues. Work Me and Nobody But You were the songs that the XB's were faced with. The amount of detail these speakers possess are well worth the money. The scales Dan Auerbach's fingers run down can be made out with ease. The vocals so enthralling that i had to listen to the tracks over again. Bass with the Imagine XB's is ample for a bookshelf speaker.
My most trusted source for testing the sonics of speakers is Chris Cornell's Songbook CD. I used the tracks: As Hope and Promise Fade and Wide Awake. The Imagine XB's were pure listening delight. The acoustic guitar intricacy that Chris uses were so crisp and present with the XB's that as a reviewer, i was raving!
Playful these speakers are. After putting the XB's through the paces with MP3's and a host of CD recordings, badinage is the only word to describe my conclusions. As a prosepctive buyer out there in the world keep these words in the back of your mind when auditioning the PSB Imagine XB's (Panurgic, Sonics, Badinage). Truly a speaker that can handle whatever you send its way.
Available in Canada: Bay Bloor Radio, Kennedy Hi-fi, Crutchfield. Various dealers in USA and Worldwide.
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