Originally Posted by 3db
Yeah, I'm a PSB bargain hunter as I'm nearing retirement. If anything, my going after their older speakers should be seen as a testimonial at how good PSB speakers are now and were back then. My first foray into PSB was with the Image T45s, 8c and B15 purchased new. The T45s measured the flattest across the spectrum among the three towers in that line up and were given high accolades by Soundstage. The Image line up in general had nothing but favourable reviews.
I'm surprised at how similar and close the older PSBs sounded to the Image line. Most of the improvement I heard was in the bass with the T45s digging noticeably deeper then the 600s despite the 600s having 6.5 " drivers to the T45's 5.5" driver.
The mid, highs, and soundstage are so close to call that I would fail a DBT test for sure.
I'd say the same thing with regard to the Imagine line as well. While if you do a simple, one speaker test of center channel vocals to compare, say, the Imagine T2 to the Imagine T3, you can hear differences in the imaging. I did just that when I first got an Imagine T3 for a center, placing it side by side against a T2 and playing some upmixed two channel music with Dolby Surround's center extraction. The T3 had a more "lifelike" sound, which I described at the time as hearing someone sing vs. hearing a recording of someone sing. With the Trinnov Altitude, you can set up two presets and different speaker configurations and compare with something like that.
However, in practice, with either identical or very similar titanium tweeters, and the pains that PSB took to have timber matched speakers throughout their line, you'd be hard pressed to hear differences between the T3, T and T2 in the same room other than for upper bass and below in a multichannel music or immersive audio/movie setting. In my case, the T3s are L/C/R, the Ts are wides and front side surrounds, and the T2 are side surrounds. To be fair, room modes have something to do with what you hear on that bass, but above Schroeder, with the midrange and higher frequencies, the sound is very similar for on-axis response.
I did another test with my Trinnov Altitude: I have a pair of second hand Imagine B6 that I use as left/right centers (one of the Dolby Atmos positions) behind my AT screen, with the T3 I use as a center in the middle that really proves that point. So "old" technology that used, cost me about 10% of what the T3 did when I got it as a former demo to use as a center channel.
Using DTS:X Pro's implementation of Neural:X, you can extract the decorrelated sound from immediately adjacent speakers to these Lc/Rc, which effectively leaves the center channel to play what's unique to that channel vs. a sound that's played more in common between L, C and R on a 5.1 mix (i.e. vocals mixed into the center channel, but also panning from left to center to right). So in effect you're getting a "discrete" center vs. a "phantom" image of the center played by the Lc/Rc.
When I did A/B testing comparing what you hear from just the center channel in the native 5.1 mix of some concert music, compared to what you hear from soloing the Lc/Rc to produce the phantom sound you hear where the center is with the upmix engaged, it's almost identical sounding except that you get slightly great distinction on the vocals, and more depth in the soundstage with the center channel now playing more unique part of the mix.
Naturally I wouldn't want to replace my T3s with Imagine B6
as my mains, and the B6 are used for more specialized effects in an Atmos layout (object passthrough), but it shows just how good PSB's attention to detail was in 20/20 hindsight.