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PSB Imagine T2






Optimal Placement
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Wayne Myers (AudiocRaver)

Specifications

  • Transitional 5-way System, Triple Port Bass Reflex, 3 Individual Woofer Chambers
  • Frequency Response @0°: 34 Hz – 23 kHz (± 3 dB)
  • Frequency Response @0°: 36 Hz – 20 kHz (± 1.5 dB)
  • Frequency Response @30°: 36 Hz – 10 kHz (± 1.5 dB)
  • Power Handling: 300 W
  • Sensitivity: 88 dB Anechoic, 90 dB Typical Room (2.83 V/1 m)
  • Impedance: 4 Ohms Min, 6 Ohm Nominal
  • Woofer Size: 5.25”
  • Midrange Size: 4"
  • Tweeter Size: 1"
  • Crossover: 500Hz LR4, 1800Hz, LR4
  • Tuning Port: Three, Spaced Along Rear
  • Dimensions: 40 5/8" H x 8 3/8" W x 13 5/8" D
  • Weight (Each): ~43 lbs.
  • MSRP (Pair): $3,498
Configuration

The Imagine T2 Imagine T2 Tower is a Transitional 5-way System, Triple Port Bass Reflex, with 3 Individual Woofer Chambers. It includes one 1” (25mm) Titanium Dome Tweeter with Ferrofluid Neodymium Magnet, one 4” (102mm) Clay/Ceramic filled Polypropylene Cone Midrange with Rubber Surround, and three 5 1/4” (133mm)
Clay/Ceramic filled Polypropylene Cone Woofers with Rubber Surround.

Imagine T2 Website

Setup and Placement Flexibility

The Imagine T2 took a bit more time than usual to get placed property. Their stealth-like curves gave us no flat surface to place our laser distance meter for measurements and alignment, which turned out to be crucial for the Imagine T2. It was worth every second when we heard the excellent soundstage and imaging that they would finally give us.

We pulled the Imagine T2 back into the room a second time for their Audyssey MultEQ evaluation. Even with their previous location carefully marked, once set them up again the soundstage was just not the same. Tweaking the listening angle very slightly, suddenly that sharp, lively soundstage was back again just as we remembered it.

Out of curiosity, we measured the angle of that last tiny adjustment. It was one degree. That one degree difference in listening angle transformed the soundstage and imaging from pretty good to excellent.

That experience got us wondering how many speakers are in use that could sound dramatically better than they do with just a few little positioning tweaks. The Imagine T2 is a good example of the possibilities that can sometimes be achieved through persistence in the setup process, and the opportunities missed out on when listeners fail to truly understand the range of performance their speakers can deliver.

Impressions

What a great sounding pair of speakers. There are speakers that seem to fulfill every requirement, yet, like at the end of a first date, you just never end up calling again. The Imagine T2, while perhaps not perfect, just clicked for me, and I knew I wanted a second date before the first was even over.

I liked the tweeter being placed between the top woofer and the

Frequency Response, Bass Extension



Room EQ Wizard MDAT file for download:

Frequency response at the final location sounded very even to me, not flat, but nicely balanced with freedom from any annoying peaks or resonances. The mids and highs from the Imagine T2 were very smooth. The detail of Sarah's voice on Reasons Why was very clear and natural. The orchestra and guitar on Baby I'm a Fool were especially spacious. The combo on Struttin' With Some Barbecue was lively and natural. The Imagine T2 would be great with any live recordings I could think of. The detail of the saxophone's tonal character was perfectly represented.

One noteworthy point is the way the spread arrangement of the woofers and ports manages to avoid the deep low-frequency dips that many speakers end up with in our room. The emphasis between 100 and 200 Hz was smooth enough to not sound peaky.

Our measurements indicated some mismatch between the speakers through the midrange and we were nervous that imaging clarity might be impacted. It was a pleasant surprise that the imaging and soundstage were nothing short of smashing.

Soundstage and Imaging

The Imagine T2 soundstage and imaging were absolutely excellent. Every sound image was precisely localized, depth acuity was razor sharp, and there was clear - almost dark - empty spaces in between. It was not the magical carved-in-space soundstage we knew was possible in that room, but it was definitely one to be envied. On Chant, an especially detailed track for sound stage evaluation, every little tinkle of the rainstick had its own spot in space defined, including its unique distance from the listener, or so it seemed. I am not quite sure how that would be done in the recording process, but it was fascinating. Handclaps, finger snaps, little percussive sounds, details that normally blend into a mix were all independent in the soundstage, the image clarity and depth acuity were so clear. No individual sound was mashed in with the others out of laziness, the Imagine T2 were thorough in treating each and every speck of sound with the greatest of care.

It is interesting that PSB arranged the tweeter between the top woofer and the midrange driver. I have noticed many times that the best imaging and soundstage are found being on axis with the midrange driver rather than the tweeter, and wonder if this arrangement somehow contributes to the performance we witnessed.

On Ode to a Butterfly, the body of the big standup bass appeared clearly defined, as it was with the guitar body. Even the guitar strings seemed to be individually represented. I know a lot of this is not actually possible in the recording process, and assume at some point the psycho-acoustical brain pitches in with information from memories. That sound is so real, it must be coming from something that looks like THIS.

We had one wandering instrument episode, the trumpet in Strange Fruit. One evaluator noticed this and another joined the investigation while the other two tapped their feet impatient over the whole affair. As with the wandering banjo in another review, there was ultimately no explanation for it and no repositioning of the speakers that would resolve it.

On Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm, the space in which Brad's voice was recorded seemed well captured by the recording, and was well represented by the Imagine T2, a space within a space. On this track the soundstage was simply gorgeous, wide open and super clean. The soaring synthesizer on Rhinestone Eyes etched its trajectory through space, was as easy to follow as a jet trail. On Shallow, the location of the guitar amp cabinet was as clear as day.

With a soundstage like this, one can learn much by listening to the space between the notes, the open spaces between this sounds. On Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm and Chant, they were wide open, completely blank. That contrast in a well-defined soundstage is delicious to witness.

Melody Gardot's voice on Baby I'm a Fool hung in space, its depth precisely located in the soundstage. Even the spacial relationship between her voice and the drums, normally not noticeable, was well defined here.

Through the B-52's tracks, the location of every instrument was clearly defined. Interestingly, it again seemed easy to visualize the size and shape of guitar and bass speaker cabinets. Depth acuity was precisely indicating the distance from the listener of the instruments, voices, and guitar and bass cabinets.

Clarity & Power Handling

The Imagine T2 handled our base power punches on the Star Trek theme with ease, and handled loud guitar and rock tracks with no indication of compression or loss of dynamic range at any volume level. The fat snare drum on Shallow was especially punchy and stayed perfectly clear. Cymbals on all tracks were beautifully clear and clean.

Performance at Final Position With Audyssey MultEQ XT32

The soundstage and imaging with Audyssey MultEQ were not as sharp as without. The wandering trumpet on Strange Fruit settle down some, but not completely. The frequency response variations were flattened out very nicely. But that gorgeous soundstage and the super-sharp imaging were somewhat vague and fuzzy in comparison.

Our experience with this and other speakers in the evaluation has me thinking that more complex correction like Audyssey MultEQ simply tries to do too much with an already fine soundstage, especially if placement is crucial, while speakers that give a fair-to-good soundstage or allow more placement flexibility can benefit from that kind of correction. With the Imagine T2, I would recommend that any correction be done with parametric EQ sparingly applied and equally to both channels.

Performance Close to the Front Wall

The Imagine T2 performed fairly well close to the wall. The soundstage had no depth to speak of but was fairly wide and open. Imaging was fair but not tightly defined. Bass response was somewhat accentuated, but not horribly so, and was only slightly slurred as can be the case with speakers at that location. Especially at the zero-toe-in orientation they sounded quite natural and neutral.

Physical and Visual

The Imagine T2, one of the smaller speakers to be evaluated, was slim with stealth-llke curves and a piano black finish. The way the woofers are spread along the height of the tower was unusual and made them appear even slimmer, almost delicate. That might have affected my expectations, as I almost did not think they would do well in handling power and delivering deep, strong bass when asked to. But that illusion was dispelled readily in the listening tests.

Overall Listening Experience

The PSB Imagine T2 Tower gave us a very pleasing and satisfying performance. I had heard a PSB bookshelf speaker years ago in a setting that what is far less than ideal and was not all that impressed, yet I had heard so many good things about them since that I expected them to do well. I was not disappointed in the least. By the end of my listening session, I was tapping my foot and practically dancing in my seat with the music, enjoying it that much. And wondering how to get another date with those speaker. I honestly have a hard time imagining any listener not falling in love with them.


Leonard Caillouet (lcaillo)

Here


Joe Alexander (ALMFamily)

Having heard three speakers from PSB before the evaluation (Synchrony One and Two as well as the T5), I had an idea in my head going in what the T2 might be capable of doing. For my own personal speaker journey I started when I began to build my home theater, the Synchrony Ones were at the top of my list for quite a while.

The finish was a very well done gloss black finish, and, same as the Phase Tech, it was almost a mirror finish with no visible defects. The driver color gives the front baffle a very distinguished look and the cabinet’s tapered design gives them a bit of character. The feet were a bit tricky to get screwed in without feeling like I was cross-threading them, but of course that does not get done that often so it was not a deal breaker for me. These are obviously new as there were still plugs in the connectors which we took out to get the banana plugs in. They were very easy to carry as there are three ports in the back to use as hand holds. Packaging on these was excellent.

We set them up close to the wall with a toed-in orientation first. From this position, the banjo in Ode To A Butterfly images directly on the speaker and the mandolin and violin are a bit compressed spatially. The rain stick panning at the start of Chant was excellent with no audible hole in the effect, but bass seems a bit boomy and loose. The imaging in Strange Fruit was very compressed spatially, but vocals seemed to have a bit of depth which was unexpected. Once we turned them straight, the banjo in Ode images just inside (as in right next to) the right speaker, and the mandolin and violin have a tad more spatial separation but not a significant amount. There is still a bit of a boomy feel to the bass with certain notes. Strange Fruit images the same as it did from the toed-in orientation. Ultimately, it does not sound like there is much difference between a straight and toed-in orientation.



Track 1 - Ode to a Butterfly

Excellent banjo picking as well as the mandolin. Very tight imaging with definitive separation. Love hearing that string vibration. Detail on the mandolin is quite amazing.

Track 2 - Chant

Excellent rain stick panning. Extremely tight bass – no residual ringing heard. Whoa – mid punch of the snare!!!! Excellent low end impact that does not overpower the piano. Piano detail is very good – can “see” the key strokes. Pretty decent off axis – slight degradation of imaging.

Track 3 - Reasons Why

Very deep vocal soundstage. Vocals are very delicate – surprising for me. Again, string detail is fantastic.

Track 4 - Strange Fruit

Love how you can “feel” the standup bass. Images perfectly – the height difference between the lap guitar and vocals is easily detected. Really felt like I was at a live performance. Again, string detail is amazing. There is some detail from the lap guitar that I do not recall hearing previously. Just an effortless vocal sound – no signs of strain at all. Heard that click in her breath at the 4:50 minute mark – excellent detail!

Track 5 - Struttin' with some Barbeque

Great depth on the trumpet. No cringing or sense of fatigue.

Track 6 - One

Can hear the depth on the guitar from the bass guitar. Excellent low end impact. Very clean kick drum sequence.

Track 7 - Hells Bells

Excellent resonant bell ringing. String detail! High hat splash!! Good low end impact.

Track 8 - Let It Go

A open, delicate sound that is engaging and powerful. A real live feel. Images perfectly. Excellent handling of the dynamic range with no sign of compression at all.

Track 9 - Where Do The Children Play

String detail again – would love to hear Keith Don’t Go on these. Again, a very live feel to the vocals with good soundstage depth. Vocal detail is very good. Handles the vocal dynamics perfectly.

Track 10 - Tricycle

Definitely jump worthy - handles that dynamic shift incredibly. Excellent detail on the high hat ping – no residual splash.

Track 11 - Just One Of Those Things

Piano sounds deep in the soundfield.

Track 12 - Walking On The Moon

Excellent snare roll. Delicate sax sound – can hear the buzzing. Snap of hitting a wooden block very crisp.



I was out of the room when the Melody Gardot track was played on these, but I did not note any uncomfortable sibilance during any of the previous tracks.

Overall, I really liked this speaker as it does everything well and really excels at string detail. Vocals did seem slightly muted which I normally liken to a dome tweeter. Placement was a bit dicey – the front baffle does not have a straight surface that allowed us to use the laser to get the toe in the same. We spent a bit of time trying to get them exact.

We ran Audyssey on Sunday. The mandolin and fiddle separation during Ode To A Butterfly was slightly better, and the vocals seemed less muted. The kick drum in Chant was a bit less precise – the imaging was fuzzy. The imaging in Strange Fruit was dicey – all instruments seem to wander. Vocals definitely do not sound as muted as they did pre-Audyssey as there was much more presence. However, imaging took a definitive hit as everything seemed fuzzy and wandering. So, we decided to turn it off and make sure of what we were hearing. Sure enough, imaging was much more precise with Audyssey off. Now, we just ran Audyssey from one position (the MLP) so it is conceivable that this would be better if we did the run at multiple listening positions.
 

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Having heard three speakers from PSB before the evaluation (Synchrony One and Two as well as the T5), I had an idea in my head going in what the T2 might be capable of doing. For my own personal speaker journey I started when I began to build my home theater, the Synchrony Ones were at the top of my list for quite a while.

The finish was a very well done gloss black finish, and, same as the Phase Tech, it was almost a mirror finish with no visible defects. The driver color gives the front baffle a very distinguished look and the cabinet’s tapered design gives them a bit of character. The feet were a bit tricky to get screwed in without feeling like I was cross-threading them, but of course that does not get done that often so it was not a deal breaker for me. These are obviously new as there were still plugs in the connectors which we took out to get the banana plugs in. They were very easy to carry as there are three ports in the back to use as hand holds. Packaging on these was excellent.

We set them up close to the wall with a toed-in orientation first. From this position, the banjo in Ode To A Butterfly images directly on the speaker and the mandolin and violin are a bit compressed spatially. The rain stick panning at the start of Chant was excellent with no audible hole in the effect, but bass seems a bit boomy and loose. The imaging in Strange Fruit was very compressed spatially, but vocals seemed to have a bit of depth which was unexpected. Once we turned them straight, the banjo in Ode images just inside (as in right next to) the right speaker, and the mandolin and violin have a tad more spatial separation but not a significant amount. There is still a bit of a boomy feel to the bass with certain notes. Strange Fruit images the same as it did from the toed-in orientation. Ultimately, it does not sound like there is much difference between a straight and toed-in orientation.



Track 1 - Ode to a Butterfly

Excellent banjo picking as well as the mandolin. Very tight imaging with definitive separation. Love hearing that string vibration. Detail on the mandolin is quite amazing.

Track 2 - Chant

Excellent rain stick panning. Extremely tight bass – no residual ringing heard. Whoa – mid punch of the snare!!!! Excellent low end impact that does not overpower the piano. Piano detail is very good – can “see” the key strokes. Pretty decent off axis – slight degradation of imaging.

Track 3 - Reasons Why

Very deep vocal soundstage. Vocals are very delicate – surprising for me. Again, string detail is fantastic.

Track 4 - Strange Fruit

Love how you can “feel” the standup bass. Images perfectly – the height difference between the lap guitar and vocals is easily detected. Really felt like I was at a live performance. Again, string detail is amazing. There is some detail from the lap guitar that I do not recall hearing previously. Just an effortless vocal sound – no signs of strain at all. Heard that click in her breath at the 4:50 minute mark – excellent detail!

Track 5 - Struttin' with some Barbeque

Great depth on the trumpet. No cringing or sense of fatigue.

Track 6 - One

Can hear the depth on the guitar from the bass guitar. Excellent low end impact. Very clean kick drum sequence.

Track 7 - Hells Bells

Excellent resonant bell ringing. String detail! High hat splash!! Good low end impact.

Track 8 - Let It Go

A open, delicate sound that is engaging and powerful. A real live feel. Images perfectly. Excellent handling of the dynamic range with no sign of compression at all.

Track 9 - Where Do The Children Play

String detail again – would love to hear Keith Don’t Go on these. Again, a very live feel to the vocals with good soundstage depth. Vocal detail is very good. Handles the vocal dynamics perfectly.

Track 10 - Tricycle

Definitely jump worthy - handles that dynamic shift incredibly. Excellent detail on the high hat ping – no residual splash.

Track 11 - Just One Of Those Things

Piano sounds deep in the soundfield.

Track 12 - Walking On The Moon

Excellent snare roll. Delicate sax sound – can hear the buzzing. Snap of hitting a wooden block very crisp.



I was out of the room when the Melody Gardot track was played on these, but I did not note any uncomfortable sibilance during any of the previous tracks.

Overall, I really liked this speaker as it does everything well and really excels at string detail. Vocals did seem slightly muted which I normally liken to a dome tweeter. Placement was a bit dicey – the front baffle does not have a straight surface that allowed us to use the laser to get the toe in the same. We spent a bit of time trying to get them exact.

We ran Audyssey on Sunday. The mandolin and fiddle separation during Ode To A Butterfly was slightly better, and the vocals seemed less muted. The kick drum in Chant was a bit less precise – the imaging was fuzzy. The imaging in Strange Fruit was dicey – all instruments seem to wander. Vocals definitely do not sound as muted as they did pre-Audyssey as there was much more presence. However, imaging took a definitive hit as everything seemed fuzzy and wandering. So, we decided to turn it off and make sure of what we were hearing. Sure enough, imaging was much more precise with Audyssey off. Now, we just ran audyssey from one position (the MLP) so it is conceivable that this would be better if we did the run at multiple listening positions.
 
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