PBN Shows Mercy. Was KimberKable Responsible?

Last year in Long Beach, PBN Audio's Peter Noerbaek was so eager to show what his humongous speakers could accomplish without distortion that he cranked up the volume far louder than the New York Subway System at its worst. As I thanked my lucky stars that I was some distance away from the huge room's doorway when the eruption occurred, a member of T.H.E. Show staff came running.

"The glass walls on our office are shaking!" he yelled, as he made show policy clear. Only after that did I feel safe to enter.

This time, perhaps the fear of God or Ray Kimber's beneficent presence radiated so strongly through his Carbon, PK10 Gold, and D60 cabling that Noerbaek hung loose. All I know for certain is that when I entered, Chet Baker was blowing mellow tones through his LP, Alone Together. Lovely, smooth, mellifluous... Chet sounded great. Switching gears just a bit, Satchmo's voice and trumpet sounded fabulous and warm on Duke's Place. I loved what I heard.

This is not to dismiss PBN's MR!X loudspeaker system ($55,000/pair) as wimpish. Anything but. With 1000W class-D amplifiers in their woofer cabinets, these babies and their 18" 2268-H drivers, mounted in 6 cubic foot enclosures tuned to 35Hz, are not shy. But from what I heard in my admittedly brief time in the room, neither are they brutish. With their 2360 Bi-Radial horn and 2452 SL-H compression driver with Aquaplas-coated diaphragm, this 260lb "precision-programed electronic speaker" boasts 98dB sensitivity. Cabinets are asymmetrical hexagonal, mirrored left to right.

PBN's EB-SA1 450Wpc monoblocks ($34,500/pair; above). LXiS line amplifier ($22,000), and PXiS phono stage ($22,000) received signal from a Groovemaster vintage direct-drive turntable ($30,000; below) with Triplanar U12 tonearm ($9600) and Lyra Lambda Atlas cartridge ($11,500). I wish I could have stayed for more.