PSB Imagine Mini loudspeaker Associated Equipment

Sidebar 2: Associated Equipment

Analog Sources: Linn Sondek LP12 turntable with Lingo power supply, Linn Ekos tonearm, Linn Arkiv B phono cartridge.
Digital Sources: Ayre Acoustics C-5xeMP & DX-5 universal players; Apple 2.7GHz i7 Mac mini laptop running OS10.7, iTunes 10, Pure Music 1.86; Shuttle PC with Lynx AES16 soundcard & dual-core AMD Athlon processor running Windows 7, Foobar 2000, Adobe Audition 3.0; Musical Fidelity V-DAC II, Benchmark DAC1, Logitech Transporter, Mark Levinson No.30.6 D/A converters; Ayre Acoustics QA-9 USB A/D converter. Empirical Audio Off-Ramp 4 USB–S/PDIF converter.
Preamplification: Liberty B2B-1 phono preamplifier, Classé CP-800 preamplifier.
Power Amplifiers: Classé CT-M600, Lamm M1.2 Reference (both monoblocks).
Loudspeakers: BBC LS3/5a, Emotiva XRT-5.2 X-Ref.
Cables: Digital: DH Labs Silver Sonic. AES/EBU: AudioQuest Coffee, Belkin Gold USB. FireWire: AudioQuest FireWire 400 (prototype). Interconnect (balanced): AudioQuest Wild. Speaker: QED. AC: XLO Reference 3, manufacturers' own.
Accessories: Target TT-5 equipment racks; Ayre Acoustics Myrtle Blocks; ASC Tube Traps, RPG Abffusor panels; Shunyata Research Dark Field cable elevators; Audio Power Industries 116 Mk.II & PE-1, APC S-15 AC line conditioners (computers, hard drive). AC power comes from two dedicated 20A circuits, each just 6' from breaker box.—John Atkinson

PSB Speakers International
633 Granite Court
Pickering, Ontario L1W 3K1
(905) 831-6555

remlab's picture


zomin8tor's picture

The Imagine Mini's are small speakers; ideally suited for desktop or another nearfield experience. As such, and when connected to the NAD D7050 (desktop) amp, and when combined with the PSB 125 sub, I would put these speakers up against almost any floor standing speakers, in an apples to apples comparison, eg, floor standing in a living room and the Mini's in a nearfield environment. For the reviewer to expect that these beautiful little gems were ever going to fill up a room -- especially without a matching sub, was naïve at best. Although, to his credit, the floor stands do insinuate that you could use these in a living room -- but to me that application is more as a subcomponent part of a 5.1, 7.1, etc., system, NOT as the mains.

keith_h's picture

When my wife and I auditioned these some years ago, we had never heard of PSB. We were sure B&W is what we needed. But these sounded much better and the ability to mount neatly on the wall easily got this over the line for our sensibilities.

OK so its an old review, no problem. But it has many of the tropes of audio reviews, pointless observations when a certain piece of equipment is unsuited to a task that its clearly not intended to fulfil. Important looking charts and graphs that tell you nothing of how it will perform in your environment, only how it performed in a lab test. Or how it compares to "reference equipment" which most of us will never listen to let alone own. I never understand the need to supply this information.

Additionally the reviewer shows they have no clue about how to most effectively utilise these speakers and so makes some unusual assumptions and generalisations while trying to figure it out.

Here's what I've learned as a long time owner. Despite these speakers being around a looong time as I write they still kick butt sonically, when setup right. They are small for a reason and work well in a small space. They will not fill an auditorium, and while they do have a matching floor stand, this is not where they shine. We had them on floor stands for a while, but when we mounted them on the matching wall stands, amazeballs. This positions them where the designers intended and brought them to life compared to using floor stands.

The wall stands take care of the way the wiring is configured as well, something that seems to confound all reviewers. Its a simple thing folks, a neat touch and works as intended concealing the wiring. I managed to easily get banana plugs in there, unsure what everyone else's issue is with this configuration other than its not typical.

Paired with a small sub like the PSB 200, you get full and pleasing sound reproduction entirely suited to a small space. High up on the wall they are well out of the way and pretty much invisible as well in the white finish.

They are not especially efficient, but paired with a decent amp, they light up nicely. You won't get epic dynamics, but you will get a nice smooth clean sound that punishes poorly recorded material, and will bring out things you've not hear before in some recordings. Poorly recorded material will sound truly terrible, flat and lifeless. Well crafted recordings are eye opening, these speakers are quite revealing in that way.

You won't get PA levels of volume of course, but its good to know you can rock the house if you must, especially with a sub.

After some years of ownership, they continue to deliver a satisfying listening experience.

keith_h's picture

A further observation following environmental changes likely unforseen when these speakers were first reviewed. First the rise of streaming and digital music which has all but seen the demise of the traditional record shop as we once knew it. Vinyl is on the rise for enthusiasts, but digital is largely how things get done these days, either streaming or digitised recordings of some sort. My CD collection for example resides on a NAS as FLAC files.

The next thing is the rise of the single box streaming solution, compact powerful devices that connect all your digital music making it accessible via a mobile device of some sort. And finally, the implementation of room correction software like Dirac.

Imagine all this in one box and you have the NAD M10 in my case, the only input is an ethernet cable and connected to these venerable speakers, elevates them even further. It's a testament to the original design and implementation of these speakers as to how good they sound on the newest equipment all these years later.

Dirac performs some sort of incredible magic with them, sound just comes from everywhere, almost like a pair of Maggies. There is greater detail and dynamics present in music we have been listening to for years. In some cases, the music just soars. It's an interesting experience from two small boxes high on a wall and a small sub which now has its crossover controlled by Dirac. Hence low bass is present and deeply satisfying.

Long story short, all the things that were always very good, now raised to a new level. The PSB Imagine Mini combined with the PSB Sub Series 200 have been an excellent choice. Combined with the NAD M10, it now delivers hours of next level enjoyment.