For a preview of Neil Gader’s upcoming TAS review of the SP-BS22, click here.
PSB’s Paul Barton is a man on a mission and that mission appears to entail creating ever more affordable ways for music lovers to get a good, big taste of high-end sound. A perfect case in point would be PSB’s new Alpha PS1 self-powered desktop monitor ($300/pair) as rolled out at CEDIA. In a sense, the Alpha PS1 looks—and to an extent sounds—like a miniaturized version of PSB’s critically acclaimed Imagine Mini loudspeaker, but one that is presented in a polycarbonate bass reflex enclosure finished in gloss black. The Alpha PS1 features 1 3.5-inch “metallized polypropylene” mid/bass driver and a ¾-inch aluminum tweeter, and incorporates a built-in 2 x 20-watt amplifier. Rear panel stereo inputs include a 3.5mm mini-jack and a pair of traditional RCA-jacks, while a distinctive touch is a built-in subwoofer output that allows listeners to make an easy transition from 2-channel to 2.1-channel listening, simply by adding a good powered sub such as PSB’s Sub 125 ($450).
I’m able to comment on the Alpha PS1’s with some degree of confidence in that several months ago, under a verbal non-disclosure agreement, PSB invited me to hear a prototype of the Alpha PS1 in direct comparison with the Imagine Mini and the Imagine T2 floorstander under blind listening conditions. The little speaker wasn’t quite the equal of its Imagine brethren, but most of the core elements of the traditionally accurate PSB “house sound” were present and accounted for, which is impressive when you consider that the Alpha PS1 A) has built-in amplification, and B) is roughly half the price of the Imagine Mini. The Alpha PS1 should make both a fine and affordable desktop monitor, but can easily be adapted for whole-room use (the combination of a pair of Alpha PS1s plus a Sub 125 gets you a satisfying full-range starter system for a manageable $750).
RBH brought to CEDIA a striking, proof-of-concept prototype for a very high-performance two-way stand-monitor, which featured a Scanspeak tweeter and a proprietary RBH beryllium mid/bass driver. By far the most striking aspect of the design, though, is the fact that both the speakers enclosure and stand system have been fabricated from solid granite (man, talk about “rock solid” sound).
Though the monitor had been brought to CEDIA largely for show-and-tell value, RBH’s Darren Egan said it also served as a stalking horse for purposes of gauging possible consumer interest. If put into production, the yet-to-be-named granite monitors would sell, said Egan, for about $10,000/pair.
Earlier this year Revel previewed some elements of its comparatively affordable Performa3 speaker family, but as of CEDIA the firm announced that it had finalized designs and specifications for all of the Performa3 models and would begin shipping the speakers in December 2012 with the subwoofers to follow in January 2013. Just for the record, the Performa3 family comprises two floorstanders (the F208 at $5000/pair and F206 at $3500/pair), two monitors (the M106 at $2000/pair and M105 at $1500/pair), two center channels (the C208 at $2000/each and C205 at $1000 each), a surround speaker (the S206 at $1800/pair), and two subwoofers (the B112 at $3000 and B110 at $2000). Revel had the entire Performa3 range on static display at CEDIA, but also had a demo system featuring the flagship F208 floorstander, which sounded very, very promising indeed.