A longtime builder of high-quality loudspeakers, PSB has adapted the driver array from its floorstanding Platinum T8 tower into the CW800E, an impressive fullrange in-wall loudspeaker. The tall, rugged wooden enclosure houses a 1-inch metal dome tweeter flanked by two 4.5-inch midranges and two 8-inch woofers, with cones made of woven fiberglass for stiffness with low moving mass. The sealed heavy enclosure eliminates acoustic variables from any structure in which it’s mounted.
Amenities include heavyduty gold-plated terminals; a pair of tone control switches on the front baffle, for tailoring the speaker’s sound to the room, and a perforated, paintable metal grille. The tweeter focuses upper frequencies toward the listening area. Clamps along both sides of the box insure snug installation in drywall.
The CW800E is one of the most ambitious in-walls we’ve tested. Backed by a powerhouse like my Halo A51, it can generate a daunting, palpable soundfield, with real bass, startling midrange clarity, and excellent treble reach. It’s an impressive performer with rock and symphonic pieces, and a good choice for action-film fans. Overall tonal balance is somewhat clinical regardless of where the tone controls are set, and it lacks the soul and magic of the MartinLogan Voyage or the DALI IW3 Euphonia Phantom, both of which offer more musicality at a lower price.
The smaller CWS8 in-wall subwoofer is an open-back design, with two woofers that appear identical to those in the CW800E. Installed in a loosely filled full-size stud bay, the CWS8 can reach lower than its rated 33Hz, at the expense of some boominess. PSB therefore offers an optional CW back box, a sealed enclosure that provides predictable response and keeps the bass in the room. As PSB notes, the CWS8 delivers real impact without spatial intrusion. It could be a good solution where freestanding subwoofers simply aren’t acceptable.
Both the $799 CWSR and the $2749 CW800E are highperformance products. PSB’s elevated pricing, however, may encourage some potential buyers to keep shopping. TPV