PSB’s plasma-friendly VisionSound speaker line includes the floorstanding VS400 and the standalone/ wall-mount VS300, available in black or titanium finishes. Our review system consisted of five VS300 satellites plus a 150-watt SubSeries 5i subwoofer.
The flexible VS300s work equally well in vertical or horizontal orientations, and as freestanding or on-wall speakers. The speakers provide two switch-selectable crossover settings— NORMAL, for freestanding applications, and ON-WALL, a setting that compensates for wall bounce and other on-wall response anomalies. The VS300s ship with adjustable wall-mount brackets and center-channel feet, but can be converted for vertical, tabletop use via a kit that provides bolt-on, pedestal-type stands. We used our VS300 mains and surrounds in tabletop configurations.
The VS300 system’s tonal balance falls just on the warm side of neutrality, with punchy bass, a vibrant midrange, and clear but slightly understated highs. This balance represents a smart compromise on PSB’s part because it makes the VS300s relatively tolerant of modest electronics while still enabling the system to sound vivid and engaging. I was impressed by how articulate and detailed the VS300’s midrange was, and by how loudly the system could play.
PSB’s VisionSounds use new longthrow, four-inch midbass drivers that push bass response down to a respectable 68Hz. More importantly, the drivers reproduce midrange details with terrific subtlety and nuance. On “Speak” from Nickelcreek’s This Side [Telarc, SACD], they rendered the delicate inflections of Sara Watkin’s lead vocals and the surround-channel whispers with downright eerie accuracy.
Spatially, the VS300s reach for, and almost achieve, holographic surroundsound imaging. The only problem is that faint traces of upper midrange/ lower treble coarseness occasionally disrupt the system’s otherwise threedimensional presentation. Fortunately, the problem occurs infrequently, and can be mitigated by extended break-in, which helps smooth the VS300’s sound.
The SubSeries 5i subwoofer sounded punchy, providing very good bass pitch definition, and decent though not exceptional bass extension. At first, the system’s mid-bass sounded overly ripe, but careful placement and bass management adjustments yielded clear and potent bass sufficient even for the overblown effects heard in King Kong.
In fact, the VS300s and SubSeries 5i could really crank when the need arose, maintaining composure even during the abrupt dynamic shifts that accompany several of the jump-cut scenes in Crash. More than most plasma speaker systems, the VisionSound rig offers serious dynamic wallop.
PSB’s VisionSound 300 system offers the rich, suave, sound quality you’d expect from a big freestanding speaker system, but in the sleek, visually unobtrusive format of a plasma system. Add to that the VS300’s flexible mounting options and sophisticated crossover networks, and you’ve got speakers whose versatility is tough to beat.