Buying Speakers that you will love

October 27, 2005

As you explore different speakers you’ll discover previously hidden details in your music that transform your experience from merely listening to complete involvement!

When we are creating a new line of speakers we use specific criteria to help us make our decisions; here is a brief explanation of some of these criteria. We hope this will make your own search a bit more fun and guarantee you success in buying speakers you love.

Describing what you hear

BASS: A high-performance speaker should deliver distinct pitches in bass notes. Quality is more important than quantity—the bass should not sound like one of those booming car stereos, PSB SubSeries 5i Subwooferwhich were designed to churn out humongous sound at a single frequency. Too much bass is referred to as heavy or weighty, while too little bass may be described as thin, or lean. (If you’re interested in the ultimate in deep, accurate bass, check out our extensive line of powered subwoofers!)

MIDRANGE: The human ear is more sensitive to midrange and lower treble than to bass and upper treble, so imperfections in a loudspeaker’s midrange are particularly noticeable. The male speaking voice is a good yardstick of a speaker’s accuracy in the midrange—listen for the speaker that does this most naturally. For example, look for speakers that are clear, not “chesty” or nasally” sounding.

TREBLE: If a speaker overemphasizes cymbals, has excessive sibilance (the “s” and “ch” sounds) in vocals, and makes violins sound thin, chances are it has too much treble, which we call bright or tinny. The treble should sound integrated with the rest of the music, not like separate noise heard above it. If there seems to be too little treble it’s called dull or rolled off.
(Related Article : The Frequencies of Music)

Filling out the sonic space

SOUNDSTAGING: High-performance speakers add a sense of width and depth to the recorded music that makes everything sound more realistic and engaging – providing that “being there” feeling. Imaging is another term which describes the way the instruments appear in three-dimensional space rather than just as flat sounds coming from boxes. For instance, if you’re listening to a well-engineered recording of a jazz combo, you should be able to close your eyes and identify the position of each instrument, say, bass on the left, drums in the middle and piano on the right.

DYNAMICS: The dynamic range of a speaker is the difference between the loudest and the softest sounds it can reproduce. A speaker with good dynamics can play loudly while still reproducing each instrument’s sound with distinct clarity. A speaker with this capability is said to sound effortless.

You can't go wrong

When you shop for speakers at one of our knowledgeable PSB Authorized custom retailers you really can't make a bad decision. So go ahead and grab some of your favorite CDs, come into the PSB store nearest you, and audition PSB speakers and others. Listen for the speakers you like the most. Our dealers are there to help you get the best speaker system for your taste and budget.

Download this article along with a helpful Notes Page to take with you on your loudspeaker auditioning journey

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