Home theater reviews a CHS80 System
October 1, 2004
"...the fact remains that most people with custom installations don't want to see their speakers, don't want them taking up space, and will accept compromised performance to get that. So, how do you get the best of both worlds? One solution is to fuse conventional design (build a large, self-contained speaker) and custom-install design (tailor that speaker for in-cabinet installation). PSB's new CustomSound line embraces this concept and features the in-cabinet CHS80 L/C/R model and the CHS212 subwoofer. I added four CW383 in-walls (one of four in-wall models in the line so far) for a 7.1-channel system that is as visually discreet as it is sonically impressive...."
"...The CHS80 is a modified version of the excellent Platinum T8, and I was pleased to hear that it maintains virtually all of its predecessor's fidelity with twochannel music, despite being tucked away in a cabinet. I listened first for bass performance and was impressed by the CHS80's tight, controlled lower frequencies. Boomy bass is an Achilles heel of in-cabinet placements, and PSB has obviously addressed that. The CHS80 is rated to 32 hertz. I never felt that bass extension was lacking, but the CHS212 subwoofer is certainly musical enough that you could add it to the two-channel mix if you wanted to. The T8's deadly accurate, natural midrange response is clearly preserved in the cabinet-mounted CHS80. Bloated vocals are another concern with in-cabinet speakers, but not here. Muddy Waters was no chestier than he usually is in His Best 1947 - 1955 (Chess), and his slide-guitar work, combined with Little Walters' furious harmonica bursts, proved that the upper frequencies also survived the metamorphosis exceptionally well...."
"...I'm not big on in-walls with music, but I give credit where it's due, and the CW383 clearly deserves some..."
"...the CW383 demonstrated that it can handle music far better than many of its kind...."
"...the CW383 responded admirably with a full-bodied voice and a composed character that sounded more like a quality bookshelf model...."
"...You've done something special when you can put a center speaker in an enclosure behind a screen and still get it to perform better than many center speakers in open space—and PSB has achieved just that with the CHS80...."
"...the CHS212 did an excellent job of avoiding the boominess and bloating caused by adjacent boundaries. Its dual 12-inch drivers mustered up more than enough SPL for our listening room, but it was sharp and clean throughout, with a big attack and smooth, natural decay for large events like the artillery fire in Band of Brothers or the trampling of mammoth feet in The Return of the King...."
"...PSB's CustomSound line is proof that the best of both worlds - top-shelf performance and uncompromised aesthetics— can be brought together. Both the CHS80 and CHS212 are strong, dynamic, and highly musical, and the CW383 in-wall is proof that the genre is making real progress. Combine these speakers with a custom cabinet and some proper surround-speaker mounting, and you've got a system that delivers the full potential of music and movies yet looks as clean and polished as a top-shelf custom install. What more could you want?"
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