PSBs New Synchrony Speakers

August 1, 2007

PSB has always been known for some of the best-engineered products in the speaker business, but its new line may earn it a stronger reputation for design. The products in the new Synchrony line are certainly conventional at first glance, but they have a fit and finish uncommon in their class.

PSB’s new Synchrony One tower speaker incorporates three 6.5-inch woofers—one at the top of the baffle, one in the middle, and one at the bottom of the baffle. Using three well-spaced woofers randomizes the effect of sound bouncing off the floor. “When I got my iPod, I thought, ‘How did they put this thing together?’” PSB’s Paul Barton explains. “I was amazed that they did it without any visible fasteners. So I decided to put some of that character into my next line of speakers.”

In a Universal City, Calif., hotel suite yesterday, Barton demoed two products from the line, the $4,499-per-pair Synchrony One tower speaker and the $1,499-per-pair Synchrony Two B minispeaker. All of the products from the line—which also includes the Synchrony Two tower speaker, the Synchrony One B bookshelf speaker, the Synchrony One C and Two C center speakers, and the Synchrony S surround speaker—are available now.

When we examined the speakers closely, we saw that as with the iPod, there are no visible fasteners. In fact, the entire speaker cabinet is snapped together. The front and rear panels are made from aluminum, and the sides from a curved, eight-layer MDF sandwich. Through careful design, all parts are slotted together and held in place by aluminum corner extrusions. Even the grille snaps into place, instead of being held in by grommets or magnets. The speaker screws are covered by a rubber ring that also blends the speaker surrounds in visually with the front baffle. Even the rear jack panel is made from a rubberized material. The result is a pleasing experience for both the eye and the hand.

The complete Synchrony line, including the One and Two tower speakers, the One C and Two C center speakers, the One B and Two B bookshelf speakers, and the S surround speaker.

Barton says the Synchrony speakers produce less distortion than even large, cost-no-object designs. The biggest reason for this is a super-lightweight tweeter dome made from titanium. The tweeter is usually the source of the greatest distortion in a speaker. According to Barton, the low mass of the titanium dome gives the tweeter a sensitivity of 96 decibels, so it must be padded down by several dB in order to match the lower sensitivity of the midrange and woofer drivers. Thus, as he puts it, the tweeter “barely has to work.” He says distortion in the Synchrony line is typically about 0.25 percent—half to a quarter as much as most speakers produce.

In the hotel suite, we couldn’t push the speakers to the high levels needed to test Barton’s assertions. But both speakers sounded quite nice—in particular, the Synchrony Two B, which Barton had simply plopped atop a couple of the hotel room’s round end tables, with a plush couch in between. The little speakers imaged like crazy. All of our test vocal tracks sounded extremely natural, with no excess sibilance, no chestiness in male vocals, and no bloat in deep voices. They also produced satisfying bass; just their little 5.25-inch woofers produced plenty enough low end to make a subwoofer unnecessary. The big Synchrony One tower sounded similarly smooth, although its deeper bass response left it more vulnerable to the vagaries of hotel room acoustics.

Brent Butterworth
Robb Report - Home Entertainment

Related News and Reviews

Synchrony One

Synchrony One B

Synchrony One C

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