User Review: Imagine B Bookshelf - No more a B&W man...

May 8, 2012

Products: Imagine B Bookshelf

I have been a proud Bowers and Wilkins owner of the 703 and CM1 models for a few years now. But I must admit that has changed recently with the introduction of the Imagine B's into my home. We recently remodeled our bonus room and I wanted to add a set of bookshelves to the mix at around the $1000 level. I like the sound of a good two-way speaker and had been very pleased with my CM1's; however I wanted to audition a different flavor. Man am I glad I decided to step outside of the box. I couldn't be more pleased with these Imagine B's. They sound remarkable and the looks are exceptional as well. (Don't fool yourself, looks matter). For reference, and this is important I have learned, my "big" system is a MacIntosh C41 preamp, Rotel RB1080 200 wpc amp and the B&W 703's. All cables and interconnects are high quality Analysis Plus including balanced between the pre and amp. My office set-up is a Peachtree Nova 80 wpc tube and the CM1's. Once again high quality interconnects. I have a Marantz CD player and use a couple of Apple TV's, one run through a Musical Fidelity V-Dac. The Cd player moves around some. With the new bonus room, I purchased a Marantz SR1402 50x7 and a Marantz MM7025 140x2 wpc amp. I did not have the budget to go big with the new equipment. With that being said, you know where I live in this world of higher end audio. First Impressions out of the box are stunning. These are good hefty speakers and the are deep, front to back. There is a beautiful curvature on the top line and front sides. The Red finish is very appealing to the eye. After the break-in period I placed the speakers on some sand filled stands and began my audition. The first thought that came to mind was smooth and seamless. This speaker just seemed easily at home in my 15x20 space. I was very surprised at the low end response. I do run a Velodyne Mini V sub but it is just a breath of low end, not an overpowering boom. Regardless my first listen was without the sub lit and the frequency response was exceptional for a bookshelf. The mids seemed to be a bit more bold than my CM1's and I found this to be a welcome change. This led to my impressions of the overall freq response. The highs were perfect. Not too bright as my 703's are want to do. Even at higher volumes they tend to hold their ground very well. A little more reference for you, I typically demo clean recordings for new speakers. This time around I listened to Walter Becker's, 11 Track of Whack. The track Lucky Henry has some terrific range and some awesome low end. The Imagine B's handled this recoding flawlessly. Flawlessly. Once again, I was really surprised at the range this speaker had. Next in line was Steely Dan's, Aja and again, the speakers performed above my expectations. The mids really sang during the horn segments of various tunes on Aja. I've not typically been a big fan of mid-range freq, but these speakers are changing my impressions on that. I continued to run these speakers through the paces from Rush's, Moving Pictures to Chick Corea's, Acoustic Band, and was never disappointed. Currently these Imagine B's are paired with the Peachtree and last week they were paired with the Rotel set-up. All three systems provided an excellent reproduction of sound out of these speakers. As I said, I couldn't be happier with this purchase. Unlike another pair of speakers I auditioned a few weeks ago, the Aperion Grand Verus. My comment or suggestion would be to give these guys some power. They like it and they can handle it. My 140 wpc isn't a ton of headroom of course, but is more than adequate. Thanks PSB for making a great speaker that makes me want to sit down and "listen" to music like I used to....

Brad Overcash - Fort Mill, SC USA

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