Archive for category Home Theater Audio System
“The only setup step that required a modicum of brainpower was to download Paradigm’s Subwoofer Control and ARC apps to my iPhone and configure the V12 subwoofer for both music and movie room installations. Both apps use Bluetooth LE (Low Energy) to connect to the subwoofer. Once a link has been made, Subwoofer Control offers Music, Movie, and Night EQ modes, along with volume, low pass filter (variable in 1-Hz steps from 30 to 120 Hz with third order, fourth order, and filter bypass settings), phase (variable in 1-degree steps from 0 to 180 degrees, with a polarity inversion setting), and Deep Bass Level (adjustable in 1dB steps from -10 to +10 dB).”
After breaking the system in by using it to watch TV for a few days, I began my critical listening with two-channel music played full-range through the T20s without a sub. Right out of the gate, familiar PSB hallmarks such as an articulate and detailed midrange and powerful, dynamic bass were easy to hear. With its punchy, articulate bass line and a soundstage depth that placed the drum kit well behind, yet tightly focused between, the speakers, “Last Plane Out” by Toy Matinee showed me what was possible with the PSB towers. Lower-cost speakers are often be voiced in a way that attempts to make them sound bigger than they are, but the neutrality of the T20’s response let me savor the midrange detail in the music. To be honest, switching between the T20s used straight-up by themselves and a 2.1 setup supplemented by the subwoofer didn’t bring much benefit with most recordings, and I often found myself preferring the sonic coherency of the un-augmented T20s. Comparing them with my eight-times-as-expensive Synchrony One tower speakers might sound pretty unfair, but doing so served to highlight the T20’s similarities rather than its deficiencies. Sure, the T20 tower can’t go as deep in the bass, nor does it have the same level of clarity and articulation in the midrange and highs that its bigger brother provides, but it was clear to me that both speakers come from the same gene pool.”
The system takes the dynamic swells in the soundmix in its stride. It also copes with the multiple layers of effects; the inherent fidelity and neutrality of the speakers ensuring every carefully positioned sound and object is perfectly delivered, allowing me to pick each one out with genuine clarity.
There’s a scene towards the end of the film where a bomb called the Cataclyst is detonated and there’s a massive sonic shockwave that moves from the front of the room to the rear like a tsunami of sound. I’m pretty sure every speaker was energised at this point, and the system as a whole seemed in unison, with the subs plumbing the depths of their claimed bass extension.
PSB also sent along its SubSeries 250 subwoofer ($700) to pick up the bottom end. While technically not part of the new Alpha range, the company’s SubSeries models are regularly partnered with the Alphas in a surround speaker package. With a 200-watt class-D amp driving a beefy 10-inch woofer in a sealed enclosure, the 250 sits near the middle of the SubSeries lineup. Its high gloss black-painted finish and rounded corners give it a chunky solid look, while a round fabric covered grille fits over its forward-facing woofer. ”
“For the new Alpha Series, Barton has made changes to both the cabinet construction and internal damping. While cabinets with internal stiffening braces are unusual at this price level, the new Alphas are not just well-braced, but built with high-quality MDF to help control any cabinet resonances. Internal damping uses the same thick, compressed felt- type material normally seen in high-end speakers, with careful positioning to prevent internal standing waves.
Basic drive units were not ignored in the Alpha Series makeover, with an all-new 0.75- inch tweeter and 4.5- and 5.25- inch woofers used in various combinations between the line- up’s four models. The tweeter uses an anodized aluminum dome with a neodymium magnet and ferrofluid to reduce thermal compression, while the polypropylene woofer cones have a textured surface that, according to Barton, helps reduce distortion and cone breakup modes.”