Saturday, May 14, 2011

PSB Alpha.

I brought home a pair of PSB Alpha speakers in rough shape yesterday. The Alpha has long been PSB's entry level speaker with useful bass response, and an updated version is still part of the company's product line. Stereophile has reviewed them more than once since the original Alpha was introduced in 1992. They use a 3/4 inch dome tweeter and a 5 1/4 inch woofer in a rear ported cabinet.

This pair is original, and the plain appearance suggests that the cost of this speakers is in quality sound, not cosmetics. The grills are not removeable (to save the cost of grill frames and attachment hardware). Grill fabric is stretched right over the front baffle of the speaker, which is then glued to the front of the cabinets. The rear baffle is screwed in place.

The grill cloth on this pair had been tortured by a cat, the front baffles were loose, the tweeters were unglued from the baffles (just held in place by the grill fabric), and one speaker had been home to mice, and was full of mouse shit.

I disinfected the mouse house, redid the grill fabric, glued the tweeters back in place, recast one broken back corner, glued the front baffles in place as they had been, then reinforced all the corners with tons of hot glue. The enclosures are more solid than when they were new, and these Alphas now look pretty good. They look boring, but sound anything but.

The sound of the Alphas is natural and neutral. They do lots right and very little wrong. PSB speakers have been designed by musician Paul Barton since he founded the company in 1972. He has made (and continues to make) extensive use of the anechoic chamber at the National Research Council in Ottawa. The Alpha is as uncompromising a design as can be made at it's price, and is a canadian classic.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have a pair of these. They are great little speakers, and superb with a nice sub to round out the bottom end.