By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
PSB replaced its longstanding Stratus series of in-room speakers with a new seven-model Synchrony series topping out at a suggested $4,500 per pair and featuring "softer, more stylized design" than the Stratus, said company founder and designer Paul Barton.
Synchrony will become the company's new flagship series, eventually replacing the Platinum series that tops out at $8,000 per pair. PSB's Stratus series topped out at $3,500 per pair when it dropped out of the market last year after a 16-year run.
All Synchrony models use a variety of techniques to produce what the company claims is "unexcelled realism and tonal, spatial, and dynamic accuracy." The series' two towers, in fact, are "among the first wide-dynamic-range speakers in history from which inherent distortion is not a meaningful audible factor," the company claimed.
The techniques include a combination of curved-wood sidepanels, a tapered extruded-aluminum back panel, and an aluminum front panel to deliver what the company said could be the "strongest, deadest, most non-resonant and coloration-free enclosures in the industry."
Other design elements include:
smooth baffle edges to reduce distortion caused by diffraction;
grille design that is so acoustically transparent that the tweeter sounds the same whether the grille is on or off, said Barton;
time-alignment of all drivers;
towers engineered so their primary "floor-bounce" reflections help smooth and extend mid-bass and midrange response rather than add peaks and dip; and
towers whose multiple woofers are mounted in their own separate chambers to eliminate internal standing waves that typically produce a 100Hz driver resonance.
The Synchrony speakers are PSB's highest priced in-room speakers to be manufactured in China. The company's Platinum series is still sourced and assembled in Canada, Barton said, as are the company's highest-end architectural speakers built with Platinum components.
"The industry matured quite quickly in China," he added, pointing out that China began building quality speakers for most of the North American brands about 10 years ago.
With that maturity, many Canadian and North American sources of speaker products dried up, making it financially impossible to offer consumer designs with Synchrony quality and still be affordable, he said.
The additional cost of importing large boxes from China is offset by lower production costs for select speakers whose manufacture is still very labor-intensive, he said. "If you build a simple box in North America, that's okay," Barton said, "but the price of a curved wooden cabinet in Canada goes way up because it is very labor-intensive."
The series consists of the Synchrony One five-driver, three-way tower with three woofers at $4,499 per pair; the Synchrony Two four-driver, three-way tower at $2,999 per pair; the Synchrony One B two-way 6.5-inch bookshelf at $1,999 per pair; the Synchrony Two B two-way 5.25-inch bookshelf at $1,499 per pair; the Synchrony One C three-way center channel at $1,849 each; the Synchrony Two C two-way center channel at $1,349 each; and the Synchrony S tri-mode surround speaker at $1,999 per pair.
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