Pickering, Canada — 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/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 it 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 to deliver in-phase reproduction in the seated-to-standing vertical window of the prime listening area;
—towers engineered so their primary “floor-bounce” reflections help smooth out 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. Other suppliers typically use sound-deadening damping material to prevent resonances, but that strategy reduces interior box volume and thus reduces bass response, Barton said.
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 till 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.”
“Efficient pipelines” from China to markets in the Far East and Europe help offset the cost of shipping product out of China, he added.
The Synchrony series will arrive from China and be available here to dealers before the CEDIA Expo, Barton said. The series consists of two towers, two bookshelf models, two center channels and one “tri-mode” surround speaker. All are biampable and available in hand-rubbed dark-cherry and black-ash veneers.
The series consists of the Synchrony One five-driver, three-way tower with three woofers at $4,499/pair; the Synchrony Two four-driver, three-way tower at $2,999/pair; the Synchrony One B two-way 6.5-inch bookshelf at $1,999/pair; the Synchrony Two B two-way 5.25-inch bookshelf at $1,499/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/pair.
The trimode surround features two sets of drivers angled away from each other. The driver sets can be operated in bipole (in-phase) or dipole (out of phase) modes or in monopole mode for music listening. A pair of surrounds can also be wired up to a combined four amplifier channels to deliver all four surround channels in a 7.1-speaker system, Barton said. In this application, the speakers would be placed on the side walls slightly behind the listeners.