PSB Gets In On Dolby Atmos Action With Imagine XA Height Speaker

Also adds its first DSP-equipped powered subwoofer
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PSB’s $499/pair Imagine XA height-speaker module fires up at an angled when placed on top of a speaker or affixed to a wall.

Speaker maker PSB is getting in on the Dolby Atmos action with the launch of its first Dolby Atmos-enabled speaker, a height-speaker module that is purpose-built to fit on top of the company’s Imagine X floor-standing and bookshelf speakers.

Separately, the brand launched its first DSP-equipped powered subwoofer.

About a dozen companies offer in-room cabinet speakers that reproduce height channels, making it unnecessary to install in-ceiling speakers. These options include speaker-height modules, like the new PSB module, designed for placement on top of existing bookshelf and floorstanding speakers, on a nearby flat surface, or on a wall.

Atmos height modules fire upward at an angle to bounce height-channel information off the ceiling, delivering Atmos height effects without installing in-ceiling speakers. With Atmos as well as with DTS:X surround, consumers hear sounds above them, not just around them. Individual sounds can also be placed anywhere in a three-dimensional space, and individual sounds pan more smoothly around listeners.

More than 60 A/V receivers and more than 30 speakers, including soundbars, are Atmos-enabled, Dolby said.

PSB’s height module is the Imagine XA, available in March at a suggested $499/pair. It can also be placed on top of any quality speaker using anti-slip strips or mounted to a wall, with included bracket, PSB said.

The XA speaker, finished in simulated black ash, was developed with the precise frequency and directivity response required by Dolby, PSB said.

DSP sub: The brand’s first DSP subwoofer, the compact SubSeries 450 at a suggested $1499, will also be PSB’s most powerful and “best-ever subwoofer” when it becomes the brand’s new flagship March, a spokesman said. It does not replace existing subs in the line.

The sub packs a 400-watt (1,000-watt peak) Class D amplifier designed by sister brand NAD with DSP control, 12-inch active woofer with 50-ounce magnet, and two 10-inch passive radiators in a 16-inch cube that delivers flat response to 20Hz, the company said.

To extend response into the infrasonic region, the two passive radiators sum the back wave output of the woofer with the front wave, the company said. The passive radiators do the work of a port but are “are free of any wind noise or port chuff that can be a problem at very low frequencies and high sound pressures,” the company said.

With DSP control, the sub maximizes bass extension with low distortion, prevents overload, and delivers “ideal crossover characteristics,” PSB said. “This precision is simply not possible with the old analog filters still used in lesser subwoofers.”

DSP adjustments include crossover frequency and level as well as variable delay, which acoustically aligns the woofer with a system’s full-range speakers, PSB added.

The amp’s Class D architecture, licensed from Hypex in The Netherlands, delivers “nearly immeasurable distortion,” PSB said. The amp features an extremely high damping factor and high current output to deliver “tight and powerful bass output,” PSB added.

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