[b]PMC GB-1 mini-review.[/b]

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[b]PMC GB-1 mini-review.[/b]
« on: 1 Jul 2004, 03:29 pm »
I had the new PMC GB-1’s over the weekend and have a few impressions:

Size is very nice, these speakers would look good anywhere and they don’t take up much space.  They were already broken-in by the dealer over a period of two weeks.

-  Linn Genki CD Player or Rega Planar 3 w/ Elys MM cart
-  VTL TL2.5 preamp (with Mullard NOS 12AU7’s & 12AT7’s)
-  Bryston 3BSST power amp.
-  Interconnects: Van Den Hul Integration Hybrid (CD to pre &   pre to amp).
-  Speaker cables: Linn LK-20 bi-wired.
-  Power accessories:  Chang Lightspeed CL3200, PC’s are combination of Wireworld Stratus III & PS Audio Prelude.

Room: 12x16 w/ oak hardwood floors (no carpet), large brick fireplace & 2 windows along one wall.  The room is quite live.  Nearfield listening position, toed in.

I listened to a lot of tunes but here are some:

Music for voice:  Aimee Mann “Lost in Space”, Mary Chapin Carpenter “Place in the World”, Jennifer Warnes “The Hunter, The Well”, Dianna Krall “Love Scenes”, Norah Jones (both albumns).

Music for soundstage: Vangelis “The City”, Dire Straits “Love over Gold – Private Investigations”, Andreas Vollenweider “Caverna Magica”, Enya “Watermark”.

Music for boogie and bass:  Collective Soul “Seven Year Itch”, Suzanne Vega “Nine Objects of Desire”,  Madonna “Ray of Light”, Crystal Method “Vegas”.


-  Very detailed and transparent in the mids and treble.  I heard things happening on my discs that I had never heard before.  Their ability to retrieve detail is excellent.  In this respect I think they outperform pretty much every speaker I have heard in their price range and 50% above.
-  Although very detailed, they are not bright or harsh.
-  Voices are somewhat forward in the soundstage.
-  Sound-staging was good to very good with excellent lateral placement and height.
-  Very good PRAT.  These little babies get your feet tapping.  They can “rock” when asked to.
-  Good bass extension.  They claim bass response down to 29 Hz vs. 45Hz for my Linn Keilidh’s but they didn’t “sound” as if they went any lower with the material that I played.  45 to 29 hz may not sound like a big difference in bass but that is actually pretty close to the range difference going from the low “E” string to the low “B” on a 5-string bass guitar which is significant.
-  Both speakers felt as if they “sub-woofed” appropriately for their size when called on.
-  These are true monitors.  They are not euphonic, or romantic, or coloured toward the warm side of the spectrum in any way, but neither are they cold and hyper-analytical.
-  The GTB-1’s are neutral in frequency balance, not tipped one way or the other.

-  Overall bass response was a little disappointing in my room, but that’s my room.  All speakers sound a bit anemic in my family room.
-  They sounded slightly (and I do mean slightly) forward in my room.  The balance of the speakers favoured the midrange and the treble.  But, oh what a glorious midrange and treble.
-  Although they are floorstanders, the bass response always reminded me of the GB-1’s size and how that is a limitation to what the laws of physics will allow with a tiny cabinet like that.  Bass is good for its size, but the GB-1 is hardly a giant killer in that regard YMMV.
-  If I buy them, I would seriously consider the addition of a small subwoofer (REL, MJ Acoustics, Carver Super Jr, Pinnacle Baby Boomer) almost mandatory with my situation.
-  They are extremely revealing, so your upstream equipment had better be top-notch or you may hear a lot of things that you wished you hadn’t.

At the $2,600 MSRP Cdn price level there are literally dozens of competitors for your speaker dollars.  You are pretty much trading colourations and individual characteristics at this price point though.  The GB-1 is an excellent all-around performer in the price range.  It has treble and midrange performance that comes seriously close to the capability of its OB-1 big brother which is twice the price plus it is pretty adept at other performance parameters as well.

The GB-1’s are small and unobtrusive.  They have ridiculously good transparency and detail for the price.  They may be a trifle lean sounding in the lower regions (in some rooms and situations) but I would not consider that to be a show-stopper.  You can augment this narrow aspect of system performance for around $1,000 Cdn with a small powered subwoofer to support the bottom with “just a little” oomph.  I could also dial in the sound a bit more with a switch to all PS Audio PC's and a different speaker cable.