PSB T3's

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I.Greyhound Fan

PSB T3's
« on: 11 Sep 2018, 04:12 pm »
Saturday, I picked up a pair of PSB  T3 speakers to see if they could replace my Magnepan 1.6's as the wife is getting tired of having a pair for doors in our family room.

First off, the fit and finish on the T3's are truly exemplary.  I got them in the high gloss cherry veneer and they are just beautiful.  They have 3x7" woofers, 5.25" midrange and a titanium tweeter.  There are 3 ports on the back, 1 for each woofer enclosure  and they come with 3 pairs of rubber plugs so you can tune them to your liking.  I am running them with ports open.  You can also short out the bottom woofer if you wish.  There are 3 pairs of binding posts so you can bi or tri-amp if you wish.

I have about 25 hours of play time on the T3's and they are just starting to show what they can do.  The first few hours were really rough and they sounded veiled, with little treble and muddy, then they started to clear up.  Once they did, I started to play around with positioning.  My listening position is 11.5' from the speakers. I settled on 7.5" apart, 27" from the front wall and toe'd in about 3-5 degrees.  Getting the toe in is critical to the tweeters and it really shows what the tweeters can do.  My room dimensions are 17'x17' with 9' ceilings.

This morning I turned on the system and was greeted with a pleasant surprise.   The sound stage had opened up and the sharpness that I was hearing of some vocals had vanished.  Depth and height of the sound stage also increase.

It is pretty amazing to me how much break in can change the sound of speakers and electronics.  The speakers are not fully broken in as they take  about 100 hours to sound their best.  So  I  expect more change to come.

So how do they sound?  Well, my current electronics and cables were  picked to give a slightly warmer and darker sound but with air, transparency and a huge sound stage (Pass X250 amp, BAT VK-51se tube preamp, Luxman DA-06 DAC, Vintage Thorens TD-145 TT with a Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge).  The PSB's give me all that and a bit more warmth than my Magnepan 1.6's do.  The T3's can't compete with the depth and height of the 1.6's though.  The T3's are supposed to be neutral and let the electronics through and I feel that they are doing their part.  The PSB's do present a harmonically rich tone, especially the mid range which is just fabulous. It is very organic and smooth.  Bass is taught, deep and powerful but not overwhelming.  The PSB's are rated to go down to 24hz +/- 3dB and you really don't need a subwoofer. The upper frequencies have good air with little to no sibilants except on very sibilant recordings and even then, they are toned down.  If you like in your face cymbals then look elsewhere, as they present in the middle to back of the sound stage depending upon the recording.  Some people may find the speakers too polite for this reason, but they are anything but that as they have great dynamics and good speed although not on par with the 1.6's.  Vocals have good texture and are just a hint forward but not as much as with my 1.6's.  Guitar and piano sound natural and have good decay.  The speakers excel with acoustic music but they also sound great with rock and roll. There is no grain or fatigue at all.  The only deficiency I have heard so far is on horns.  My 1.6's just did them better.  I was listening to Ernie Watts yesterday and I did not get the feeling that he was playing his Saxophone in the room as I did with my 1.6's.  One last comment, they do sound great at low volumes,  unlike the 1.6's that need a little volume to hit their stride.

Well, the jury is still out on whether I will keep them or not.  There are still things that I prefer with my Magnepan's which is a testament on how good the 1.6's really are with the right electronics. The 1.6's instill almost as much detail and resolution as the T3's although I suspect much of that is due to my Pass amp and Luxman DAC which smooth things over a bit.  I paid just under $2K for the Maggies and the PSB's sell for $7500pr and all the pro reviews (at least 5) compare the PSB's to speakers costing $15K-$20K.  I will give them another 75 hours of break in and play around with speaker position some more before I make a decision.  I will post another review  at that time.

By the way, I listened to Focal Aria 948's, Sonus Faber Venere S's and a pair of Revels before deciding on the T3's which are more refined with deeper bass and less fatiguing.  I also had a pair of Spatial Audio M3's and did an A-B with my 1.6's. 

Larry
« Last Edit: 11 Sep 2018, 05:25 pm by I.Greyhound Fan »

Randy

Re: PSB T3's
« Reply #1 on: 11 Sep 2018, 05:52 pm »
Wow, look like great speakers and nice review.  I have a small, floor standing pair of PSBs from ten years back that are fine speakers. I use them with the TV.

NHSkier

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Re: PSB T3's
« Reply #2 on: 12 Sep 2018, 02:17 am »
Thanks for taking the time to post your review. I bought the smaller Imagine Ts last year for dual-use HT and music but harbor a longing for the PSB T3s or a Salk equivalent. 

I.Greyhound Fan

Re: PSB T3's
« Reply #3 on: 12 Sep 2018, 05:20 am »
Thanks for taking the time to post your review. I bought the smaller Imagine Ts last year for dual-use HT and music but harbor a longing for the PSB T3s or a Salk equivalent.

I thought about Salk's as well but I got too good a deal on a brand spankin new in a box pair of T3's for $4400.  I also considered Harbeth's and love their sound but the WAF is not there and my wife was tired of the Magnepans otherwise I would have bought a pair of Magnepan 3.7i's.

I have about 31 hours on the PSB's now and they keep getting better.  I will post pic's later in the week.

timind

Re: PSB T3's
« Reply #4 on: 12 Sep 2018, 07:54 pm »
This is a very interesting review. I'll be watching for your update.

Your review is timely for me as we recently moved and my listening room went from a 12x12 spare bedroom to a 24x27 basement. I have been using stand mount monitors for years and am looking at larger speakers for the new space.

What intrigued me most was your comment about the image depth you had with the Maggies. I owned a pair of 1.6s a couple years ago and found them lacking in depth. For me the 1.6s did a lot right, and lack of depth was their weakest attribute. I know the room size was terrible for them, so maybe the larger room I'm in now would improve this.

The Magnepan 1.7i is on my short list along with the PSB Synchrony One. My budget is topping out around $2k which negates the 3Ts. Other speakers on my list include Revel F206 and F32, Dynaudio Focus 360 or Contour S3.4, and Vandersteen 2CE Signature or 3A Signature. I could probably get either the Maggies or Vandersteens new, all of the other speakers on my list would be used.

I'd be interested in your thoughts.





I.Greyhound Fan

Re: PSB T3's
« Reply #5 on: 13 Sep 2018, 02:18 am »
Here is my experience with the Magnepan 1.6's which I have had for at least 10 years and a pair of original MMG's which I still own and use.

I used a Parasound A21 amp, AVA hybrid tube/ss preamp and the matching hybrid DAC (which were Frank Van Alstine's top of the line gear) for a few years with the 1.6's.  The sound was good but I always felt that I was lacking air and depth of sound stage.  When I upgraded to my Pass amp and a Pass X1 preamp, the speakers started to show what they could do with high end gear. The depth of the sound stage became much deeper and taller.  The width extended past my 17x17 room and dynamics markedly improved.  Detail and resolution improved. I then sold the Pass X1 preamp and bought a BAT VK-51se tube preamp and the sound further improved with better dynamics and bass slam.  Adding my Luxman DAC added more air, transparency and depth.

My point is that Magnepan's need great electronics to bring out the best in them.  If your electronics are not up to snuff, Maggies may sound very good but the sound stage, imaging, dynamics may suffer.

Also, they need room from the front wall.  I had mine about 34" from the wall with some toe in.  Positioning is critical, even 1/2" can make a huge difference.  This is true with all speakers.   I have made 1/2" adjustments with the T3's and it has made huge improvements in the sound.


JackD

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Re: PSB T3's
« Reply #6 on: 13 Sep 2018, 03:33 am »
timind

If your budget is is going to top out at $2000 then you are going to have to buy Vandersteen used too unless you can find a dealer trying to unload a "floor demo" pair of 2CE Sig II's as RV keeps a pretty tight rein on pricing discounts by dealers.  Another option I would look at and that you can hear if you haven't is the Odyssey Lorelei.  Really good speaker that plays far above it's US price.  Also look out for a used pair of Nola Contender's.

I.Greyhound Fan

Re: PSB T3's
« Reply #7 on: 13 Sep 2018, 04:16 am »
I think it says a lot that the 1.6's can sound better than the $7500 T3's.  The 1.7i's are better than the 1.6's.  The issue is that to get the most out of them, you will need to spend some coin for the electronics.  Also, I use dual Martin Logan subs (crossed over at about 45hz) with the 1.6's which really adds to the sound stage.  You will need a good none ported sub with the Maggies. A speaker that I really liked are the Focal Aria 948's.  You can find good deals on them and the cheaper 938's.

timind

Re: PSB T3's
« Reply #8 on: 13 Sep 2018, 03:32 pm »
Jack D and Greyhound fan, thanks for the replies. With this new room I'm hoping to buy a pair of speakers I can live with long term. The speakers on my list are speakers from manufacturers I have positive ownership experience with. I've owned a lot of speakers over the last 15-20 years and the brands I'm looking at are my favorites. I've never heard the Loreleis, but I'm not interested in experimenting any longer. Also, I would much prefer used speakers. I've had great luck that way.

As for amps, I may address that at some point, but the thought of lugging 75+ pound amps up and down the stairs is not attractive.

I.Greyhound Fan

Re: PSB T3's
« Reply #9 on: 14 Sep 2018, 02:29 am »

As for amps, I may address that at some point, but the thought of lugging 75+ pound amps up and down the stairs is not attractive.

75lbs is nothing, try a 100lb  Pass amp, a 50lb BAT preamp and a 30lb Luxman DAC. 8)
« Last Edit: 14 Sep 2018, 05:56 pm by I.Greyhound Fan »

JerryM

Re: PSB T3's
« Reply #10 on: 14 Sep 2018, 02:35 am »
Just sayin'.  :green:

Pics or it didn't happen.  :wink:

I.Greyhound Fan

Re: PSB T3's
« Reply #11 on: 14 Sep 2018, 05:56 pm »
Just sayin'.  :green:

I will post pics in in 2-3 days :D

I have a little over 40 hours on the T3's and the sound stage has opened up tremendously, pushed out to past the side walls.  It is now as wide as the Maggies and the depth and height has increased but not to the point of the 1.6's.  More detail is coming though.  I have been running my dual subs, and last night I changed the phase of the subs 90 degrees and there a lot is more bass.

I have to say that on very good recordings the PSB's have the 1.6's beat in sound but on lesser recordings, the 1.6's actually sound better which is disappointing although I should not be surprised as all the pro reviews pointed this out.  Such is the pitfall as you move up the audio chain, more detail and resolution means lesser recordings sound like crap.  Mid bass is also deeper and more powerful with the 1.6's due to the large surface area of the bass panels but the PSB's go deeper.  The T3's do give a live feeling to the music on great recordings though, maybe more so than the 1.6's.  They also image better and have more air and transparency, except with lesser recordings.

It is hard comparing the 2 speakers because the PSB's are still are a box speaker and the Maggies just sound way different in tone.  After living with the Mag's for so many years you can clearly tell when you are listening to a box speaker. 
« Last Edit: 14 Sep 2018, 07:41 pm by I.Greyhound Fan »

Tyson

Re: PSB T3's
« Reply #12 on: 14 Sep 2018, 06:34 pm »
Have you considered the Super 7 kits that Danny is putting together?   They have all the planar goodness like the Maggies, plus crushing bass and they don't look like curtains. 

I.Greyhound Fan

Re: PSB T3's
« Reply #13 on: 14 Sep 2018, 07:36 pm »
Have you considered the Super 7 kits that Danny is putting together?   They have all the planar goodness like the Maggies, plus crushing bass and they don't look like curtains.

I wasn't aware of them. I will look into them, I am not wanting to build a speaker.

avahifi

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Re: PSB T3's
« Reply #14 on: 14 Sep 2018, 08:12 pm »
Hi Larry,

You ought to borrow my SET 400 again soon to try with your new speakers. It is available now.

Did you notice the Audiophilia review I just posted?

Frank


charmerci

Re: PSB T3's
« Reply #15 on: 14 Sep 2018, 11:58 pm »
Have you considered the Super 7 kits that Danny is putting together?   They have all the planar goodness like the Maggies, plus crushing bass and they don't look like curtains.


He got the T3's because the wife didn't care for the Maggies. I would be massively surprised if she would like the Super 7's at all.

I.Greyhound Fan

Re: PSB T3's
« Reply #16 on: 15 Sep 2018, 12:00 am »
Hi Larry,

You ought to borrow my SET 400 again soon to try with your new speakers. It is available now.

Did you notice the Audiophilia review I just posted?

Frank

Hi Frank, I did see the great review, congrats!   I would love to try the SET 400 again.  I will be in touch.  I work this weekend.

Larry