New Subwoofers from PSB
Since the 1972 debut of the Avante, its first commercial product, the company founded by violinist/engineer Paul Barton has firmly established itself as a maker of excellent, affordable loudspeakers. Barton was first commercial speaker designer to exploit the facilities of Canada's National Research Council (NRC) in Ottawa, in 1974. (The huge technical campus includes one of the world's premier acoustical test and measurement laboratories, one that has greatly benefited many Canadian loudspeaker companies.) Now a division of the Lenbrook Group, PSB enjoys global sales in over 25 countries.
Among PSB products recently unveiled at the CEDIA Expo in Minneapolis were two new powered subwoofers, the $449 Alpha SubSonic 5i and the $299 Alpha SubZero i. Both are said to exemplify the company’s reputation for amazing performance at affordable prices.
The SubSonic 5i delivers twice the power of its predecessor from its newly designed “BASH” amplifier—150 watts continuous, 225 watts dynamic power, and 450 watts dynamic-peak power. A new 10" driver with a 56-ounce, video-shielded magnet assembly and an oversized rubber surround with long-excursion capability is said to produce lifelike levels in modern listening rooms—and to deliver frequency response within 3dB down to 30Hz and useful output to 27Hz. Greater output at very low frequencies comes with very low port turbulence, thanks to a new port design. A 1-1/2” voice coil helps assure that the Alpha SubSonic 5i can handle high continuous output without thermal power compression.
The Alpha SubZero i doubles the power of the original SubZero, delivering 100 watts of continuous power and up to 260 watts of dynamic peak power. Its totally reengineered driver employs a polypropylene cone, and a heavy 40-ounce magnet assembly. Like the SubSonic 5i, it features a 1-1/2" voice coil for greater continuous power without thermal power compression, and an oversized rubber surround that permits very long cone excursion. Its new slotted port is almost double the cross-section area of the original SubZero, yielding greater output with very low port noise. The subwoofer’s bass extension is down only 3dB at 36Hz, with useful output down to 32Hz. The SubZero i is video-shielded to allow placement right next to a TV monitor if desired.
"The Alpha idea of providing performance far beyond what you expect at the price has special impact here," says designer Paul Barton. "Listeners whose budgets normally would force them to settle for far less are going to be enjoying the kind of bass and sub-bass that really makes a home theater come alive and lets music reveal its full weight." Both subs feature a full array of input and output connectors, as well as level controls, adjustable crossover points, polarity switches, and auto-on circuits.