CES 2012: PSB’s Paul Barton Expands Imagine-Series Speaker Family with New T2 Floorstander

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CES 2012: PSB’s Paul Barton Expands Imagine-Series Speaker Family with New T2 Floorstander

Few speaker designers have earned a stronger reputation for delivery killer performance at value-minded prices than PSB founder Paul Barton. Well, we’re pleased to tell audiophiles on a budget that Barton is at it again and has expanded his Imagine-series speaker family with the sophisticated new Imagine T2 floorstander, which some might describe as a “5-way” speaker, but that Barton himself describes as a “transitional 3-way” design. In a conversation with Barton at CES I learned that—as Barton perceives things—the Imagine T2 (~ $3500/pair) embodies many of the design techniques first pioneered in PSB’s critically-acclaimed flagship model: the Synchrony 1 tower.

There are more sophisticated design elements at work here than I have space to describe, but one very intriguing detail involves the way the three “transitional” bass driver work together. At very low frequencies all three bass driver play together as one. As frequencies climb higher, the drive closest to the floor rolls off, leaving the two middle bass drivers to handle the mid-bass workload. Then, as frequencies climb higher still, the next bas driver also rolls off, leaving just the uppermost bass driver to handle the transition into the upper bass/lower midrange region. Finally, as frequencies climb upward toward the midrange, the uppermost bass driver hands off the workload to the T2’s midrange and tweeter drivers.

The advantage of the system is that it brings a lot of driver area to bear down at the lowest frequencies, but gradually transitions to smaller groupings of drivers as frequencies climb upward. The upshot is that you get clout where you need it (down low), while preserving a desirable degree of agility and resolution as frequencies climb higher. It’s a very clever concept—exactly the sort of thing that has made Paul Barton so famous. We can’t wait to spend some quality listening time with the T2.

Though review assignments haven’t been made yet, you can take it as a given than one or more of our Nextscreen publications (The Absolute Sound, Hi-Fi+, Playback/The Perfect Vision) will wind up reviewing the T2. Stay tuned.

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