The PSB Image B4 is a new addition to the recently re-engineered Image line. The B4 is the smallest model in the lineup, and as such seems to be an ideal candidate for small rooms or nearfield listening. The B4’s are priced at $299/pair, which makes them a reasonable step up from entry-level self-powered desktop speakers. We recently received a test pair of B4s from PSB, and this First Listen covers our preliminary thoughts. As always, we’ll be back later with a more complete set of observations.
Like all PSB speakers, the new Image designs benefit from the acoustical test facilities of Canada’s National Research Council (ever wonder why so many good and reasonably priced speakers come from Canada?). PSB founder Paul Barton uses NRC to conduct fundamental studies of loudspeakers and room acoustics in its anechoic chamber as well as doing observational evaluations in its listening-studio facilities. Barton’s research at the NRC included an extensive three-year development project for PSB’s flagship Synchrony speaker line, whose technology he is now “trickling down” in the design of the Image Series.
The core of this work has been on driver design. All the Image models share long-excursion, very high-output woofers resulting in compact designs with output capabilities claimed to be as high as much larger systems. A highly accurate, one-inch titanium dome tweeter with ferrofluid cooling/damping and a very efficient neodymium magnet structure, borrowed from the Synchrony series, is said to extend output at the frequency extremes.