The PSB Imagine Mini is the latest addition to the firm’s Imagine loudspeaker line, which sits just below PSB’s flagship Synchrony series, and above the Image and Alpha lines. The two-way Mini, which stands just a bit over nine inches tall, is the smallest model in the Imagine family, though it is slightly taller and about two inches deeper than the conceptually similar PSB Image B4, which I reviewed in Playback 37. The Minis are priced at $760/pair (in dark cherry, walnut, or black ash veneers) or $830/pair (in white or high gloss black), which makes them reasonably priced, though still quite a bit more than some small speakers—including those from PSB. As was the case when we reviewed the Image B4’s, PSB’s head honcho Paul Barton recommended that we listen to the Imagine Mini’s on their own, but then also try them with PSB’s matching SubSeries 1 powered subwoofer ($450), which is fitted with an 8-inch woofer and a 110-watt amplifier.
Like all PSB speakers, the new Imagine Mini benefits from research work the firm has done at the acoustical test facilities of Canada’s National Research Council. PSB 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. PSB’s research at the NRC included a development project for the firm’s critically acclaimed flagship Synchrony-series speakers, and insights from that project have, of course, had significant impact on the design of the Imagine Series. Paul also told us that the Minis benefit from learnings gained during the design of other Imagine series models. Engineering, being based on tradeoffs, often allows for serious learning in the course of designing a full product line, so that the Imagine Mini benefits from being the last Imagine model completed.