Here's a couple things that I have noticed.
1. I have to keep the PSBs close to my back/rear wall on a daily basis. I can pull them out for more critical listening. This placement surely isn't ideal. But if I plug the lowest bass port with the included rubber plug, things are very, very good indeed.
2. Even if I have tone controls available, I typically rarely use them. My new Creek Evolution 100A has them. I'm not embarrassed to say that at lower listening levels things sound a bit better with +2 on the bass and treble. I'm wondering why. My Totem Arros sounded best with tone at 0/flat, at all listening levels.
3. I think these speakers could be insane with a ton more power pumped through them. I'm fine with what I have though.
Nice review, glad you waited for the full break-in period. I owned the PSB Synchrony Two and I believe your T2's are better.
I checked the specs and possibly the reason the speakers sound better with the bottom port plug is due to the fact that at about 300Hz there is enclosure resonance in the cabinet causing vibration. Closing the port may help relieve this.
Also, you're right that more power would help drive this speaker to its full potential. Your Creek puts out 110W into 8 ohms, but only 170W into 4 ohms.
The T2's impedance curve shows the load is at about 4 ohms or lower from the bass all the way to 1kHz. Meaning that this speaker needs some quality power to get really good dynamics. You're probably just in the ballpark.
The PSBs have a nice warm sound and the more you can pull them out from the wall, the better the imaging. Have fun.
My PSBs were the same size as yours and I would push them back against the the wall during non-listening hours.
I used Herbies Gliders to slide the speakers, I had spikes and used the Decoupling Glider. There's also the Threaded Stud Glider. It solved my problem.
A short update:
Boy, am I glad that I kept these things. The wife is still questioning their presence in the living room. But hey, these are a small footprint floorstander. She's comparing them to the diminutive Totem Arros we had for about a decade.
I've gotten just shy of a month's use on them. I try to get in 2-4 hours of listening per day, and I've run them at lower volumes (with a bump up in tone controls) for 8 hours at night. There has been an audible difference in break in. The treble sounds about the same but seems to project higher off the floor than before. The midrange has gone from too laid back and disguised or veiled to present. The bass has gone from uncomfortably restrained to open and taught.
Last night's listening session pleased me much. I was absolutely engaged and smiling over how the speakers (and system) presented these tracks, which I had used during previous sessions. Before I was left thinking the speakers were good, then getting a bit better but still missing much about my Totem Arros.
My Foolish Heart, Bill Evans
Take the A Train, Ray Brown
Various, Muddy Waters Folksinger
Joe Slam and The Spaceship, Harry Connick
Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp, George Harrison
Fast Car, Tracy Chapman
Lovely Day, Lee Rittenour
Silver Lining, Rilo Kiley
Dark Black, Kristina Train
The resolution, grip, soundstage, imaging, and bass was fantastic. My feelings and thoughts about these loudspeakers is so different now compared to when I first set them up. I wanted to make a move that would put me to a significant upgrade over the Totem Arros. Now, with my new Creek Evolution 100A (and Ruby DAC) plus the PSB Imagine T2s, I'm feeling like I moved into a place that I would have only dreamed about a decade ago.
It stinks in life when you buy toys and they don't make you any happier. It rocks when they do!
If you're auditioning floorstanders in the $2-4k range, you should give these a listen.
Anyone think I'm crazy to be a religious believer in speaker break in, burn in, run in?
First of all, wait till you hear your speakers after they open up at about 150 hours.
I found that spikes on my PSBs gave me the tightest bass on a wood floor; and I had the same problem as you, I needed to move the spkrs out of the way because it was a living room.
Are you on carpet or a wood floor? Either way, the Threaded Stud Glider is worth trying. It comes with a trial period and Schubert has given me very good advice in the past.
But you'll never get the detail and slam of the bass until you lift those PSBs off the floor. :-)
About 70 days later and at least 150 hours on the PSBs now...
These are truly a great loudspeaker. The bass is taught, powerful and has slam. The imaging and soundstage are fantastic. I'd imagine that one would need to spend $10k to match or best these.
My only concern is that my amp could use more juice to really make them come alive. I have a Creek Evolution 100A. It's got 170w into 4 ohms and this speaker hovers around 6--I think. I'm a big fan of fewer boxes so I don't know what integrated that I would upgrade to. McIntosh?
The Imagine T2’s have a 6 ohm impedance and sensitivity of 90dB, so it would seem that they would be an easy load to drive, However, their impedance curve shows that the bass and mid-bass frequencies hover around 4 ohms and even drop below 3 ohms at 500-600 Hz.
This area of low impedance is why a higher current amp is needed to drive these speakers to full potential. You’ll get better dynamics, tighter bass with more detail, and have reserve power in your amp.
I looked at the Creek website and learned that the 100A is a Class G amp. So it can produce voltage and power more efficiently than Class AB, it would also operate cooler.
According to Creek, it can provide a high amount of current. If this is true, your amp is not being stressed by driving the low impedance bass of the PSBs. That's a good thing.
My sweet spot is fair--not overly tight. If I have the speakers back toward the wall (regular listening and dancing with my daughter) they fill the room with sound and are pleasurable throughout. For critical listening, I pull them out into the room and toe them in a bit. When I do that, I have them about 6.5-7' apart, and I sit about 9-10 feet away, maybe less. The sweet spot is roomy enough for 2 people on the sofa, maybe 3.
I found them to be super veiled and wanted to return them (also my wife wanted even smaller speakers too--even those these are pretty thin and elegant. They grew on both of us.
I would wholeheartidly agree with the review (Stereophile or Absolute Sound) that said the baffles restrict a good bit of sound. When removed they are more open and a bit brighter. I found the speakers have broken in a good bit.
As with all things audio, there are some great things and some that were different from what I had (Totem Arros). These are not a bright speaker. If anything I think the aim was to try to be neutral and a touch laid back in the midrange. The treble and mids gets just a wee tad harsh if I push them hard with poorly recorded music. Yet, I also run across stuff that seemingly has no volume limit.
When placed closer to the front wall, they push out an incredible amount of bass, so much so that I occasionally use the port plugs to tune them down a bit. When pulled into the room, they never overload the room with bass volume. There are some tracks that simply blow me away. I haven't had such an amount of bass since I had Cerwin Vegas in college! This bass is certainly taught and musical though.
There are moments when I'm astounded by these speakers. I auditioned a $5800 pair of Totem Forest Signatures that I loved. These compete nicely, and I'm super happy.
I'll probably try out more watts or tube before upgrading or changing.
I'll tell you this...one thing they do that's fantastic is they wear two hats super nicely: (1) they give me the imaging and detail sonics I want during critical listening; and (2) they get up and boogie for ambient listening, dancing, entertaining.
I'm super curious--I must admit--to see what would get me an upgrade in terms of another loudspeaker or amplification, etc.
I'm happy to try to answer any questions or help.
Can I ask, what did you listen to these through and what are you comparing them to and looking for?
jbhiller, thank you for your detailed response. I heard them with a NAD 390DD, but it was just in passing. They seemed a little veiled but it could be the amplification. NAD has a nice laid back sound, with a little laid back speaker may be too much. Have compared everything from Dynaudio Excites floor standers, Golden Ear Tritons, Revel, Zu and everything in between.
Your post has me thinking of taking another trip to the dealer for a closer listen. How big is your room? My room is 15 by 12 with the speakers on the long wall. Do you have the plugs installed?
Thank you for answering my questions.
Well the specs on the NAD should have been just fine to drive them.
My room is a rectangle, 13'x21'. I have them facing out from the 13' wall.
I install the plugs here and there. As the speakers have opened up I've used them less and less, and I no longer use my tone controls. When I first got the speakers I was adding a slight bit of treble through the tone controls on the Creek integrated.
Now I haven't listened to the others you auditioned in a while (and I've never heard Zu or Golden Ear). I'm sure they are all very nice loudspeakers.
I will say that the PSBs midrange and treble is not what I was used to (recall I had Totem Arros). I'm glad that I stuck with them. While I think they are a bit less bright and glossy on the top end, I notice that the full body sound and laid back nature keeps me listening longer.
I hope your search is going well. If you need, I can you pics or videos or answer any questions.