Review: PSB Stratus Gold Speaker

Category: Speakers

I already had PSB Stratus Goldi's for a living room system, so when I was forced by SWMBO (she who must be obeyed) to get rid of my (beloved) Dahlquist DQ-10's (ugly factor) from the rec room system, I jumped when I found a gentleman on the net selling a pair of mint Stratus Gold's and at a very attractive price. These are the precursor to the Gold's and were sold until about 1998 when the "i's" replaced them.

These are very heavy speakers, so I have not A/B'd then side-by-side against the i's (also very heavy), but given placement in different rooms, they sound very similar. What that means is wonderful bass and mid-range and very good highs. These are just too big to do a really great job of imaging (the baffle board is quite wide and even has a little ridge at the edge to further mess with sound propagation), but they are not bad at all for their size. They are very pleasant to listen too. For me their best feature is the bass. It is very tight and very deep. I suppose for home theater you might add a good sub, like HSU, but you dob't really need to. I use them purely for music. They are not especially power hungry and have plenty of dynamic range. I recall a report that because of an internal bracing problem, you can get them to resonate under just the right conditions, but I have never had this happen. I contacted PSB to ask it and they said it is so rare as to not be something to worry about in non-testing use. PSB is really nice about answering their e-mails, by the way. They do not just blow you off becuse you bought a used speaker. A class act.

Fellow at PSB told me that Paul Barton is a wood-worker and so cabinet finish is very important to him. It shows, even 8 years old, these speakers still have their gorgeous oak finish. Hate to think what vinyl would look like after that length of time.

I also own a pair of NHT 2.5i's that I bought for the sale price (new) as the Stratus Gold's and the Gold's beat them severely about the head and shoulders in all performance categories, in spite of being 8 years older. The magic of buying used. And the 2.5i's are no slouch.

Highly recommended on the used market.

Associated gear
Scott 390R stereo receiver, Pioneer DVD player in CD mode

Similar products
NHT 2.5i, PSB Stratus Goldi, NHT 2.8, Paradigm Studio 100 Improved
I disagree with your comment on imaging. To the contrary, I got them (the Golds) to image quite nicely and to "disappear" on many recordings. Must be a room/setup issue.
I purchased the Gold's via the net. When they arrived they were damaged by UPS, what a surprise huh! The base units were split and cracked but it does not hinder the fantastic sound these babies produce. I have heard and owned speakers costing 2 to 3 times the amount that don't even sound close to these! They are an all around performer and I see no need to upgrade in the near future. I have had over 20 sets of speaker through the past couple of years and Gold's shine on. They graciously reproduce whatever your musical forte may be. For the price of these gems you can't go wrong. I have always used a sub-woofer in my system but with the Gold's it can be eliminated and directed to my HT. I listen primarily to jazz and they make listening a delight. I used to sit back and critize the music rather than enjoy it but the Gold's do what they were designed to do: they become invisible and make music!
Nopcbs and Snootybiffer,
I agree with all you've said, except for the part about the Gold's not imaging well. I have owned a pair of Gold i's for the past 5 years, and I still love to sit down in front of them and 1) blast out a rift from Boston as well as 2) listen to the subtle differences in percussive timbre with Blue Man Group just as much as listening to jazz and classical.
If anyone is thinking of buying a pair of these 'beutes, know that they WILL demand some oomph to really shine. I have run mine with a Denon AVR5700 receiver (190 watts/channel at 4 ohms rated...140 at 8 ohms), as well as with a seperate 200 watt/channel amp from Sunfire. While the Denon did a pretty decent job, the Sunfire REALLY makes them sparkle. The midrange to mid-lower range of the spectrum are these speakers forte', in my opinion. Very tight and yet quick...listening to percussion is a real blast! I have NOT found speakers that sound nearly this good NEAR this price range (I A/B'd them with Paradigm studio 100's, Phase Technology PC500's, and Boston Acoustic VR's, and the Goldi's crushed them with all content).
One other note here...I have used these as front L/R's in my 7.1 surround setup for HT with the mentioned Denon receiver for over 4 years, and have never been dissapointed. I do run them with a Velodyne HGS-10 subwoofer, but I run the Gold's in "large" THAT's some thundering bass, but never fatuiging.
In short, your own ears must be the judge, but if you have a chance to pick up a pair of these on the 'net, think hard about it!
PSB Goldi is one of the best all round speakers I have owned. I would classify their sound as laid back and unassuming in the British tradition. Very neutral mid range. Bi-amping improves this speaker substantially. I have done this with a Bryston4bst(lf) and a bryston 3bst(hf). I did alot of experimenting and this appears to be the best match. I did this to overcome impedence issue with low frequency section(this has been mentioned several times before in various publications).
This speaker does everything well,classical,rock,jazz and even home theater. I also own a pair of Legacy classics and they are more forward,almost aggressive at times,although this is not a criticism. The Legacy classic has a mid range "snap" to it that the PSB lacks,is perhaps the best way to describe the difference. Overall the PSB is a sensation performer at the price,and I have never encountered a dissatisfied PSB Goldi owner.
I'd echo many of the above comments regarding the quality of these speakers. I've been a pretty serious audiophile for 20+ years and IMO Stratus Gold i's are my favorite speaker under $10k.

They do everything very,very well and have no nasty edges. The bass extension and quality is superb, the midrange is sweet and inviting and the treble magical and airy.

I would, however, note something that I feel is very important. They are not particularly efficient and are a nominal 4ohm load that dips down below 3 ohms. These speakers will take your 50-100 watt receiver or integrated and eat it for lunch if you play them at high volumes. The more and better juice that you give them, the better they will sound.

I had them hooked up to an Acurus DIA 150 (no wimp) and was very happy with the sound. I then upgraded to an Aragon 4004mkII (200w/400w into 4 ohms)and the improvement was astounding. Give them the biggest and best amplification that you can and your investment will be well rewarded.
Had a pair. Kept them a year and sold them here. They just did not convey the soul of the music like my upgraded OHM I's. Bass what bass? The Ohms blew them away. The PSB's only have a 10" woofer compared to the OHMs. Yes I did have enough power. A 300 watt Bryston. I like the 360 degree sound more than the "got to have the sweet spot sound" . The PSBs were clear but did not have the muscle for rock music. I might go for the further upgrades. Crossover and woofer redone in the future. Mike
Just bought a set of Stratus Golds. Running them with a Carver. As of yet, I have not been able to image the way they did on the showroom floor, where they were run through an Adcom pre-amp and amp and CD player. SO... I am going to continue playing with the positioning, and when I have exhausted that, I will go get the adcom stack... or something that makes it work in my room. Luckily my dealer has a GREAT loaner program. MY QUESTIONS FOR ALL: What is the difference between Gold and Gold1? Can you upgrade? Should you upgrade? What does it take to upgrade?
Get something else.
I got the Adcom. Now staging nicely; a well defined spread of the instruments across the stage, using both vinyl and CD. Alice in Chains Unplugged and a Grateful Dead HDCD in particular. The Bass is fantastic. I play them side by side with Klipsch Forte II and the Golds are stronger on the bottom. I will say that the sax on Floyd Dark Side of the Moon album are simply marvelous with the Klipsch.

Thinking about adding another Adcom 5500 so I can bi-amp; maybe trade the Klipsch for that amp.
I got the Adcom. Now staging nicely; a well defined spread of the instruments across the stage, using both vinyl and CD. Alice in Chains Unplugged and a Grateful Dead HDCD in particular. The Bass is fantastic. I play them side by side with Klipsch Forte II and the Golds are stronger on the bottom. I will say that the sax on Floyd Dark Side of the Moon album are simply marvelous with the Klipsch.

Thinking about adding another Adcom 5500 so I can bi-amp the PSB; maybe trade the Klipsch for that amp.
Hello i run my previous Goldi with Krell FPB600, is a killer sound especially mid range bass is solid full body, i sold to the lucky buyer and bough PSB T8, T8 is more solid and tight with bass because of 3 numbers of 8" woofer, this is better than the Goldi, might not beat the sweetness of the midrange but clarity and bass is no compare for Goldi.
Goldi is bloomy maybe because i have for 12years the midrange is sweeter.
If you can get PSB T8 is a very speaker lots of bottom that you get feel. very neutral. i am hoping to get Maxx2
After 20 years, the Psb stratus gold still sound amazing. Very neutral, melo, and forgiving. The source has been envolving from cd now to dsd and hi def audio. The speaker tech still the same. Except the price inflation. For $500 a used pair, they are unmatched from speaker price 10x more.