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!