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PSB’s Barton Develops Dolby Atmos Speakers at NRC

Working with Dolby Laboratories at the NRC Paul Barton designed PSB’s Imagine XA Dolby Atmos speakers to produce the lifelike sound homeowners desire from an Atmos system.


Paul Barton, founder and chief designer of PSB Speakers, is one of the most respected professionals in the consumer loudspeaker category. Adding to his list of accomplishments, the Canadian speaker engineer and his company have introduced the Imagine XA Dolby Atmos speaker for Dolby Atmos-enabled home theater applications

The Dolby Atmos module speakers are designed to instantly transform new and existing home theaters into systems capable of reproducing Dolby's state-of-the-art object-based, surround sound format. 

“Dolby Atmos takes home cinema sound to a completely new level by adding the third dimension of height to the two-dimensional front/back, left/right 5.1 sound mix,” explains Barton. “Our team worked closely with Dolby engineers to meet and exceed their specs [Dolby's] that when properly implemented can move 'sound objects' like the sound of a bird in a tree above or the swoosh of an arrow past your face, delivering moving audio around the room with pinpoint accuracy. We believe the effect of the Imagine XA is totally convincing and really elevates the home cinema experience to new heights.”

Working with Dolby and using the resources of Canada's famous National Research Council (NRC), Barton and the PSB engineering staff developed the Imagine XA to produce an exact frequency and directivity response that matches Dolby's specifications. To achieve these results PSB used drivers designed in-house utilizing technologies developed for its high-performance products, including a ferrofluid-cooled, titanium-dome tweeter that features a neodymium magnet structure, as well as a clay/ceramic-reinforced molded polypropylene woofer cone, and a customized waveguide. 

Showing the speakers to the world, ISE 2016 attendees can see the speakers in person at PSB's exhibit in Hall 10, booth R120. 

“Dolby Atmos is currently avaiable in over 60 A/V receiver models, and more than 30 Dolby Atmos-enabled speaker designs, including soundbars, with the PSB Imagine XA being the newest,” points out Brett Crockett, vice president, sound technology research and development, Dolby Laboratories. “At ISE Dolby will be delivering a height experience using the PSB Imagine XA speaker modules, effectively showcasing the power of Dolby Atmos-enabled speakers. We invite all ISE attendees to visit us for this exciting demonstration.”

The Imagine XA Dolby Atmos speakers from PSB will be available in March 2016 for $499 per pair. 

About the Author

Robert Archer
Robert Archer:

Bob is an audio enthusiast who has written about consumer electronics for various publications within Massachusetts before joining the staff of CE Pro in 2000. Bob is THX Level I certified, and he's also taken classes from the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) and Home Acoustics Alliance (HAA). Bob also serves as the technology editor for CE Pro's sister publication Commercial Integrator. In addition, he's studied guitar and music theory at Sarrin Music Studios in Wakefield, Mass., and he also studies Kyokushin karate at 5 Dragons and Brazilian jiu-jitsu at Binda Brazilian Jiu Jitsu; both schools are located in Haverhill, Mass.