Historically, the Canadian audio company PSB Speakers has fulfilled the market need for value-minded products. Over the last couple of years the company has begun to branch out from its foundation of traditional, affordable speakers with newer, contemporary industrial designs, and new product categories like active desktop speakers.
Stepping up into the high-performance audio market, the company hasn’t abandoned its roots. With the release of its T3 floorstanding loudspeakers, PSB is showing the consumer audio market that it can deliver reference products without the reference price tags.
Scroll down for quick specs and our CE Pro verdict.
Features & Setup
PSB says that part of its design goal with the T3 was to factor in the effect that room environments have on loudspeakers.
Founder and chief designer Paul Barton engineered the T3 to “interface smoothly and predictably with the listening room,” and to deliver, “integrated bass response and pinpoint imaging.”
The 4-ohm minimum, 71-pound, approximately 48-inch tall speaker is available in a choice of black or cherry finishes. Its driver array features a trio of 7-inch woofers, along with a 5.125-inch midrange and a 1-inch titanium dome tweeter.
Controlling these drivers is a fourth-order Linkwitz-Riley crossover. PSB says the ported 89dB sensitive speaker produces a frequency response of 24Hz to 23kHz.
When the speakers arrived at my house, I slid the T3s out of their boxes. I thought the boxes arrived a little bit beat up, and I was concerned about whether the packaging was robust enough to take the abuse from overzealous truck drivers. Fortunately the packaging is well-devised to protect the speakers, which were unharmed.
Pulling out the outrigger feet, I screwed the two-piece spikes into the plinth of the speakers. I moved my Monitor Audio speakers out of the way and connected my bi-wire Straight Wire speaker cables that are connected to Bryston electronics.
I grabbed a tape measure to help align the T3s with my seating position, which is approximately nine feet away.
Once I finished everything, I estimate it took me about 45 minutes to unbox and setup the speakers.
Performance & Final Thoughts
To help break the speakers in, I ran streaming music content. I browsed through my normal listening content, such as records like Rush’s Moving Pictures and 2112, a live Ozzy record from Record Store Day a few years ago, CDs from artists like Eric Johnson and Susan Tedeschi, and streaming music. I thought the T3s struck a nice balance with all of this content.
When I say “balance,” I mean the T3s made each one of these sources sound as good as they could possibly sound without being overly analytical. The T3s are revealing, but they aren’t cold and impersonal sounding.
Take the vinyl, for example. Regardless of the record, I threw on my Thorens turntable sounded dynamic, even in cases like the 200-gram version of Rush’s 2112, which is pretty squashed through the remastering process. Hearing Geddy Lee’s bass and Alex Lifeson’s guitars on this record, I thought they sat well within the mix with defined definition and clarity. An original pressing of Moving Pictures sounded punchier, including the kick drum on Tom Sawyer, which was firm but smooth at the same time.
The live Ozzy record really showed the fire in which Randy Rhoads played and just how tight the rhythm section of Ozzy’s touring band — bass player Rudy Sarzo and drummer Tommy Aldridge — were. Sarzo and Aldridge were completely locked in and the T3s’ transients kept pace with authoritative volume. At the same time, the T3s revealed the strain of Ozzy’s voice in playing that show.
Listening to Susan Tedeschi’s Back to the River album was enthralling. Tedeschi has a fantastic voice; it’s powerful with grit and soulful. I felt the T3s communicated the visceral qualities of her voice. The CD also sounded very big. It filled my room, and I felt the same connection listening to Derek Trucks’ vocal-like slide guitar playing, which cut through thanks to the flowing midrange of the speakers.
Other content, like Santana’s Supernatural CD and tracks like Put Your Lights On, had a “live feel” to them through the T3s. The doubled tracked acoustic guitars on Smooth imaged precisely, and Santana’s lead playing with his PRS guitars and Mesa Boogie amps sounded warm and throaty.
I have to admit that I found vinyl the most involving format through the T3s, but regardless of whether it was vinyl, CDs, streaming media or computer-based content, the speakers projected a big soundstage and imaged well.
I’d also add that the T3s smoothly played down to 20Hz in my listening room. I think if someone wanted to use the speakers in a theater system without a sub, it could be done, based on the transient capabilities and bottom-end extension of the speakers.
As you can guess, I really like the T3s. Aesthetically the speaker’s room-friendly footprint and contemporary design will complement a variety of home interiors, and sonically the T3s deliver everything an audiophile and/or music fan will ever want. As an added bonus, the T3 speaker provides all of this at a price point well below the cost of similar performing speakers.
Kudos to Barton and the PSB design team. As dealers or as a music fan, you can’t really ask anything more from a loudspeaker than the T3.
- Five-way design that includes a Linkwitz-Riley fourth-order crossover network
- Low frequency reproduction handled by a trio of 7-inch woofers set in individual bass chambers
- PSB’s flagship 1-inch titanium dome tweeter and 5.125-inch midrange driver
- Ported design
- Bi-wire/bi-amp options
- High-gloss black or cherry finishes
CE Pro Verdict:
- Accurate tonality with wide dynamics.
- Nice industrial design combined with a footprint that isn’t too big.
- T3s are highly detailed, but they aren’t analytical sounding; it is a fun speaker.
- Packaging during shipping was beaten up. More durable packaging to add protection would provide better piece of mind.
- Nitpick of the T3; because of its neutrality and detail, the speaker with a good amp will expose recording quality issues. Vinyl really shines with the T3 because these recordings aren’t typically as compressed as downloads and CDs.