|PSB Platinum Ovation Theater System Plus|
|Home Theater Loudspeakers Speaker Systems|
|Written by Thomas Garcia|
|Tuesday, 01 February 2005|
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Movies and Music
Nominated for two Academy Awards for both best sound and sound effects editing, "Clear and Present Danger" (Paramount Home Entertainment) offers a variety of low-level detail and loud dynamic sequences that put the PSB system through its paces. The front soundstage sounded alive and dynamic with good integration of the T6s and C2, their tonal match helping to create a seamless sonic picture. Dialogue was always clean and intelligible through the C2, which helped anchor the front soundstage to the film. James Horner’s film score sounded lush yet forceful, complimenting the broad range of emotions and drama throughout the movie. The soundtrack actively engages the surround channels, allowing the S2s to convey a compelling sensation of each scene’s environment. The SubSonic 10 subwoofer did a splendid job of rendering all the diverse tactile components and deep rumblings that originate from both the movie’s sound effects and musical score.
The complete system was exceptionally impressive, especially while viewing sequences such as the explosive motorcade assault. It was possible to discern every round of fire while following each vehicle’s movement in a realistic and believable manner. Additionally, the PSBs provided the appropriate weight and size to large-scale segments, most notably the aerial flyovers by fighter jets and attacking helicopters. With great micro and macro dynamics, smooth transitions from front to rear and powerful low-end extension, the Platinum Series pulls the viewer into the film in a way that only a well-balanced, integrated surround system can do.
Onward to “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World” (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment), a visually stunning film mated to an equally incredible soundtrack. Nominated for 10 Academy Awards, winning two Oscars for cinematography and sound editing, this high seas adventure is saturated with heroic tales and ferociously fought battles. Set against the immensity of the open ocean, “Master and Commander” delivered exceptionally wide dynamics, floor-rippling bass and vast assortments of awe-inspiring surround effects, all wrapped in an enveloping soundstage. In the opening battle between two ships, the musket volley and cannon fire was remarkably realistic, with SPL levels quickly rising above the movie’s baseline volume. Low bass reproduction was accurate and deep, at times producing floor-shuddering results. Never falling short, the PSB Platinums handled these percussive scenes without a trace of distress or distortion. High-frequency and midrange performance was well integrated, articulating every creak and groan of the ship, the howl of cold wet winds and the crashing of the sea on the forward stern with uncanny realism. The system’s overall frequency response possessed a smooth balance, particularly evident during the movie’s many musical pieces, including a beautiful Bach Cello Suite segment performed by Yo-Yo Ma. Another noteworthy musical moment included a stellar recording of a violin and cello, played by the captain (Russell Crowe) and doctor (Paul Bettany). The Platinum entourage effectively captured the rich resonance of each instrument, lending a reverberant acoustical aura echoed by the wooden ship’s lower chamber. Overall, the soundtrack of “Master and Commander” complemented the storyline faultlessly, creating a riveting movie experience through the PSBs.
Multi-channel music was equally impressive with the Platinums. Listening to a DVD-Audio copy of Yes’ Fragile (Rhino/ Warner) was an absolute eye-opener. Surprisingly, it had been quite a few years since I had listened to this favorite from the early ‘70s. The multi-channel release vastly improved upon the original recording, which had tendencies to sound etched and somewhat sterile. With the DVD-Audio’s increased dynamic range and improved transient response, overall vocals were cleaner, instruments less distorted and frequency extension was greatly improved. Cueing up a few of the most recognizable Yes tunes, “Roundabout” and “Long Distance Runaround,” quickly reacquainted me with the musical mastery this album possesses. The PSB system effortlessly deciphered the complex and powerful passages of this disc, doing equal justice to Steve Howe’s stratospheric guitar riffs and Rick Wakeman’s room-rattling synthesizer passages. This recording used the rear loudspeakers for both direct sounds and reverberating musical cues. Timbre matching between all the Platinum loudspeakers was again evident, allowing Jon Anderson’s vocals to transition from the front stage loudspeakers into the surrounds without any noticeable tonal shifts. Assisted by the SubSonic 10 subwoofer, Chris Squires’ growling bass lines had a weight and visceral quality that resonated throughout my listening room. The PSB system always had enough headroom to allow playback at reference-plus levels, remaining composed and in control.