|PSB Synchrony Home Theater Loudspeaker System|
|Home Theater Loudspeakers Speaker Systems|
|Written by Thomas Garcia|
|Wednesday, 01 October 2008|
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Installation was relatively straightforward for a 5.1 multi-channel system, although I did spend a fair amount of time optimizing the subwoofer placement, and configuring the surround loudspeakers. The front two main loudspeakers were positioned about nine feet apart, with the front baffle sitting approximately three feet from the back wall and four feet from the side wall. In my listening environment, the smoothest frequency response and best overall results were achieved by having the towers aimed directly at the primary seating position. The Synchrony One C center channel was positioned equal distance from the listening position and placed on a stand below a flat-panel monitor. The center channel was rotated so that the tweeter was aimed at ear level at the primary listening position.
Much more effort was put into configuring the surround sound loudspeakers and optimizing their placement. The PSB surrounds were placed on 30-inch stands that were positioned six feet to either side of the reference listening position. With PSB’s surround tri-mode option, it was possible to configure the surround as a bipole or dipole, or wire the speaker to act as both surround and rear channels for a 6.1 or 7.1 surround system. I achieved the best integration by keeping the surrounds in the dipole configuration.
Set-up for the subwoofer was a little more challenging, due to the side-mounted passive radiators. In this particular listening room, the subwoofer is typically placed in one of the corners, but with the HD10, that location proved unsuitable for the subwoofer's driver configuration. Improved results were achieved by placing the subwoofer behind the main speakers and a few feet from the side wall.
Movies and Music
Even before I had an opportunity to optimize the PSB system, it was quite evident to me how balanced the Synchrony One towers are. Their neutral portrayal compels you to pay more attention to the essence of the music, instead of how the loudspeaker is translating it to you. Seldom did I find myself drawn to any particular character of the Synchrony One; this lack of drawing attention to any single quality is ultimately what one wants from a correctly-designed loudspeaker.
I played a variety of different musical material, some well-recorded, some not. The PSBs remained true to the source, allowing me to enjoy the better material faithfully, while avoiding any attempts to make lesser tracks more euphonic. Pepe Romero’s compilation album, Famous Spanish Guitar Music (Philips), is loaded with rich, wonderful acoustic virtuoso guitar works. The track “Tango Maria” was communicated cleanly by the Synchrony Ones, presenting each individual instrument and its accompanying resonances with uncanny accuracy and delicacy.
Listening to Steve Winwood’s recent release Nine Lives (Sony) provided some standout tracks that highlighted the agility and dynamic capabilities of the Synchrony towers. On "Dirty City," Winwood is reunited with his Blind Faith bandmate Eric Clapton, each offering up a healthy dose of soulful blues meshed with gritty rock and roll underpinnings. The Synchrony Ones’ reproduction of this multilayered cut, with its wide array of percussion instruments, keyboards and Clapton's growling guitar licks, was emotionally compelling. Low-frequency reproduction was excellent, displaying great articulation and extension, falling shy at only at the lowest registers. The easy listening track “Fly” showcases Synchrony One's midrange purity reproduction and its seamless integration throughout the upper octaves.
Functioning as a multi-channel system, the PSB Synchrony entourage mimicked the neutral characteristics presented during my two-channel audition. Their ability to handle wide dynamics, together with a neutral, smooth frequency response, made the PSBs capable of equally deciphering demanding home theater and complex multi-channel music reproduction. Timbre matching between main, center and surround loudspeakers produced seamless left to right and front to back transitions.
While revisiting several favorite movies, such as the war epic Black Hawk Down (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment), the science-fiction adventure flick The Fifth Element (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment), or the cerebrally eerie Signs (Buena Vista Home Entertainment), I found myself consistently immersed in the sonic presentation of each of these films. Black Hawk Down gave the Synchrony system a great workout, stressing the speakers at both frequency extremes. The system remained composed throughout the most complex combat scenes, never drawing notice to any weakness during loud passages. Speaker to speaker transition was cohesive and effortless, recreating the all-encompassing sound field of The Fifth Element. Micro-detail and spaciousness were some of the most noticeable attributes of the soundtrack for Signs. Whirling winds, rustling cornstalks and minute sonic nuances were reproduced with uncanny clarity and focus, while maintaining correct spatial positioning and amplitude.