What We Like
- A gorgeous design available in a number of equally appealing variations.
- The small form factor is incredibly versatile.
- The sound is unexpectedly powerful and surprisingly weighty.
What We Don’t Like
- Dynamics could be stronger, but it isn’t a deal breaker.
Having the right speaker set in your home can make a great difference when it comes to your visual and audio experience when you are watching home movies. While there are many plus sides to having a full set of speakers, there are also plenty of downsides. One downside is the fact that speakers can get bulky and crowd the look in any space. When this is the case, having a set of mini speakers can be a great solution. In today’s article, we are going to take a look at one of the most popular mini speakers, the PSP imagine Minis. We will dive deep into what makes these pair of speakers a favorite by so many families. In our in depth review, you’ll be able to decide whether this pair of speakers for suit your home as well.
Founded in 1972, PSB Speakers is a Canadian company that specializes in audio equipment across the full spectrum of low- to high-end. Their Imagine series is fairly well known, and certainly well respected, so let’s see how the Minis perform. Because this speaker brand offers customers a wide range of speaker options to choose from, no matter your need or your budget, you are sure to find something for your home.
Coming in at just over 9” (or 23cm) in height, the PSB Imagine Minis, as their name would quite strongly suggest, are pretty small speakers. For us, it was love at first sight. This is about as good looking a speaker as you are likely to find at this (or any other) price range, and it is self evident that a great deal of care and attention has gone into nailing the visual design of the Imagine Minis.
The Mini features a titanium dome tweeter alongside a woofer with a polypropylene cone inside which you’ll find clay and ceramic as well as the standard rubber surround. Featuring curved walls and top panel, the cabinet which we tested sports a gorgeous walnut finish which really sets off the natural colors of the various materials which comprise the woofer and the matte black of the baffle.
Heavy bracing on the inside of the cabinets ensures that no superfluous vibrations from inside the speakers are allowed to disturb the listening experience. There are five different finishes on offer, and all of them are pretty lovely: Black Ash, High-Gloss White, High-Gloss Black, Dark Cherry, and, of course, Walnut. All in all, it is a fantastic and subtle design.
PSB pride themselves on developing their audio technology in an anechoic chamber at the University of Ottawa. This is a room in which, as you will probably have guessed, all reflections and reverberations of sound are cancelled out such that you only ever hear direct sound from the source. In effect, it simulates being in an infinitely large room so that you can test out the true sound of speakers in a perfect listening scenario.
The result is that the Imagine Minis are extremely well engineered, and feature a lot of the same parts that PSB includes in its more expensive, larger models. The same titanium dome tweeter; the same clay and ceramic cone material for the woofer; and the same curved cabinet design (which is both aesthetic and functional in its shape).
Before discussing the audio performance, let’s just revisit the fact that these speakers are called the Imagine Minis. In general, there is a direct, physically necessary correlation between the size of a speaker and the power of the sound it outputs. But it may be time to re-examine this most fundamental notion, as PSB seem to have worked some kind of magic to render it irrelevant here.
The soundstage is incredibly broad. So expansive, in fact, that it competes with significantly larger models at the same price in a way that defies expectations and a conventional understanding of quite how audio is supposed to work in the first place. The stereo imaging is accurate throughout, and we get the sense that every element of the track—especially in instrumental music—is given its own physical space to work its charm. It’s an incredibly satisfying, weighty listening experience that was totally unexpected.
Just because the speakers are small and broad, doesn’t meant that the sound is small or compact. In fact, it’s the opposite. The sound is neither small nor compact. One of the things that consumers should keep in mind is that the speaker conveys a size and scale that originally seemed at odds with a small cabinet. PSB has a dispersion, which means that it can fill rooms, even ones that are not compact. If you had to play a large orchestral piece on these speakers, it doesn’t sound small or thin, so that should give you confidence that you’re getting an amazing performance from these small speakers.
If you play vocal tracks, you’ll find that you get the full crisp of the voice and how clear it comes across. With artists who project their voice, a speaker can’t get away from showing its true colors. When you play a vocal track on these speakers, you’ll find that the sound comes through crisp and clear. The performance on these speakers is amazing.
Detail is far from perfect, but the Imagine Minis are sufficiently precise so as to give a real sense of the timbre of a given track. Orchestral pieces felt layered, textured, and utterly enjoyable to listen to. Control is maintained even while turning the volume up beyond usual listening levels, and while they certainly aren’t going to compete with the power of larger models or some of the more expensive bookshelf speakers, they can more than hold their own.
PSB Speakers have done a fantastic job with the Imagine Minis. The end result of the time and effort which has gone into perfecting the form in larger models is a tiny speaker that drastically outperforms expectations across the board.