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Tower Speakers Columbia SC

As with the iPod, there are no visible fasteners. The panels in the Synchrony speakers snap into aluminum extrusions, and screws securing the drivers and the jack panel are covered with rubber grommets. It’s a handsome package that bespeaks both thoughtful design and elegant engineering.

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Tower Speakers

Provided By:

September 16, 2008 By Brent Butterworth

iSpeakers

There’s a problem with engineers: All they care about is engineering. In many industries, the best-engineered products are often among the least attractive and hardest to use.

Paul Barton, founder and chief engineer of PSB Speakers, could be considered the poster boy for meticulously engineered but visually bland products.

That has changed. Well, the latter part.

Thanks to the thousands of hours of design work and experimentation he has undergone in the anechoic chambers and listening labs at the Canadian National Research Center in Ottawa, his speakers always rank among the very best in their price range. But until just recently, his products have won little praise for their visual aesthetics.

A few years ago, Barton had an epiphany when he purchased his first iPod. Marveling at the music player’s clean lines, he decided to carry those same design concepts into his next line of speakers. The result is Synchrony, the second-costliest marque in PSB’s line.

PSB Synchrony Two B Bookshelf Speaker

As with the iPod, there are no visible fasteners. The panels in the Synchrony speakers snap into aluminum extrusions, and screws securing the drivers and the jack panel are covered with rubber grommets. It’s a handsome package that bespeaks both thoughtful design and elegant engineering.

The Synchrony One and Two tower speakers have grabbed most of the attention, but in my opinion, small speakers and a subwoofer deliver better sound.

So I called for a quartet of Synchrony Two B bookshelf speakers, each of which has a 5.25-inch woofer, a 1-inch tweeter, and bass response rated at a usefully low 50 Hz. I also asked for the matching Synchrony Two C center speaker, which has the same tweeter and two of the 5.25-inch woofers.

PSB Synchrony Two B Bookshelf Speaker back panelA SubSeries HD10 compact subwoofer provided the low end; its 10-inch woofer, dual passive radiators, and 750-watt internal amp make it more than a match for the dynamics of the tiny Synchrony Two B.

Setup is simple as long as you have the space to put the speakers on stands a foot or two out into the room. All of the Synchronys are rear-ported, so shoving them up against the wall will screw up the bass response. Barton designed the Synchronys for broad, even dispersion, so aiming and positioning aren’t terribly critical.

First I wanted to see what the Synchrony Two B could do by itself, in stereo, so I ran the front pair full-range and turned off the subwoofer. I had to check a few minutes later to make sure the subwoofer was off, because the Synchrony Two Bs put out more bass than I can ever remember hearing from a speaker that size.

The secret is the 5.25-inch woofer, which is designed for super-long excursion. Just two of the Two Bs filled my large listening room with deep, satisfying, well-defined bass. Don’t expect miracles, though—the very deepest bass notes on a couple of my CDs did overwhelm the little woofers, so if you want to crank up your hip-hop tunes, get a subwoofer.

It sounds to me li...

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