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- Category: Reader Feedback Reader Feedback
- Created: 16 November 2015 16 November 2015
To Doug Schneider,
Thank you for the long-awaited review of the PSB Imagine T3 speakers. I have been on the fence as to which speakers to choose for my home-theater system and had auditioned some at the Best Buy Magnolia showroom. The speakers I listened to were: Sonus Faber Venere 3.0, Sonus Faber Olympica III, and a MartinLogan model. I liked the Olympica III ($13,500), but was not really wowed by the sound quality. The showroom did not have the Imagine T3 for listening and there was not much review content of the speakers on the Internet. So I was keenly awaiting your full review of the speakers.
Before the publishing of your full review, you piqued my interest about the Focal Sopra No2. I looked for more information on the web about this speaker and did find much more information than on the T3. At $13,999 [per pair], the No2 is not cheap, but not terribly outrageous, especially if the sound quality, build quality, and performance are there. Hence my dilemma. The styling is, as you mentioned, a hit or miss. You either love it or hate it. I could get used to it but, I really am still leaning more towards the PSB T3.
I found your review focused more on what the PSB Synchrony One was than what the Imagine T3 is. I found that although your review of the T3 was not generally negative, it was not really all positive. You would say something good about the speaker, but in the same breathe you say something negative to cancel the positive. From your writings on the Sopra No2, this is missing. Hmm? For example, you would say the T3 had more bass or deeper bass than the Sopra No2, but the Sopra No2 was punchier. What exactly does that mean? Other inconsistencies were that the T3 was more mellow in a good way and not Technicolor as with the Focal. In my reading on the Internet, whenever a writer describes a speaker as mellow or bright, then that is code for negative. I am confused.
I want to buy the T3s, but I hear good things from you on the Sopra No2; it makes me wonder about my decision. I value your opinion and understand you really like the Sopra No2 more, but I feel your opinion comes from a slanted viewpoint. Does the $6000-more price point buy you a more superior product in the Sopra No2 over the Imagine T3?
With the PSB Imagine T3 review, I had a lot of ground to cover. I wanted to describe what the speaker itself sounds like, but I also wanted to compare what it offers to the Synchrony One, which it replaces, and I also thought it best to compare it to three of the best floorstanders I’ve reviewed fairly recently and are still current: Revel’s Performa3 F206, GoldenEar Technology’s Triton One, and Focal’s Sopra No2.
I can see that your concern lies mostly with the T3 versus the No2. The thing is, they’re two excellent loudspeakers, but different sounding and priced quite far apart -- the No2 retails for about $6500 per pair more. Not insignificant. Hopefully, I can clear up what you viewed as inconsistencies and give you some direction.
Insofar as the bass goes, the T3 does go deeper -- below 40Hz, it has a lot of energy, but the No2 doesn’t deliver nearly as much energy down there. That might surprise some, given the price difference, but it’s true sonically and the measurements back that up. In the 80 to 100Hz range, however, the No2 has a bit of a boost compared to the T3, and that’s what gives it the increased punch in the upper bass. The T3 goes deeper; the No2 doesn’t go so deep, but it’s punchier in the upper bass.
With regards to calling the T3 mellow, I feared that some might take it as a negative thing, so that’s why I included the definition of the word, in order to clear up what I meant. Don’t take it as code for something wrong -- if there was something wrong, I would have written it explicitly in the review. I used that word because it was most applicable to describe what I heard from the T3. Likewise, I would call Sonus Faber’s Venere 3.0 and Olympica III models as mellow, too, which you’ve heard. The No2 definitely isn’t mellow sounding; rather, as I said, it’s Technicolor, meaning vibrant and highly spirited.
The only thing I didn’t mention in the review about the No2 versus the T3 is that the former is larger and weighs about 50 pounds more. If having a bigger, heavier speaker is your thing, as it is for some buyers, that could sway you. I didn’t bring it up in the review because I believed that the sound differences were the most important things.
Where does this leave you? Whether you’re spending $7498 for a pair of T3s or $13,999 for a pair of No2s, you’re dropping a lot of cash, so you better like what you buy, meaning you better hear them both. As I wrote in the review, and reiterated here, they’re different sounding, so it is not so much a matter of better versus worse. If you end up liking the T3, you’ll save a wad of cash. If you end up liking the No2, you’ll spend more, but if it is still within your budget, I have no doubt you will be happy. . . . Doug Schneider