PSB Imagine XA Dolby Atmos Speaker Review & Comments

Timh129

Active Member
Good review there Steve . I have the same dilemma and run 4 x kef r50's . Like some people my better half is against me national lampooning holes in my ceiling so I went with upward firing .
I find the best source material to check the effects is John wick rain sequence at the end and batman v superman uhd.

I'm sure the XA are just as good if not better than the r50s with the keen price point and if available earlier I would have jumped on them first .
 

gadget man

Active Member
Good review i have owned these for several months, do not understand the mesh casing why a gap around the bottom. Overall quite impressed i had the KEF r50 but were returned in my lounge are useless, and here lies the problem the upfiring speakers really depends on the room,ceiling. Kef r50 get good user reviews and considering how expensive they are i thought would be the best, wrong.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Good review Steve. Like many I've had to go down the upfiring route and I'm very impressed with my KEF R50s. Now that there are several modules in the sector would it be possible to do a group test? Perhaps even a direct comparison to in ceiling layouts from a certain film. But please, don't make me watch John Wick again, please.
 

SwissPhoney

Active Member
Great review Steve.
Just ordered these bad boys to replace my Onkyo SKH-410s.
 
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golden phoenix

Distinguished Member
nice review steve, really enjoying all the best of articles as well inbetween drinks and turkey sandwiches, will you be doing a best buy featuring headphones by any chance?
 

rossini

Well-known Member
It would be good to understand how these compare to the lower and higher priced onkyo and kef alternatives. Which gives best 'bang for the buck'?
 

fayeanddavid

Distinguished Member
Interesting that you suggest a 7.1.2 would perform better than a 5.1.4.
I ran a simple question on this in the Home Cinema Speakers thread and the large majority came back with e recommendation of 5.1.4!!
Can you expand more on the preference please, read the words, but now confused with the words and user recommendation difference
Thanks
 
D

Deleted member 598831

Guest
I would have thought that the speaker balance would be out 7 vs 2, whereas 5 vs 4 to me sounds, (pardon the pun) more balanced, or should we say more immersive?
 

Steve Withers

Reviewer
Interesting that you suggest a 7.1.2 would perform better than a 5.1.4.
I ran a simple question on this in the Home Cinema Speakers thread and the large majority came back with e recommendation of 5.1.4!!
Can you expand more on the preference please, read the words, but now confused with the words and user recommendation difference
Thanks
Dolby Atmos works by moving objects around in a three dimensional space, so ideally the more speakers (7.1.4), the more accurate the positioning of those objects. However if you only have nine channels available then based on my testing and that of THX, the best alternative is 7.1.2 with the overhead speakers more central. The reason is that the the addition two back speakers creates a cohesive circle that enables sounds to move around you, whilst the two overhead speakers deliver the third dimension of height. I think people often say they prefer 5.1.4 because they think that since they're installing an Atmos system they want the full four speakers overhead but I find there can be a hole in the rear soundstage without the two back speakers, whilst the difference between two or four overhead speakers is less noticeable.
 
D

Deleted member 598831

Guest
So if I only have the space to run 5.1 would you say it was better to run 5.1.2? My plan was to run 5.1.4 and have two atmos speakers mid way to mpl, and the other 2 above my surrounds on the back wall.
 

fayeanddavid

Distinguished Member
Dolby Atmos works by moving objects around in a three dimensional space, so ideally the more speakers (7.1.4), the more accurate the positioning of those objects. However if you only have nine channels available then based on my testing and that of THX, the best alternative is 7.1.2 with the overhead speakers more central. The reason is that the the addition two back speakers creates a cohesive circle that enables sounds to move around you, whilst the two overhead speakers deliver the third dimension of height. I think people often say they prefer 5.1.4 because they think that since they're installing an Atmos system they want the full four speakers overhead but I find there can be a hole in the rear soundstage without the two back speakers, whilst the difference between two or four overhead speakers is less noticeable.
Thanks Steve
The 720 I have can assign between Rears and Rear Heights relatively easily (so I am told, yet to try) so I will give it a go once my front Heights arrive, hopefully tomorrow (hurry up Jag!!)
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Dolby Atmos works by moving objects around in a three dimensional space, so ideally the more speakers (7.1.4), the more accurate the positioning of those objects. However if you only have nine channels available then based on my testing and that of THX, the best alternative is 7.1.2 with the overhead speakers more central. The reason is that the the addition two back speakers creates a cohesive circle that enables sounds to move around you, whilst the two overhead speakers deliver the third dimension of height. I think people often say they prefer 5.1.4 because they think that since they're installing an Atmos system they want the full four speakers overhead but I find there can be a hole in the rear soundstage without the two back speakers, whilst the difference between two or four overhead speakers is less noticeable.
What I have found with a pair of KEF R50s is how the sound now flows around the soundfield in a more controlled manner. My surrounds, I run 5.1.2, are set about a metre above ear level, something the boss insisted on, they blend the sound well. Effects feel as if they are falling away behind even with the pseudo programmes engaged. Switch back to standard 5.1 and sound becomes more directional and losses height.

Switch between Neural 5.1.2 and standard DTS 5.1 on a live concert disc and the difference is pronounced, much more height and atmosphere with Neural.

No matter what make of upfirer you go for then taking a standard 5.1 to 5.1.2 is well worth the investment.
 

wezzywebb

Distinguished Member
Steve ,you state these should be installed no lower than 36" off the ground, are we talking the base of the speaker being that distance off the floor ,or the top?
My setup is 32" off the floor ,but if I used these speakers on top maximum height would be around 42.5 ". would this be suitable ?
 

Steve Withers

Reviewer
So if I only have the space to run 5.1 would you say it was better to run 5.1.2? My plan was to run 5.1.4 and have two atmos speakers mid way to mpl, and the other 2 above my surrounds on the back wall.
My comments were specifically about choosing between 7.1.2 and 5.1.4 but if you only have space for five speakers at ear level and you can fit in four overheads, you may as well set up a 5.1.4 system.
 

Steve Withers

Reviewer
Steve ,you state these should be installed no lower than 36" off the ground, are we talking the base of the speaker being that distance off the floor ,or the top?
My setup is 32" off the floor ,but if I used these speakers on top maximum height would be around 42.5 ". would this be suitable ?
PSB don't make that very clear but from what you describe I think you'll be fine.
 

Rodio

Novice Member
Thanks Steve. I've just ordered a couple and bought the Marantz 6011 to replace my Yamaha a1060. It's a shame the 1060 wasn't more "future proof" as the build and sound is flawless.

(Update, the 6011 was a big disappointment compared to the Yam, sent back and RX-A2060 on route)
 
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cdb

Active Member
Does it matter if in Atmos or DTS X you use speakers that are designed for the other set up? IE ceiling mounted in Atmos or upward firing for DTS X?
 
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Steve Withers

Reviewer
Does it matter if in Atmos or DTS X you use speakers that are designed for the other set up? IE ceiling mounted in Atmos or upward firing for DTS X?
No it doesn't, you can use the PSBs or any other Atmos upward-firing speaker with DTS:X soundtracks as well.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Does it matter if in Atmos or DTS X you use speakers that are designed for the other set up? IE ceiling mounted in Atmos or upward firing for DTS X?
Upfiring speakers work very well for any DTS soundtrack when Neural:X is applied as the upmixer. I've found it very good in picking out high sounds, ie, creaking floorboards, thunder. I was very impressed when in an episode of the HBO series Rome (DTS HD) when a heated conversation from an upstairs room clearly came from above when the camera was on people sitting in a courtyard. I'm using KEF R50s in a 5.1.2 set up.
 

fayeanddavid

Distinguished Member
Going to try a pair XTZ S2s later tday (hopefully), looking forward to this.
 

cdb

Active Member
No it doesn't, you can use the PSBs or any other Atmos upward-firing speaker with DTS:X soundtracks as well.
Upfiring speakers work very well for any DTS soundtrack when Neural:X is applied as the upmixer. I've found it very good in picking out high sounds, ie, creaking floorboards, thunder. I was very impressed when in an episode of the HBO series Rome (DTS HD) when a heated conversation from an upstairs room clearly came from above when the camera was on people sitting in a courtyard. I'm using KEF R50s in a 5.1.2 set up.
Thanks guys
 

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