PSB Imagine XA Dolby Atmos Speaker Review & Comments

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Speakers' started by Steve Withers, Dec 28, 2016.


    1. Steve Withers

      Steve Withers
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    2. Timh129

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      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 .
       
    3. gadget man

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      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.
       
    4. gibbsy

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      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.
       
    5. SwissPhoney

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      Great review Steve.
      Just ordered these bad boys to replace my Onkyo SKH-410s.
       
      Last edited: Dec 28, 2016
    6. golden phoenix

      golden phoenix
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      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?
       
    7. rossini

      rossini
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      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'?
       
    8. fayeanddavid

      fayeanddavid
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      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
       
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    9. Deleted member 598831

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      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?
       
    10. Steve Withers

      Steve Withers
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      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.
       
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    11. Deleted member 598831

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      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.
       
    12. fayeanddavid

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      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!!)
       
    13. gibbsy

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      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.
       
    14. wezzywebb

      wezzywebb
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      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 ?
       
    15. Steve Withers

      Steve Withers
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      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.
       
    16. Deleted member 598831

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      Thank Steve
       
    17. Steve Withers

      Steve Withers
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      PSB don't make that very clear but from what you describe I think you'll be fine.
       
    18. Rodio

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      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)
       
      Last edited: Dec 31, 2016
    19. cdb

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      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?
       
      Last edited: Dec 29, 2016
    20. Steve Withers

      Steve Withers
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      No it doesn't, you can use the PSBs or any other Atmos upward-firing speaker with DTS:X soundtracks as well.
       
    21. gibbsy

      gibbsy
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      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.
       
    22. fayeanddavid

      fayeanddavid
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      Going to try a pair XTZ S2s later tday (hopefully), looking forward to this.
       
    23. cdb

      cdb
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      Thanks guys
       
    24. Tristan45

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      Are these available in gloss black?
       
    25. gibbsy

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      The PSBs look to be mainly covered by the protective grill which makes it very matt black. The KEF R50s are in a high gloss piano black.
      Imagine XA - PSB Speakers
       
    26. Steve Stifler

      Steve Stifler
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      Those mounting brackets, with their slot type of arrangement look just like those on my MK Sound S150Ts.
       
    27. Case Closed

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      A brief review of these has been posted on the YouTube channel, Techmoan. The reviewer purchased these along with matching fronts and centre speakers (XB & XC).
      The video is called, 'Basic Dolby Atmos Install and Review' I'll try and post the link below...
      Basic Dolby Atmos Home Install & Review

      The video doesn't go into too much detail, but it does let see what they're like in terms of size and whether they're likely to fit in with your current setup.
       
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    28. helvetica bold

      helvetica bold
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      Steve great review! Ive had my eye on the XA's for a while. Would these work well with my Energy Take Classic 5.1? Ive been thinking about upgrading to Atmos in 17'. I was planning on getting a complete PSB system but if i can save some money and just buy the XA's I can spend more on the receiver (Sony STA ZA5000es). Cheers!
       
    29. Steve Withers

      Steve Withers
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      They're designed to work fairly seamlessly with most speakers, so I'm sure that'll be fine. Besides you can always just upgrade your 5.1 speakers at a later stage if you feel you need to.
       
    30. oxfordyankee

      oxfordyankee
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      I've just ordered a 5.1 set of the Q Acoustics 3000 speakers. Having previously had the Samsung Atmos soundbar, I know that the upward firing systems work well in my room, however the PSBs are too large to sit on top on the 3010s (which will sat on top of a wooden unit). I assume there is nothing to stop me using these next to the 3010 speakers, or would it be preferable to use the Onkyo, which will fit nicely?

      Thanks
       

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