• 02-15-2004, 07:37 PM
    Pat D
    What about PSB Stratus Minis?
    These seem to work quite well on my usual round of full orchestra, male and female vocals, opera, chorus, piano, and guitar. The sound has no obvious colorations though the image is somewhat laid back (a good thing for me) and can throw a wide and deep image. I preferred the balance to that of the Joseph Audio RM-7Si, which is a fine speaker but not to my taste. The setting would fairly open acoustically with large opeinings into other rooms, but the listening positions are only about 9 feet from the speakers.

    Has anyone else heard the Status Minis? Any comments or other suggestions?
  • 02-16-2004, 09:03 AM
    bmw-k
    It's funny you should mention the PSB Stratus Mini's, since I listened to them this weekend. I can only compare them to the Wharfedale EVO10's (Since that was what was available at the shop I was at), but what I can say is that the PSB's had much tighter and cleaner bass than the EVO10's by a long margin.

    The PSB's were very neutral speakers, bordering on a slightly cold sound in the upper midrange and treble. It's a small thing though, but noticable. Where the EVO10's were bright and exceedingly detailed, the PSB's were a little cold, but 95% as detailed - you just had to work a little more to hear the detail. The detail was there, and exceptionally crisp.

    The PSB's had such tighter bass that it made the comparison between the two a "one song" decision as to which was a better speaker. PSB, hands down.

    Fact is, I ended up buying a set of PSB Stratus Silver i's Floorstanders (two models up over the Mini's) over a lot of other floorstander speakers.
  • 02-16-2004, 11:31 AM
    Pat D
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by bmw-k
    It's funny you should mention the PSB Stratus Mini's, since I listened to them this weekend. I can only compare them to the Wharfedale EVO10's (Since that was what was available at the shop I was at), but what I can say is that the PSB's had much tighter and cleaner bass than the EVO10's by a long margin.

    The PSB's were very neutral speakers, bordering on a slightly cold sound in the upper midrange and treble. It's a small thing though, but noticable. Where the EVO10's were bright and exceedingly detailed, the PSB's were a little cold, but 95% as detailed - you just had to work a little more to hear the detail. The detail was there, and exceptionally crisp.

    The PSB's had such tighter bass that it made the comparison between the two a "one song" decision as to which was a better speaker. PSB, hands down.

    Fact is, I ended up buying a set of PSB Stratus Silver i's Floorstanders (two models up over the Mini's) over a lot of other floorstander speakers.

    The little Stratus Minis seem to have a remarkably full bass. Above the bass, the frequency response has a very gentle downward trend, not a bad thing IMHO, as it makes them more forgiving of bad recordings. I was quite impressed.

    I compared them to a much more expensive Dali tower speaker (4 grand), which was very good, and to the Joseph Audio RM-7Si. I have heard the Paradigm S8 and briefly, the S2, but not together with the Stratus Minis. I am not sure whether I would prefer the Stratus Mini or the Paradigm S2, but I will have to compare them when I get a chance.

    The Stratus Silver is a remarkably good speaker from what I have heard of it. If you had a big subwoofer (which I do), would you think it worth getting the Stratus Silver?
  • 02-16-2004, 12:01 PM
    kexodusc
    You'll have to test the Stratus mini's out for yourself...I found them rather dull, uninvolving and relatively overpriced to some other speakers in comparable price range, including Mirage, Paradigm Reference, Energy and B&W, particularly for more demanding music sources. But the PSB's have a huge following of people that swear by them, I think they definitely have a certain flavour, if they agree with you you'll probably like them.
    I know quality wise I've had good experience with PSB, my old Alpha's fell out of my truck, off a bookshelf, off a wall mount, and off speaker stands too many times to count and still worked as good as ever. I'll never question a PSB's build quality.
  • 02-16-2004, 02:04 PM
    bmw-k
    I did, in fact, end up buying the Stratus Silver i's on Sunday. Set alone, I found that the Silver's were a little dull, but only in comparison to some other very bright speakers such as the Wharfedales. The counter is that the Silver's simply demonstrated a higher quality of bass response and smoothness than any other speaker I heard (possible exception to the Maggie 12's which the Fiance' vetoed due to size). Across the entire frequency range, I could detect no noticeable spikes in performance - very very flat response.

    Quite honestly, coming from a set of Bose 901's, the PSB's are a revelation.

    The end all of conversations is that it really depends upon your ears as to what sounds good and what doesn't. I don't believe that there really is a "perfect" speaker out there, at least at the $1000 price point. These aren't Wilson -Watt Puppies after all.

    As noted, the Silver's had a very, very smooth response all throughout their response range. I could detect no real spikes in their performace, no crossover fallout or otherwise. With the EVO30's, I could hear certain notes "fall off" as if they just didn't exist. This was quite apparant in the accoustic version of Hotel California. The beginning guitar rifts (going up and down the scale) - well, at certain points, the notes just fell off and didn't exist regardless of volume. That could be a result of speaker tuning, ports, crossover ranges, speaker limitations or whatever. With the EVO's playing on an $50k McIntosh reference system (not mine, the studio's...) it was pretty obvious where the limitations where with the speaker.

    As to the PSB's being a bit un-involving, I think it really depends upon the music. For my ears, certain vocals were rendered absoutely stunningly. Sarah Brightman's Time to Say Goodbye simply brought tears to my eyes. Strings tend to be rendered a bit softly, a bit cold or uninviting, but very distinct and defined. On the EVO's, Sarah's voice seemed a bit "pinched off" and tight. There was a definite edge to the voice that simply was smoothed over on the PSB's. Which one is a more true sound depends upon where one last heard Sarah's voice...

    The PSB's use an aluminum tweeter vs. the B&W soft silk dome. The silks (from my listening...) tend to be a bit more alive and represent treble more crisply and brighter. The aluminum sounds a bit more "pure" if you will, with more of a tendency to represent music a bit cold. Flutes play magnificently off the PSB's while Violins and Harpsichord seem to pay better on the B&W's (aluminum vs. silk).

    As you guessed, I did get a sub with the Silver's. I went with the PSB Subsonic Stratus 7i. Basically, a 15" 330 watt sub. It's a beast to say the least and will definitely take some fine-tuning to keep the sound levels reasonable (it may even be too much, but I couldn't pass on a $600 deal for the sub). Last night's foray into "Open Range" with Costner was rather frightening. The initial thunderstorm came across rattling my windows and sending my cats scurrying in all directions! Tuned down to 50hz on the x-over, and the volume set at around 20% allowed for much greater realism without destroying the quality of the sound.

    One thing I did find was that the Silver's are very easy to listen to, especially from a "clinical" perspective. Vivaldi's 4-seasons was soft, formal, easy to pick out every individual harpsichord note and violin note. Not bright as in a B&W, but still very clear and exceptionally clean.

    I had the Fifth Element soundtrack on now, Diva's Song. Her voice absolutely sounds very pure, regardless of volume, very flutish if you will. No sharp edges at all. From the bass perspective with the sub off, there were few difficulties mating the deep bass with her voice. With the sub on, the bass rumbles out without any challenge or disruption whatsoever.

    One of my favorite CD's is an 1812 Overture with live digitized canon shots. The Silver's midrange and tweeter handled the "crack" of the initial firing followed by a rumble from the sub that was just amazing. No sonic distortion at all. This one test was the downfall for most speakers I listened to. The EVO's failed this even with a sub backing them. Somehow or another, the Wharfs had a resonance in the cabinet that broke up the midrange briefly after each cannon shot.

    I am very glad that I work from home and my neighbors are out all day. I can rip music at reference levels without fear of calling the "Neighborhood Watch" in on me.

    The other option for these speakers is Home Theater. The Silver's are just stunning in that mode for me. Almost too clean even at high volume.
  • 02-16-2004, 08:25 PM
    Pat D
    Stratus Minis vs. Stratus Silvers.
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by bmw-k
    I did, in fact, end up buying the Stratus Silver i's on Sunday. Set alone, I found that the Silver's were a little dull, but only in comparison to some other very bright speakers such as the Wharfedales. The counter is that the Silver's simply demonstrated a higher quality of bass response and smoothness than any other speaker I heard (possible exception to the Maggie 12's which the Fiance' vetoed due to size). Across the entire frequency range, I could detect no noticeable spikes in performance - very very flat response.

    Quite honestly, coming from a set of Bose 901's, the PSB's are a revelation.

    The end all of conversations is that it really depends upon your ears as to what sounds good and what doesn't. I don't believe that there really is a "perfect" speaker out there, at least at the $1000 price point. These aren't Wilson -Watt Puppies after all.

    As noted, the Silver's had a very, very smooth response all throughout their response range. I could detect no real spikes in their performace, no crossover fallout or otherwise. With the EVO30's, I could hear certain notes "fall off" as if they just didn't exist. This was quite apparant in the accoustic version of Hotel California. The beginning guitar rifts (going up and down the scale) - well, at certain points, the notes just fell off and didn't exist regardless of volume. That could be a result of speaker tuning, ports, crossover ranges, speaker limitations or whatever. With the EVO's playing on an $50k McIntosh reference system (not mine, the studio's...) it was pretty obvious where the limitations where with the speaker.

    As to the PSB's being a bit un-involving, I think it really depends upon the music. For my ears, certain vocals were rendered absoutely stunningly. Sarah Brightman's Time to Say Goodbye simply brought tears to my eyes. Strings tend to be rendered a bit softly, a bit cold or uninviting, but very distinct and defined. On the EVO's, Sarah's voice seemed a bit "pinched off" and tight. There was a definite edge to the voice that simply was smoothed over on the PSB's. Which one is a more true sound depends upon where one last heard Sarah's voice...

    The PSB's use an aluminum tweeter vs. the B&W soft silk dome. The silks (from my listening...) tend to be a bit more alive and represent treble more crisply and brighter. The aluminum sounds a bit more "pure" if you will, with more of a tendency to represent music a bit cold. Flutes play magnificently off the PSB's while Violins and Harpsichord seem to pay better on the B&W's (aluminum vs. silk).

    As you guessed, I did get a sub with the Silver's. I went with the PSB Subsonic Stratus 7i. Basically, a 15" 330 watt sub. It's a beast to say the least and will definitely take some fine-tuning to keep the sound levels reasonable (it may even be too much, but I couldn't pass on a $600 deal for the sub). Last night's foray into "Open Range" with Costner was rather frightening. The initial thunderstorm came across rattling my windows and sending my cats scurrying in all directions! Tuned down to 50hz on the x-over, and the volume set at around 20% allowed for much greater realism without destroying the quality of the sound.

    One thing I did find was that the Silver's are very easy to listen to, especially from a "clinical" perspective. Vivaldi's 4-seasons was soft, formal, easy to pick out every individual harpsichord note and violin note. Not bright as in a B&W, but still very clear and exceptionally clean.

    I had the Fifth Element soundtrack on now, Diva's Song. Her voice absolutely sounds very pure, regardless of volume, very flutish if you will. No sharp edges at all. From the bass perspective with the sub off, there were few difficulties mating the deep bass with her voice. With the sub on, the bass rumbles out without any challenge or disruption whatsoever.

    One of my favorite CD's is an 1812 Overture with live digitized canon shots. The Silver's midrange and tweeter handled the "crack" of the initial firing followed by a rumble from the sub that was just amazing. No sonic distortion at all. This one test was the downfall for most speakers I listened to. The EVO's failed this even with a sub backing them. Somehow or another, the Wharfs had a resonance in the cabinet that broke up the midrange briefly after each cannon shot.

    I am very glad that I work from home and my neighbors are out all day. I can rip music at reference levels without fear of calling the "Neighborhood Watch" in on me.

    The other option for these speakers is Home Theater. The Silver's are just stunning in that mode for me. Almost too clean even at high volume.

    Thank you for your detailed and useful comments. I will try to listen to the Stratus Silvers in a systematic way. I have never heard an Acoustic Aegis speaker.

    I have a good big sub and my listening levels seldom exceed about 82-84 dBa, usually less, and don't exceed about 90 dBa. What I was really trying to ask (rather clumsily it seems) was how the Silvers compared to the Minis. Sorry for the confusion. Are they more neutral in from the upper bass through the midrange, upper midrange, treble and extreme highs?
  • 02-17-2004, 06:13 PM
    bmw-k
    Hope this link works. review from Stereophile on the PSB Mini's...


    http://www.stereophile.com/loudspeak...29/index1.html
  • 02-17-2004, 07:02 PM
    Pat D
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by bmw-k
    Hope this link works. review from Stereophile on the PSB Mini's...


    http://www.stereophile.com/loudspeak...29/index1.html

    Thanks. I am very familiar with the review, however, and I note that The Sensible Sound liked it a lot, too. The Stereophile site has a number of speaker reviews with their measurements on it.

    D. B. Keele reviewed the Stratus Silver in Audio and I think I still have it at home. As I recall, it is an extraordinary performer in many ways. I have only heard it briefly in a very small room, however.

    Here's another speaker I heard which is very fine by Sonus Faber:

    http://www.stereophile.com/loudspeakerreviews/269/

    The Sonus Faber Grand Piano sounds better than the usual frequency response graphs show, and John Atkinson explains it by pointing out the the upper midrange dips are pretty much filled in off axis, so that the effect of the dips are minimized in a normal room.

    Then, of course, the Totem Mani-2 (I heard the Signature version at as friend's house) is really very fine sounding:

    http://www.stereophile.com/loudspeakerreviews/269/

    The measurements are not obviously better than the Stratus Mini where it counts most!

    I have not seen measurements for the Paradigm Signature speakers. The S8 is a very fine speaker. However, I would really like to see a good review of the S2, and I will have to listen more to it. I wonder how the S2 takes piano . . .

    So far, of the speakers I have auditioned recently, I really like the Totem Mani-2 Signature, the Paradigm Signature 8 and 2 (what I have heard of it), the Sonus Faber Grand Piano, and well, the little PSB Stratus Mini, which is by far the cheapest. If for no other reason than the prices, the Paradigm S2 and the PSB Straus Mini are at the top of the list at the moment. These all seem to perform well on any music I have played over them.

    I would like to hear the Revel Performa M20, which measures very well indeed:

    http://www.stereophile.com/loudspeakerreviews/492/

    For all its virtues, I did not particularly like the Joseph Audio RM-7Si, a fine speaker which doesn't seem to be my cup of tea.

    http://www.stereophile.com/loudspeakerreviews/615/

    As well, some time ago, I wrote to Audio Note's US distributor, but I never received a reply and we have moved on to other places. Oh well, I may yet run across them somewhere, and also those speakers RGA didn't buy, the Reference 3A De Capos.