Fellow reviewer Philip Beaudette (in photos below) lives in my city, and he knows exactly what I mean when I call him and ask for some help. Basically, he’s being recruited to do some heavy lifting in order that I can safely get whatever review product that just arrived at my doorstep up to my listening room, which is on the third floor. Since boxes don't fit around all the corners in my house, everything usually has to be unpacked on the main floor and then moved up. I've come to the conclusion that Philip is a good guy -- he never says no (although that's not saying he hasn't wanted to). The latest: a pair of PSB's Imagine T3 speakers.
The T3, which is now the company's top-of-the-line model, isn't all that heavy as far as floorstanders go (they're just over 70 pounds apiece), but it is pretty expensive ($7500 USD per pair). It's also delicate because of the finish -- the review set came in the drop-dead-gorgeous High Gloss Cherry finish, something I didn't want to risk scratching, mostly because I didn't want to answer to PSB if I did, but also because it looks nothing short of spectacular and I wanted to get some great photos for our SoundStage! Style site. (The other finish, High Gloss Black, looks impressive too, but I've seen it only in pictures.)
Just prior to getting ready to lift the first T3 upstairs, I asked Philip, "Do I have to say that we need to be really careful?" I didn't have to wait for a reply -- his eyes let on to the gravity of the situation as he glanced over the shiny finish. Then we put on our lifting gloves.
But before we did that final lifting to my room, we both commented on the complexity of the packaging that we’d just taken the speakers out of (I took pictures not only for this article, but so I could figure out how to repackage the speakers to send them back), as well as the size of each box -- probably big enough to fit two T3s into if you turned them sideways. Why so big? Both of us agreed that the company probably did it so that the T3 could travel safer -- the box's large footprint means it won't tip over that easily and slam down hard, and the extra space between the box's walls and the speaker allows a safer distance should someone pierce the box with an object, which almost always seems to happen during shipping. Better safe than sorry. (One pair of speakers that arrived here from overseas was obviously hit by a forklift blade somewhere along the way, which pierced not only the sidewall of the box but the speaker cabinet as well! Believe me: you can't fix that.)
Thankfully, Philip and I got both the T3s up to my listening room without any dents or marks. Once there, I immediately put one T3 on my photography table, which is toward the back of my room, in order to start photographing it before dust contaminated it and made shooting the glossy finish and close-ups a nightmare. The result of that photoshoot can be found now in a gallery on SoundStage! Style. My goals in photographing the T3 were to show each main part in detail and to capture the thickness and shininess of the top coating, as well as the overall attractiveness and quality of the finish -- things I don't believe any previous pictures, including PSB's own images, convey that well. Take a look at the gallery and see what you think.
Yet the Imagine T3 isn't all about looks. Right after I photographed the T3, I set the pair up in the typical positions in my room to gather some initial impressions of the sound. They were driven by Simaudio's Moon Evolution 870A amplifier, connected with Siltech's Classic Anniversary 330L cables. (If you're wondering why the 870A is turned backwards in the accompanying photo, and why there are big blue blocks in front of it, it's because I place any amplifier in for review on those blocks facing forwards, which allows quick cable changes for comparisons.) While I won't say much about the sound right now -- partly because there's a complete review to write, but also because I really do need to listen to the pair more -- I will say that someone looking for a topflight, near-full-range speaker really needs to check the T3 out. Seriously -- it's the kind of speaker that could have many wondering why they would pay more.
But for those who can't audition PSB's Imagine T3 in the flesh, or who simply want to read more about it, you can look for my review on SoundStage! Hi-Fi in June. I'll also include telling measurements done in the anechoic chamber at Canada's National Research Council.