PSB Imagine Mini Series Speaker System Review

Small speakers don't mean small sound

PSB Imagine Mini Series Speakers with SubSeries 200
PSB Imagine Mini Series Speakers with SubSeries 200. Images provided by PSB

It used to be that to get great home theater sound, you needed really large loudspeakers. However, although there is certainly still a place for large floor standing speakers and big subwoofers, great strides have been made is squeezing more sound out of smaller speaker designs. PSB has taken on the challenge with its Imagine Series mini line, which consists of very stylish and compact bookshelf and center channel speakers.

For this review, PSB provided their mini c and mini bookshelf speakers, as well as their 10-inch SubSeries 200 powered subwoofer. This system was used with an Onkyo TX-SR705 Home Theater Receiver, Oppo Digital BDP-93 Blu-ray Disc player, and a Toshiba 47TL515U 47-inch LED/LCD TV.

Audio Performance - PSB mini and mini c Speakers

Despite their compact size, the PSB mini and mini c speakers provided a very good listening experience in the 5-channel configuration used. The mini c was especially adept at reproducing vocals and dialog with both depth and realistic detail.

On the other hand, the speakers are not overly bright, which does mean that they are slightly subdued with regards to some high-frequency transients, such as the finer detail present in percussion instruments or crashing and breaking effects in movies. However, they were by no means overly dull, as too much brightness can lead to harshness, and the midrange was full-bodied and distinctive, even on acoustic instruments and breathy vocals.

Also, the mini speakers used for the front mains and surrounds projected good spatial and direct placement of sound effects. Examples include the arrow assault scene in Hero and the echo game scene from House of the Flying Daggers. The minis also provided immersive results from surround sound music sources, such as Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon (SACD version) and of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody (From A Night at the Opera - DVD-Audio version).

The center and satellites give the impression of listening to larger speakers. In one test, the subwoofer was not used, and although the minis obviously didn't reach down into the low-frequency bass range, they actually sounded pretty full-bodied in the lower midrange/upper bass for such small speakers.

Also, in the specifications for these speakers (provided at the end of this review), it notes the frequency response for each speaker decreases from a high of 23kHz to 10kHz as you move from the center point of the listening area to 30 degrees off axis in either direction, which could explain some of the subtleness at higher frequencies. In the 5 channel setup, audible frequency response changes were not noticeable when changing seating position. However, it is suggested that you follow the speaker placement guidelines provided in the PSB mini and mini c owner's guides for best results.

Audio Performance - PSB SubSeries 200

The PSB SubSeries 200 provided a good transition from the lower midrange/upper bass capabilities of the mini and mini c to low frequencies produced by the subwoofer. There was no evidence of unwanted hum or clicks over the course of time the subwoofer was used.

When comparing the SubSeries 200 to a  Klipsch Synergy Sub10 and the EMP Tek ES10i used for comparison, the SubSeries 200 couldn't quite match the power output of the extremely low-frequency extension output of the Klipsch but was a little deeper, and tighter on the low end than the EMP Tek. The comparison results still place the SubSeries 200 as a good performer in its class.

Soundtracks containing lots of LFE activity, such as Battleship and Jurassic Park Trilogy, were significantly impactful and definitely on par with most 10-inch subs I have heard.

Also, the Subseries 200 does very well with the music. There was good detail on the acoustic bass tracks in both Norah Jones CD Come Away with Me and enough tightness on electric bass on other CD tracks, such as the very bass-heavy CD, Sade's Soldier of Love.

Taking the comparisons and additional listening experience into consideration, the SubSeries 200 is a very deserving subwoofer for its classing, providing tight, deep bass response for both movies and music. Although not quite as deep and intense as the Klipsch Sub 10 used for comparison, The SubSeries 200 is definitely a consideration for small and medium-size rooms (the listening room used in this review was 15x20 feet). For larger rooms, if the SubSeries 200 is up to what you need, you do have the capability of connecting an additional sub using either the low or high-level outputs of the SubSeries 200.

PSB Imagine Series and SubSeries 200 System - Pros

  • The compact size and built-in bottom "footpad" of the center and satellite speakers make placement on a shelf very easy. Overall great stylish and function physical design.
  • The mini and mini c project a much larger sound image that their size would indicate, which is perfect for surround sound listening.
  • The SubSeries 200 provides good low-frequency response.
  • Smooth transition and blending between the Subwoofer and rest of system.
  • The subwoofer provides both line-in and high-level speaker connection options, making it possible use it with receivers that do not have a dedicated subwoofer output, as well as a way for connection to a second subwoofer if needed.
  • Very well-designed speaker connection terminals on the mini and mini c speakers.

PSB Imagine Series and SubSeries 200 System - Cons

  • Would prefer slightly more brightness on the high frequencies from the mini and mini c.
  • Would prefer that the SubSeries 200's adjustment controls be located on the rear of the sub so that you don't need to remove the speaker grill to access them.
  • SubSeries 200 LED power status indicator located behind speaker grill - light shining through the grill looks odd.
  • The mini and more so, the mini c, are somewhat expensive for compact speakers.

PSB Imagine Series mini c Center Channel Speaker Specifications

  • Design: 2-Way Bass Reflex design with two 4-inch Bass/Midrange drivers, one 1-inch Tweeter, and a rear-facing port.
  • Frequency Response: 55Hz - 23kHz (on axis + or - 3db), 65Hz - 10kHz (at 30 degrees off-axis). Low-frequency cut-off at 50Hz (-10 dB). On-Axis means from a center listening position, while off-axis refers to a listening position that on either the left or right side of the center listening position. For example, two or three people sitting on a short couch would be in an on-axis listening position, while those that may be sitting on a chair on either side of the couch would be in an off-axis listening position.
  • Crossover: 2.2 kHz - this is the point were frequencies are divided between bass/midrange driver and the tweeter.
  • Sensitivity: 86db
  • Impedance: 8 ohms.
  • Power Handling: 10 to 80 watts.
  • Dimensions: (WHD) 14 x 6 x 8 1/2 inches.
  • Weight: 9.8 pounds
  • Finish: Black Ash, Dark Cherry Walnut Wood Veneer, Gloss Black or White.
  • Speaker can be table/shelf/stand or wall mounted (optional hardware required).

    PSB Imagine Series mini Bookshelf Speakers Specifications

    • Design: 2-Way Bass Reflex Design. Bass/Midrange: One 4-inch Bass/Midrange driver, One 1-inch Tweeter, rear-facing port.
    • Frequency Response: 55Hz-23kHz (on axis), 65Hz-10kHz (off axis - 30 degrees at + - 3db). Low frequency cut-off at 50Hz (-10 db).
    • Crossover: 2.2 kHz
    • Sensitivity: 85db
    • Impedance: 8 ohms.
    • Power Handling: 10-80 watts.
    • Dimensions: (WHD) 5 3/4 x 9 1/4 x 8 3/8 inches.
    • Weight: 6.5 pounds
    • Finish: Black Ash, Dark Cherry, Walnut Wood Veneer, Gloss Black or White
    • Can be table/shelf/stand or wall mounted (optional hardware required).

    PSB Subseries 200 Powered Subwoofer Specifications

    • Speaker: One 10-inch front firing driver augmented by bottom facing port (Bass Reflex design).
    • Frequency Response: 28-150Hz, Low Frequency cutoff at  25Hz (-10db).
    • Phase: 0 or 180 degrees. This is used to match the in and out speaker cone vibration with the rest of the speakers.
    • Amplifier Power Output: 200 watts continuous, 560 watts peak.
    • Crossover Frequency: 50 to 150Hz (continuously variable). All frequencies above a set crossover point are reproduced by the rest of the speakers in the system. The subwoofer only reproduces the frequencies below the crossover point.
    • Power Toggle: On/Off: Auto
    • Dimensions: (WHD) 13 3/8 x 17 1/2 x 15 1/2 - inches
    • Weight: 34 pounds.
    • Available Finishes: Black Ash or Dark Cherry.

    The Bottom Line

    Reviewing the PSB Imagine Series mini and mini c, as well as the SubSeries 200, was very enjoyable.

    The 5.1 setup option provided for this review delivered a very good listening experience for both music and movies, as well as other content. Although the mini and mini c were a little subtle on the highest frequencies, they produced a warm result with realistic detail that would please many consumers looking for a compact speaker system that can produce the audio output, dynamics, and immersiveness needed for home theater listening, to a more directed, or even intimate, experience when listening to music. The PSB Imagine Series mini and mini c speakers are definitely well-engineered.

    If you are looking for home theater speaker system that is compact but provides solid performance, definitely consider the PSB Imagine Series mini, mini c, and SubSeries 200.

    The PSB Imagine Mini Speakers and SubSeries200, along with most PSB speaker products are available mostly through authorized PSB dealers. Some speaker and additional products are also available via select online retailers.

    Official Product Pages: Imagine mini-c, Imagine mini, SubSeries 200

    For additional speaker system suggestions, also check out some speaker systems on our Best Surround Sound Speakers List which are updated on a periodic basis.

    Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. Products were returned at the conclusion of the review.