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PSB Alpha P3 Review (Bookshelf Speaker)

Rate this speaker:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 206 77.7%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 53 20.0%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 4 1.5%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 2 0.8%

  • Total voters
    265

Newman

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PSB Alpha P3 Measurements Near-field Frequency Response Bookshelf Speaker.png
How does that first resonance at 400 Hz have such a big influence on the summed response? It is 15 dB below the woofer's output, and normally when you sum two outputs 15 dB apart, you will barely be able to see the lower output in the summed response....
e.g. 103 dB + 88 dB = 103.14 dB

cheers
 

DSJR

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Bearing in mind the shelf or tight to wall sitings of cheaper boxes like this, I wonder if blocking the port (foam bungs are cheap enough) might tame the upper midrange interference if not the lower kHz region which suggests a possible cone or surround matching issue? Plenty of 'concepts' floating around this old brain as possible suggestions to fix it but I bet the designer knows exactly what's wrong and maybe had his hands tied by the bean-counters? Maybe they wanted a rougher sound quality to make them superficially 'exciting' sounding?
 
OP
amirm

amirm

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How does that first resonance at 400 Hz have such a big influence on the summed response? It is 15 dB below the woofer's output, and normally when you sum two outputs 15 dB apart, you will barely be able to see the lower output in the summed response....
e.g. 103 dB + 88 dB = 103.14 dB

cheers
Near field measurements are not calibrated. Distance from driver varies and i mess with them a bit by eye.
 

Matias

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tuga

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I didn't even know about PSB.
Now I see they are part of the NAD Bluesound group.
"Beyond the Passion – Scientific Support" they say on their web page. Well, that doesn't look supported by facts, unfortunately.

Their top speakers perform just as well as the best Revels, and their entry-level models used to measure pretty well too (see links below).
I wonder if this sudden change is market/preference driven.


 

Seeker-Smith

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I for one am extremely disappointed. I met Paul Barton back in the late 70’s and our chain was the first PSB dealership.

They’ve had 40+ years to work on this model as it’s been in the line since day 1.
 

HiFidFan

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This is bad. I expected better from PSB.

Thanks for the review @amirm
 

tomtoo

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Poor speaker. No love was given to it.

Sometimes i think this happens to many low budget speakers. They could be much better with a littel bit of love. Its like this are entrance level speakers, throw some peaces toghether, who cares?
I think who gives his low budget speakers no love, deserves no love from me for the high budget speakers.
 

ROOSKIE

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Their top speakers perform just as well as the best Revels, and their entry-level models used to measure pretty well too (see links below).
I wonder if this sudden change is market/preference driven.


I used to have a pair of the Alpha B1.
At the time I really liked them and sounded better than some other monitors I had that were 3-4times the price at that time.

As far as market driven and preference driven design.
Much of Harman's research is into preference, not hard fact. That is all a company can do at this point.

So all of the designs we covet as meeting the Harman targets are based on targets established by their interpretation of their preference testing.
Emphasis on preference. Great research they did and this is not definitive research.
 
Last edited:

ROOSKIE

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JBL 4309 (football panther) vs PSB Alpha P3 (headless panther)

URqj7K9.png


aa2ehpu.png
Yes, this is worth a discussion.
That commentary in the charts does not seem fair to me, that said I have a pair of JBL 4309's here and am doing some listening.
I can say that I have currently 6 or 7 pairs of speakers here that have Harman scores (and have owned more in the recent past)from mid 3's to high 5's (some that can be PEQ'd well into the 6 range) and as many more speakers with no known score.
I have more testing to do.
I wrote about this elsewhere but nothing can really prepare one for the sound of the 4309 based on the published tests. I find it is much better than that chart indicates, and the Harman score indicates in terms of listening to music, creators of course might need flatter lines.

So far the 4309 sounds excellent to me and mean it. As an example I did a bunch of testing on a Polk T50 set (same base Harman score as the 4309 of 3.7 so an interesting testing companion)and while I enjoyed the process and the music enough I was ready to call it a night. Since I planned on testing the 4309, I dragged myself to set them up even though I was "over" music for the evening. Man did that change.
I wanted to "take out" everything I have. A really stunning sound and one that had me absolutely energized again as if I had never grown tired of testing earlier. A completely different speaker from the T50, so much more realistic sounding and clear and "open" if I can use that word here.
There was no comparison for me at all, the 4309 was so much better in my sessions than the T50 (even the T50 PEQ'd to improve response) it is not even remotely in question at my place (GF had the same general experience without any coaching. She did know the prices.). Not to mention it can play really, really loud for it size with total ease - easily outpacing the T50(granted the T50 costs a lot less)
I have more listening to do and of course and perhaps take a few measurements in my room if they seem meaningful.
YMMV.
Just food for thought.
 

ROOSKIE

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For all the headless Panthers keep the following in mind.

  • $249 a pair(2 speakers) for reasonable looks. ( @amirm your lead statements imply $249 each maybe change to $249 for 2)
  • 4.5" woofer, that will play reasonably low in bass. ( vs zero bass)
  • Target buyer, someone with no need to go loud (the 60-75db crowd) and likely a need for very small speakers and a need for them to look like they belong in the living space.
Most would be better with something else (2 JBL 305's would cost less street and have amps), but the design is likely catering to a small target market who doesn't want those black boxes.

Anyway not saying they have a head but maybe they have a small head or part of the head left.
 

tomtoo

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That commentary in the charts does not seem fair to me, that said I have a pair of JBL 4309's here and am doing some listening.
I can say that I have currently 6 or 7 pairs of speakers here that have Harman scores (and have owned more in the recent past)from mid 3's to high 5's (some that can be PEQ'd well into the 6 range) and as many more speakers with no known score.
I have more testing to do.
I wrote about this elsewhere but nothing can really prepare one for the sound of the 4309 based on the published tests. I find it is much better than that chart indicates, and the Harman score indicates in terms of listening to music, creators of course might need flatter lines.

So far the 4309 sounds excellent to me and mean it. As an example I did a bunch of testing on a Polk T50 set (same base Harman score as the 4309 of 3.7 so an interesting testing companion)and while I enjoyed the process and the music enough I was ready to call it a night. Since I planned on testing the 4309, I dragged myself to set them up even though I was "over" music for the evening. Man did that change.
I wanted to "take out" everything I have. A really stunning sound and one that had me absolutely energized again as if I had never grown tired of testing earlier. A completely different speaker from the T50, so much more realistic sounding and clear and "open" if I can use that word here.
There was no comparison for me at all, the 4309 was so much better in my sessions than the T50 (even the T50 PEQ'd to improve response) it is not even remotely in question at my place (GF had the same general experience without any coaching. She did know the prices.). Not to mention it can play really, really loud for it size with total ease - easily outpacing the T50(granted the T50 costs a lot less)
I have more listening to do and of course and perhaps take a few measurements in my room if they seem meaningful.
YMMV.
Just food for thought.

I have no opinion. But for me its always interesting to dig deeper. See i enjoy to play with the PEQ. Looking how this FR changes my impression against this.
So its interesting how a realy not great FR that differs in there failures not that much can give so much different impression. No opinion, just curious.
 

MZKM

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For all the headless Panthers keep the following in mind.

  • $249 a pair(2 speakers) for reasonable looks. ( @amirm your lead statements imply $249 each maybe change to $249 for 2)
  • 4.5" woofer, that will play reasonably low in bass. ( vs zero bass)
  • Target buyer, someone with no need to go loud (the 60-75db crowd) and likely a need for very small speakers and a need for them to look like they belong in the living space.
Most would be better with something else (2 JBL 305's would cost less street and have amps), but the design is likely catering to a small target market who doesn't want those black boxes.

Anyway not saying they have a head but maybe they have a small head or part of the head left.
Emotiva B1+ is the same price, though the looks are iffy.
 

ROOSKIE

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I have no opinion. But for me its always interesting to dig deeper. See i enjoy to play with the PEQ. Looking how this FR changes my impression against this.
So its interesting how a realy not great FR that differs in there failures not that much can give so much different impression. No opinion, just curious.
Because I am trying to up my game designing speakers as a hobby I am definitely trying to figure out what is what.
I deff have my PEQ and DSP involved often.
I can say that I have many speakers here that do not sound quite like what I anticipated.
I also have speakers that measure somewhat differently and yet sound very similar and others that measure quite closely and yet sound very different.
Despite some seeming flaws in the measurements the 4309 so far has presented a superb subjective sound for me.
Would the PSB here do that? I don't think so even though that predicted in room responce looks similar. There is more to the story and parsing it out will take time.
Testing the 4309, along with many other experiences definitely have me reevaluating some things and weighting things differently.
 

fungd

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PSB Alpha P3 Listening Tests
The first impression was not bad and didn't match what the graphs were indicating. Then I realized my ears are heavily plugged up from working in the yard recently so popped them open and realized the harshness of the highs. And a resonance coming through with female vocals just like what I had heard in measurements.
Wanted to relay a quick ear-blockage anecdote: When I first had my ears unblocked due to excessive earwax buildup, I distinctly remember taking a shower the same day and noting that the water sounded really bright and harsh. Even toweling off I could hear it "scraping" against my body like never before. I had been living with gradually diminished high frequency hearing and never noticed. Furthermore, it took three days for my brain to acclimatize, and go back to "normal".
Given the fact that my ears are plugged up, I am going to put most emphasis on objective measurements and say that I can't recommend the PSB Alpha P3. Company knows how to do better and needs to do that even in budget class. Competition is strong here with many good options.
Point being that IMHO, this is the correct emphasis. It surprising how different things sound after clearing a blockage (albeit mine was longer term), and surprising how the brain compensates over time.
 

MarkWinston

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Ignore all subjective views, decipher and judge the data yourself. Problem solved.
 
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