Simply-turned-50-year-old PSB Audio system has set its sights on the long run with the Alpha iQ, the maker’s first powered audio system packing onboard high-resolution community streaming, plus a number of different connectivity choices. All of it is available in a compact, robust-sounding kind issue that’s simple to arrange and use, one “that doesn’t take a four-year school physics diploma to function,” in response to product supervisor Joe de Jesus.
Previewed to the press this week in New York and making its formal debut on the CEDIA Expo in Dallas, TX subsequent week, with retail availability in late November, Alpha iQ audio system ($1,499 a pair) symbolize “a full-court press by Lenbrook Worldwide,” PSB’s Ontario, Canada-based mother or father, PSB’s “down-the-hall“ sibling manufacturers NAD Electronics and Bluesound, and the BluOS music platform driving this present. BluOS now powers multi-room audio on interoperable gear from Lenbrook manufacturers Bluesound, DALI, NAD, and now PSB Audio system.
Arriving two years after PSB’s well-received AM5 and AM3 powered audio system (which lack onboard web connectivity), the Alpha iQ makes use of drivers equally sized to these of the AM3, however with rather more highly effective (and now bifurcated) amplification: All sides of the stereo pair has one 4-inch polypropylene bass driver powered by a 60-watt Class D amplifier, and one 0.75-inch aluminum dome tweeter pushed by 30-watt Class D amp.
All that is inside thoughtfully braced cupboards with well-tuned ports, helped by slightly DSP magic and the golden-ears mindset of firm founder and chief designer Paul Barton. “Paul nonetheless does the majority of speaker voicing,” stated de Jesus (pictured up prime throughout our demo), “however [he] now has a crew of engineers to assist him.”
PSB says the Alpha iQ’s audiophile DAC helps resolutions as much as 24-bit/192Hz, and it has full MQA decoding and rendering functionality. The BluOS platform helps high-resolution music providers together with Amazon Music Extremely HD, Deezer, Qobuz, and Tidal. BluOS customers can even entry tons of of web radio stations, together with—unique amongst streaming platforms—4 content material channels with MQA-encoded high-res music from Radio Paradise.
Don’t miss TechHive’s in-depth protection of web radio stations and its critiques of the very best music-streaming providers.
De Jesus stated PSB spent three years growing the low-latency communications tech that connects the Alpha iQ’s left and proper audio system to one another wirelessly with out compromising audio decision. Every individually amped speaker does, in fact, require an AC energy twine.
Patrons can even get refined connection choices. The set affords two-way Bluetooth with help for the aptX HD codec. Customers likewise can pay attention privately by streaming music from the speaker set to Bluetooth headphones.
Apple AirPlay2 compatibility allows CD-grade music streaming from apps on an iPhone, iPad, or Mac. Spotify Join and Tidal Join are supported for queuing up music these providers’ respective apps. In want of a TV sound improve? The Alpha iQ can deal with that, too, by way of its HDMI eARC enter, with the power to regulate quantity ranges utilizing the TV’s distant.
The devoted BluOS controller app runs the present on a smartphone, pill, or private laptop. A contact panel atop the first speaker likewise allows pause/play and quantity adjustment. Restricted voice controls additionally may be barked, however solely to an exterior system operating on Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or Apple Siri (through AirPlay 2.)
Vinyl lovers will recognize the uncommon (amongst streaming audio system, at the least) inclusion of a moving-magnet phono enter, to allow them to plug of their favourite turntables. That eliminates the necessity for a turntable with an onboard pre-amp, or an expensive outboard pre-amp to take heed to LPs. Rounding out the ports on the first speaker’s backplate: Optical and analog aux inputs, a LAN/USB port for both hardwired ethernet or mass storage, and a subwoofer output.
I’m considering there gained’t be a lot of a necessity for that final connection. Throughout an admittedly temporary listening check with HD tracks from Johnny Money, Steely Dan, and Aimee Mann, I famous very full of life, well-balanced musical performances with glorious element and a goodly quantity of bass extension—even at low listening ranges.
We’ll have an in-depth PSB Audio system Alpha iQ assessment as quickly as we get our palms on an eval unit.