Autoplay: ON Autoplay: OFF
CNET First Look
PSB VS21 asks big price for small soundThe PSB Alpha VS21's skimpy features lineup and so-so movie sound quality don't live up to expectations considering its hefty price.
[MUSIC] If you've got a flat screen TV, you will have quickly discovered how poor the sound is. But what are your options? For most people I'd say look at the Pioneer sound bar and sound base. But if you've got a small TV and a lot of money to burn, then the PSB VS21 might be of interest to you. The PSB offer VS21 vision sound. Is a very compact sound base at only 21 inches across and 13 inches deep. It will support TVs up to 88 pounds, but unless you have a recent Vizio TV, you'll find that the number of TVs that fit on it to be quite small. Not even a 40 inch Samsung TV will fit on this small base. VS21 offers connection via coaxial, optical, digital, and analog, in addition to bluetooth with apdex. The unit can do Dolby digital but it doesn't do DTS. It comes with a number of different modes include a fairly convincing wide mode, a speech mode, and simple stereo. Well, it does offer a subwoofer out. Unfortunately, there's no tone controls. And so taming the bass is impossible, which is a shame, as it can get unruly, depending on which mode you use. The wave mode is good at low volumes for most material, but it can get a bit too shouty at higher levels with music, which is where stereo is better. As far as intelligibility is concerned, it's night and day better than any TV anywhere near the price. But that's also one of its problems. The TVs that will fit on this stand are about the same price as the unit. It's too expensive for what it can do. Especially when the Pioneer FTFP03 is half the price, performs to a much similar level, and will hold much larger TV. This doesn't mean the PSB VS21 is a bad product. It sounds good and is well built. But it has severely limited TV choices and it's not as flexible as the Pioneer. If it was a few hundred dollars cheaper, then it would be more recommendable. This is Todd [UNKNOWN] at cnet.com. [MUSIC]