PSB Alpha Intro LR review:

PSB Alpha Intro LR

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CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Damn, they're small!

The Bad They sound small.

The Bottom Line For their size, they really do deliver a lot of sound.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

6.0 Overall
If you're on the lookout for some really small speakers, you have to check out PSB Speakers' new Alpha Intro LRs. Designed to be heard, not seen, these little guys take up an absolute minimum of living space. If you're on the lookout for some really small speakers, you have to check out PSB Speakers' new Alpha Intro LRs. Designed to be heard, not seen, these little guys take up an absolute minimum of living space.

The Intro LRs' wee 3.5-inch woofer can't produce that much bass, so PSB Speakers built in a high-pass, first-order filter to roll off deep bass signals and improve power handling. That filter actually increases the speaker's usable bass output, so it's flat to around 90Hz. But the Intro LRs need some assistance on the bottom, so plan on using a sub to fill out the lower octaves.

Come together
The Intro LRs, which are available in black or white, are made with medium-density fiberboard for the top, bottom, and sides of the cabinet. Plastic baffles cap the front and rear of the speaker. Its posterior is outfitted with four rubber bumpers to cushion the wall-to-speaker interface, and a keyhole slot and brass inserts for wall brackets facilitate mounting the speaker in your room. The Intro LRs' softly curved, perforated aluminum grilles add a certain refinement to their overall look.

We used the Intro LR's matching sub, PSB Speakers' Alpha SubZero, during our listening tests. The speakers blended OK, but not great. We felt that the Intro LRs' midrange sounded smaller, not as present or full as it would over larger, more full-range speakers. But that's to be expected; tiny speakers with 3.5-inch woofers are bound to sound a little light weight. Boisterous rock and roll or wham-bam home-theater effects aren't in the cards for the Intro LRs.

Compared to larger speakers, these little guys sounded, well, smaller and simply less alive. Oh well, the Intro LRs played our Stevie Ray Vaughan CDs loud enough to fill a medium-sized living room. The tiny Intros projected a large soundstage. Simply mic-ed recordings, such as Ali Farka Toure and Ry Cooder's Talking Timbuktu CD, displayed remarkably focused imaging.

The Intro LRs sounded a bit bright and forward on our reference DVDs, Thin Red Line, Men in Black, and Cube. Still, it's worth pointing out that the Intro LRs were unfazed by all but the largest explosions played at annoy-the-neighbor loudness levels. We loved the Intro LR's airy tweeter. However, because the tweeter is fairly bright, we listened to DVDs with less-than-smooth soundtracks at slightly lower levels.

A second pair of Intro LRs dished out surround sound with aplomb, and their timbre matching was, of course, perfect. Mounted up high, they had no trouble fusing with the front Intro LRs. The entire Intro system all but disappeared when we spun the Hollow Man DVD.

Priced at $199 a pair, the PSB Speakers Alpha Intro LRs represent a good value. An entire Intro 5.1 system with an Alpha SubZero sub lists for just $866. If you're looking for ultracompact, highly detailed speakers for your bedroom or small den, this little ensemble may be a big surprise.

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