- Written by Jim Milton
- Published on 09 September 2010
Setup and Performance
I moved my Revel F12s out of the room (again) and placed the Ones equi-distanced from my normal seating spot eight feet away. I toed them in slightly, but did not notice much frequency shifting even with them facing full forwards. A foot and half from the back wall and around three feet from the sides and I was ready to go. My speaker cables were Zu Audio Julians with banana connectors which snapped into the posts with a solid click. Obviously, bare wire or spades will work as well, but I have always preferred the ease and convenience of bananas. I experimented with the port plugs, but couldn't get a dramatic sound change (better or worse), so I did most of my listening sans plugs. PSB offered to send me more, but I declined. In hind sight, I probably should have taken them up on the offer just to experiment with them.( I won't decline an offer of "free" or "more" in the future). It is nice that PSB gives you that option, though. I noticed that the tweeter height was actually positioned slightly below ear level from my usual listening position, but found that the treble was not diminished in any of my actual listening. For much of my auditioning, I normally listen to classical music and pay close attention to instrument timbre and dimensionality of the soundstage. In all respects, the Ones reproduced music to louder than realistic levels with no audible distortion or distress.
Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet Suite, whether in surround or stereo, presented a wide and deep stage across the front of my room. Instruments from the piccolo to the kettle drums all sounded very natural and defined in their own space. Nuances, like sheet music or a bow skittering along a string were all captured in magnificent detail. As on most Telarc recordings, the dynamic range goes from deathly silence to full crescendo in a heart beat...and the Ones never faltered in their open and coherent presentation.
For a rocking good time, I also played some "Goodbye Yellow Bick Road" by Elton John. This SACD has remarkable sonics and a delightful 3D musical spread. Piano, voice and electric guitars sounded very good. Piano and voice can be good indicators of midrange reproduction and the Ones produced very natural, life-like sound. Drums had kick and punch. If you have the power, these speakers really opened up nicely when your in the mood to loosen your tie! I'm a bit "old school", so I also listened to a lot of The Doors, The Who, Beatles, Moody Blues and Milli Vanilli (Oops!...just kidding). They all sounded great, though some of the recordings really had their warts and blemishes exposed by the Synchronys. I am O.K. with that. A good speaker should never mask the truth in a recording.
Stravinsky's "The Firebird" allowed me to assess the bite of the strings as well as demonstrating the PSBs ability to handle complex musical structures…and timpani. The Ones are not in need of being bolstered by a subwoofer. You can certainly add one to the mix, but the Ones went low enough for me, a pipe organ enthusiast. Powerful, tight bass notes could be felt and distingushed. The very low notes were not just jumbled together, but retained their distinction from each other. It quickly became apparent to me that the Ones were very neutral and uncolored in their presentation, as well. It's somewhat hard to describe, but you know how other speakers are often referred to as having "tight bass" or "beautiful mids" or "highs that really sizzle"? With the Ones, they do all of that stuff very well, but I can think of no speaker that I have listened to in the last several years that blend all three elements so seemlessly. No one range was dominant. All three drivers worked together so seamlessly, that I can not point out a specific "sonic character" to describe them. Treble was smooth, but not bright. Mid range was open and natural, but not too forward. Bass was tight and deep, but never overpowering or loose. Considering their close proximity to my front wall, I expected some low end boost, but it never reared its ugly head. Just the clarity, accuracy and detail of the music were being presented. In part, I can attribute this seemless blend to the fourth-order slopes of the crossovers that eliminated so much of the driver overlap that you sometimes get with other speakers. No matter what music (or movies) I listened to with the Synchrony Ones, I was impressed with what I heard. Cohesive sound, without any one particular audio frequency being over or under emphasized. Like Goldilocks would have said, "This one is just right!" These are speakers that you would never tire of listening to over the years. The money you could save by not "upgrading" speakers every other year would more than justify the price of the Synchrony Ones.