June 11, 2010

PMC TB2 Monitors.

PMC TB2, the very first of the series.

A car audio buddy of mine recently started to take a keen interest in home audio. He started looking around for a pair of speakers, book shelves preferred, he told me. He knows that I am using pair of PMC speakers. He thought if it's good enough for Big E, it's good enough for him! He ask for my opinion on which model to get within his budget of no more than RM$3K for a pair of used PMC. I advised him to top up his budget a bit and get a nice pair of PMC LB1, which is one of my favourite small speakers, with big, refined sound.

When my friend saw this pair of PMC TB2 being advertised in the classifieds, he went straight in to it, and with a bit of bargaining skills, he managed to purchased this pair you see here for a little less than his budget. He asked for my help to check out the pair on offer. Other than a few scuff marks around the edges, which have been cleverly touched up by the used of a black permanent marker, the drivers seems to be in good order.

A quick glance of the PMC TB2 series evolution. This speaker you see here is the very first of the series. It comes with a metal dome tweeter rather than fabric dome of the later TB2+ and the SEAS supplied dome tweeter of the latest TB2i. Whilst the mid driver looks much the same from the outside, much has been improved on the voice coil and suspension surround materials. With each evolution of the TB2 series, the passive cross overs have been re-worked too. The ATL(Advance Transmission Line) for the bass response has also seen incremental improvements with each evolution of the series.
The transmission line port at the back, you'll need to give this PMC some room behind to breath, for best bass performance(in my room, it was 4 feet from the back wall). Note the speaker grille like studs on the back panel? James of AV Designs tells me they are for mounting 100W Bryston by PMC power packs, so that the TB2 be turned in to an active studio monitor.

He took this pair of speakers to my place for a test drive on the way home, as his system is not assembled yet. He has an old Exposure integrated amp(a hand me down gift from another audio buddy of his!), and hopes to get a Marantz CD63 KI CD player as a starter system.

I plonk the TB2s right at the top of my PMC Fact 8, and hook up to my usual system for a quick sound check. What was planned to be a half hour session turned in to a 4 hour musical marathon! The sound of this speaker is essentially ol' skool Brit in character, think of it as a slightly modern Rogers LS5/9 with more extended bass and you can't be far. The mid centric tonal balance makes vocals beguiling and evocative to listen to. As with speakers of it's time, high frequency extension is limited, but whatever is reproduced, is rather refined and grain free. The bass lines are tight, relatively punchy and rhythmic, yet extends much lower than most book shelves. And this speaker can go very loud indeed too, without sounding strain.

One of the mini monitor's strengths is the ability to disappear in to the room that houses it, and this often lead to very convincing sound staging and imaging properties. The PMC TB2 pair is no exception. Despite being perched high up, pedestal like on top of my Fact 8 pair, the TB2 still excelled in this regard, with the sound stage being some what higher than I am used to. A pair of speaker stands of the right height would do wonders, I suspect.
The nice jumpers are part of the sweet deal too!

As with speaker designs from the 90's tend to be, I found the transparency and band width factor loses out to current generation of speaker designs, due to improvements in driver, passive components(such as capacitors and resistors) technology, and newer computer based simulation software(used during the R&D and speaker voicing stage).

This is a very musical speaker for enjoyment. My buddy is very happy with his purchase, and I wish him a great musical journey ahead.

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