Which AV receiver to drive PSB Image 5Ts?


Unregistered guest
I've currently got a Pioneer VSX2011 (European/Asian model number - I think the US model was Elite 45TX?), which has all the features I want, however, it doesn't seem to be able to drive the PSB 5Ts which are rated 6ohms nominal, 4ohms minimum.

What I mean is, there isn't much weighty, punchy bass unless I turn the volume up to otherwise unacceptable levels.

For 2-channel listening, which where I notice it most, I've configured the Pioneer to use the sub in stereo mode to try to improve things. This does fill out the very low bass, but the upper bass which is coming from the PSB's is lacking.

A while back I did try the NAD T762, Rotel RSX 1055 and Arcam AVR 200. Of these only the Arcam drove the bass better than the Pioneer, but the sound stage was nowhere near as good as the Pioneer (plus the Arcam AVR200 in 5.1 mode was a huge step backward). I also tried the H/K AVR5550 (AVR525 in the US?), and again it did drive the bass well, but the top end was too muted relative to the Pioneer.

Is the new Arcam AVR250 worth auditioning? How about the H/K AVR 630? Or should I raise my budget to something like the Arcam AVR300 or H/K AVR7300?

Any other suggestions?

Silver Member
Username: Johnny


Post Number: 535
Registered: Dec-03

I think I can see why you may be having your problems. Sonically, PSB speakers are very warm sounding. Similarly, the Pioneer receiver you have also has a warm sound, at least to my ears. Therefore, when you put the two together, the sound may be extremely warm, almost to the point of sounding muffled. Your descriptions seem to mirror this. Your combination puts an emphasis on the lower sounds, while possibly leaving the mid-upper sounds lacking. In your situation, I would suggest checking out some brighter sounding receivers such as the newer Yamaha models.

I am a bit confused however by the brands/models that you have already auditioned. The brands you listed are the exact ones that I would suggest go very well with PSB, especially NAD. I have an NAD T762 paired with some PSB Image speakers and I absolutely love the combination. In fact, NAD and PSB are owned by the same parent company, so to me, the combo is a natural one. Rotel and Arcam are also receivers that in my experiences should pair very well with PSB.

I definately wouldn't suggest the HK models. Like your Pioneer, HK also has a very warm sound, and in my opinion would not pair well with PSB (as you heard, the top end would be lacking).

I would definately check out the newer Arcam models. Although I have not had the opportunity to audtion them in person, I have heard some very good things about them. Perhaps the newer models would sound better to your ears.

Unregistered guest
Thanks, I've now got the impression from reading around these forums that the Pioneer/PSB pairing isn't so good. So something has to change in my setup.

However, I'm confused by everybody's description of the Pioneer being warm. I think of H/K or Arcam having a warm sound, but certainly not a Pioneer. Having said that I wouldn't call the Pioneer bright either. Reviews I'd read at the time I bought it described it as very balanced, and I'd tend to agree, although I do turn the treble down 2dB. My idea of bright is a Denon (I had a 2801 for a while - definetly not a good match for the PSBs).

When I paired the Rotel and NAD receivers with the PSBs, the bass was what I'd call anemic. The Pioneer was about the same, but has a smoother top end (perhaps this is what you're refering to as warmth?). With all of these receivers there is next to no very low bass, and only a litte upper bass. Turning up the bass control merely makes them sound unbalanced - no punchier.

Again, I'm also confused at the description of the 5Ts as warm - rather I'd say they're reasonably neutral, perhaps with a tendancy for a slightly bright top end (metal dome tweeter coming to play I think).

Therefore, by my logic at least, a receiver with more bottom end, and an smoother top end should be a good match. Which is why I thought about H/K and Arcam.

I can demo the H/K 630, and the Arcam AVR 300 and possibly the AVR 250. And the newer NAD receivers as well.

I used to have an old NAD 306 stereo amp which I hooked up to the PSBs and the bottom end sounded awesome, if a touch loose, in fact I could've sworn the sub was hooked up (it wasn't). But the top end and soundstage were terrible, so I sold it.

Although perhaps I'm thinking about this back to front. Perhaps I should leave the Pioneer in there, and try some different speakers? Would B&W be a good match?

Silver Member
Username: Johnny


Post Number: 536
Registered: Dec-03

I have just described things as they sounded to my ears during many different auditions of various equipment. A friend of mine has a Pioneer Elite 55txi and it definately sounds warm to my ears. Each person hears things differently, so what is "warm" to me may sound perfect to you. Something else to keep in mind when trying to describe sound is the characteristics of your room. Things like speaker placement, carpet, hardwood floors, large draperies, metal furniture vs. plush funiture, etc. can make a HUGE difference in the overall sound. In the end, you are the one who is going to have to listen to this stuff, so buy what sounds good to your ears, not what I or anyone else tells you SHOULD sound good. You are certianly in an good position in that you are auditioning using your own speakers.

Just for the sake of trying, see if you can find some of the newer Yamaha's, either the RXV-1500 or RXV-2500. Most people on this forum (including me) would describe Yamaha as having a brighter sound, although not as bright as they used to be. See how you think this brand matches with your PSB's.

If you like the sound of your PSB speakers, then I would keep them. As technology increases, receivers come and go. But, you can keep a good set of speakers least that is my take on it.

If you do decide to try new speakers, check out Polk Audio and Monitor Audio. I have heard both with Pioneer and the sound was amazing. Unfortunately I don't have experience with Pioneer and B&W together.

Unregistered guest
Thanks Johnny.

I certainly agree that each person's idea of 'warmth' can be different, as is their opinion of the 'sound' of a given setup.

My room is about 7m (23 ft) wide, 5m (16ft) long, and has a reasonably high ceiling. Its carpeted, and there are a few couches etc in there, but one side wall is all windows. As you'd expect, the speaker closest to this wall sounds brighter than the other, but also has more fuller bass as its closer to a corner. The speakers are about 8-10 inches out from the back wall.

Ultimately I will let my ears make the decision.

All I'm after here is some suggestions for a short list based on everyone's experiences, plus confirmation I'm heading in the right direction. You've certainly been helpful in this regard - thanks.

My local PSB Dealer also sells H/K, NAD, Yamaha and Pioneer so I can compare those in the shop, and then home demo the best two from there. I've bought plenty of stuff from him in the past so I may even be able to take all 3 brands home for a demo...

My local Arcam Dealers doesn't sell any of the other components that I have (one is into Denon and Marantz, the other Rotel, Rega, Naim, Cambridge Audio), so I'll try to get a home demo of the Arcam.

Thanks again,

Unregistered guest
My .02, I have infinity ts1100 with two entra ones for the the front left and right channels. I listen to music on 7 channel stereo mode with the sub, and the sound is very crisp and full. My opinion is that the pioneer works excellent with this speaker setup. The entra ones add warmth to the midrange and the surrounds feel in from there. The ts1100 comes with a 12" sub and 250w amp that I set bypassed at 100 which gives a deep full feeling bass response. If you can test these I highly recommend it.

Unregistered guest
Thanks for the tip ramplg. My local PSB Dealer does Infinity too, so I'll ask about them when I check out the H/K, Yamaha and NAD receivers in the few weeks.

I visited my local Arcam Dealer today, and apparently there are no Arcam AVR 250s or 300s in the country (New Zealand) until the end of the month.

So I'm going to wait until then to demo everything.

In the meantime, if anyone else has any suggestions, feel free to let me know!
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