What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Wed, 21 May 2008, 4:00pm

PMC DB1i

Tested at £985
100100
5

PMC’s dinky boxes just got even better; these are superbly detailed and richly rewarding small speakers

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For

  • Solid, powerful bass is now matched with a crisp, open and detailed upper range

Against

  • Need good amplification to be heard at their very best

As you may have gathered, we are really rather taken with PMC's speakers: the DB1+ on which this new model is based got the five-star nod some time back, and the GB1is, the smallest floorstanders in this new ‘i' range, also picked up the full complement of stars a couple of months back. We also happen to run two reference systems based around the big OB1s.

The little DB1is, the babies of the new ‘i' range keep up the momentum. Despite being tiny, at just 29cm tall, they deliver the power and weight for which the old version was known, allied to a cleaner, crisper and airier treble. That gives them a beautifully detailed and precise soundstage, in which performers are imaged with fine clarity, and a lovely sense of space and presence, whatever style of music you choose to play,

All hail the Sonolex
How's it been done? It's mainly down to the new Sonolex tweeter, developed in association with driver manufacturer SEAS. It claims exceptional dispersion characteristics, even off axis, thanks to a dispersion plate with tangential slots cut into it – and delivers on those claims.

While the PMC designers were at it, they also reworked the 14cm mid/bass unit with a new doping process, a stiffer cone and an improved voice-coil, upgraded the crossover and improved the cabinet fit and finish – not that there was anything wrong with the old ones.

Serious low-end welly
Retained from the original is the Advanced Transmission Line design; it's a folded ‘tunnel' within the enclosure, venting at the rear of the cabinet, and used to tune and boost the bass. That means these little speakers deliver serious low-end welly for boxes so small.

It all adds up to a dynamite design, capable of taking on the best in the compact monitor market. It plays anything you throw at it with poise and low-end punch

These are small speakers that sound much bigger than they should, and their new-found focus and finesse have made a great design even better.

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