PSB presents Passif 50 retro-modern speakers to celebrate anniversary

PSB Passif 50
(Image credit: PSB)

Following the recent release of an intimate documentary about the brand, PSB is culminating its 50th anniversary celebrations by launching a pair of retro-modern speakers. The new Passif 50 pay homage to the company's 1974-released Passif II, which launched the Canadian company into the high-end space, following the release of its debut Avante and Beta II speakers the year before. PSB says it was the first model to incorporate what it now refers to as its “True to Nature” sound philosophy.

The Passif 50 aims to deliver what many in this newfound wave of retro-speakers do – modern performance in a retro aesthetic. In a nod to classic 70s design, the anniversary speakers are visually characterised by an open-grained walnut veneer cabinet, magnetically attached woven cloth grilles and dedicated stands. And then there are special finishing touches – a pull tab on the front grille sporting the retro PSB logo – originally hand-drawn by Barton in his high school geography class – and a rear-panel plaque adorned by a maple leaf with a “Passif 50 – 1972-2022” inscription.

The enclosures have been heavily braced, with the joints all mitred for reduced cabinet vibration, and feature dual five-way binding posts to allow for bi-wiring or bi-amping.

PSB Passif 50

(Image credit: PSB)

Inside, the Passif 50 mirror their ancestor's design but incorporate up-to-date, flagship componentry. The titanium dome tweeter boasts a neodymium magnet and ferrofluid damping, which PSB says results in higher output, improved power handling and reduced distortion. A phase plug has been implemented in front of the dome to increase dispersion, too, while a felt pad surround is there to minimise edge diffraction for improved imaging and resolution.

PSB has worked hard to refine the interaction between the woofer and the passive radiator in the name of enhanced bass performance. To reduce distortion and smoothen response, both now have cast aluminum baskets and filleted rubber surrounds.

The PSB Passif 50 will be available to pre-order online from 1st August for £2499 / $2499 / AU$4999, with shipping expected to begin in September. And there's an incentive for getting in there early: the first 500 units sold will contain a handwritten letter from PSB founder Paul Barton, plus a QR code with an offer to receive a gift pack that includes a canvas backpack, water bottle and keychain.


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Becky Roberts

Becky is the managing editor of What Hi-Fi? and, since her recent move to Melbourne, also the editor of Australian Hi-Fi magazine. During her 10 years in the hi-fi industry, she has been fortunate enough to travel the world to report on the biggest and most exciting brands in hi-fi and consumer tech (and has had the jetlag and hangovers to remember them by). In her spare time, Becky can often be found running, watching Liverpool FC and horror movies, and hunting for gluten-free cake.