PMC DB1

PMC DB1
  • Expert Rating

    3.50 / 5

Pros

  • Looks great, great bass response, wall mountable

Cons

  • Nothing of note

Bottom Line

Very capable little speakers--refined, muscular and decor friendly.

Would you buy this?

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PMC hasn't been around long, but it has quickly become a name synonymous with high-quality speakers. Everything in the company's domestic range is good-looking, with high build-quality, real wood veneers and simple understated designs, and they appear little different from the boxy norm. That's because their real advantages lie beneath the surface, in the form of PMC's mastery of transmission-line bass loading. This technology featured in the floorstanding OB1 and returns here in the diminutive DB1+--billed as the smallest transmission line monitor in the world.

If you open up the DB1+, you'll find the rectangular foam-filled port at the top of the rear panel is the mouth of an internal pathway, beginning behind the bass driver. A compact two-way stand-mount doesn't offer a lot of internal volume for a long transmission line, so to maximise the usable space it is folded inside the enclosure, creating a tuned pipe to boost low frequencies as the output of the mid-bass driver declines. A well-executed transmission line can offer the efficiency of a bass-reflex system with the attack of a sealed enclosure. To prove this, the DB1+ has a lower frequency extreme of 50Hz (70Hz would be more typical of something its size), and the bass is quick and full-bodied--not in the least undernourished. Unlike many similarly sized competitors, the DB1+ has no need of an artificial lift in the frequency-response in order to mask the lack of extension with extra mid-bass thump.

You may be wondering what the '+' signifies. This new model differs from the original DB1 in the introduction of a better quality tweeter, seen previously on the OB1--a ferrofluid-cooled 27mm soft-dome. The crossover circuit has been tweaked to suit this new unit, setting the crossover frequency to a relatively low 2kHz. Handling frequencies below this point is a 140mm doped paper cone of PMC's own design. A simple black grill hides these from sight, and makes relatively little impact on sound quality.

Adding to the appeal of the DB1+ is the capacity for wall-mounting. This restores much-needed floor space to cramped quarters, and is very useful where rampaging little critters threaten to knock over anything remotely expensive. While they don't need boundary reinforcement, the diminutive PMCs aren't bothered by close-to-wall positioning, so long as they're kept clear of corners and not set too high-up the wall near the ceiling.

In terms of overall sound quality, these are very accomplished speakers, irrespective of size or prize. Bi-wired and placed on Sound Creations stands some 2.5m apart, 80cm or so from the front wall and toed-in slightly, they matched the scale of many mid-sized floorstanders, but with a precision and tunefulness approached only by much more expensive ground-dwellers. Further up the frequency range, everything remains equally laudable. I couldn't fault them for deviating from neutrality or for introducing coarseness in the upper registers, even at the sort of volumes you really shouldn't expect from something this size. Soundstaging was very convincing, as you should expect from something this size, and with it came very articulate reproduction of voices and instrumental detail. In the grand tradition of high-performance loudspeakers, the DB1s were very revealing without ever becoming aggressive or wearying.

I particularly liked the speed of the little PMCs--they pulsed out the leading edge of bass guitar notes in a superb way, and gave snare drums a taut snap that lets you know how sluggish most speakers tend to be. This nimbleness from top to bottom meant they were perfectly at ease with a bit of acoustic Bic Runga and not in the least phased by the savagery of The Prodigy.

I give the DB1+ a recommendation as big as they are small. They're not dear, but when system-matching with source components, cables and amplification, treat them like they are, and you won't go wrong.

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