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... Elgar Delius, Cello Concertos, Jacqueline Du Pré, EMI Classic, 9559052, 2 x SACD/CD (1965/2012) ; Fauré, Requiem, Michel Corboz, Erato/Warner Music Japan, WPCS-12545, SACD/CD (1972/2012); Hilary Hahn, Hilary Hahn Plays Bach, Sony Classical, SK 62793, Super Bit Mapping, 2 x CD (1997); Manuel Göttsching, E2-E4. 30th Anniversary, MG ART, 404, CD (1981/2011); Maria Peszek, Jezus Maria Peszek, Mystic Production, MYSTCD 214, CD (2012); Pink Floyd. The Wall, EMI/EMI Music Japan, Digital Remaster, 2 x CD (1979/2011).; Suzanne Vega, Nine Objects of Desire, A&M Records, 540 583 2, CD (1996); The Beatles, Abbey Road, Apple/Toshiba-EMI, TOCP-51122, CD (1969/2000); The Modern Jazz Quartet, European Concert. Volume One + Two, Atlantic/East West Japan, AMCY-1186-7, "Atlantic Jazz Collection, 50 Years", K2HD, 2 x CD (1960/1998); This Mortal Coil, HD-CD Box SET: It’ll End In Tears, Filigree & Shadow, Blood, Dust & Guitars, 4AD [Japan], TMCBOX1, 4 x HDCD, (2011); Tomasz Stańko Quartet, Lontano, ECM, 1980, CD (2006); Vagelis, Blade Runner Trilogy. 25th Anniversary, soundtrack, Universal Music K.K., 550689 4, 3 x CD (1998, 1991/2007).

Humphrey Britton-Johnson in his letter to Hi-Fi News & Record Review entitled "From IMF to PMC" writes that "…having thought PMC speakers were for pop, rock and ‘head-bangers’, I was won over by the company’s OB1s a few years ago after auditioning numerous floorstanders with classical recordings. I’m now appreciating PMC’s PB1i which has awesome dynamics and insight. It’s the best for ‘mighty Mahler’ symphony recordings and outstanding for modest orchestral forces too. Far too good for head-bangers!" I don’t know whether it was intentional but the letter’s author also very accurately described the general sonic characteristics of the GB1i under review. They are speakers with a universal exceptionally even sound.

These PMC speakers are not large. They are rather a kind of matchstick, quite tall and slim. Even so they offer considerable sonic output, much larger than a stand-mount speaker for comparable coin. What sets these apart from monitors which do demonstrate low bass extension—see the Twenty.22 from the same manufacturer or the Callisto III from RLS—is a much more natural unrestrained presentation. To go really low in a small enclosure with a small woofer involved some compromises starting with sensitivity and ending with lowered dynamics. Yet the GB1i can breathe to sound alive without noticeable compression. The latter of course is present. It’s a small woofer after all yet we perceive dynamic compression more on a subliminal level, not directly. I will go further and say that not being a large box, this speaker is one of the very few that will easily cope with dynamic differentiation.

It shows for example how much the dynamics really are compressed on the Remixes 2. 81-11 album with new versions of Depeche Mode songs and how radically different the tracks are from one to the next. I had no problem knowing where the artist had gone too far with compression, where poor sampling choices killed off vitality to leave behind a flattened facsimile. The same was true for The Beatles’ Abbey Road which only comes alive at higher than background levels. Apparently the mix was made at a relatively high sound pressure in the sound engineer’s room and the album begins to sound good at a similar level at home. The GB1i had no issue showing these correlations.

It’s almost certainly a result of extraordinarily flat frequency response down to the lowest reproduced end. I'm not sure whether the 29Hz quoted earlier is possible at home. I rather think it’s closer to 39Hz since the lowest double bass note at about 41Hz still was full but electronica going still lower were not as full as over my Harbeth M40.1. Nevertheless this is an almost full-range speaker. Many floorstanders can only dream of such results.