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A subsequent experimental passage broadens the panorama with phase trickery. There’s a lot going on. My expectation for these affordable boxes was that they’d get confused with this colourful mix and lose resolution in the upper mids and treble. The Image B6 begged to differ. Markedly. My very first notes read "airy and clear" followed by "no edges". On "To The Lighthouse" the synth mix contains an overabundance of upper harmonics. These don’t merely refresh typical treble leaders like hi-hat, cymbals and snare but also the kick drums whose overtones above the low fundamentals are deliberately emphasized.

While the subjective effect translates into extreme tautness, bright forward speakers also default into sparky clangour. The B6 deftly avoids such beginner’s faults. The interplay of kick drum and snare was tightly tracked with proper impulse behaviour on the attack but the harmonic envelope didn’t drift into bright hissy fits. Equally enjoyable with this first blind date was the clean vocal band and generous soundstaging.

I next cued up the famous Instant Coffee Baby by guitar strummers Wave Pictures. This three-man formation is light years removed from slick and their efforts sound as though the band was outfitted with flea market instruments, then stuck into a broom closet with the singer facing a €10 microphone plugged into a guitar amp. Unfit for review fare you say? Not. Despite the obviously cheap instrumentation, the recording quality is top notch. This merely serves to highlight the unplugged rawness on tap. "Strange Fruit For David" combines growling bass, cracking uptempo guitar exploits, distorted vocals, quickened brushed drums and for sweet counterpoint a violin. The Image B6 was right in its element(s). She politely toned down the treble harshness of the crude nasty vocalizing whilst tightly sorting the various instruments across space. Pleasant highlights were the fast rebound in the bass and the tonally realistic guitar whose chord thrashing led to instant foot tapping.

Two cuts later clear tendencies emerged. Paul Barton successfully transplanted a few qualities that also define his top Synchrony One which has served yeoman work duties in my rig for half a year already. There’s a somewhat silken though not outright dark treble balance; and seamlessly connected and quite detailed mids plus more than respectable staging for the sticker.

Given the opening tie-in with Nubert, thinking back on their nuLine 32 [€570/pr] locked in obvious differences. The Nubert’s treble balance is straighter or more linear than the slightly recessed PSB Image B6 which counters with more precise sorting or image delineation. Both are blessed with midrange resolution which in this price class exceeds the norm.

In the bass the B6 is obviously limited but this didn’t have me eliminate bass-heavy encounters just because. Katatonia’s "Nephilim" from Night is the new Day offers gloomy densely reverb’d guitars and vocals, fat drums with excessive cymbal work and cruelly whipped snares. Elegiac interludes give way to massive refrains. Moving from the big Synchrony One at seven times the ticket to the B6, the high-pressure drum thunder reduced to more of an advance faraway lightning flicker in the clouds. But clearly this was an unfair comparison.