Bookshelf Speakers

Phase Technology Premier Collection PC-3.5 LCR Speakers


Conclusions About the Phase Technology PC-3.5 Speakers

The PC-3.5 is designed well, so it sounds great. The key attraction is the speaker's size. It can be placed anywhere a mini monitor can. It goes much lower in the bottom end and has better radiation patterns than is achievable with a 6.5 inch woofer and 1 inch tweeter with the addition of the midrange. Also, a key advantage of the midrange is that resonance effects at the woofer's top end are reduced with the lower 950Hz crossover. Distortion at the tweeter's bottom end is also reduced with the higher 4.5kHz crossover.

Some audiophiles believe a two-way mini-monitor enables a more converged sound space owing to the small baffle. At 7 inches, most mini monitors are actually wider than the PC-3.5. The speaker is only 7 – 10 inches taller than the typical mini monitor.

The PC-3.5 costs more than a typical mini monitor. So if your cash is limited, what to do? Use well-designed high-value equipment from major manufacturers. An Onkyo C7030 CD player (I used a Sony, which is less well crafted, but is what I had access to) sitting on the Yamaha R-S700 receiver (I tested the speaker with an older Yamaha unit that had the equivalent power amp) will work just fine. I heard no degradation in sound quality from the electronics. Total price of the electronics is $750. The $2750 total system cost with the Phase Technology 3.5s is the equivalent of what most audiophiles spend picking a mini monitor and more expensive electronics.

Even with more space for a larger speaker and the cash for more expensive electronics, I would recommend putting this speaker on your list. It is competitive to floor-standing speakers at twice the price for the SPL levels at which I tested; indeed, it may be preferable to some floor standers. Retention of the stable vertical image over frequency and the wide horizontal dispersion of the PC-3.5 with deeper bass and lower bass distortion at high SPLs normally require a four-way system. In the $4500 price range, two PC-3.5s, two well placed mono subwoofers, and a good digital room equalizer/bass management system form a 4 way system which would be competitive with some speaker systems costing over $10,000.