Summary: I purchased a pair of these over 7 years ago for a dedicated 2 channel system. Fantastic budget speakers. Since then, I have incorporated the Alpha B1's into a 5.1 system with 2 Alpha LR1's, a CLR1 center channel speaker and a Velodyne sub that I had purchased in the late 1990's. Explosive dynamics, clear dialog and great surround effects.
Pros: Very neutral and surprising bass extension for their size and price.
Cons: They really need to be played at slightly higher volume to sound their best so they shouldn't be paired with cheap, low power amplification.
Summary: Believe the magazine reviews. The Alpha B1's (mine driven by a Yamaha RX-497) provide sound for my home office. I had suffered with another inexpensive speaker for several years and found myself simply not listening. One of the main reasons people like PSB speakers is they don't get tired of them. Many other speakers have characteristics that catch your ear to begin with but become unpleasant over time.
Summary: I've only had these speakers for a few weeks now, but I think they are great so far. They are small, but do better on the low end than I would have guessed. I thought I might have needed a subwoofer, but right now, I am not planning on getting one. Another great things about these PSB's is that they are not picky as far as placement.
Summary: Best bang for the buck speaker out there. Fast effortless sound when driven by good electronics. The better the cables and components, the more these speakers shine. It's hard to beat these B1 at this price point.
Pros: Value. Clean sound & smooth across the range. nice finish
Summary: These are excellent budget speakers. You will be surprised how solid and attractive they are. They have a nice soundstage, and a balanced tonality. The bass is not deep, but they are bookshelves, so no one would expect that. I can't imagine someone not being happy with these for the price. I also cannot imagine someone thinking there is a better speaker at this price point. Maybe for a hundred more, you could get a little improvement, but not at this price.
Summary: Great for medium sized spaces. Bass extension is surprising for a package so small. The midrange is superb. I traded in a large set of Polk Monitor 70's for these - which were huge floorstanders that were much more expensive. These PSB's put them to shame. Great musicality and articulation. I pair these up with a Cambridge Audio 540C CD player and Rotel 1062 Amp. The speakers are mounted on a set of 28" Bowers and Wilkins floor stands.
Summary: I have to say I've been surprised and impressed by the sound coming from the Alpha B1s, from the overall smoothness and balance to the surprising bass to the mids, which are the "special" strength of this model. I have owned significantly more expensive tower and bookshelf speaker speakers, and the Alphas do not compete on output or size (nor did I expect them to).
Pros: Mids, overall balance, well-rounded bass. Understated appearance. Very surprising performance from a bookshelf speaker of this price and size.
Cons: Not much, actually. Maybe it would be nice if Crutchfield carried some of the other finish choices.
Summary: Bought the last pair available in the store in Bergen and still breaking them in, these small giants reproduce especially fast music like nothing I´ve heard. Listening to Koan´s When the Silence is Speaking, converted by a cheap DacMagic and driven by an old Electrocompaniet AW60 amp, they just pour out a wealth of articulated and detailed music. Some sibilance on female vocals which I´m told will disappear with use. If you come across these just get them.