PSB Alpha iQ Review: Streaming Simplicity, Massive Sound!

PSB Alpha iQ Streaming Powered Speakers with BluOS

PSB Alpha iQ Streaming Powered Speakers with BluOS







What We Dig

  • Great Build Quality
  • Big, Smooth, Open Sound
  • Excellent Connectivity

What To Think About

  • No IR Remote
  • Don't Sound Quite As Natural As The Passive Alpha Speakers

Does the PSB Alpha iQ speaker system truly combine streaming ease with big, room-filling sound? Find out in our full review and see if it’s the perfect all-in-one system for you.


The PSB Alpha iQ Streaming Powered Speakers with BluOS ($1299) reimagine the iconic yet affordable Alpha speaker series (which I’ve reviewed thoroughly on this site), transforming it into a wireless, streaming-powered system. It boasts premium audio components, integration with the BluOS multi-room platform, and maintains the “True to Nature” sound that PSB is known for.

Background and Context

The PSB Alpha iQ represents an evolution of the classic Alpha series, retaining a compact bookshelf design. Unlike the previous PSB AM5 Powered Bookshelf Speakers we reviewed previously, each speaker has its own amplification and connects to each other wirelessly.

It faces competition from powered speaker systems like the KEF LS50 Wireless II and the KEF LSXII. This system appeals particularly to music lovers seeking a minimalist yet high-quality setup, those who use the BluOS multi-room platform, and anyone wanting the convenience of streaming without compromising audio quality.

PSB Alpha iQ Review: Upgrades / Improvements

PSB Alpha iQ Review

As stated before, the most significant upgrade to the Alpha iQ vs. PSB’s previous powered speaker efforts is the transformation into an all-in-one active speaker system with built-in Wi-Fi streaming, fundamentally changing the Alpha experience.

Wireless connectivity eliminates the need for a wire between the speakers and provides greater placement flexibility. However, each speaker must be plugged into an electrical outlet, which must be considered during setup. PSB claims their wireless link can cover any room in an average-size home without delays or latency, and I have to say it worked remarkably well in my 15′ x 20′ living room with the speakers spaced about 9 feet apart.

Additionally, the integration of the powerful BluOS system (the same streaming platform used by one of our favorite music streamers, the Bluesound Node) allows access to various streaming services and multi-room audio setups. Finally, the DSP fine-tunes audio performance, enhancing dynamics and scale, while the rear-firing ports further deepen the bass response.

PSB Alpha iQ Review: Design and Features

The PSB Alpha iQ has a compact bookshelf speaker design, available in multiple colors with a clean aesthetic and straightforward touch controls on the top. There’s no IR remote, but you can control the speakers via apps on your portable device. The speaker cabinets seem quite sturdy and inert, with a quick rap test on the side eliciting nothing but a brief thunk.

Each sleek enclosure houses a 4″ mid-bass driver and a 0.75″ dome tweeter with a neodymium magnet. Like the rest of the Alpha line, the tweeter is placed below the woofer for a consistent sound regardless of your listening position.

The primary speaker (the one that first handles the audio signal) has a built-in MM phono preamp and RCA jacks for connecting a turntable, an HDMI ARC port for enhanced sound with TV and movies, an optical input for a disc player or game console, and a 3.5mm auxiliary input for analog sources. For added flexibility, there’s a subwoofer output.

Additionally, Alpha iQ supports Bluetooth connectivity with the aptX-HD codec for quick Wi-Fi-free connections. The BluOS app can also play music files from an external drive connected to the Alpha iQ’s USB port.

Four powerful amplifiers deliver 180W of total power (60W per woofer and 30W per tweeter) for room-filling sound. The intuitive BluOS Controller app facilitates setup and manages your music sources, streaming, and multi-room configurations.

The integral BluOS network streamer offers access to over 20 streaming services, including Amazon Music, Deezer, Idagio, Qobuz, and Tidal. It is also compatible with AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect, and Tidal Connect, allowing you to easily stream audio from various devices and transfer playback to the Alpha iQ.

Standout features include MQA decoding for high-resolution streaming via TIDAL Masters, and Roon support is also available for hardcore audiophiles.

The box includes: 2 Powered speakers – Two 6.5′ AC power cords – 5′ Ethernet cable – 59″ Stereo minijack cable – 4 Self-adhesive rubber feet – Quick Setup Guide.

PSB Alpha iQ Review: Performance and Sound Quality

PSB Alpha iQ Review

I played music from my Tidal “Test Tracks” playlist for my sound tests, using both Tidal Connect from my Samsung Phone and Apple AirPlay 2 from my iPhone. With both, the connection was quick and stable, and the playback started almost instantaneously when initiated from the Tidal app.

Regarding sound quality, the PSB Alpha iQ exhibits a balanced, slightly warm tilted sound signature with a focus on midrange clarity and dynamics, carrying on the PSB tradition. The bass is tight, the midrange is smooth, and the treble is well-extended. Despite the compact size, the soundstage is surprisingly wide, with good instrument separation.

The bass is also remarkably deep and scale amazingly massive for such a small enclosure, something I didn’t expect before my audition. These little speakers will fill a smaller room just like a pair of small floorstanders, which is crazy when you look at the minuscule woofers they employ. The thump these speakers produce is clean and articulate.

The thunderous dynamics and room-filling sound come from the impressive DSP used in the system, and I must say it’s one of the most skillfully employed versions I’ve heard in a pair of active speakers.

That means this system excels with various music genres and can even be used to improve the sound of your TV or computer audio. The DSP calibration also helps with placement flexibility since the sound is so big.

This also means the music sounds just a bit synthetic sometimes, especially with instrumental and vocal jazz stuff. Compared to the passive Alpha speakers, I found the midbass to be just a little bit too fat on certain songs, making some drums and male vocals sound a little tubby.

However, overall, I found the sound quite smooth and enjoyable; there’s no hardness whatsoever, and they can play just about anything and sound good. On the other hand, if you’re looking for an analytical, hyper-realistic sounding system, the Alpha iQ probably won’t be for you.

Additional Thoughts

PSB Alpha iQ Review

The PSB Alpha iQ offers many strengths: effortless streaming setup, impressive sound quality for the size, and the potential of the BluOS ecosystem. While it may not sound as natural as the passive Alpha speakers connected to an excellent integrated amplifier, the overall performance is impressive. The system is on the pricier end of the spectrum for what it is, but the combination of features and PSB’s focus on big room-filling sound justifies the cost.


The PSB Alpha iQ succeeds in modernizing a classic speaker design. It offers a compelling package for those seeking a hassle-free wireless system with superb sound and streaming capabilities. It’s strongly recommended for individuals who use the BluOS ecosystem or desire a powerful yet compact all-in-one speaker with some focus on audio accuracy.

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