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Demo'd a SVS - mixed feelings...

Discussion in 'Subwoofers' started by Bolle, Jul 27, 2005.

  1. Bolle

    Bolle
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    Hi all,

    I'm in the process of upgrading my set-up, which in the current state is as my signature shows.

    The next step I'm considering is going from 5.0 to 5.1 by adding a sub. Based on my budget (up to 1.000 Euro) a SVS seems like a logical choice. My use is approx 75% music and 25% movies. Considering this a SVS with a 'Plus' driver (assuming 'Ultra' is outside the budget) seems like a logical choice as these are supposed to be a bit more 'musical' than the ISD drivers.
    This as I hope a good quality sub would also improve my stereo replay as my Mission 753 (original model) are no bass masters (although personally I don't find them lacking, probably as I've maybe got a bit of bass boost from my room and seating layout, and the Parasound amps are no slouches in the bass department). Also I hope a good musical sub will give me a bit more freedom in choosing new fronts sometime, by not requiring the ultimate bass performance from them, for example making Nautilus 805's a possible option then.

    By chance somebody 25 min from my house is selling his 25-31 PC+, so I went there tonight for a demonstration. His sub was placed in a corner, two ports plugged and a low level connection to the receiver.
    First, I must admit, I now discovered I really miss a lot of the movie experience without a subwoofer! The SVS really added a lot to the experience here. Watched part of 'The Haunting', very good! No contest or questions with the sub here. Easy sale basically.

    However in plain stereo I wasn't too impressed with the sub. It sounded like a 'double bass'. For instance the drum kit, it sounded like the front speakers were 'defining' the sound, and the sub 'filling' it in, but very seperate and not well integrated. The crossover was fixed at 80 Hz. My old Mission 753 fronts have admittedly a lot less bass, but sound so much tighter, faster and better integrated.

    This has brought a lot of questions to my mind, maybe you guys can give me a hand in my thought process...

    -Was the SVS not set up fine enough (the current owner mostly watches movies and listens music in multichannel), I believe in plain stereo this is a bit more critical than in multichannel?
    -Should I go for a SVS box sub as opposed to a cylinder, as these are supposed to be a bit more 'musical'?
    -Should save up a bit more and go for a SVS (box) sub with the 'Ultra' driver?
    -Are the stories of some people true and aren't SVS subs just not the best choice for stereo music?
    -Should I forget about finding a musical sub for this budget en just enjoy stereo without a sub?
    -Making this last choice, I could then get a SVS just for film/surround and remove quality in stereo as a criteria from my sub selection process?
    -Keeping on that track, should I eventually get a pair of front speakers with more bass extension to keep my music replay 'sub-free'. (A front speaker upgrade is in order sometime next year anyways).
    -Still continuing this thought, with an SVS dedicated for film, and thus not going for the more expensive box or 'Ultra' models, should I use my savings for a second more 'musical' sub (REL, Rocket, MJ Acoustics) dedicated for stereo?
    -Or a totally different route, seeing my emphasis on music/stereo performance, don't get a sub at all and use the savings to get an even better pair of front speakers than planned at upgrade time to 'buy' into a better bass performance from my fronts.
    -Or is the only way to happiness for me a Velodyne DD sub (but not to the happiness of my bank account...)

    Curious what you guys think... I'm lost in a sub jungle...

    Cheers,
    Menno
     
  2. MarekFIN

    MarekFIN
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    Why not buy a Monollith. It is more musical than the PB10. I know that it is not as powerfull as the Plus, but performs very well.
     
  3. Bolle

    Bolle
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    Hmm, combination of PC+ for LFE and the small BK sub for stereo (using high level neutrik connector) might be something (don't like the look of the frontfiring subs)
     
  4. phillfyspoon

    phillfyspoon
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    closed box subs are more musical and perform better for stereo duties. and they dont need to be big and go low most music is around the 30hz region.
     
  5. Ian J

    Ian J
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    Unfortunately a good subwoofer isn't just plug and play but takes time and care to set it up properly and there is also room interaction to consider so a poorly setup sub in someone else's house would sound different to a well setup one in your own.

    I have the 20-39 PC Plus which to all extents and purposes will sound the same as the one you heard and mine is as nimble with music as the REL Storm that I had before was. I'll have to try and find the comments that lmccauley made a couple of years ago when listening to mine as he made comments specifically on the reproduction of kick drums on CD.

    I would also hear what Nimby has to say as he used his PCi only for music for a long while and he has always seemed pleased with the sound but my initial reaction is that the one you heard could have done with some fine tuning.
     
  6. Nimby

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    Talk of the devil! :devil:

    Hi Menno

    I use the humble giant, the 16-46 PC1, with my late model 753Fs. 38Hz(-3dB)

    Straight out of the box the SVS was just dumped betwen my right speaker and the TV. (Due to an intervening stair well this was the easiest position for me to be able to reach the controls for setting up)

    Placed beside the right 753 nearly ten feet from a corner it was perfectly balanced for music with the speakers by ear. Later testing with my SPL meter proved my "guessed" level was dead accurate. It was really that easy.

    High level (stereo) connections were used from the start because I was originally biwiring my 753Fs. So I just moved one set of stereo speaker cables over to the sub, bridged the 753F terminals and I was up and running in a couple of minutes.

    Much later on when I tried the sub beside the left speaker (which was nearer a corner) and it was just as a you say: A double-bass booming away. Bloated soft and undefined. Yeuk! :thumbsdow

    But! I am lucky to have a large attic listening room. It doesn't boom at any audible frequency at any level. For films and heavy metal we just turn up the gain to 12 o'clock for thunderous bass. For classical music the gain always remains at the "flat" 9 o'clock setting.

    I'd grab that local SVS as fast as you can and experiment with positioning in your room. (as long as the SVS is a good price of course) You can always sell it on to fund an Ultra later on, or if it doesn't suit you. Start with high level connections, a 40Hz roll-off and almost no gain. The bass should not intrude. You'll instinctively know when it is just right as you turn the gain up a fraction at a time. Keep moving the sub around the room until you're happy. But near the speakers is usually best to avoid phase problems. But do try it away from corners as well as in them.

    I was so excited by the performance of my SVS that I put a very simple website together to share my thoughts on using an SVS for serious music listening. The link is below my username.

    Regards
    Nimby
     
  7. Bolle

    Bolle
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    Hi,

    First of all thanks for all the replies, especially the extensive information provided by Ian and Nimby. And Nimby, of course I know your site, have been looking at it already a few times, as I've been thinking about getting a sub for a while now.

    I'm thinking a lot on this sub dilemma....almost feels like when I'm doing this much pondering, I might as well find a way for World Peace while I'm at it ;)

    The owner is holding the PC+ for me up to friday (tomorrow evening), so I got another day to decide.
    The sub is just about two years old and he's selling it for 450 - 500 UKP (incl 3 mtr Better Cables interconnect), a price which I would consider.... well let's just say these thing hold their value well ;) It appears to be pretty much a seller's marker regarding used SVS subs. On the other hand it's closeby, and with all the transporation costs and taxes a new one doesn't come cheap either. Only question I have, do you know if SVS have upgraded any of the components (Plus driver, amp) since August '03?

    If been thinking about my listening experience, and considering the very posituve experiences from most reviewers and users the sub was probably not set up that great.
    So I'm inclined to take the gamble, if it doesn't work out in plain stereo and will just use it for surround because as I've mentioned before, my Missions are more than satisfactory but just not great with bass now in music. And the sub been proven to me in the demonstration to be quite good with movies. If I'm not happy at all with it I can always sell it at minimal loss, as these things seem to be quite wanted.

    Menno
     
  8. Ian J

    Ian J
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    The driver has been upgraded since then but I don't know how much difference it makes in the real world as I haven't compared the two but it may be useful for you as a bargaining point to get the price down a bit.
     
  9. kbfern

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    In the UK we would expect to pay around £400-£450 UKP for a sub around this age.I recently purchased a 20-39 PC+ for £420 without sub cable.Having said that we don't know how much shipping vat and import duty is in Hollland compared to the UK.

    By the way you say the 25-31 had two port bungs in place,I take it the subsonic switch has been set at 20hz as this could have an effect on how the sub sounds.

    Have you costed a new 25-31PC+ delivered to you direct from SVS to see how much you are saving.By the way these subs have a 3 yr transferable warranty.
     
  10. kbfern

    kbfern
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    Having just checked the SVS tuning sheet with 2 port blocked the ss switch should be set at 16hz.with 1 port blocked its 20hz,so if switch not set correctly this could effect the sound,it will certainly effect the output as you will sacriffice a few Db's(loudness) for the lower frequency.
     
  11. rags

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    I know this might be difficult but I would suggest you try to get another demo if you can. Otherwise given you had mixed feelings first time round why would you consider buying it ? Blaming the set up is purely conjecture - people have different preferences and the SVS may not be for you.

    Have you tried the DD series or any other subs ?
     
  12. Bolle

    Bolle
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    Hi,

    I think prices for used A/V gear are a bit steeper here than in the UK. That's why I got my TAG CD and processor form you little island :)

    But yes, I'm going to bargain a bit of course, and compare it to what a new one would cost. Especially as we got quite regular powerbuys going on here.

    I'f the difference becomes to small, I'll drop it as I prefer a PB12-plus (box shape) anyways, but this one just came across my path.

    Cheers,
    Menno
     
  13. Andywilliams

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    Hi
    Having 2 ports blocked will cut down on the subs usable output, with music it does sound better (to me) with no ports blocked even with movies in my case.When setting up my svs subs ive always found the gain needs to be stepped down 3db or 4db with music which i can do on the h/k amp movies are at -2db and music at -6 db you maybe able to alter this on your amp.Trying to play music at -2db movie setting sounds terrible so i suspect this is what was happening in your case.
     
  14. Nimby

    Nimby
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    Totally in agreement gonzo. A small change in gain and music sounds awful (or great!).

    Films are much more forgiving and 3 or more dB extra 'welly' over the best music gain setting is often worthwhile.

    Nimby
     
  15. Bolle

    Bolle
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    yeah, that what I'm thinking as well. I'm now looking into the TAG processor wether different sub settings are possible per mode and/or input.
     
  16. Nimby

    Nimby
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    No doubt more fun if it is possible. But we just cheat and turn the gain from 9 o'clock to 12 o'clock and back again depending on source and programme. This is about 3dB difference on high-level connections in our room with typical volume settings on our stereo pre-amp.

    Did you buy the local SVS? :)

    Nimby
     
  17. Pollywoggle

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    I have a 25-31+ and agree, you definitely have to change the gain down for music. Would sound terrible otherwise! I got so fed up of switching it up and down I bought 2 subs, one for movies and one for music!
    If you listened to a demo without the gain being changed no wonder it sounded boomy :eek:
     
  18. recruit

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    The easiest way to have 1 sub working for both movies and music would be to introduce a BFD and then have 2 settings 1 for movies and the other setting for music and EQ the music setting so it tones the sub down and therefore no need to keep changeing the gain.
     
  19. Pollywoggle

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    True, but I also had the inconvenience of separate amps for my stereo and HT setup.
    Still sounding good Recruit, your svs is enjoying his home with me doing music duties only!
     
  20. recruit

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    Good to hear Paul. :thumbsup:
     
  21. Bolle

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    Good news, with the single processor TAG AV32R you can change the preset sub volume by +/- 10 dB per mode (ie PLII, DTS, DD and stereo+sub). The dual processor is of course a whole different beast with room EQ, but notin my budget. But this wil do perfectly I believe.
    This makes the SVS suddenly a way better allround option. Last time I checked with the seller we were approx 15 pounds difference removed from a sale. With the vacation season most private sales are going pretty slow, so that's my luck.
    Only thing really holding me back is that I really prefer the look of a Cherry veneer box sub opposed to a black cylinder. Ah well, this is nice as a first sub to fiddle around with, can always move on to a nice Cherry PB12 Ultra at the next Dutch Powerbuy, these SVS's seem to hold their value well on the secondhand market anyway.

    Cheers for all the friendly replies guys!

    Menno
     
  22. Bolle

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    Quick update, so this thread can be closed.
    The PC+ is sold to somebody else, the owner was made an offer which I found came too close to a new PB12+, so I decided against it.
    But we now at least have the start of a Dutch powerbuy, the PC+ owner wants to get a PB12 Ultra and I'm planning on getting a nice PB12+ in a veneer.

    Cheers and thanks for the helpful replies,
    Menno
     

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