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HGS-15 Review. beware . . . .

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Speakers' started by TT9, Mar 25, 2003.

  1. TT9

    TT9
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    . . . . i'm not too good with words but here goes. . . .



    I thought I would write a few words about my recent HGS-15 purchase. What HiFi '5 page spread a £100 CD player' boys need not feel threatened but I'll do my best !

    I have had this beast a little over a month now, and have hesitated writing anything until I was completely happy with the setup and the initial emotion had been replaced by a more considered opinion. That time is now and so I pen a few thoughts.

    I took delivery courtesy of everyone's favorite uncle mid-February. First impression was 'my goodness its heavy' as I heaved it up the stairs. Taking it out of its packing, I was able to appreciate the extreme high standard of workmanship on the piece, especially the gorgeous veneer piano like finish. Now a big black box stuck at the side of your room is not for everyone's [wives] furnished tastes, but I am from the camp that thinks this should be shown off. It really is a lovely finish, and mine sits proudly on display starting conversations with gasps for all those who meet with beast for the first time.

    My first experience of distortion free bass, in fact of any bass (first sub!), was strange to say the least. Keen to test it out quickly prior to leaving to work I placed the thing in the middle of the room, wired it up as fast as I could, turned it on, and put on a CD, REM Monster i think. Excitement turned to disappointment when the big bad rumble I was expecting was not to be heard. In fact I couldn't hear anything. Blue light on, Tag on Direct+Sub, and nothing at all. Damn, huge annoyance, probably a connection so I turned the Velo off to check wiring . . . . . .

    And that's when it hit me and I understood. The instance I turned it off, the whole room went dead, like the bottom had fallen out of the air. The thing is it has been on all the time and having not heard good clean bass before or really knowing what to expect I had mistakenly believed that some bone rattling noise would kick in and drown out all higher frequencies and smash windows and the like. Instead it added weight and stomach to the music scores and dare, I say it, produced a favorable sound to leaving the ProAc Studios to work in isolation. Now flicking back and forth between Direct and Direct+Sub on the processor I was able to appreciate the difference the Velo made to the sound. Phew, can go to work and play with it properly when I come back. Relief all around.


    Having owned it now for a month, I have taken the time to integrate it properly into my system. I have worked with the Avia test tones and an SPL, and tried placement different positions, phase settings, to try and get a consistent flat reading as I could. I have it placed against the left wall, approximately 3/4 toward the viewing screen wall, angled very slightly toward the listener. Its nothing like these some of the flat curves I have seen uploaded on some threads but there’s nothing too bumpy and I am happy with it. I have set my processor to crossover at 80hz, all speakers to small, the sub subsonic to 15hz, and phase to 0.

    So what’s it like to live with ? Well firstly, this baby goes as LOUD and as low as you could want with no audible distortion. The sheer headroom on this thing is amazing. For music listening I have the volume on the second spot of nine. This is all it takes to subtly underpin my front speakers and produce a more weightier and fuller listening experience. For movies, I will turn up to three for some bass-tastic movies and get the place shaking. I will say that again: For movies I will turn UP to three. That's three of nine. When I am ever going to need the other six I do not know. On this setting, the opening depth scene from U-571 is able to rattle my fixtures and window frames. The tanks rolling into Eindhoven on Band of Brothers produce a grumble so low and realistic that it is humorous. Movie watching has become a different experience and one really can feel with the film. Try as I might to enjoy the film, I am still at the stage where I am consciously looking out for the next bass fix, and have gone as far as having my film rental influenced my how many bangs I might get for my buck - Black Hawk Down, Private Ryan, BandOfBr, U-571 my fixation with war movies is driven by my new theatre engine room.

    Music is equally an enjoyment. Having sat and auditioned track after track for many an hour, with and without sub, I prefer the music underpinned by the velo every time. Deep and moody Portishead tracks are equally as well handled as the more refined requirement of Vivaldi's Four Seasons. Sting, Lennon, Hans Zimmer's Now We Are Free Gladiator theme tune, never sounded so good. Tracks are fuller, weightier, and generally more impacting. Superb.

    If anyone is thinking of getting one of these, or God forbid, the 18 incher, I would recommend without hesitation the Velodyne and fully endorse it. This is not something I say lightly because to endorse as such, is saying that if knowing what I do now, if I had all my money back and was building my home cinema again I would include it in the setup because pound for pound its performance is incredible and superior to all others IMHO. I have only one other piece in my collection I would give such a recommendation to, but after the Velodyne purchase this became two. No one, but no one would ever regret buying one of these babies. They are awesome.

    It’s worth taking the time to set up properly. Small positioning changes can make a staggering difference to the sound, sometimes unbelievably so. As can furnishing positions. Not all of us have the flexibility to be able to arrange our house around our cinema, but nonetheless it is worth experimenting as best you can. SPL meter and test tones help no end. There is also a run-in period required. This, again, was genuinely noticeable, and after a week or so, a great sub woofer became an excellent one.

    To conclude, I was a bit wary about spending the best part of £2k on something which I was effectively buying blind, countless reviews and raves of happy buyers aside. I like them before me did not audition and took theirs and Eric's word in good faith. I was not disappointed (other than the initial 10 seconds when I thought it busted !! :blush: ) and neither will anyone else thinking of buying. I have read a thread or two that maybe the HGS series is being discontinued with the upcoming launch of this self-calibrating, self-positioning, terra-watt powered monster. Comes with its own petrol electricity generator allegedly. But seriously, if this is the case then is will be a sad day when the series is no longer available and I will mourn the loss of what is surely the absolute pinnacle of sub bass generation that is available today. Eric to send one over to the British Museum so the legend can be passed down the generations. . . . . .

    Steve.
     
  2. Steve.EX

    Steve.EX
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    I enjoyed that very much indeed.


    Steve.
     
  3. MuFu

    MuFu
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    Yes, thanks very much for taking the time to write that. I always demonstrate my sub using the "turn if off" method as well, especially with music.

    Just out of curiosity, what have you owned in the past? Please don't tell me your first subwoofer is an HGS-15?! I got that impression whilst reading... :D

    MuFu.
     
  4. SOUNDSTYLE

    SOUNDSTYLE
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    A great read.
    Nothing wrong with what you've written there.
    I'll have to stick with my CHT-15, which is no bad thing.
     
  5. TT9

    TT9
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    Guys,

    Thanks for the positive response. My first sub was indeed the HGS-15, so start as you mean to go on and that !!!

    For so long I was going for a CHT-15, mailing eric and that, and at the last moment decided to go for this beauty !

    After reading all the mags, forums, and annoying the sales staff for demo's I eventually decided on a:

    Tosh SD900E, Tag 32R, 100x5R and ProAc speakers. This was my attempt at music and movie greatness.

    I purchased a DVD32R out of brand name needs! Replaced my 100x5R with a pair of Brystons, and bought the Velo and an HS-10 pj to complete the lot.

    The other piece I endorse is the 2 ch Bryston 4BSST - unbelievable. The Tag DVD is good but too expensive, the AV32R is superb but I would push the boat out for a lexicon now, and I have decided I prefer PMC's to ProAc speakers. I am a salesmans dream come true I think !! :blush:

    Steve.
     
  6. General Skanky

    General Skanky
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    You've also described the CHT 15. The difference is it's downstream of yours, and the performance is relative to yours in the model range.

    I've also had my CHT 15 for about a month and you've saved me typing out basically what you've written, but smaller scale.

    I must add, that day one with my sub I did feely physically sick and watched my windows warp a couple of times.:laugh: Turning the volume to almost zero helped a bit. The headroom is astonishing. Great fun.

    Velodyne produce shockingly good stuff. Big thumbs up from me.

    For the record I had 2 x REL Q Bass subs before. Just belittles them with ridiculous ease.:smashin:
     

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