SVS PB10-NSD Disappointing so far...

Discussion in 'Subwoofers' started by jwa1979, Jan 18, 2008.

  1. jwa1979

    jwa1979
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    Hi folks,

    I've just sent the following email to SVS customer support describing the problems I've had with my new PB10-NSD.

    Can anyone on here give me any advice, I've used a KEF PSW2000 sub before and I have spent time reading many of the postings on here to try and help set up my SVS (and when I first got the KEF) but I'm still not happy with the SVS.

    Be kind if there's something obvious I missed, I know that the SVS products are held in very high regard on these forums and I'm not here to criticise the product, I just want to hear what I think I should be hearing!

    ------
    Hi,

    I took delivery of a new PB10-NSD yesterday after reading excellent reviews, however I’m having problems with it that has left me very disappointed.

    To give you some background I’m using a Denon AVR-4306 Receiver, Denon 2930 DVD Player, B&W 602S2 fronts, a B&WHTM62 Centre, B&W601 Rears. Before I bought the PB10-NSD I was using a KEF PSW2000 subwoofer that worked OK but lacked any real presence and was not very musical so I upgraded to the SVS. I had run Audyssey on the receiver and confirmed the settings but changed all speaker sizes to small, set the crossover frequency to 80Hz and set the subwoofer output to LFE. The room I am using is a 5 metres by 6 metres which is not open to other rooms, one side of the room is windowed.

    I started by placing the sub in a corner of my room at the side of the fronts facing into the room, connecting it to my receiver using an IXOS subwoofer cable and setting it to the ‘On’ mode . I then turned off any ‘Equalizer’ setting on the receiver, ensured compression was off, that night mode was off (etc). I then ran the test tone from my receiver and used an analog sound level meter to set the channel levels so the output from all 5 channels was 75 dB and that the sub output was 80dB.

    I then watched The Matrix and skipped to the scenes recommended in the SVS manual, I wasn’t at all impressed by the bass from any of the three scenes, in fact it seemed no different from my previous KEF. I then ran the Audyssey set-up on the receiver with the new sub connected, it recognised the sub as being present and the configuration was completed with 6 listening positions around the main listening position and I heard that during the setup that a signal was sent to the sub. Once Audyssey had completed I then watched Master and Commander and was a little more impressed by the bass, but I found that after the initial battle scene the bass seemed to drop off and wasn’t present for subsequent battle scenes.

    At this point I stopped Master and Commander and ran the test tone from my receiver; I found that when the test signal was sent to the sub there was not output at all from the sub at the channel level set (-6dB) so I increased the channel level all the way up to the maximum (+12dB) and there was still not out put all the way through this range. I then tweaked the gain control a few degrees on the sub and there was suddenly output (at +12db channel level, so it was quite a lot of output) so I then turned the channel level on the receiver back down to -6 dB and was happy that the sub was sending output.

    I then returned to watching Master and Commander and for a few scenes I felt the bass return to the system but once again it seemed to drop off after a few scenes, so I turned the receiver’s test tone back on again and found, once again, that when the test signal was sent to the sub there was not output at all from the sub. This time instead of tweaking the channel level or the gain on the sub I stopped the test tone then powered the sub off and back on again, once I had turned the sub back on again I found that I then had output from the sub once more.

    It seems to me that the subwoofer is working intermittently, in some scenes with heavy bass it works but once the bass level drops off the sub stops working and doesn’t start again regardless of the bass in a given scene.

    In my attempts to get the subwoofer to work consistently I have also tried:

    1. changing the fuse,
    2. using two or three different power cables for the sub,
    3. using two or three different subwoofer cables between my receiver and the sub,
    4. moving the sub to various positions including both front corners (at either side of the fronts), both the rear corners (at either side of the rears), in the middle of the room, in the middle of the wall at either side of the room (and I have the bad back to prove it :) ),
    5. tried with the subwoofer output on the receiver as LFE only and LFE+Main,
    6. tried with running the receiver using all available equalizer settings (Audyseey, Flat, Manual, Off).
    7. Tried the subwoofer in ‘Auto’ mode.

    None of the above seemed to change the disappointing behaviour described. Is there anything that I’m missing that I should try, does this sound like correct operation for the PB10-NSD or does it sound to you like it may be faulty?

    Thanks,

    James Walters
     
  2. angelislington

    angelislington
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    Afternoon James,

    Just to make you aware that I have replied to your email.

    Regards,

    Richard
     
  3. jwa1979

    jwa1979
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    Thanks Richard, very promptly too :)
     
  4. Member 96948

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    I'd be interested to know what the solution is, but it sounds like a sub going to sleep due to inadequate (as far as it's concerned) input levels although that's a touch surprising because the bass in MACOTFSOTF could wake the dead.

    Either way, I'd have taken it up with the AV Sales privately prior to posting about it - it's only right to give them the chance to provide the support they offer.

    As regards sound; Place the sub in the wrong spot and the chances are, at a given listening level, then it will sound exactly like the KEF that sat there before it. You see, the subs performance is dependent on it's successful integration with the room to a far higher degree than with normal speakers.

    The wavelengths of bass are in the metres long range. When you get a frequency that relates to a dimension of the room, you can get standing waves that result in peaks and dips in the frequency response where you are sitting. These can have a huge influence on the sound and unless you've taken the time to optimise the positioning of the sub to minimise these rooms modes, then running Audyssey isn't going to dig you out.

    For instance in my room, I have a +27dB peak in the response between 27 & 35Hz. This totally dominates the sound of the sub and all of the frequencies below this point are virtually inaudible. Therefore, buying a deeper sub won't change the character of the sound significantly, because it's the room you're listening to and that hasn't changed.

    If you haven't got an SPL meter, get one and then download some test tones and start measuring your rooms response. Do this and you can see what differences moving the sub (and yourself) will make. Once you've gone as far as you can, then Audyssey will have a fighting chance.

    Until then, it's a bit like putting Pirelli P-zeros on a clapped out Corsa. They might grip, but the suspension doesn't so what's the point?

    Russell
     
  5. kbfern

    kbfern
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    This sounds very strange you should be getting a strong bass output when listening to MAC,one thing you have not stated is what do you have the gain control set at on the sub itself.Normally you would have it set somewhere between 10/12 O'clock?.

    Also try turning the phase knob, starting fully anti clockwise and then slowly turning clockwise and see if the bass gets any stronger.
     
  6. jwa1979

    jwa1979
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    Just to be clear; I emailed both AVSales and SVS support direct before I posted on the forum.

    AVSales were very quick to respond to my order for the sub, it was delivered the next morning, and they were also very quick to respond to my direct email and the above posting, for which I'm very grateful.

    I am still waiting to hear back from SVS support, which although is a little disappointing, it does give me time to have another play with the sub over the weekend.
     
  7. jwa1979

    jwa1979
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    First of all thanks for your advice :)

    The SVS came with a sound level meter and I initially used this to calibrate the sub to 80 dB, the problem is I after I calibrated and began to watch movies it sounds like the the sub is cutting out and not giving any output at all.

    I think I proved the sub was not outputting anything by going into the test tone and checking that NO output was coming out of the sub when it cycled to the sub; there was no movement on the woofer at all during one of the battle scenes in Master and Commander when I had the main volume on my receiver set to -10dB, that can't be right?

    I have the AVIA setup disk and I'll be using the test tones tonight to see if I can get reliable base. Saying that I genuinely don't think this is a positioning problem, though I am willing to be proved wrong :)

    I'll let you know how I get on,

    Cheers,

    James.
     
  8. jwa1979

    jwa1979
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    I've been working with the Gain control set at around 11 o'clock as you suggested.

    I also tried by moving the phase control around and although I can hear the effect that has its not preventing the sub from seemingly just cutting out.

    It's like Russell suggested, its like the sub goes to sleep due to receiving inadequate power, but I don't see why when I was giving it as much power as I could by running the sub channel at +12 dB and using -10 db main volume.

    Thanks :)

    Right off to get out the Avia disk...
     
  9. Mr Incredible

    Mr Incredible
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    Mmm, I have to say I had a similar problem with my (secondhand) PB12.

    I had had the unit in "auto-off" mode (or whatever it's called) and if there had been a long passage in a film with no major sub content it would switch itself off. Even turning the sub off and on manually often did not get the sub back into life, as noted by the running of the test tone and no output from the sub with the green light firmly "on".

    I often had to resort to physically disconnecting the sub cable. But interestingly enough disconnecting at the sub end did not work, it was at the amp end that when disconnected and reconnected, the sub would respond to a test tone.

    I had had the sub at the end of a very long cable at the back of my room and a "BFD" in the equation. Whether I was getting too much voltage drop I don't know.

    I moved the sub closer (at the front), shorter cable, processor reset (maybe Denon related?), and an Intelliplug to auto shut off the sub when the amp switches off (so sub is not in auto mode), I don't have the problem.

    When it next does it, turn off the amp, disconnect the sub cable, power on the amp, power off the amp, reconnect sub cable and power on the amp again. Re-run test tones and see if that kicks it into life!
     
  10. Nimby

    Nimby
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    James

    Can we try to simplify?

    Set the Auto/On switch to ON if you haven't already.

    This removes the auto signal detect from the system equation.

    Please confirm that you have done this and that it made no difference at all.

    Or (alternatively) this cured the problem.

    You may have a duff unit. There is no way you can share a room with an SVS sub no matter how badly sited without noticing strong bass. It is not a matter of comparison with a KEF. It is simply a matter of fact!
     
  11. jwa1979

    jwa1979
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    Thanks for the advice, I tried that and still no luck.

    However, if that did work I wouldn't be happy as I don't think I should have to go through that kinda thing every time I want to use my brand new sub.

    Cheers,

    James.
     
  12. Resonance

    Resonance
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    Is the green light on?
     
  13. jwa1979

    jwa1979
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    The Auto/On switch has been in the ON position for the majority of the testing, I only put it into Auto when I was desperate to get the sub working. I only wish it were that simple :(

    I suspect I have a duff unit, why I here you ask, well
    1. I downloaded some test tones and burn them onto CD,
    2. I reset my AV Receiver,
    3. I ran the 200 Hz to 18 Hz sweep test tone with my SVS connected running at 11 o'clock gain and as the tone 'sweeped' the SVS cut in rather abruptly and gave weak, crackly bass (like there was a loose connection, which there isn't),
    4. I then disconnected the SVS and replaced it with my KEFPSW2000 and set the gain on that to around 11 o'clock. I then ran the same 200 Hz to 18 Hz test tone and it came in much more smoothly, gave a clean un-crackly sound and went a lot lower than the SVS

    In both tests I used the same mains leads, the same subwoofer cable, in fact all the equipment and settings were the same, apart from switching the subwoofer.

    Does this sound like anything but a duff SVS unit?

    Looks like now I have to arrange for the sub to go back which means man handling down three flights of stairs and into my car to take to work so that I dont have to have time off work for collection, to say the least, I am not amused right now.

    Thanks for all your help people, this forum is really a great place for advice :)
     
  14. Resonance

    Resonance
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    It's possibly the fuse just below the mains connector. Is the green light on?
     
  15. jwa1979

    jwa1979
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    Yeah the green light has always been on, I've even checked and changed the fuse.

    If the fuse was gone or it was a poor connection with the fuse would that mean the green light wouldn't light at all?
     
  16. Resonance

    Resonance
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    Correct
     
  17. Resonance

    Resonance
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    Definitely sounds like a dud. :thumbsdow
     
  18. jwa1979

    jwa1979
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    Yeah sure does, the last test I ran I couldn't get it to output anything at all...

    I'm going to wait until SVS customer support get in touch to see if they can offer any pearls of wisdom, then if I still have no joy (which I think will be the case) it's got to go back.

    Oh well.
     
  19. Member 96948

    Member 96948
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    Just to be clear, my comments were purely with respect to the quality of bass when the sub is working and your comments about not sounding significantly different to the KEF.

    I can offer nothing of worth with respect to 'auto on' problems with SVS subs.

    FWIW, from other subs I've owned the 'auto on' feature seldom works very well. I'd either leave it on (as I do now) or get familiar with turning it on and off when you need it or not.

    Russell
     
  20. Mr Incredible

    Mr Incredible
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    JWA1979, have you tried swapping the the phono input to the other input on the sub? There are left and right line level inputs aren't there? Just grasping at straws, as per usual!
     
  21. Nimby

    Nimby
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    James

    Even NASA doesn't get it right every time despite very costly measures to avoid failures.
    We rarely hear of problems with SVS but they must happen.
    Your description sounds almost as if the cone is dragging its voicecoil.
    Try pressing the cone inwards gently for half an inch to see if it sounds scratchy.
    It should be silent. Avoid sharp objects or finger nails.
    Spread your fingers wide and use the pads of your fingers to push gently on the cone to see if you can hear anything as it moves.
    Wear a glove if you want to avoid leaving fingerprints.
     
  22. jwa1979

    jwa1979
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    There's only one input on the PB10-NSD, thats one of the reasons I went for it, it has less bells and whistles to get wrong (I mean when I'm trying to set it up).

    Thanks for the suggestion though.
     
  23. jwa1979

    jwa1979
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    Yeah problems happen, I've been lucky in the past with 2 plasmas, a few DVD players/receivers, various speakers, a projector (and the list goes on) all without problem; something was bound to give...

    It's just sods law that the one thing thats been faulty (or at least appears to be) and may need to go back is the biggest and heaviest thing, after my car, that I've ever bought. I was shocked when the box turned up, this thing is huge :eek:

    Anyway, I've got till then end of the weekend to give it a few more tries...
     
  24. jwa1979

    jwa1979
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    Well I'm now convinced that the SVS is dead as I've tried outputting to it from my iMac, just to rule out the source being the problem, there was nothing output from the SVS at all.
     
  25. Mr Incredible

    Mr Incredible
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    Unlucky m8. AV-Sales will no doubt be on the ball come tomorrow morning!
     
  26. Ian Scorgie

    Ian Scorgie
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    jwa1979
    I've sent you a PM so we can sort this out for you.
    Cheers
    Ian
     
  27. jwa1979

    jwa1979
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    PM Received once I got in from work, when it was too late to give you a call.

    I'll be calling AV Sales to sort out the problems with the SVS on Tuesday,

    Thanks,

    James.
     
  28. jwa1979

    jwa1979
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    Thanks to AV Sales for sorting this out so quickly, I've been on holiday and busy to set up and give the sub a proper listen until now (and to post on here).

    All I can say is the difference between the PB10-NSD and the old KEF PSW 2000 it replaces is night and day.

    I watched Pulse last night and was simply astounded by the deep low bass in some of the scenes; I think I'm going to need some of my fillings replaced, it was that low. I watched Resident Evil: Apocalypse tonight and was blown away by the nuclear explosion scene, the I think I heard my windows rattling; my neighbors are going to love me.

    All that bass and I've not even got the gain much past a third of the way with the amp giving +4db to the LFE channel (set via Audyssey and some manual SPL meter tweaking).

    Another happy SVS and AV Sales user :)
     
  29. Member 96948

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    Tee Hee!

    Get Transformers and wait for the scene during the showdown near the end when a 'bot' somersaults over a screaming woman on the ground.

    I normally disaprove of bass for the sake of bass, but bloody hell, it's bloody hilarious.;)

    Russell
     
  30. Andori

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    Good to hear you got it all sorted :smashin:
     

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