SVS PC Ultra review

Discussion in 'Subwoofers' started by Daneel, Aug 28, 2004.

  1. Daneel

    Daneel
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2002
    Messages:
    2,843
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    68
    Location:
    London
    Ratings:
    +8
    The SVS PC Ultra is the top powered cylinder subwoofer from SVS, an Internet only company who have been around for about 5 years now. The driver used in this sub is impressive and gets a good write up here.

    The sub weights in at 31 kg and isn’t too difficult to move around the place, unlike some of SVS’s box alternatives. The finish is a fabric that seems hardwearing enough. I don’t think it looks the part in a high end setup, one of the veneer finished boxed would be far more suitable, but it’s certainly not bad and looks ok in my room.

    This sub is overkill for my 22’ x 11’ x 8’ room but I didn’t want to go for a plus model simply because I knew I’d always wonder what I was missing. My prior experience of subs in my current room is limited to a Velodyne CHT-10 and a custom sub. Both are around 1/3 if the price of the Ultra. In other rooms however, I have heard a dual Paradigm servo-15 setup and a B&W 750 as well as numerous other midrange subs.

    As I quickly found out room acoustics play a huge part in the positioning and integration of a sub with the rest of the system. My room has a big peak between 45 and 54 Hz along with another from 23 Hz downward. There is also a dip from 25 to 34 Hz. I used the single band parametric equaliser on the Ultra to tame the 45 to 54 Hz peak but despite trying the sub in different locations I was unable to rectify the other two areas.

    One of the reasons I hesitated for so long before buying one of these was the worry that it would be too much for music. I’m highly critical and know exactly what I like. I’m far more forgiving in movie performance.

    I was disappointed with my previous two subs; they didn’t go low enough and it was always easy to tell when bass was coming from the sub rather than the mains. The Ultra left me in no doubt of its extension immediately. Using AVIA showed strong output down to 20 Hz. The sub can be tuned down to 16 Hz or 12 Hz at the expense of maximum output but I have not yet examined these options. Details can be found on the website.

    What was even more surprising was how well it integrated with the mains. My previous upgrade from stand mounts to floor standing JM Lab Electra 926 speakers was partly to improve bass response for music that a sub had not managed to do. The extra weight has a significant effect on music. It underpins the sound and avoids any possibility of single tone bass that I have often heard from lesser “subs”. Obviously adding a sub like this to a pair of bookshelves will have more of an effect than when adding one to floor standers but the effect is still clear.

    The sub would benefit from equalisation from a device such as the Berhinger Feedback Destroyer however even without it the bass from the Ultra is tight and well defined. It can be surprisingly subtle for something so large and clumsy looking.

    For movies it came as no surprise that the Ultra does an excellent job. When something explodes you damn well know about it, and so do your neighbours if you have the volume at a decent level! The usual demo DVDs including Kill Bill, Titan A.E., The Haunting, The Matrix, X-men 2, Jurassic Park trilogy, LOTR and Star Wars all sounded far more involving than before.

    Something I have found to be an indicator of a high quality sub when watching a movie is when you can feel the detail in the bass through your feet. I know it sounds like a strange way to describe it but I’ve only felt it twice before, once with the B&W 750 and once with the dual servo-15s in a tiny room. I’ve heard other boom boxes make loud noises but they never had the detail or they simply didn’t go low enough.

    I don’t have the equipment to measure THD figures or produce nice graphs of output. All I can say is that my ears tell me distortion is low and output is high.

    In summary, the Ultra is an excellent buy if you want strong performance in both films and music. I feel sorry for people buying cheap subs and thinking they are getting low bass. It’s generally mid-bass with high distortion levels when tuned up and sounds poor with music. I’m not convinced that SVS quite lives up to the hype that surrounds them, there are other subs that do a very good job. Here in the UK however, all but the servo-15 and other imports (Hsu and AV123) are significantly more expensive for anything close to this level of performance.

    Now I just need to save up enough money for a PB2 Ultra. I have no need for the extra power but it would look so much better with my JM Lab speakers :)
     
  2. Smurfin

    Smurfin
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2002
    Messages:
    21,443
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +4,387
    Good review, but in what way does the SVS not quite live up to the hype? How didn't it impress you? Or was it that because all we ever tend to see on this forum is SVS threads as the brand is pushed by so many people (with some moderators being the strongest advocates of the brand), and that you were expecting the ultimate sub?

    You're right, there ARE other alternatives out there, but sadly not many. I believe that when the exchange rates start tumbling against our favour, the tables will turn and another brand will eventually become flavour of the month. All depends which one Ian J chooses that his old best friend doesn't sell;)
     
  3. Daneel

    Daneel
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2002
    Messages:
    2,843
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    68
    Location:
    London
    Ratings:
    +8
    The hype comment is basically about the fanboy/herd mentality of some users rather than any problem with the sub. The attitude of some that SVS is the One True Way bugs me. It's not so common over here (apart from Nimby :p) but on US based forums such as AVS and HTF it's common.
     
  4. samhain

    samhain
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2004
    Messages:
    2,780
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    86
    Location:
    South West Scotland
    Ratings:
    +131

    Ouch :blush:

    Hype is a funny thing and usually difficult to control. Over hype usually leads to disappointment, although these SVS subs must be decent enough for so many to like. It's easy to get caught up in the hype and say something is better than it actually is (not talking about SVS guys!!)

    There will always be flavour of the month as you say, hell I have been suckered into feeling that way too about purchases in the past.

    If someone turns up on this site and thinks that his SVS is pathetic to his ears, then be prepared to be flamed. How could you possibly say that, it must be your set up would be the first response. LOL

    Nice review. Wish I could get a listen to these subs..........Grrrrrrrrrrrrr :mad:
     
  5. Smurfin

    Smurfin
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2002
    Messages:
    21,443
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +4,387
    That, however is true though (to a degree).
     
  6. bob1

    bob1
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2002
    Messages:
    4,458
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    86
    Location:
    Sheffield
    Ratings:
    +131
    Nice review can't wait to get the new baby svs.My sub is good but does drop off below 30hz and have never had a sub that goes near to 20 hz.
     
  7. Nimby

    Nimby
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2004
    Messages:
    9,204
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Location:
    The Danish Bacon Factory
    Ratings:
    +671
    I'm flattered to get a mention from so talented a reviewer. :blush:

    But then we do have much a larger (non rectangular) listening room! :p

    And I've heard other subwoofers. :cool:

    And have a wife who likes bass. :D

    Perhaps we need an Ultra? :devil:

    But based on your review I wouldn't buy one. :rolleyes:

    There's no emotion. :boring:

    Music and film is all about emotion. :)

    Or it's just AV, hifi and endless upgrading . :blush:

    Nimby
     
  8. Daneel

    Daneel
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2002
    Messages:
    2,843
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    68
    Location:
    London
    Ratings:
    +8
    I deliberately try to keep emotion out of reviews and in the music.

    I hope I didn't offend you Nimby, but you did come to mind when I was writing that bit. You make me laugh, which can only be good. :)
     
  9. Stuart Wright

    Stuart Wright
    AVForums Founder Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2000
    Messages:
    14,708
    Products Owned:
    7
    Products Wanted:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    167
    Location:
    Birmingham, UK
    Ratings:
    +10,591
    I object to this post very strongly indeed.
    It is my job to ensure that these forums are impartial and in that respect any 'agendas' by any form members are quickly discovered and dealt with.
    There is a distinct difference between 'pushing' a brand and 'advocating' it although your words above imply there isn't.
    'Pushing' a brand (to me) implies promoting it beyond expressing a preference.
    Despite it being obvious, I have told moderators that they must not allow the promotion of any brand.
    Most of the forum members and certainly all the moderators have home cinemas and will obviously have opinions about what gear they prefer. I'm not going to mute moderators as their opinions and experiences are valuable.

    Most objectionable in your post is the remark implying that Ian J can influence what brand is the 'flavour of the month' and that he could or would do so based on what his 'ex-friend' would sell. The winking smilie makes no difference to the implication in your post.
    That remark is insulting to Ian J and by implication to me.

    An apology to Ian J is appropriate.
     
  10. Nimby

    Nimby
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2004
    Messages:
    9,204
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Location:
    The Danish Bacon Factory
    Ratings:
    +671
    What? No shivers down the spine? :eek: No frequent broad grins? :D No real fear of what might happen next? :rolleyes:

    Did you actually remember to plug in your Ultra? ;)

    No offense taken. :) There is no question that we do enjoy our 16-46 in our system. :p

    The big cylinder replaced our two large, professionally-designed, coupled-cavity DIY subs. Which were good for well below 20Hz at over 100dB on test. These were used for years before we bought the SVS. The 16-46 beat them easily on headroom, low distortion, low colouraton and unbelievable dynamics. I consider that level of performance well worth sharing with others. :cool:

    Are you absolutely sure you plugged in your Ultra? :devil:

    Your's doesn't sound anything like the SVS we know and love. :D

    Nimby
     
  11. Smurfin

    Smurfin
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2002
    Messages:
    21,443
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +4,387
    Your comments are a little contradictory there, as effectively you're saying Ian J has never promoted SVS:confused: That's all he's done since the powerbuys of old finished, when he stopped jumping anyone who questioned the might of Velodyne. Sorry, can't find any examples of that because my search of posts by Ian J only extends to July of this year.

    ...Unless by "pushing a brand beyond expressing a preference", you mean that you read "pushing" to be a substitute for "paid to promote"? If that IS what you think then let me clarify that I don't and never have implied that Ian is on the payroll of SVS (nor have I ever done so as I'm sure he isn't, despite the jokes about it).

    Agreed on the first point. The second paragraph? Even though it meant in part-jest, why is it so objectionable to suggest Ian J has been fundemental in dismantling Velodyne as FOTM and replacing it with SVS? It's true! Anyone who's been here long enough and knows the games of old knows this, there's hardly proof required.

    Sorry, I will not apologise to Ian for stating what is obvious and especially when the comment is blown out of all proportion.

    Regards
    Matt
     
  12. Kazman

    Kazman
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2004
    Messages:
    5,351
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    86
    Location:
    Luton, Bedfordshire
    Ratings:
    +142
    I have to say, the PC Ultra is an awesome sub, and to be honest, I haven't heard anything better, although most of my experience has been of hi fi show demo's.

    The PB2 Plus certainly has more impact and slam, but the PC Ultra 'sounds' better to my ears. I've put my order through for one, just waiting on ETA (thanks for the info and the demo Matt).

    I would also like to add that there more than likely alternatives to the SVS subs, but not at the prices they are available for currently, and it certainly destroys my current KEF PSW2500, and so it should costing nearly three times as much.

    To get close to the PC Ultra's performance in the current market, one would probably have spend at least double on high end B&W's, Velodynes and the like. I'm currently gagging to hear an FJM Labs Sub Utopia, the specs on that baby look awesome!! And it will most likely outperform almost anything from the SVS stable (bar the B4, perhaps).

    The SVS subs represent great value, and currently, they are flavour of the month with good reason, but it would be nice hear about other subs a little more. A stand off between the PC Ultra and a few of the higher end subs mentioned earlier would be great. Why not push for this, I'm certainly up for it, now we just have to find some high end Velodyne owners :D
     
  13. Daneel

    Daneel
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2002
    Messages:
    2,843
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    68
    Location:
    London
    Ratings:
    +8
    I got the BFD setup yesterday. The fruits of my labours:

    [​IMG]

    It looks a bit strange because I lowered the gain on the sub during the process and was running the mains at around 81 dB. I've tried to put in a house curve but I'm not sure that was the best idea now.

    7 filters are in place, the biggest are -13 @ 46Hz and -8 @ 21Hz. Are such large filters perhaps killing some of the dynamic range?

    I also have some major peaks and dips between 90 and 200Hz . How I hate my room.

    The bass is now very smooth but it isn't very exciting. Music sounds good but the bass isn't as tight as I hoped. Movies I'm reserving judgement on until I have the centre setup.

    In summary I'm not as impressed as I thought I would be. It still doesn't sound nearly as good as Rags' system when he had the B&W 750. The bass from that thing was fantastically tight even if it didn't go down as low as the ultra.
     
  14. Daneel

    Daneel
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2002
    Messages:
    2,843
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    68
    Location:
    London
    Ratings:
    +8
    I just went to have another listen. After 3 hours of sweeps and tweaking I think my hearing might have been dulled a little. Music is sounding good and I think the movie performance will improve a lot once the centre goes in. Not as bad as I made out in the above post.
     
  15. Nimby

    Nimby
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2004
    Messages:
    9,204
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Location:
    The Danish Bacon Factory
    Ratings:
    +671
    Daneel

    You certainly have my sympathies with your room dimensions.

    You have an exact 2 to 1 ratio between length and breadth. I don't suppose there is much you can do about that? Opening double doors? Moving your listening position backwards or forwards to get you out of a room node peak?

    Assuming you are still unhappy with the sound quality tomorrow: I'd start by shifting the sub all round the edges of the room. Simply looking for a flatter natural response. No need to test for anything but that 45-50Hz peak from reasonable listening positions. So just play a 45Hz tone and start moving the sub (carefully) and check with your meter at the listening position. If the meter sinks you are getting somewhere. Worry about the rest of the frequency response later.

    You aren't using any boost to fill troughs are you? That will soak up a lot of power and may rob you of dynamics. It isn't always the flattest response that pleases the ear most.

    http://www.mcsquared.com/modecalc.htm

    Nimby
     
  16. elcid

    elcid
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    That's one hell of a great looking frequency response "curve"! That Ultra thingy has to kick major butt. :clap:

    I wish my EQ'd curve (s) wind up looking as flat in my HT room when my battery of SVS subbass systems are finally relocated, installed, and properly dialed-in. Something like that would really make me a very happy old man 'fer sure!... :D

    -THTS

    "...hi, my name is Frank...and am an SVS...oops! :blush: bassaholic... :thumbsup: "
     
  17. Kazman

    Kazman
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2004
    Messages:
    5,351
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    86
    Location:
    Luton, Bedfordshire
    Ratings:
    +142
    I'll be sorting out my 'curve' tomorrow now, I have a HUGE peak at about 22Hz and a massive trough at about 56Hz, otherwise it isn't too bad.

    The BFD will be implanted into the setup tonight, and I'll add the filters, but I doubt I'll get time to do a frequency sweep after the tweaks are in place.

    The wife wants a new hoover too, (our Dyson and samsung are both knackered!), so going to pick up one of those new Hoover The One thingies. Anybody want a knackered Dyson? :)
     
  18. Daneel

    Daneel
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2002
    Messages:
    2,843
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    68
    Location:
    London
    Ratings:
    +8
    I just setup my system with the centre speaker in place and re-ran MCACC for the first time with the BFD in the system.

    Finally! Movie sound is superb. When talking about rags' system and punch there was once particular scene that stood out, the start of monsters inc with the monster screwing up a test run. He slips on a ball which bounces off the wall. The punch on that sound is now superb, just as I remember it and that's with DD, I'm not sure if rags had the R2 DTS version or not.

    I also ran through The Matrix and Star Wars Ep 2. Previously I had felt there was something missing and it looks like it was mainly the centre speaker. Overall I am far more impressed with the sub now that when I initially got it.

    :clap: :thumbsup:
     
  19. Kazman

    Kazman
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2004
    Messages:
    5,351
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    86
    Location:
    Luton, Bedfordshire
    Ratings:
    +142
    I'm glad :D I'm loving my one more each time I play a movie. My Centre speaker is playing up again though, so can't wait for my Quad L Centre to arrive.

    Great subwoofer! :D
     
  20. rags

    rags
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2003
    Messages:
    4,161
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    London
    Ratings:
    +324
    Daneel / Kazman,

    If you think the ASW750 sounded good, you have to hear it again with the ASW850 ! The bass is just massive / tight / controlled and low. The sonic gun scene in Minority Report sends shivers down my spine :D
     
  21. Daneel

    Daneel
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2002
    Messages:
    2,843
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    68
    Location:
    London
    Ratings:
    +8
    I don't have the money or space to make any changes to my system for a while and the PCU is giving me excellent sound. At some point I will move to a larger, dedicated room at which point I will replace the PCU simply because it doesn't fit sytle wise. At that time I'll have a listen to the N850 or whatever it's replacement is. I'll be going to the US next year and will try to track down a PB2 Ultra for comparison.

    I would love to do a PCU, N850 head-to-head but I'm rather busy at the moment.
     
  22. rags

    rags
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2003
    Messages:
    4,161
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    London
    Ratings:
    +324
    Daneel - TBH its an unfair comparison as the ASW850 costs twice as much. I have heard a PC Ultra now on a couple of occasions and its a great sub no doubt - although I havent done a direct head to head, in my room ill stick with the ASW850 - its in a different league imho. Differences become a lot more apparent in larger rooms. Simply effortless is the way Matt (Smurfin) described it when he came round. He didnt have anything poor to say about it and as you know Matt is pretty honest with his assessments. Have said that both of us still agree that the PC Ultra is a corker of a sub and if I had a smaller room and budget and wasnt to bothered about the looks it would be on the top of my contender list.
     
  23. Daneel

    Daneel
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2002
    Messages:
    2,843
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    68
    Location:
    London
    Ratings:
    +8
    rags, i can't say I expect the PCU to win, but I would like to hear the difference. In any event, I'm always happy to listen to a good system to see where I can make improvements in my own and simply to enjoy the experience, even if you do try to deafen me ;)
     
  24. rags

    rags
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2003
    Messages:
    4,161
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    London
    Ratings:
    +324
    As you know your welcome round at any time - but the volume will be at -5db or above. :D
     
  25. recruit

    recruit
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Rags that can't be good for you or you'll go deaf, sorry i'll say that again....or :laugh:

    John :)
     
  26. rags

    rags
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2003
    Messages:
    4,161
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    London
    Ratings:
    +324
    Yeah I know its high but I just do it occasionally. When Matt was around after listening to various bits and pieces we put on the Darla fish tank scene from Finding Nemo at -5db. Now that was scary !
     
  27. recruit

    recruit
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    Hi Rags

    I bet it was :eek:

    I am going to have a listen to a DD15 today and i am going to make sure we listen to that part :D

    John :)
     
  28. rags

    rags
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2003
    Messages:
    4,161
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    106
    Location:
    London
    Ratings:
    +324
    I thought you had already demod the DD15 ?
     
  29. recruit

    recruit
    Guest

    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Ratings:
    +0
    No it was only the DD12, i am going over to MarkE19's house he is only down the road from me.

    John :)
     
  30. Nimby

    Nimby
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2004
    Messages:
    9,204
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Location:
    The Danish Bacon Factory
    Ratings:
    +671
    So. Rumours of earthquakes in E19 weren't exaggerated? :devil:

    Nimby
     

Share This Page

Loading...
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice