First SVS?

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Quinn, May 7, 2004.

  1. Quinn

    Quinn Stunt Coordinator

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    So I am about ready to pull the trigger on my first SVS. I purchased the Paradigm Titans as recommended by several on this site, in addition to the equivalent Paradigm center channel. Two cheap Kenwood surrounds are in the corners of the room (soon to be replaced with Paradigm Atoms). I am planning on something out of the PCi series, but do not know what will go best in my room. Ron told me the 25-31 would be great, but a few posts here have me wondering if I would want to upgrade later. Anyhow, I would appreciate any help in deciding. I have a .bmp sketch of my room, but do not know how to attach it.

    Also, I am a touch confused on calibration. My Kenwood receiver has internal/individual speaker settings of -10db to +10db, while my master volume is -100db (or so) to 0db. In order to properly calibrate, where should my settings be?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Jeffrey Forner

    Jeffrey Forner Screenwriter

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    Quinn;

    I sincerely doubt you will be disappointed with the 25-31PCi's performance. However, if you think that you might want the extra bass extension, the 20-39 model is only $50 more and the 16-46 one is an extra $100. The extra money you spend now may save you some trouble later on. That's just something to think about.

    Then again, I don't know what your listening habits are, the size of your room or even if you can spend more to get a bigger sub, so I can only give you my guess as to what the best sub for your situation would be. In dealing with Ron and Tom though, I've come to realize that they tend to know what they are talking about when they make a recommendation. Decisions, decisions!

    As for calibration, you will need to pick up a Radio Shack Sound Pressure Level (SPL) meter and a calibration disc of some sort, such as the Avia Guide to Home Theater. Those discs will feature more detailed instructions on how you need to calibrate your system properly. If you have any further questions, you can always bring them up here.

    Good luck with you SVS purchase and enjoy your new speakers!
     
  3. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    If your concern with the SVS is that you might want it to dig a little deeper then you could always ask them to tune it to 22Hz for you. Also, if you stick it in a corner it will help SPL and frequency response. As for the calibration: buy a meter and disc as mentioned. On your receiver, put the master volume on 00db and start out with all the channels at 0db. Then using the disc and SPL meter you'll adjust the individual channels so they each hit you the same at you listening "sweet spot." Also, your receiver probably has a place to enter the distance from you listening area from each speaker, you'll need to adjust these as well. Good luck and enjoy playing with your new system.
     
  4. steve nn

    steve nn Cinematographer

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    Ron told me the 25-31 would be great, but a few posts here have me wondering if I would want to upgrade later. Anyhow, I would appreciate any help in deciding.
    __________________________________________________ __________

    I would not consider going to the 20-39 or the 16-46 a upgrade. To me it is considered a preference. If you moved up to the +db driver provided in the PLUS series or the PB2-ISD. That in my mind, would be considered a upgrade.

    When you get down to calibrating feel free to send me a PM if you find you need any help. SethH mentioned a calibrating practic that many do not utilize but it can be very helpful in knowing where your listening level is with out adding or subtracting.
     
  5. SVS-Ron

    SVS-Ron Screenwriter

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    Quinn,

    If you told me size/cost were critical factors, or that music was your main "squeeze" then I'd stick with the 25-31PCi. It will work well in any environment and work best to fill large rooms. It works fantastically well on music or movies, though lacks the very very low response of a 20Hz tuned sub (recall, that tuning points aren't some sort of "brick wall" sound barrier. Even a 25Hz tuned sub, if it's linear and still strong at that point, will provide good, audible response [in a mid-sized room with corner placment] to roughly 20-22Hz at least).

    But as mentioned the 20-39PCi will tend to dig substantially deeper for a better blend of deep bass (extension) and still have enough capacity for sheet sound pressure levels (SPLs) to rock your (IIRC 20x18') room. Response in your room should be very good to around 15-16Hz, which takes care of all but a few moments of most blockbuster movies we all love.

    I know in the $600 range the 20-39PCi is the sub I'd pick. The 16-46 would tip more to depth v. max SPL grunt where it's more common (20Hz and up), but is ideal for situations where the absolute lowest bass possible is desired.

    The 20-39PCi has long been our top seller, but for the reasons mentioned above, the 25-31PCi is right behind it. A very tidy little package that can still extend very very low when called upon. For your size room a 22Hz custom tune on the 25-31PCi is indeed a (no cost) option, and would work very well to eek out a few more dBs down low.

    If you are being pressured on the size front (by wife, parents, whomever), the shorter PCi is the way to go (the 25-31PCi tends to get "tidy", "cute" and "easy to miss in your room" applied to it all the time. The 8" taller 20-39PCi is, well, a bit harder to miss. Still takes up the same small 16" footprint though). If visual height isn't key (some people love the look of impressive speakers in their room) and $50 isn't going to break the bank???

    20-39PCi all the way.

    Hope that helps some.

    Ron
     
  6. steve nn

    steve nn Cinematographer

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    Well put Ron. In my previous post I failed to mention that in your advice on the 25-31 you were considering headroom/performance considerations in a room that size. I took it for granted and was lazy in my post.

    I started to write about the ability of the 25-31 in the lower hz material but back-tracked out due to not wanting to put my preference into the post.
     
  7. Quinn

    Quinn Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for all of your help. Ron, I received you email, thanks alot.

    As for calibration, I have a meter and DVE. My problem was not knowing how to begin. With DVE, I should set my master to 00db (which is very lud) and the individual channels to 00db? From there, tune the individual channels until I am at 79 or so on the meter for each speaker, from my listening position?

    My concern is that this is extremely loud. However, I gues with test patterns its not all that lud (compared to an explosion, etc.).

    Thanks again, this site rocks and has helped a great deal in the past, present, and Im sure will in the future. Hopefully, the more I learn from you guys, the more I can add.

    Quinn
     
  8. SVS-Ron

    SVS-Ron Screenwriter

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    Not a problem Steve, I actually wrote that before you posted and hadn't even seen it just now!

    One other note, (regarding Seth's contribution above) not all receivers (like Kenwood) will calibrate to anything like correct Dolby Labs reference levels with their master display/gain at 00dB. Don't ask me why, but some brands just don't seem to even try to make it happen.

    My approach to this dilemma is to keep all your individual channel levels to 00dB to start (each will need to be adjusted some probably) but simply use that test disk to help find where YOUR receiver "likes" to center reference level. Some DO nail it around 00dB on their displays (Denon is one example) but Sony and Kenwoods that I've used are no where near. I think the last Kenwood I used ended up with a reference level at like -18dB on the master volume control (again, when the individual channel levels were roughly in the center of their range).

    There is a bit more about the SVS approach to simple and effective HT calibration here:http://www.svsubwoofers.com/faq.htm#meter

    To say that a test disk and SPL meter are critical to good sound is an understatement. Just be advised that some test disks seem to have their own problems with levels, and to always use your receiver test tones as a double check, especially for subwoofer levels.

    Ron
     
  9. SVS-Ron

    SVS-Ron Screenwriter

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    Quinn,

    Once again I overlapped a response with someone, sorry!

    Look over my note just above.

    The bottom line is, do NOT worry about a 00dB setting on your receiver's main display. DO keep your main/surround channels to 00dB to start (or whatever the "center" of their adjustable range is) and then set... and keep... ONE level on your master volume for the rest of your calibration (adjusting each channel for fine tuning) that allows you to hit the requisite 75dB for full range channels in DVE. Whether 00dB or -18dB or WHATEVER, this will actually be what your "Reference Level" is for Dolby Digital playback.

    And please note, DVE is one such disk that has some known instances of an LFE test tone that is way WAY off. You may need to run the receiver's subwoofer tone to get even close. DVE copies out there seem to be recorded as much as 10-13dB (if I recall correctly) high on the LFE tone, which means your sub will be way LOW when you are done.

    Try the receiver or another disk like Avia to ensure your SVS is well integrated. Adjusting by ear "to taste" on music or movies both is advised if DVE is your only option (some receivers are out there with NO subwoofer test tone, just to make things even more interesting). I can't recall a Kenwood with this handicap though.

    Ron
     
  10. Phil Iturralde

    Phil Iturralde Screenwriter

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    Great stuff Ron!!! [​IMG]

    FYI: Quinn - Read my CALIBRATION TECHNIQUES using Dolby Labs DD-EX HT speaker & dedicated LFE test tones for my process.

    ----

    Steve and Quinn, the affordable SVS 25-31PCi may be smallest PCi sub in the lineup, but it's output in my 20' x 30' w/10' high vaulted ceiling HT/family room is just an impressive air & pant-leg moving experience! Many, of my usual once or twice a month Friday NITE DVD family / friends crowd have told me that they saw the movie before, but wanted to see, hear and feel it in my HT/family room!!! [​IMG]

    After a few emails to Ron & Tom, my SVS 25-31PCi (default tune) arrived on April 2002 (took a PTO day [​IMG]) and after REFERENCE Calibrating the whole setup, I haven't second guess their decision.

    After sampling my first DVD with the SVS, "Toy Story 2" from the opening THX trailer, movie INTRO until the 'end game' scene (3-DVD Toy Box CE set), I developed this funny 'grin' [​IMG] (going on 2 years now), just wallowed for a minute or so in the recently experienced LFE tactile sub-sonic sensation and then realized, .... that my HT/family room was not SVS worthy yet!

    So, I spent a better part of an hour locating and silencing the most annoying rattles and vibrations in my HT/family room!!! I first put back the large fan in my triangle window, then I took care of the two 4' x 5' double-pane windows (SVS corner), worked my way around in the room all the way to the opposite side where the China cabinet door panes that's 20' away required insulating!

    When that was done, the 'grin' returned when I put on "Tomorrow Never Dies" - INTRO terrorist depot scene up to the opening song by Sheryl Crow and credits. Next, "Star Wars - Phantom Menace", Jurassic Park DTS ... etc. Anyway, the 'grin' is now a permanent facial feature every time I put in my new (Star Wars - Attack of the Clones, Finding Nemo, Hulk, Daredevil, etc.) or library of DVD's!

    Like all new SVS owner's, I spent the 1st year looking forward to the latest blockbuster DVD's released and finding time to revisit my 380 (then) library of DD/DTS-5.1 DVD's!!!

    Last thought, ... Sub-sonic, tactile feel is very important to the full-impact Home Theater experience, but what enhances all that air moving impressive dynamic's is that the SVS 25-31PCi has a very low, ... unheard in this price range, very low distortion ... as bench-marked by John E. Johnson, Jr. in his December, 2002 - SVS 25-31PCi Product Review where he wrote ...


    Have fun deciding,
    Phil
     
  11. steve nn

    steve nn Cinematographer

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    After a few emails to Ron & Tom, my SVS 25-31PCi (default tune) arrived on April 2002 (took a PTO day ) and after REFERENCE Calibrating the whole setup, I haven't second guess their decision.
    __________________________________________________ ________

    Your always so articulate Phil and have a real knack in expressing yourself.

    After receiving my first 25-31CS+ I had no doubt I was missing any thing. One incredible woofer for the $$. The ability/authority the 25-31 has in the lower region while not robbing from the above 25-30 hz is so very impressive.

    >>>Not a problem Steve, I actually wrote that before you posted and hadn't even seen it just now!
     
  12. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    Also FYI: Kenwood receivers I've run into tend to have a bass limiter "feature" that is set on, and it will cap the output to the sub. You need to turn this all the way up or off completely, or everything getting sent to the sub will be limited at a maximum that is set default very very low.
     
  13. Quinn

    Quinn Stunt Coordinator

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    Chris,

    Any idea how I would turn this off?

    Also, OT, where are you in the Seattle area? I am originally from Bellevue.

    Quinn
     
  14. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    I'm not sure, im sure your manual will tell you. I'm not familiar with specific models, just something I've run across in the past.

    yes, im in seattle, in the city. I hate bellevue, can't stand it! [​IMG]
     
  15. Quinn

    Quinn Stunt Coordinator

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    I hate going back to Bellevue. Not the same town I grew up in (even worse because I grew up in the Medina area)!

    Thanks, I'll check the manual.
     

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