PB-10 initial impressions

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by John Garcia, Nov 15, 2004.

  1. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    First impression: BIG. The shipping box is bigger than expected, and is just at the point where it is awkward to carry, especially up stairs. When I pulled the sub out, it seemed quite large, but with the VTF-2 along side it, it actually was not as big as it seemed. Larger only by about 20%. Weight felt pretty close and the VTF-2 cabinet feels a tiny bit more solid, likely due to the smaller size. The finish on the PB-10 feels nicer and is more appealing than the VTF-2.

    Those with CRT based TVs will need to keep this thing a decent distance away. At about 3 feet away, it was still discoloring my screen, and required me to move them further apart.

    Initial impressions after 2hrs are somewhat mixed. Popped in SW:AOTC, opening scene and was not exactly floored. Infrasonics are definitely more noticeable and tactile. The difference between the VTF-2 and the PB-10 is not as large as I expected and is actually rather subtle. Output seems about the same, and the bass peak limiter on my receiver topped out about the same spot, at which point I could hear the PB-10 doing what sounded like some limiting of it's own (levels at which the sub will likely never reach).

    Toy Story 2 - opening scene; again better, but not shockingly better than the VTF-2. Good feel to the title passing over and the door opening. Says something about the VTF-2's ability that it was similar in output.

    Finding Nemo – the submarine sliding scene, the whale exhales, and Darla. There was noticeably more low information in all of these scenes. Lots of stuff in the room was vibrating.

    I tried some music with low stuff. Here the difference was more noticeable through it's range. The PB-10 was cleaner and smoother overall, and took on more of a support role without drawing attention to itself at all. Very nice.

    Dinner break and back to movies, next being Titan:AE DTS. Earth destroyed / moon shatter very impressive, but it was the ice field scene that really wowed me for the first time with this sub. I have not experienced this scene like this before. The VTF-2 did a decent job with it, but the PB-10 shows what it’s made of here.

    Also tried: Jin Roh – in the sewer, The Haunting DTS ES “coming mother”, various music tracks. Next I will have to sit through an entire movie and spend a little more time with it. Movie night will be at my place on Fri [​IMG] More later after I've had more time to play with this thing.

    I will likely play around with it’s position this weekend to see what I come up with, but so far [​IMG] I am not disappointed with it at all. Price vs performance is nothing short of amazing. Hats off to the guys at SVS!
     
  2. kevin tate

    kevin tate Stunt Coordinator

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    John, does the PB-10 blend in with music better then the Hsu?
     
  3. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    The PB-10 blends very well with my speakers. I'm using an 80Hz x-over. I don't know if I would call it better blending, but I do feel the PB-10 has a slight edge with music in my brief music listening. Will do a little more music tomorrow evening.
     
  4. Edward J M

    Edward J M Cinematographer

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    I think your impressions are spot-on, John. In terms of dynamic output in the more common bass regions, there won't be a huge difference between the two subs.

    But on scenes with significant content in the 18-30 Hz bandwidth, the PB10-ISD will exhibit considerably lower distortion at higher layback levels. So you will hear (and feel) more of the actual fundamentals, and less of the distortion harmonics. Thus your observations of considerably more near-infrasonic and tactile information being conveyed on certain scenes.

    While the PB10-ISD performance numbers speak for themselves, I think your subjective impressions will ultimately be more telling. I concur with your suggestion of sitting through an entire movie and just concentrating on the SQ and tactile differences on deep passages.
     
  5. paul clipsel

    paul clipsel Stunt Coordinator

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    John is that a VTF-2 Mk2?
    Reading reviews the VTF-2 has been consistently rated as one of the best affordable 10" subwoofers around, so it sounds like the PB10 works very well. Funny how the Hsu and Svs names always seem to come up as good options for a subwoofer.

    PC
     
  6. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    No, my VTF-2 is the original one. The MkII probably has a bit more output with the new amp, but it still won't go as low as the PB-10 does. The VTF-2 is definitely a good sub for the money, and I've been very happy with it. I have no problem recommending the VTF-2 to anyone, but with the price point and increased performance the PB-10 offers, the choice is clear. Even if they were the same price, the PB-10 would get my nod for it's lower extension.

    The VTF-2 seems to have a bit more bloom in it's upper range with music in my room than the PB-10 does. The PB-10 is very clean and it's flatter response seems pretty apparent. I'll be throwing a lot of music at this thing throughout the week.
     
  7. CurtisSC

    CurtisSC Screenwriter

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    Great stuff John.

    As a Hsu owner, it would be interesting to get your thoughts the VTF-2MK2 or STF-2 along with the PB10.

    I don't know anyone that has done a VTF-2 vs VTF-2MK2 comparison, but those that have put the new amp into their VTF-3's have found it to be more dynamic.
     
  8. steve nn

    steve nn Cinematographer

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    Good read John. I read it this morning before work and wanted to post, but time was the priority.

    Your impressions come in at what I expected with the PB10-ISD having the lower extension. The PB10-ISD might have a little less presence do to the different tune but wont exhibit some of the negative traits a higher tuned sub might/could present. One thing you know better than I is how good the VTF is (I have only listened to one twice) and how well it does being the higher tuned sub. With that said.

    I think as time moves forward, you will appreciate the added extension and the traits of the PB10-ISD more? It gets a little tricky at times viewing material and picking out where the added performance is. Some scenes are hands down very noticeable but the tactile can be taken for granted unless you know the material really well and how it performed on your prior sub.
     
  9. MikeNg

    MikeNg Second Unit

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    So, has anyone compared the PB10 with the UFW-10?
     
  10. David Bikeman

    David Bikeman Stunt Coordinator

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    "So, has anyone compared the PB10 with the UFW-10?"

    These two subs are so different that a comparison would be difficult. They aren't aimed at the same customer. Or that's my impression anyway.

    David
     
  11. paul clipsel

    paul clipsel Stunt Coordinator

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    It sounds like its a gain. I have not heard the original but I heard the MK2 and it was impressive. My VTF-3 MK2 however had noticeable more output than the VTF-2 MK2, although for much more $$$. Up to a point we dont distinguish loudness and slight changes in frequency down at the lowest freq. One critical thing I noticed in comparing the two tuning points 20Hz and 25Hz on my VTF-3, is the majority of content on disks both music and movies are in the above 30Hz range. A few Hz diff in tuning is not the slap in the face difference that I expected, perhaps because most source material is not aimed at that freq depth, and if it is its negligible in the scheme of the overall content.

    PC
     
  12. Edward J M

    Edward J M Cinematographer

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    Actually, the rated extension points on your VTF-3MKII are 22 Hz (Max Output mode) and 18 Hz (Max Extension mode).

    Most popular music (pop/rock/country, etc.) won't go below the mid-30 Hz region, but there are many exceptions where music tracks dip into the 20 Hz or deeper regions.

    For movies - there is tons of stuff below 25 Hz, with many passages dipping well into the infrasonic region. A trip through Ming's waterfall thread, Rudi B's The Bass Archives, and SVS' website will corroborate this.

    Usable (i.e., both loud enough and low distortion) in-room extension to 20 Hz should be the minimum standard for HT; I know many would vote for 15 Hz as some passages centered in the low 20 Hz region have infrasonic decay well into the teens. Your VTF-3MKII will hit 20 Hz clean in-room in the 22 Hz mode, and should hit 15-16 Hz with still some authority in the 18 Hz mode.
     
  13. SVS-Ron

    SVS-Ron Screenwriter

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    A few Hz diff in tuning is not the slap in the face difference that I expected, perhaps because most source material is not aimed at that freq depth, and if it is its negligible in the scheme of the overall content.

    I suppose Paul, but maybe it'd be OK to trim off a bit of picture here and there, go with 4:3?

    Or just snip a bit of dialogue? Maybe not, hell, when "open the pod bay doors Hal" was missing from 2001 A Space Odyssey and people go nuts (or whatever that infamous incident involved).

    There are moments in audio soundtracks that are philosophically similar if not the same, it just depends on the issues in film presentation you are sensitive to.

    Saying the majority of content is above 30hz with today's movies is like saying the majority of on-screen verbal content includes the word "The" so why worry about lines that don't?

    Forget a "slap in the face" difference; it's a question of being closer to the intent of the director, or not. Ed Mullen's point about striving for a minimum of reference level 20hz frequency response was a good one. As was the fact 15Hz might already be an even better one. Foley effects and the like are becoming common as rain down in that region.

    Either you strive to capture it all, or you are OK with missing substantial swaths of it (or just resign to it not being played back at the proper amplitude). There's an entire world of audio in the 15-25Hz range. It's audible, it's significant (to the tenor and impact of any soundtrack), and it's achievable in more and more products at affordable price points.

    Ron
     
  14. Jack Gilvey

    Jack Gilvey Producer

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    I'm frankly amazed at how low and loud the PB10 goes, seems to get everything that's there. At the price point, I'm not aware of competition. Frankly, if I didn't actually enjoy building subs, the whole exercise would be somewhat pointless (from a money-saving standpoint). I could be happy with this little guy.
     
  15. CurtisSC

    CurtisSC Screenwriter

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    Not quite and apples to apples comparison, but I get the point. I can tell you that directors would rather have that bass below 30hz missing than any word.

    What is interesting is that most sound systems in theaters can not get below 30hz very well nowadays, which means you very well may be missing a good portion of the audio experience with some movies.

    I have watched movies with some folks in the movie business in nice home theaters, and even they often say, "I don't remember hearing that at a theater." They were not always referencing bass either.
     
  16. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    For me there is one theater locally that has it's stuff together. When I saw SW:AOTC, I thought "WOW, the bass in here is incredible" during the opening scene. I have not been able to reproduce that at home so far, though the PB-10 is the closest to it that I've felt. It pressurizes the room adequately. I can tell the VTF-2 is not giving me the same depth on scenes like this.

    Doing some music listening last night however, with a variety of music types where the bass is not as deep, I found myself almost missing something that the VTF-2 was giving me. I'm used to the sound of the VTF-2 though, and I still have to do more tweaking with the PB-10. I think it took me about 2 weeks to fully dial in the VTF-2 and I made some adjustments with the PB-10 last night. Tonight I am going to try out some favorite music DVDs, DVD-As and SACDs.

    I'm finding it difficult to definitively say one or the other is better, subjectively. They are noticably different from eachother in presentation, and each have pleasing points.
     
  17. Edward J M

    Edward J M Cinematographer

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    I have found I have to live with a subwoofer exclusively for music/movies for at least 2 weeks before I can get the sonic signature of the previous unit completely out of my memory.

    Often "new" sound is subjectively perceived (especially with music) as negative, or at a minimum with indifference. I just finished reviewing the Acoustic Visions MRS-10 subwoofer, and it took the place of my reference subwoofer for several weeks. Sure enough, I got "used to" the sound of the MRS-10 and when I finally switched back to my reference sub, it was kind of weird because the two subs definitely have a different sonic signature. They both perform very well on music, but they both definitely have their own unique sound.

    So I can definitely appreciate your perspective, and I suggest living with the PB10-ISD exclusively for several weeks (and tweaking/fine tuning) to adapt to the sound completely. I think you'll find when you switch back to any other decent sub (brand doesn't matter) you will "miss" the sound of the PB10-ISD.
     
  18. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Well, there's always an upgrade path... The PB-10 completely disappears in my system, just as the VTF-2 did, but I could fit any size cylinder back there too [​IMG] LOL already thinking 20-39PCi...
     
  19. steve nn

    steve nn Cinematographer

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    LOL already thinking 20-39PCi...[​IMG]
    __________________________________________________ ____

    Now that your on the upgrade path John, you might want to consider the dB driver? Ah heck! Might as well save some $$ and skip the dB and go for a TV-12 Ultra option[​IMG]
     
  20. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Hehe. The PB-10 will do for now, but it's going to take another SVS or something like a VTF-3 MkII for me to consider it an upgrade [​IMG]

    One other thing of note that I found interesting was that the two calibrate out at the same level. I tuned each at "0" gain in the receiver's sub level and 50% gain on the back of the sub. I get similar SPL readings with a test tone, but the SVS is pressurizing the room noticably. The VTF-2 would vibrate things in the room (and the next one too), but I didn't really feel it the way I do with the PB-10.
     

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