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SVS and Music only system experiences and opinions

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48 replies to this topic

#1 of 49 OFFLINE   FrantzM


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Posted April 16 2003 - 07:39 AM

Hi Collective I need the experiences good and bad on SVS subs in music-only system. I do not need much convincing on the quality of SVS subs for HT. The numbers on paper, the bunch of enthusiastic owners of SVS products and the dedication of the owners (Ron answering my e-mail on Sunday) are testimonies to the performance of the products on HT. What about music-only? :b Thanks in advance Frantz

#2 of 49 OFFLINE   MikaelG



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Posted April 16 2003 - 07:57 AM

Well, just to be quick, it gives the music an entire new dimension, you hear things you've never heard before. I don't know if it's a break-in issue, but I feel like it sounds very "wet", as opposed to the dry hi-fi bass you're used to. It handles everything I've thrown at it perfectly, however the character of the sound may not be pleasing, if you're particulary used to listening to really expensive equipment. I just love it. It plays cleanely, but the character of the sounds may not appeal to everyone is my saying. I have a 16-46 PC+ (and I worship it everyday :b )

#3 of 49 OFFLINE   FrantzM


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Posted April 16 2003 - 08:04 AM

Hi Collective It would be very informative to list the Brand and model of your main speakers. Frantz

#4 of 49 Guest_Anthony_Gomez_*

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Posted April 16 2003 - 09:05 AM

I think where the SVS excels at is in bringing the really low stuff (that many comercial subs don't do) at a good price. The need for the low stuff is HT, and rare exceptions in music. If you do not listen to organ music or the really low frequency synth stuff, then I would go the route of the sealed sub. you loose the low end efficiency/spl, but you get a much nicer rolloff and group delay (though the effects at the frequencies you are looking at may not be as much). This is not at all a nock on SVS, just something universal with ported subs vs low Q sealed subs. If "I" had a music only system, I wouldn't even think of using a ported sub. I would go straight for a sealed with a Q= 0.6-0.5 and an F3 around 35hz.

#5 of 49 OFFLINE   Tekara


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Posted April 16 2003 - 10:11 AM

I tend to agree, while my dual CSU's have the ability to hit some really low frequencies with quite the spl. they just don't have that "punch" I would like in music. I'm not saying they don't sound great for music, as they do a wonderful job for my needs. They are next to none when it comes to movies, hitting tight and low, but in a music only setup they just might not be the best out there.
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#6 of 49 OFFLINE   MingL


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Posted April 16 2003 - 11:24 AM

I had owned rather musical subs from REL before, namely the Strata and the Storm. Musically, I find the SVS to be accurate enough once proper EQ-ing is achieved. The same sub will sound totally different in different rooms. I realised that when REL Storm sounded so beautiful in the showroom, but sucked big-time in my room. With some EQ-ing, my SVS 16-46 PC+ sounds good without drawing attention to itself. I find that in critical listening, SVS still maintain its tunefulness in fast-tempo double bass jazz music, it sounded "fuller" than the RELs (expectedly so, since the SVS go much lower than REL Storm) IMO, SVS does music pretty well. A bit too well that I sold my Storm within a month after listening to a friends 20-39.

#7 of 49 OFFLINE   MarkO


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Posted April 16 2003 - 12:10 PM

I like the SVS but still wouldent trade my REL Strata for one in a music only system. If only I had a dedicated HT room....

#8 of 49 OFFLINE   TommyL


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Posted April 16 2003 - 12:32 PM

i think my old svs 2039 pci sounded great for music...one thing I liked about it was how well it blended with everything..too a tee...you hit it right...proper eq'ing is the key...pretty simple to fix, but still...some think it should be right fresh outta the boxPosted Image SVS kicks...!

#9 of 49 OFFLINE   Zack_R


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Posted April 16 2003 - 12:46 PM

[quote] they just don't have that "punch" I would like in music. [quote]

I have a single CSU and it has plenty of punch. Have you calibrated yours with individual test tones to see if you are getting some cancellation in the crossover region? The reason I ask is because I felt the same way (no music punch) until I realized a cancellation issue with my mains caused a dip in the 70-100 hz range which is detrimental for music. This can make bass for music sound anemic for any sub.

Prior to reversing the polarity in my receiver the CSU could rattle the house with Toy Story 2 but did not have much punch for music. If you only use for callibration for example, the Avia subwoofer to main speaker match, it will let you calibrate the sub but you could still have cancellation issues. This is because Avia sweeps 35-70 hz for the sub calibration and your subs will play 35-60 loud enough to make it appear you have calibrated your system.

Before the polarity adjustment my sub level was at -4 to achieve the Avia sub to main frequency match. After I reversed polarity I had to reduce the subwoofer level output to -10 to achieve the same match. I sit 14 feet from the sub and am in 7500 + cubic feet of space in my basement.

#10 of 49 OFFLINE   JimmyK


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Posted April 17 2003 - 02:35 AM

My SVS 16-46PC+ blends very well with my ADS L1290's for both HT and music. With music, I've compared using the L1290's alone and with the sub. I always prefered how they sounded with the sub. I agree with other's here that proper tweaking is a must. JimmyK

#11 of 49 OFFLINE   MikaelG



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Posted April 17 2003 - 07:03 AM

And don't forget that midbass is not exactly what a subwoofer is supposed to pump. So don't blame the sub for not sounding enough "punch in the stomach-cly". Posted Image

#12 of 49 OFFLINE   Robert Lovejoy

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Posted April 17 2003 - 07:38 AM

I have small mains and an SVS 20-39PC+. Prior to the SVS I had a Mirage 12" 90 watt box sub, with which I had been happy. But when I got the SVS, it was a whole new world. Apparently the Mirage had been inducing a mid-bass peak that gave nice weight to the music, but oh boy what a difference the SVS made. Now I hear the recording. If there's deep bass there, I hear it all, but honestly on most music the SVS does not call any attention to itself. It's extremely clean and flat, and it handles music extremely naturally. I say this as a bass player. I don't miss the mid bass peaks I had with my old system. I notice a lot more dynamic range in the low end now. There are some surprises to having accurate bass. For example, Robert Palmer's "John and Mary" uses bass sparsely, and I thought with the SVS it would rattle the walls when it popped in. Nope. Turned out to be very subtle; that's how it was recorded. On the other hand, Mark Knopfler's "Speedway at Nazareth" stunned me with the complexity of the low end. Worf's bass playing on this track is jaw dropping, and I never heard it so clearly before I had this system. I find the SVS to be an extremely musical sub across all genres. It's there when the music needs it - check out some Bass Mekanik for some deep near-subsonic thrills - and it's virtually invisible when the bass is quiet. It adds no coloration to the rest of the system. Hope this helps!

#13 of 49 OFFLINE   Darrel McBane

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Posted April 17 2003 - 08:06 AM

I'm using twin 20-39 SVS with my Revel F-30 main speakers. My Revels are powered with a Rotel 1090 and sending 500wpc@6 Ohms. That's plenty of power for the Revels. And sound great without any sub. But, I find by using the SVS about three feet behind the Revels, and the bass adjusted so it doesn't over power the F-30s. It produces much more depth to my soundstage.
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#14 of 49 OFFLINE   Troy R

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Posted April 17 2003 - 08:55 AM

Does any one have any group delay data/numbers on the SVS subs? mainly the SVS 16-46 PC+ or 20-39 PC+... I want the extension of a vented sub but the "tightness" of a sealed sub. Would the SVS 16-46 PC+ have the best transient response because of it's low tuning point?

#15 of 49 OFFLINE   Roberto Carlo

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Posted April 17 2003 - 09:31 AM

I listen to a lot of two-channel music on my Axiom M22tis and SVS PCI25-31 (tuned to 22HZ). In short, the performance is wonderful. Set up is crucial. I set my sub level as close to flat -- by which I mean the same as the main speakers -- as possible. Crossover is at 80 HZ. The acid tests are acoustic music -- mostly jazz and some classical -- where the bass and bass drum are prominent. For instance, on "Bigs" by David Sills, the title cut begins with solo acoustic bass that dances around that 80HZ crossover. The "hand off" is dead bang perfect on my system. You would never know there's a sub at work, except that when Darek Oles plays that low "E" (41 HZ), it's there with ease. On "Where the moon goes" from Weather Report's "Live and Unreleased," Omar Hakim's bass drum is tight and powerful. Classical music is the same: the double basses have authority and, BTW, they are exactly where they're supposed to be on the soundstage. And, since the SVS can do this without breaking a sweat, distortion is effectively non-existent. SVS plus your favorite mains plus careful setup equals loving your favorite music all over again. No doubt about it. I came for the home theater and I stayed for the music.
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#16 of 49 OFFLINE   Alan Pummill

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Posted April 17 2003 - 10:58 AM

I too enjoy listening to 2 channel music. From My HT Pics link below, you can see that I am set up real well for HT and stereo. I have been in communication with Tom at SVS about adding a SVS to my current system. That PW-2200 is a fine sub, but after hearing a 25-31PCi with my system, (minus the PW-2200), during a recent HTF Local Meet we had at my house, I realize that there is bass below were my sub can reach. Tom suggested a 25-31PCi tuned down to 22Hz.( I'm thinking 20-39PC+).What do you guys think? BTW, I tried selling my PW-2200 here on the HTF and on e-bay and couldn't get what I wanted.

#17 of 49 OFFLINE   Tom Vodhanel

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Posted April 17 2003 - 03:35 PM

Hi guys,

The *musicality* of a subwoofer is dominated by several factors non related to the subwoofer at all (or related incidentally---like a built in XO). The room, the positions of the listening position and position of the subwoofer, the lowpass and highpass XOs used for both the subwoofer and the rest of the speakers , the phasing of the subwoofer relative to the rest of the speakers, and the calibration of the subwoofer. If you are using dipolar mains, a dipolar subwoofer will also have the advantage of a like acoustical dispersion pattern.

The primary factor not related to the listening room or the setup method is simple user preference. The deepest bass has the longest soundwaves...the longer the soundwaves, the more of a bass *decay* the room will have. Deep bass takes time to decay, that is natural and inherent to the beast. Some folks mistake the longer decay for "slow" bass...when in fact, it is actually a more faithful reproduction of the source material.(compared to some of the smaller *musical* subs that cannot produce clean output <30hz). Then there is an issue of harmonics. Much of the pitch of the musical bass/drum will be determined by the number and amptitude of the harmonics of the fundametal note played. To some ears, if those harmonics are emphasized...even by a very small amount...the *pitch* of the bass guitar is made more obvious. The pacing of the bass line(s) become easier to follow...and folks can feel like that aids in the musical nature of the source playback.

So in the end, the most accurate audio reproduction may not be what someone prefers. Some folks feel a well setup SVS is very musical, others disagree...it is largely a matter of personal preferences. (which is why the 45 day trial period is a good idea Posted Image ).

Group delay is one of those terms that oftens gets introduced to a thread like this, but only in ignorance. In this context, (16-22hz tuning for most of the ported subs being mentioned) group delay isn't going to make an audible difference on any bass guitar,kick drum ,piano...ect.

Tom V.

#18 of 49 OFFLINE   David Lorenzo

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Posted April 17 2003 - 04:58 PM

That makes sense to me. I highly doubt that Anthony is ignorant of that fact though. If I were to get a sub *only* for music I would probably get a sealed design simply because a vented sub would be unnecessary. Not because it was inferior. I don't ever see myself getting a sub only for music though.

#19 of 49 OFFLINE   FrantzM


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Posted April 18 2003 - 01:28 AM

With all due respect to Tom V.

I am a NOT a speaker designer. I am an enthusiast and an Electrical engineer. I accept , reluctantly that sometimes the state of the art come with an elevated price tag to account for R&D and other things. It is however refreshing to see great products at great prices. SVS seems to fit the model of great value perfectly thus my interest.
But Group Delay MAY play a role in the perceived "speed" of a sub. I insist on "MAY". In one post a 16-46 seems to perfectly mate with a Magnepan. Others have mentioned the benfit of a low tuning point. This is only one testimony but it seems to corroborate this discussion on the basslist


It looks like the best results for music are when the subs are tuned low...The low tuning point of the 16-46 may very much help in blending with the mains. THis suppose, of course that all other parameters and painful care were taken in positioning both Main and subs, I (and probably everyone else on the HTF list) also believe EQ in the lows goes a long way toward perfecting the blend. The phase response linearity of the mains also would play a role into that but this is another discussion.

I have been burned by impulse buying before and where I live, returning anything, especially a rather sizable item such as a sub is a very, very expensive proposition. It looks more and more I will be acquiring an SVS, probably a pair of 16-46, tuned as low as possible...Tom?


#20 of 49 OFFLINE   ChrisWiggles



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Posted April 19 2003 - 05:38 AM

I have a PCi 20-39 that I bought for movies, but for now am using purely for 2-channel. I'm using a Marantz SR5300, and NAD 521i, and PAradigm mini-monitors (soon to be something else, not sure but likely studio 20s). I don't have the TV/proj yet, so I use the SVS mainly for music, although I've brought over peoples TVs, and lugged my whole system to a friend's w/ an HDTV, and good LORD the SVS is nice on movies. If you're looking for a movie sub, which is what I bought it for, don't even hesitate. It's stunning. I scared the crap outta myself with those blasters on minority report.

Now that I'm done drooling, I'd like to step cautiously through a review of it's musical performance. It goes deep, and can go loud, and is very clean. Dishwasher clean. But if I had to choose for a music only sub, I don't know that I would get an SVS, because it's strongest attributes, are low, loud, flat bass, but the jury is still out on whether i like that for musicality. I don't want to call it slow, because it is anything but slow, but for pure 2-channel, I don't really need/want bass that's way deep. I might go for a really taught, small sealed sub instead, but that would probably suck for movies (At a similar price mind you) because it couldn't deal out the low bass or SPLs. My original idea was to use the SVS only for movies, because the 'digms are hold their own bass-wise, but now I use the SVS always. It blends quite well, and it definitely adds a nice extension.

Now, that is a judgement call, and a taste call as to whether someone want a musical sub, and what KIND of music sub they want. For movies, though, nothing touches it at that price.

The only true negative that I can think of is that it goes almost too deep. Hardly a negative. Posted Image Still, I have an old house, and the floors really come alive with deep bass, so if you have your feet touching the floor, by the time the floor starts to resonate and come alive, it's been a moment past when the bass hit, so it can FEEL very slow, which bothers me. I've played around sitting awkwardly on cushions, and this alleviates the problem, but that's pretty annoying. Still, the long-term plan is to finish the complete HT in the basement, which is why I don't have a TV yet or any of that for movies, and so I really don't think the floor will be a problem since it would take at least the B4+ to shake a cement floor Posted Image.

So those are my experiences with the sub, and overall I am very happy with it so far, and it REALLY shines for HT. When people ask me for a good HT sub, the SVS is my only recommendation. But for music, I recommend they listen to my SVS, then listen to a bunch of other stuff, because then tastes and stuff really come into play, and the decision is not so black and white anymore.

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