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Pb2+ Vs Pb2-isd

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19 replies to this topic

#1 of 20 David David

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Posted January 30 2004 - 01:17 AM

Does anyone ever set their PB2+ above 50% gain? I have a 4800 cu ft room and have been going back and forth whether I need the PB2+ or its little brother, the PB2-ISD. From what I have read, including several posts from SVS to me and on various forums, I make the following conclusions:

1. A two driver sub will almost always out perform single driver subs, even if the two drivers used are not as good as the single (PB2-ISD two drivers will outperform single driver plus series).

2. Unless pushing the sub to it's limits, the differences between a PB2-ISD and a PB2+ is not noticeable except that the PB+2 is a bit louder before it reaches it's limit.

3. Most people (with medium size rooms around 4800 cu ft, like me)who get the PB2+ never come close to pushing it to it's limits and in fact would not likely push a PB2-ISD close to its limits either unless trying to scare their friends and neighbors.

4. The PB2-ISD (in a medium size room)is the much better deal since the PB2+ is overkill except when trying to do structural damage to your house and neighbor's ears during demonstrations.

5. It is much more fun to say you have the PB2+ (even though it is much more power than you need). The PB2+, which has been reviewed as an excellent sub and is much more talked about than the PB2-ISD, which almost no one talks about, may be worth the extra $300 to some for this reason alone.

6. Sub owners have never watched Nemo all the way through but know exactly where the glass tapping scene is.

Don't get me wrong and please don't flame me since I am a bit of a newbie regarding subs. I am sure that many of you with average incomes are thinking the same thing or had to cross this bridge before placing your order. I keep trying to justify the PB2+ by telling myself, why take a chance, spend the extra money and get the last sub you will ever need. But then again, five years from now, who knows what will be available and why spend $300 more for something I will never need since I doubt my theater will ever get bigger.

Now to some $300 isn't that much to worry about. Its really not the $300 but the fact that once the price goes past $1,000 for a sub is when I really wonder if I am buying a better sound for movies or just getting caught up in the crowds. I have been careful to get the most bang for my buck when building my theater and try to never pay more for a name brand or sound qualities that I likely will not be able to notice. Decisions, decisions...

Are my conclusions incorrect? What do you think?

#2 of 20 TanT


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Posted January 30 2004 - 01:26 AM

4800 cu ft room is not an average room. It's more on a large size Posted Image

I would get the PB2+ just to be on the safe side.

#3 of 20 Neal_C


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Posted January 30 2004 - 03:21 AM

I would have to agree. Go ahead and get the PB2+. My living room is 3000 cu ft and I love my PB2+ in there. Did I need that much sub? No, not at all. The 20-39CS I had before it did quite well.

But do I ever wonder "what if"? Nope, not ever.

And yes, a couple hundred bucks is alot of money, but a small price to pay to never have the "what if" factor.


#4 of 20 Edward J M

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Posted January 30 2004 - 03:30 AM

The PB2+ has about a 2-3 dB maximum output advantage over the PB2-ISD.

You would have to push either product very hard to expose and exploit the performance differences between the two.

The volume setting on the sub doesn't tell you much; you are better off calibrating the sub/system to reference level and then determining how loud (relative to reference level) you prefer playback in your room. Also, how "hot" you are running the sub comes into play too.

For example, if you said "I prefer playback volumes for DVDs at -15RL and I run my sub 3 dB hot (including the RS correction factor), and my room is 4800 ft3, and I sit 15 feet from the subwoofer, and it's corner loaded, and the room is relatively enclosed (i.e., no large permanent spaces to other rooms)" - then we (HTF and SVS) can help you pin down a model that will suit your needs and keep you from overbuying or underbuying.


Ed Mullen
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#5 of 20 WayneO


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Posted January 30 2004 - 04:12 AM

I watch movies at loud levels frequently in my 3000^3 room with two large openings to other rooms. I bottomed my 20-39PC+ within a week, calibrated flat with my speakers, but let me say a PB2-ISD was recommended and I just didn't want to wait so I got the PC+. So.......an upgrade was needed to handle my listening volumes because of my impatience. I ordered a PB2-ISD to get the 2-4dB of extra headroom, but then got the "what ifs" so I changed to the PB2+. My tastes and room size probably made that inevitable. Your room is pretty large and you should also consider many start to enjoy greater bass levels once they get a great sub, so I would account for that. Now I had the advantage of having one sub already and could more easily conclude I needed a PB2+, but you can just get advice from users and SVS(which will be spot on) on what to do. If you really don't listen at loud levels whatsoever and don't think you'll run the sub hot, then sure, a PB2-ISD will be all you need. Good luck choosing.
If the best advice is "listen for yourself", then why offer your opinion?

#6 of 20 Joe Szott

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Posted January 30 2004 - 04:19 AM

David x2,

1 - yes
2 - yes
3 - yes
4 - yes
5 - yes
6 - don't know Posted Image

Pretty much if you don't listen to movies/music at or beyond reference levels or in a HUGE room, the PB2isd should be more than enough. I have a 3000 cu foot room with a 20-39 PC+ in the corner and I can't get that thing to reference without my ears bleeding.

#7 of 20 Mark All

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Posted January 30 2004 - 04:43 AM

I'd ask the guys at SVS before making a final decision. If you send them a diagram of your listening area they can help you make a good decision. I was in a similar situation. I got a PB2-ISD rather than a PB2-Plus based on Tom's recommendation. My house is mostly an open plan design with each floor about 6000 cubic feet and a central stairwell. The PB2-ISD is more than enough for me at normal listening levels even when it's set at only one quarter gain. Outwardly the two subwoofers look pretty much the same (big black monoliths) with the ports being slightly larger on the PB2-Plus. I thought about getting the Plus, but got a recommendation from SVS to go with the ISD instead and went with it. I couldn't be happier and put my savings towards getting a Denon DVD-2900.
Audio, ergo sum.

#8 of 20 David David

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Posted January 30 2004 - 05:27 AM

Let me throw out a noob question, I have a radio shack meeter and have calibrated what I have with VE. When you say "I prefer playback volumes for DVDs at -15RL and I run my sub 3 dB hot" I understand the last part to mean the sub is 3 db higher than the rest of the system but am not clear on -15RL. I assume it is 15 under reference level but exactly what is reference level? Thanks for your help.

#9 of 20 Shane Martin

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Posted January 30 2004 - 05:35 AM

David David,
I'm in the same boat if I purchase an SVS. My room is 4200 cubic feet roughly.

I'd be curious how your story ends up because it might affect which route I go.

FWIW, I listen at -10 mostly but I do often go up to 0 reference and calibrate to reference level.

Actually a funny story is that when a friend of mine installed his and calibrated we found out that his subs were set to -7 on a scale of -10 to -10 on his Denon and this was more than enough umph so I guess if I had the same setup roughly after calibration that I'd be listening -7db low? or is that Even/flat?

I assume 4db hot means +4 over calibrated level right? I sit about 14 feet from the subwoofer and do own most of what people would consider their torture discs..

Anyway I'm not trying to hijack I'm just trying to get some answers which may affect you too since we are roughly in the same boat.

#10 of 20 Joe Szott

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Posted January 30 2004 - 05:39 AM

Typically reference level is when you turn the receiver volume to 00 (not +/- anything) and calibrate the speakers to some even level (usually ~85 dB.) So then when you listen to whatever, pushing the volume to above 00 is beyond reference. It's really just an approximation, but qualitatively reference level is very, very loud. If you like things at normal TV levels or just loud, you likely aren't getting even close to reference levels...

#11 of 20 TanT


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Posted January 30 2004 - 06:09 AM

I thought ref level is measured at 85db at seating possition with a test tone.

If you set your receiver at 0db this could be above or below ref level depending on the wattage of your receiver, speaker efficient, room size, seating distance from speakers..etc...

Please tell me that I am wrong.

#12 of 20 Chris A H

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Posted January 30 2004 - 06:14 AM

Reference level refers to:

Dolby Reference Level

Volume level of an audio system with the volume at the 0 decibel setting resulting in 85 decibel volume with a test tone and 105 decibel peaks. Dolby reference level is the volume level used in movie theaters for movie presentations (although this level is sometimes turned down).

The reference level is set using a test tone generated by a surround sound preamplifier and a sound pressure level meter (SPL meter) to measure the sound output or volume. While providing a realistic and enlivening auditory experience, the reference level is very loud and is often turned down somewhat by listeners. However, surround sound audio systems should be set to the Dolby reference level and all channels properly equalized (each channel putting out the same sound pressure levels with a reference signal) even if the system will not be listened to at the true reference level.

#13 of 20 David David

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Posted January 30 2004 - 07:20 AM

Thanks. Thats about what I thought regarding RL but wasn't sure if it was 85 decibels or some other number.

Shane, SVS told me I would be happy with a PB2-ISD based upon my room size and the fact I like to listen to action movies pretty loud, but not jar your vision loud. Not very scientific, I know, butI really don't want pictures falling off the wall upstairs (basement theater)or neighbors banging on my door. I got the impression that SVS recommends the PB2-ISD a lot but people just decide to not take any chances and bump it to the next level. I wouldn't expect SVS to argue with their decisions.

#14 of 20 Edward J M

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Posted January 30 2004 - 07:48 AM

Boy, Reference Level calibration sure does generate a lot of confusion.

If you have VE, the test tones are recorded at a lower level than Avia or S&V, so you need to use 75 dB, not 85 dB.

Set your Master Volume to 0.0 and set the meter at the listening position (facing forward at a 45 degree angle) on C-weighted slow on the 70 dB scale.

Play the VE test tones and adjust the speaker levels until you hit exactly 75 dB on the meter for each channel.

For the sub, set the channel level to around -5 (on a scale of -10 to +10) and adjust the sub plate amp until you hit about 76 dB on the meter. It helps to use the 80 scale for less needle bouncing. 76 dB is actually about 78 dB (or 3 dB "hot") due to the c-weighting of the RS meter.

Once the system is balanced and calibrated with VE @ 75 dB (or Avia / S&V at 85 dB), setting the Master Volume to 0.0 when playing a Dolby Digital movie DVD is considered playing back at Dolby Reference Level.

This should result in SPL peaks (at the seat) of 105 dB from surround channels and 115 dB from the LFE channel. If peaks occur in a few channels simultaneously, the combined SPL peaks can approach 120 dB.

The only variable (other than how hot you run your sub) in the equation is the actual mastering level on DVDs - some are mastered hotter than others.

Regardless, once you are calibrated to RL, then you can tell us at what volume you actually like to play back DVDs. Most of us will play them at anywhere from -20 to -10 (with RL being 0.0). A couple of real die-hards push it even harder.

If for some reason your Master Volume scale does not go from the negative range up to 0.0 and then into the positive range, then you need to simply use a different set of master volume numbers and remember which setting you used for RL.


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#15 of 20 Keith Hyde

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Posted January 30 2004 - 08:13 AM


I'll preface with I am (will be) the new owner of a PB2+ just as soon as the freight trucks can get it door to door.

I think about my purchase in many ways the same as you, so probaly everything I write will sound familiar.

For my present living situation, the PB2+ is WAY overkill. There is no way in heck I would need this much sub in my house unless I want to test the impact resistance of my double pane windows and vibrate the good china off the shelves in neighbors' houses. Needless to say I am confident in the output of the sub withoout ever having listened to it from the number of reviews on this site and elsewhere, though I am secretly looking forward to that odd day-time occassion where I get onery enough to give it a good workout.

My main criteria:

I wanted to hear the deepest of the deep. If its on the media, I want to hear it. PB2+ reaches way down there.

I don't ever want to think about buying another $1300 sub again. That's a chunk of change, for sure. For any house I can ever see myself living in, the PB2+ should be plenty. Worst case: If I'm lucky enough to get a huge HT room before I retire that needs more bass, well, then I could probably afford a second PB2+ sub supplement then too.

I don't ever want to regret a sub purchase by finding myself ill equipped. From what I've read, not a problem. You don't see anyone - I mean any ONE - whining "I wish" about SVS, especially one that has a 2+.

Beyond these practical considerations, there is too that bit of machismo that enjoys seeing the "wow" look appear on peoples faces when they hear "120 pounds", see the endtable behemoth, and feel the air vibrate within their chest. Yes, it might be rediculous to some (many girlfriends and mothers), but sit them down for a test run and see if they've heard anything like that before besides live or in the theater. That's worth it for me.

I'm reminded of a Pink Floyd concert in Arrowhead stadium I saw with my Dad back in 94 or so - my first big concert. The stage was set-up on the 50 yard line - I was on the home side lower deck! - and I was standing there feeling the bass notes vibrate the whole stadium floor through my feet and all my bones had that comfortable vibration. That was really cool, and felt goood. Okay, so maybe I crank up the sub only once or twice a YEAR at home to the same effect. At least I CAN. And I love that.

It's money, but its a sound investment (no pun intended).
There you stood on the edge of your feather, expecting to fly...

#16 of 20 Richard_M


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Posted January 30 2004 - 10:57 AM


My normal listening for running solo is between -25~-20RL, trouble is as soon as someone or several someone’s comes to visit the volume usually goes to ~-10RL and up, I have the feeling that with additional people in the room the audio is absorbed by them and I require extra volume to obtain the same sensations. This may not be the case and could have something to do with alcohol Posted Image

From my limited experience if the subs are calibrated correctly there should be no sound quality or over powering issues with either sub, I guess it is a bit like domestic receivers, at normal listening levels they sound great! Start to push the volume and they can sound terrible, so we then buy bigger units or add power amps to stop this from happening. The extra $300 spent now may prevent you from having to worry about any sound quality issues and help with curbing the upgrade bug.

"The Quality is remembered long after the Price is forgotten"

#17 of 20 Jesse Sharrow

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Posted January 30 2004 - 11:20 AM

I was gonna say. I have a yamaha receiver and 00 is its peak. I dont think I could get it that high without blowing something. But this was some good insite. But I have always been a firm beleiver in "make a budget and get the best you can in that budget".

Now I have a room that is 250 Square Foot, with an opening to a dining room on one side and a fireplace on the side closest to where the sub will be. Do you think a PB2+ is over kill?

#18 of 20 Shane Martin

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Posted January 31 2004 - 12:43 AM

Yes. Keep in mind my room is probably 10x your size and some are saying its overkill in my room.

Still undecided Posted Image

#19 of 20 MikeLi


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Posted January 31 2004 - 01:27 AM

Again heed the words above by one of the posters... Call Ron at SVS. Give him or fax him a diagram of your room and things in it...Doesn't have to be fancy. He will tell you exactly what sub will do it for you and will NOT oversell you. I have the PB2+ which he told me I could do it with something less but also I though ahead and thought about if I eventually move and stuff plus I am one that usually buys up one step on most things anyway. I rarely get to ref. levels except for movies where your sub becomes very important. I decided I wanted to really feel these explosions not just have them loud. The PB2+ in my open family room can make you feel those explosions making the hair on your chest stand up as the air goes by. $300 is alot of money for most of us. To me I am glad I got the bigger one and would do it again.

#20 of 20 JohnT



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Posted February 01 2004 - 03:30 PM

One nice thing about having a PB2+ is that you will have overhead.

Once you plot your room curves, you may find that you have some room induced dips. You may decide to EQ your sub. With overhead you will be more able to give some boost to the dips without seriously taxing the sub.

Whenever you think that you will never crank the bass up, you will find that movie that will really say. "Crank the bass up". It happens to us all!!!

The old rule of thumb says - Take what you think that you need and double it. You will probably then be closer to what will make you happy.

I'm sure that you will enjoy whatever your choice is.