Jump to content

Sign up for a free account to remove the pop-up ads

Signing up for an account is fast and free. As a member you can join in the conversation, enter contests and remove the pop-up ads that guests get. Click here to create your free account.

- - - - -

Not Happy with my SVS...help!!

This topic has been archived. This means that you cannot reply to this topic.
54 replies to this topic

#1 of 55 OFFLINE   Jason_Dan



  • 27 posts
  • Join Date: Aug 06 2002

Posted April 09 2004 - 07:28 PM

I just got an svs pci 20-39 a few days ago and am very disappointed with its performance.

My set up is a 14'x14' room with slate floors and 9' ceilings

I am running def techs up front (Each with 10 inch 250watt powered subs)A denon 3802 receiver.

My problem with the sub is it just does not produce the bone crushing bass i have heard described on this board. In fact I think my set up is worse for having it. It is ok at very very low bass but for all around it is a real disappointment. I have tried various locations in the room with only limited improvement. I have turned up the output to it from the receiver, cranked the gain on the sub, run my fronts in small mode, and checked several times to see if it was hooked up ok...nothing!!

I am thinking of hauling it into ultimate and listening to it next to the sunfire sub! as a last ditch before sending it back!

not happy!


#2 of 55 OFFLINE   Ron Sc

Ron Sc


  • 39 posts
  • Join Date: Jan 17 2004

Posted April 09 2004 - 07:52 PM

Hmmmm I'm vary happy with my 20-39PC+ Maybe you should have got one with an amp. Have you tried hooking up a separate amp to it

#3 of 55 OFFLINE   Jason_Dan



  • 27 posts
  • Join Date: Aug 06 2002

Posted April 09 2004 - 08:16 PM

320 watt RMS BASH amplifier

it does

#4 of 55 OFFLINE   Wayne Ernst

Wayne Ernst


  • 2,589 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 24 2002

Posted April 09 2004 - 09:24 PM

I wonder if the slate floor has a lot to do with the situation? Have you considered setting the sub on top of a piece of MDF? Also, have you had a chance to properly set your system up and configure it using a sound meter?

If you are using a sound meter, remember to check for the corrections when testing low frequencies as the Radio Shack meter needs to have the values added to get the actual reading.

Other than that, I'm all out of ideas.

Other random thoughts:

- Maybe the LFE channel on your Denon AVR-3802 is not performing up to spec. (Which is why I suggested an SPL meter.)

- With the BASH plate amp, you could try running the front speaker wires from the receiver to the amp, and then connect your front speakers to the high-level outputs on the BASH amp itself. Then, as a test, turn off the crossover point on your Denon and try the crossover on the subwoofer amp itself. Try this ... see what happens.
"My reality check ... just bounced"

#5 of 55 OFFLINE   Jason_Dan



  • 27 posts
  • Join Date: Aug 06 2002

Posted April 09 2004 - 09:59 PM


thanks for your thoughts

i do not have an spl meter nor have i ever properly calibrated my set up but even consdering that my sub is way under-performing

i thought the floors might be a factor. the room is smallish but has no basement and under the slate is concrete slab...nothing vibrates...i was wondering if my room is soaking up bass energy like a sponge

i labored over the svs for more than a year....got it and am so sad that so far it ain't workin' out!

what reallly boggles my mind is that my def techs are doing well in the room with a nice wide range of bass frequency (a little punch here and a little rumble there)

#6 of 55 OFFLINE   Edward J M

Edward J M


  • 2,031 posts
  • Join Date: Sep 22 2002

Posted April 09 2004 - 11:22 PM

Assuming that the sub is operating properly, a few things spring to mind:

- People's tastes in bass quality and quantity vary greatly. What is accurate and well blended bass to one person might be characterized as a non-event to another. It is possible Jason is either used to or is craving bass with a strong emphasis in the 35-55 Hz region.

- SVS' are tuned to deliver a ruler flat response ground plane. While all bets are off in an actual room, they generally do not exhibit an exaggerated response in the 35-55 Hz region, and to many first-time listeners who are used to boomy bass, the SVS experience can be a bit underwhelming.

- Square rooms are notorious for nulls at the listening position. The only way to get an accurate idea of what is happening in the room is to run a frequency response sweep. This is probably something Jason isn't quite ready to try yet, so maybe he could try near-field placement and have the sub close to the listening position. This tends to reduce room modes to a large extent.

- Definitely buy an SPL meter and calibrate the system. I wouldn't run the sub more than 3-4 dB hot. Run the DT's on small and don't connect your sub pre-out to the powered sections - only connect the sub pre-out to the SVS. Give your ears a week to adjust to the sound of the bass. Don't switch back and forth; just listen to music and movies. Often "new" is perceived as "bad" by many listeners; give your ears a chance to get accustomed.

- Meanwhile send SVS tech support an email; they have a much faster response time via email because they don't watch the forums that often.
Ed Mullen
Director - Technology and Customer Relations



"What we do in life, echoes in eternity."

#7 of 55 OFFLINE   Jason_Dan



  • 27 posts
  • Join Date: Aug 06 2002

Posted April 10 2004 - 12:04 AM


thank you

i will email svs now!

i am really excited to try to make this thing work

every one here seems so pleased with their subs

i would like to come to the party too!Posted Image

#8 of 55 OFFLINE   Ralph B

Ralph B

    Supporting Actor

  • 583 posts
  • Join Date: Apr 27 2003

Posted April 10 2004 - 12:37 AM

for one an SVS sub is something of a breed to get use to.

another, I know for myself my room is a big problem and (forget the #'s) but im in my cellar and losing some of the frequencys. I really ned an eq but for now I will live with it as I know its not the sub. I had an old JVC and it had he same problem but different frequencys. tried different placements but did not help(little but not really) I have raised my sub but have not checked it.

an SPL meter is really necessary and a must have. you should really buy one and calibrate and then contact SVS cause its really unfair to contact with a problem you really have no specs on. it is very important to calibrate.

#9 of 55 OFFLINE   DonnyD



  • 1,154 posts
  • Join Date: Jun 12 1999

Posted April 10 2004 - 01:12 AM

Just a little support here........

I've had a 20-39PC for 2 years now. I have it in a 13x28 room, and on a concrete slab, corner placement..... This thing pounds and is quite impressive.... and it has the older, smaller, original PC amp (190 I think)....although last year I upgraded the woofer.... Even on a slab, it shakes the whole house and neighbors are known to look outside for that thunderstorm rolling in just to realize that it's the "Davis'" again!!!

I do want to move up to a PB2+ soon but if it is twice as good as the 20-39, I don't know if I could stand it!

Emailing tech support/SVS will help get you on track and they WILL find an answer for you....
"There comes a time in the lives of men, when taken at the tide, you're liable to ****ing drown..." R. Farina
"or go broke due to upgraditis..." D. Davis

#10 of 55 OFFLINE   Jason_Dan



  • 27 posts
  • Join Date: Aug 06 2002

Posted April 10 2004 - 01:37 AM

my hope is growing!

#11 of 55 OFFLINE   HKGuns


    Second Unit

  • 326 posts
  • Join Date: Jan 21 2002
  • Real Name:S

Posted April 10 2004 - 02:09 AM

You would be the first person I've personally seen that was unsatisfied with their SVS. I'm sure there have been others....I saw in another post you are considering replacing it with a Sunfire? That doesn't sound like a wise move to me, unless you want an inferior performing sub.

#12 of 55 OFFLINE   Sebastian


    Second Unit

  • 363 posts
  • Join Date: Apr 13 2002

Posted April 10 2004 - 02:45 AM


unfortunately with all the "SVS" threads and all the hype they get. that it is real easy to get disappointed. SVS is a great sub but they are not a sub that is going to slap you in the face like a car sub.
However, you should definitely feel it. remember, a HT sub should never sound overwhelming in your system but blend nicely with your set-up.
When I first heard a SVS sub I was disappointed too because I was used to the 40 Hz hip-hop music.
Take Edwards advise and get that thing calibrated and let your ears get used to low bass.Posted Image

SVS is the second best sub out there!Posted Image Only second to DIY subs!:wink:

good luck!

#13 of 55 OFFLINE   Zack_R


    Stunt Coordinator

  • 220 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 04 2002

Posted April 10 2004 - 03:00 AM

It is ok at very very low bass but for all around it is a real disappointment.

This suggests to me that the sub is out-of-phase with the mains at your prime listening position.

I'd put the sub in the corner, set all speakers to small, put on some bass heavy music and experiment with the phase adjustment. For starters I'd turn it all the way to 180 deg since I'm guessing the factory default is 0.

As others have noted, an spl meter and a calibration disk will go along way to getting your system performing well.

#14 of 55 OFFLINE   Jason_Dan



  • 27 posts
  • Join Date: Aug 06 2002

Posted April 10 2004 - 03:13 AM


placed in back in the corner on carpet on padding

a little better but i still have the gain cranked way up 3/4 or more and +3 dB on my SW channe...better but not by much

I will keep trying and let you guys know

thanks for all your help!

Sebestian you might be right about higher hertz bass...my 911 has an 8" sub in the passenger foot well and it is sooooo punchy

The SVS is playing the low low stuff ok but the more audible stuff is really sub-par....now i am wondering if i just got the wrong model!?

maybe i bought too much into the "hype"

spl meter today!


#15 of 55 OFFLINE   VinhT


    Second Unit

  • 357 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 14 2002

Posted April 10 2004 - 03:22 AM

I agree that a Sunfire sub would be a downgrade instead of an upgrade.

Disabling the 10" drivers in your Def Techs should help dramatically.

I believe this is probably merely a case of someone used to boomy bass. Just the fact that you are looking for "bone crushing" bass... Infrasonic bass is more of a jostling-type feeling, so I don't think you will find what you are looking for with a quality subwoofer.
Vinh Tran

#16 of 55 OFFLINE   Ralph B

Ralph B

    Supporting Actor

  • 583 posts
  • Join Date: Apr 27 2003

Posted April 10 2004 - 03:29 AM

a little better but i still have the gain cranked way up 3/4 or more and +3 dB on my SW channe...better but not by much

3/4 is way to high, way to high! your not going to get it to perform any better tuning up the gain.

Sebestian you might be right about higher hertz bass...my 911 has an 8" sub in the passenger foot well and it is sooooo punchy

dont confuse punchy with boomy.

The SVS is playing the low low stuff ok but the more audible stuff is really sub-par....now i am wondering if i just got the wrong model!?

its not the sub its your room. trust me!

SPL meter you will buy will be your best purchase, but it wont fix your problem. play some test tones from 80hz down and then you will figure it out and it will show you that your room is to blame. setting the phase correctly to a 80hz tone might help, I know it did for me. an EQ will help also. I had a JVC 12" that played alot of the higher end stuff and was real boomy which I thought was real bass and just so use to it.

the SVS does not hit some frequencys due to my room. the room is to blame unless you have some other problem we cant figure out. personally I got use to the frequencys that are faint. when the time comes that my listening feels the need to hear those better then I will invest in an EQ. personally I have adapted to missing out on some of the 30-40hz that should stand out better and some of the higher stuff too, it is not completely absent but it was a case of going from a boomy sub that exposed everything in the incorrect way to a sub that is really clean and smooth.

BTW: I moved my sub around and it got worse so the first location was the best. did you buy a Bettercables sub cable from SVS ? its really cheap to get it from them! Posted Image

oh ya : also pick up the AVIA calibration disk. with that and the SPL meter you will be able to track it down but I think it has been covered here in this thread.

#17 of 55 OFFLINE   SVS-Ron



  • 1,074 posts
  • Join Date: Jun 02 2001

Posted April 10 2004 - 03:31 AM


Haven't seen a note, but I can't see the Tech Support e-mail box from my location (I'm at Sales and Customer Support), but I have the same receiver in one of my systems, so you are in good company.

Tom in Tech Support can/will certainly work this with you but in the meantime, here's a bit more to chew on (some just restating the above):

1.) A sub is HIGHLY dependent on its location in your room. Moving it a foot or two can have a MASSIVE effect on its sound. Try some other locations if at all possible. 9 times out of 10 a closed corner closest to your listening seat is best.

2.) Read your manual, there's lots of good tips in there. It mentions an SPL meter based set up isn't just "nice", it's critical to getting good, balanced sound. Seriously they are SO important, if we could afford to, we'd put one in every subwoofer box. Setting up your sub, and ALL your speakers with a test disk like Avia is probably the best investment you can make in your music and movie sound. But just like people sometimes don't like the changes a professional video tuner can make to your screen, you might not immediately appreciate the transformation of your system if you do a proper calibration. Most of us in SVS have set up hundreds of subwoofers and we'd never do it without an SPL meter in our hand. There's a bit longer discussion about setup on our webstite here.

3.) Change your cable. It's one of the most frequent failures we hear about.

4.) Double check your receiver settings. I like that receiver because it's easy to set up but I've lost count of the number of times I had "midnight mode" or some sound field setting like "Movie Mode" on and didn't realize it. Same for distance settings on your speakers and level controls. Keeping all speakers to "Small" for now is key. Use the 80Hz bass crossover setting in the Denon setup. And just regular Dolby Digital as your playback mode too for movies or DVD test disks (though one of nice things about that Denon is that you can save a totally different bass and speaker level setting for EACH playback mode. "Stereo" can have the sub very subtle, "Direct" can even have it totally off. I like "5 Channel Stereo" because I can dial in just a bit of rear channel action, and all the subwoofer I want).

5.) Double check your DVD player setup. Probably not the case with you, but I've run into people that didn't even know there WAS a setup menu for their player. And many players still do some supremely stupid things, like default to "PCM" for the digital audio out. That Denon has one dinky little red LED to indicate it's in Dolby Digital mode, so it's easy to NOT be in DD and not realize it. Make sure you have "BITSTREAM" or DD/DTS selected on your player as the digital output (I assume you are using the digital optical or coax/RCA cable to send audio to your Denon and NOT 6 analogue cables. The bass management of DVD players is still not to be trusted in my experience).

6.) Play with your phase control. For each position you might be able to try with the sub's location. Try running a heavy bass passage in a loop but turn the phase one hash mark at a time and listen from the exact same spot for each run. It could be room cancellation and that caused with your other speakers is causing poor sound. Changes to phase can often cause subtle, but definite improvements.

7.) Make triple sure you have the sub ON (not in Auto, just for now so there is no question the amp is tripping on), and the the Crossover is "DISABLED". If by accident it was ENABLED and the Crossover control knob was turned to its lowest level, you could be lopping off MAJOR portions of bass that should be hitting the sub, but aren't.

8.) Take a walk. I don't mean outside. I mean around your room. Better yet, do this WITH an SPL meter, while your test tones on the receiver are playing only on the sub. You should see the meter waiver some as you move from location to location. If you see it dip in a major way (6dB or more) when you reach your seat, then relook point 1.) above. One "trick" is to put the sub where your feet normally are when you sit down in your room, and THEN walk around your room with the SPL meter and subwoofer test tone playing. Look for a spot that you get good output on, put the sub there.

9.) Give it time. As said, especially if you are used to high power car audio, or even in some cases, poor performing home audio bass... the depth, clarity and very flat nature (meaning an SVS will be very even in its frequency response, without the mid bass "peak" that most subs and mains exhibit)... can really be a shock. "Bone crunching" should be easily possible in your small room, but even then it will not be with a mid-bass bloat and loads of harmonic distortion folks often mistake for "what a subwoofer sounds like". Usually, when somone understands they are potentially hearing bass done right for the first time, the clean and deep sound becomes addictive. Most simply can't go back to the "old" sound any more. Accuracy is preferred most times.

10.) There could well be a problem with your sub. If you are doing all the above (with an SPL meter you might dial in a few dB "hot" calibration compared to the level of your mains) and still not getting lots of clean output then possibly either your amp or woofer took a hard knock in shipping. Usually this "knock" will result in a sub that just isn't working at all, but it's possible there is fault that's just not allowing the sub to reach its full potential. If it looks like it's the case we'll take your current sub, test the heck out of it and if there's any problem send you a totally new one. Of course if it's totally functional you can get a refund too. In very rare cases, some people might not LIKE the depth and accuracy an SVS produces. Loud, mid-bass peaks and lots of THD are sounds that also can be hard to give up if that's what someone got used to. There's nothing wrong with that at all in our book. That's why we have 45 days to figure out if SVS is for you.

Hope that helps some. We're here 7 days a week (but more responsive to e-mail) so you won't go long before we get this resolved in your favor, one way or another!


#18 of 55 OFFLINE   Jeff Aguilar

Jeff Aguilar

    Stunt Coordinator

  • 230 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 31 1969
  • Real Name:Jeff
  • LocationLacey, WA

Posted April 10 2004 - 03:41 AM

I have a friend with a Denon 3802 who has dual ultra's and the sampson 1000. His base should be killer in his room. We have set it up with a sound meter and checked his room for nulls. To me and him, my dual 16/46pc's set up in my house sound much better than his dual ultra's in his house. I did try his ultra's at my home, and they flat out beat my 16/46pc's. But for some reason, in his house with his Denon 3802, it underperforms. He has his levels set really high to try and get the output he needs according to the sound meter. I think he needs to get the signal booster that SVS carries. I cannot think of what else he needs to try. I do not think his Denon is putting out the signal he needs to make his subs sing.

I do not have the denon, I am running with the Outlaw 950.


#19 of 55 OFFLINE   SVS-Ron



  • 1,074 posts
  • Join Date: Jun 02 2001

Posted April 10 2004 - 04:02 AM


Have your friend drop us a line and we'll make him an offer he can't refuse to try our SVS/Marchand Bass Interface Box. The combination of fine phase control (just critical if he hasn't got the subs side by side), subsonic filter and 18dB of audiophile grade pre-amp gain are just indespensible.

I was running dual CS subs with a Samson S-700 off my Denon 3802 and indeed the gain on the Denon's subwoofer out was not sufficient to drive the Samson like it needed. I dropped in the Bass Interface Box and it was night/day.

If you have all the gear he does I consider that added nominal investment to be key.


#20 of 55 OFFLINE   AxelKro


    Stunt Coordinator

  • 102 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 24 2003

Posted April 10 2004 - 06:52 AM

Hi Jason,

I had various Sub's at my house for testing from smaller ones up to M&K 350 THX before I bought two SVS PB1+.

Whenever I got the new Sub, I expected to find this "Disco" like Boooom sound when playing Pop Music tracks. Unfortunately, none of the Sub's did ever do this, just because they are not ment to work like this Posted Image

See the Sub as an extension down below, not as an substitution for a lack of front speaker bass.
I own two Infinity Kappa 9.2i, with 2 x 12" Woofers on each speaker. They give a louder bass than the SVS's, just because they have a peak around 80 to 100Hz, and the SVS goes below them.
Disco Sound is not between 40 to 20 Hz. Some Disco's even switch off frequencies below 60 Hz.

However, the SVS DOES give a very good sound for Movies where these lower frequencies are really used.

If this is your first Sub, I think it's more a question of wrong expection than anything else (given the Sub is working properly, otherwise see Rons mail for cure).


Back to Speakers, Subwoofers & Headphones

Forum Nav Content I Follow