A journey Ended(SVS CS Ultra review)

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Bhagi Katbamna, Feb 25, 2004.

  1. Bhagi Katbamna

    Bhagi Katbamna Supporting Actor

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    OK, this thread is about SVS, you can stop reading if you don't like SVS threads







    OK, for those that are still here:
    I started getting into movies in about 1991, when I moved to Atlanta. I had a Yamaha Prologic processor(still do) and watched movies quite happily on VHS(the horror). Then I moved to Cleveland and found a place that used to rent Laserdiscs. By this time I had Paradigm phantom fronts, an Altec Lansing center(THX certified). I found a great deal on the internet for the sub companion to the Altec Lansing--the 75lb sub that went along with the THX system. Imagine a THX sub in an apt. The neighbors weren't too happy. We finally moved to our current location in about 1997 and bought a home. Once my job had some stability, I started upgrading my system. We ended up with an Onkyo receiver(989), a DVD player, PSB speakers(Goldi's in front, Image 10s back surr) Altec Lansing THX surr(side surr) and a Atl. Tech center. Despite the mishmash of speakers, every thing sounds good. I still had only one sub, the Altec. Around 2000, I saw a great deal on a Citation 7.4 passive sub. Despite adding this(and a Cinepro 3K6III), I got the feeling that there was more bass to be had(I had just seen Fantasia 2000 at the Luxor Imax). Around that time there was a new internet-only sub manufacturer the founders of which had helped a lot of people get better bass. I ordered a CS 16-46(order #7) and was very happy with it. It went deeper than either sub that I had and all of them together worked well in my large room(5500+cu.ft.). There was a large peak at 40Hz in my room and I got a parametric eq but felt that the Altec was not pulling its own weight and sold it on ebay. I was down to 2 subs but the performance was better. I got an email from Tom V asking if I would like to be a beta-tester for their new improved driver. I thought about it for about a micro-second and said yes. Once I made the driver switch I noticed the same tightness but more SPL capability. Still there were certain scenes that managed to bottom out the sub(beginning of Toy Story II). I had one spare channel left on the Cinepro but there really was no place I could put the third sub. That changed recently becuase now we are going FP with an acoustically transparant wall. The subs will be behind the screen. I corresponded with Tom V about which would be better for me--the PC Ultra or the CS Ultra. Characteristic of the company philosophy, he didn't try to pitch the higher priced product and told me that since I already had a spare channel, I should go with the passive sub. This despite me telling him that I was afraid of overloading the Cinepro(not to worry, he told me).
    I received the Ultra about 3 weeks ago and have had it in my system since.
    Adding the Ultra(tuned to 16Hz with the port plug) I haven't been able to bottom out my subs with any scene. I don't have the Finding Nemo DVD but the Titan AE sub-killer DVD doesn't faze the subs. Neither does Toy Story II, Underworld, etc... I won't discuss "fast" bass but I recently added DVD-Audio capability along with SACD. I really like listening to music with the SVS subs. Properly calibrated(I don't set them higher than the rest of the channels, movies or music) they sound great with music. My kids(11 and 8) loved the system before but now they say they don't want to see movies at our sucky local theater anymore. Another thing that I really like is that they are fairly lightweight and can be moved fairly easily. My wife doesn't mind their looks and will mind them even less once they are behind the ATW and will be hidden.
    If you've made it this far, thanks for reading. Bottom line: great product, great price(but you already knew that). What makes me want to keep buying from SVS however, is the people that deal with customers and their service.
     
  2. Jesse Sharrow

    Jesse Sharrow Supporting Actor

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    SVS's customer service is pretty incredible. Ron acctually invited me over to his house to listen to a few. I thought that was amazing. [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  3. Ron Stimpson

    Ron Stimpson Stunt Coordinator

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    Bhagi,

    It's always a treat to welcome back repeat customers, but it's REALLY a treat to see an order come in from one of the very first people to have taken a chance on SVS way back then.

    People ordering today have the benefit of knowing that thousands and thousands of SVS's are out there in the real world playing music and movies. Back when Serial number 0007 left our old facility there was no such assurance. HTF members and others elsewhere took a real chance and four years later we're quite literally a world leader in subwoofer technology, with more models and configurations than any other OEM (with more coming).

    Frankly we owe it to folks like you. I want to publicly acknowledge that and all you early adopters. SVS would just be another "business statistic" (not the good kind) had it been otherwise.

    Thanks,

    Ron Stimpson
     
  4. ScottCarr

    ScottCarr Second Unit

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    Calibration results

    Hi Ron,
    As I have told Tom the PC Ultras are simply awesome, i am not even missing my PB2+. I am not sure what it is but the Ultras have a little something more than the + drivers.

    Simply Awesome

    It might be a couple of weeks to do up the covers. Still trying to find the appropriate materials.

    thanks again
    Scott
     
  5. Edward J M

    Edward J M Cinematographer

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    Look at the huge difference Scott was able to make just by manipulating the phase control and the PEQ's. Great work Scott - way to dial in those twins! [​IMG]
     
  6. JohnSmith

    JohnSmith Supporting Actor

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    Scott my single 20hz PC Plus excel chart looks very similar to the light blue line "left sub" in the "single subs" tab. Very loud down low, slanting down until ~56hz, and then going back up again. How did you flatten this out? Will the phase adjustment help?

    Should I plot a reponse chart at 0 (normally set) 90 and 180 and see which is the flattest? How do I check it's not out of phase compared to the front three?

    Cheers
     
  7. ScottCarr

    ScottCarr Second Unit

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    This curve is not unique to the PC Ultras since the pair of PC+ and the pair of PB2+ exhibited the same exact curves. Not similar same exact curves. The PC ultra with the built in parametric equalizer took care of the majority of the dip.

    TomV and others have stated it is easier to compensate for peaks than it is dips.

    The easiest way I found to check for phase is to plot between the fronts and sub. I would recommend doing 0, 45, 90, 135, 180. You may be surprised at the results.
     
  8. Jesse Sharrow

    Jesse Sharrow Supporting Actor

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    Ron are you willing to help me do what scott did when I get mine? [​IMG] Pretty please? Im so excited.. I hope I can afford something come april!
     
  9. Edward J M

    Edward J M Cinematographer

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    I recently corner loaded my PB2+ to experiment with the effects of placement. I hit a sweet spot at about 110 degrees on the phase control and the curve just flattened out and the 10 dB depression between 30 and 60 Hz went away. I was really amazed at the effect this control has on the overall FR.

    I was running Quick Sweeps on the RTA and all it takes is the touch of a button and bang - the whole curve is plotted in about 2 seconds. Because it is so easy and fast, I must have ran 3 dozen sweeps experimenting with phase and enabling the low pass filter at various frequencies. The final curve looks (and sounds) fantastic, and this is even without the help of the PEQ feature! With the PEQ on the PB2-Ultra, I'll have yet another powerful tool at my disposal for fine tuning the response.

    Ed
     
  10. Bhagi Katbamna

    Bhagi Katbamna Supporting Actor

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    Knowing you guys from the various internet boards and seeing your work on your own subs I didn't feel I was taking a chance at all.
     
  11. Colin Goddard

    Colin Goddard Stunt Coordinator

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    Hey Ron,

    My cs 16-46 serial number is 00094. Does my sub have the "old" driver in it? I remember at one time there was a updated driver available. Or maybe it is time to upgrade to a different svs sub:d

    Thanks, Colin
     
  12. Ron Stimpson

    Ron Stimpson Stunt Coordinator

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    Jesse,

    I more of a "slash and burn" setup artist. Stick it in a corner, calibrate with an SPL meter and a good test disk, and start watching movies (which is what I do when I've hit triple digit e-mails for a day). The work Scott and Ed have done is what you do for fun, you know... if subwoofers were still hobbies ;^)

    A subwoofer barely gets dust on it in the Stimpson home theater before it's replaced, but sooner or later I'll probably have to take some time with some new toys on the measurement side (if you can sense the jealousy you are astute). Which reminds me, I have a dozen new waterfall movie sound clips to post still.

    So much for fine tuned calibration tonight ;^)

    Bhagi,

    Nevermind the last couple hours before launch at SVS was something like a scene from the movie "Tucker"... everything did come together but there were MANY late nights and weekends getting the last few things right (meanwhile I would be batch soldering binding posts while Tom and I toubleshot an issue over the phone. I think Tom would usually have a woofer on the test stand back in Ohio while he talked... I still have missing skin from stripping all that wire ;^).

    I know with the arrival of your new CS-Ultra you probably quickly noticed the evolution of cylinder design from the "old days" to today. I think every component was re-engineered, from the bottom of the baseplate to the top of the grill, even the shipping container in that first few months after we went "hot". The first SVS's were made very well, but we just never accepted "good enough". Today I'd hazard to say that they really can't be made better, period.

    Having made by hand many of our pre-production prototype parts I can honestly say there is no way in hell I could duplicate what our satellite suppliers and the shop crew assemble today. The fit and finish are world-class in every regard. All thanks to the miracle of CNC machining in large quantities.

    Colin,

    Sort of in that same vein, I can tell you your woofer is/was still great (it it the first "rev" of what led later to the ISD woofer). The current ISD woofers are simply better in nearly every aspect (they've been in every SVS CS and PCi for two years or so). We've implemented improvements virtually at every turn to squeak out more performance, more durability, and still keep price down (of course ordering in quantities of 50 times what we once did helps in that regard ;^) If you have the amp power to exploit it (say 200 watts or greater) a simple swap of an ISD from our site's parts page is all you need to a real kick in the pants. While it's hardly necessary, this upgrade can be pretty startling if you DO push your SVS hard.

    Ron
     
  13. ScottCarr

    ScottCarr Second Unit

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    Jesse,

    Do not let all the graphs and spread sheets intimidate you with complexity. It is very very very easy. All you need is an SPL meter, lazy man here likes the radio shack digital plus it makes it easier for not tech types to read ithe measurements, a computer - laptop is a great tool, and MSExcel - let me know I can help with that and lend you a hand using it.

    If you need help with Excel and you have an Windows XP computer we can do a remote assist and I can show you how to make all the graphs. Of course if the Avalanche are playing there isn't a snowballs chance in he** you will be able to get a hold of me.

    Of course if you have connections in getting tickets to an Avs game, I am on the plane with my spl and computer, I buy new clothes when I get there....

    Let me know. I believe Ron has my email address if you want to email me and set up something.

    Scott
     
  14. ChuckRG

    ChuckRG Agent

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    Edward JM:

    I am facinated that you use the phase control to flatten out the response. javascript:smilie('[​IMG]')

    I used the phase control so that at the x-0ver point between my mains and subs (80Hz), I had the maximum output. I got flat response by using digital room correction although if what you said actually works on my subs, I would use the phae control first and then do the correction.

    It would seem (without trying it) that what you end up with may or may not be the correct setting for the corssover point?

    Comments?
     
  15. Edward J M

    Edward J M Cinematographer

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    Yes, I have discovered that the phase setting which provides the most reinforcement at the xo point is not necessarily the phase setting which provides the best overall frequency response for the subwoofer.

    I can live with a minor dip at 80 Hz if I can correct a broad 10 dB depression between 30 and 60 Hz - that sort of thing.

    As always, YMMV. Good luck!

    Ed
     
  16. steve nn

    steve nn Cinematographer

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    Very nice write-up Bhagi and fun to read.

    I remember being concerned about a third passive SVS running off of my 1450 QSC also. After seeking Tom V's advice I went ahead and ran a jumper on one side. That QSC hasn't hick-upped once and could take a fourth? I think it would balk at a 2 ohm load off of each side?

    Congratulations on your new cylinder.[​IMG]
     

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