A thread for testing $2000-$2500ish subwoofers

Discussion in 'Speakers & Subwoofers' started by Craig Chase, Jan 21, 2017.

  1. Brendostunes

    Brendostunes Extra

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    Sounds great anticipating your review on the SVS unit.

    Those James subs look nice a local distributor for me that I'm subscribed to has had them for a couple years now, really should go have a listen one day.

    Though I'm more than happy with my EP500 I picked during your $1000 units thread.:thumbs-up-smiley::rock:
     
  2. theJman

    theJman New User

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    An SB? I figured with the size of your room a PB would be the choice. What made you go sealed?
     
  3. Dave Upton

    Dave Upton Audiophile
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    That's the review unit I sent him
     
  4. Craig Chase

    Craig Chase Gear Guru
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    Now I just need to move a 200 pound subwoofer into the bullpen room so I can put the 125 pound subwoofer in its place. Who needs a gym membership?

    Dave was gracious enough to send me the SB-16 Ultra to review.
     
  5. Craig Chase

    Craig Chase Gear Guru
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    The SB-16 Ultra is unboxed and in the system. Last night was mostly casual watching, so there isn't a lot to report. The hard part is, of course, done. We will be doing some serious testing over the next week.
     
  6. Dave Upton

    Dave Upton Audiophile
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    I see how it is, building suspense so we are all itching for the next update. Don't wait too long! :D
     
  7. Craig Chase

    Craig Chase Gear Guru
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    Last night was the first "serious" night for torturing the SB-16 Ultra. The Netflix series "Daredevil" is rich in bass from the opening song and throughout each episode. I am watching season 2 now, and have finished a couple of episodes.

    The SB-16 is somewhat a stealth subwoofer ... it's totally silent, then it ERUPTS when a bass scene demands it. For a while, I was underwhelmed with the bass it was presenting until a floor collapsed in a scene with the Punisher. I thought OUR floor was the one collapsing. The bass rippled through the room and into one's chest.

    It was so good that after the episode, I fired up Steely Dan's "2 against nature" .. Gaslighting Abby has this incredible bass line throughout the song, and the SB-16 was tight and deep ... it's much in the same way the Axiom EP-800 delivers this bass ... no overhang, deep, and with seemingly unlimited authority.

    THE APP ... was also a snap to install and use. There will be more on this later, but the ability to fine tune a sub "on the fly" with one's smart phone is a REALLY useful feature.
     
  8. 88 Apr 19, 2017 at 9:51 AM
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2017 at 10:25 AM
    Craig Chase

    Craig Chase Gear Guru
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    Last night, we watched the movie "Daredevil" ... yes the one with Affleck and Garner. It has some of the best bass scenes in it, and it also does a good job illustrating how Matt Murdoch got his powers. My poor wife has been trying to follow along with the series, and has never understood how Murdoch "sees". She gets it now ...

    The SB-16 continues to do its stealth thing ... when the fork lift crashes into the multiple pallets of the tanks of "bio-hazardous material", there is a descending bass scene that starts with the first splash from one of the 55 gallon drums through the scene where the chemicals entering Matt's system through his eyes and into the rest of his nervous system ... The SB-16 just gets DEEP, with ample authority. The depth of bass comes in waves, and at no time does the SB-16 do anything but deliver.

    The next scene is Matt (still as a 13 year old) waking to this deep pounding sound ... it's from the IV dripping, but to him sounds like a cannon going off. The SB16 hits HARD, and DEEP, and again with plenty of Authority. I love a subwoofer that not only makes the floor move, but also hits you in the chest - it's the sign of a linear design.

    There are also some nice music scenes, featuring Nickelback, when we are introduced to "Bullseye" ... the kickdrum sounds like a real kick drum, and bass lines are natural.

    I know a lot of people are giving SVS grief for the driver size and lack of power compared to subs from, say, JTR ... but my experience to date is nothing but impressive. AND ... to the credit of both PSA and SVS, THEY are participating in a subwoofer test by someone who used to be a competitor, and who has no interest in being a cheerleader for any single company.

    For around $2000 delivered, both the SVS and PSA subwoofers are tremendous values.

    I will try to get pics of the SB-16 Ultra next to the VS-3601 this weekend. The size difference is remarkable, yet both deliver a truly satisfying bass experience in a 4800 cubic foot room.

    I also cannot imagine ANYONE being let down by the WAF factor of the SB-16. It's a beautiful piece of furniture, easily rivaling a JL Fathom 113 for about 1/2 the price.
     
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  9. theJman

    theJman New User

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    Every one of us who has actually evaluated one of the new 16 series subs has come away as impressed as you. About the only people who haven't are those who speculate, make assessments without first-hand experience. There have been some amp issues springing up, but to SVS's credit they're taking care of them quickly and without hassle. Once they get that under control they will have an unmitigated winner on their hands.
     
  10. Craig Chase

    Craig Chase Gear Guru
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    Jim - I found your review of the SB-16 Ultra. It is an excellent read! You are correct in your assessment of the SVS ... The one review with CEA-2010 measurements (The PB-16 Ultra) show it delivering the type of output we have come to expect the best 18 inch units on the market. It's also competitively priced, especially with returning customers being eligible for a discount.

    When one adds into it the APP, which gives one control of the subwoofer in a manner that is far beyond its competition, the fit and finish, the 45 day free shipping both ways guarantee of satisfaction and the unconditional 5 year warranty, it's had not to like.

    In terms of the three $2000-$2500 ish subwoofers we have here, I REALLY like all three.

    They are each well worth the price of admission. They each take a different path to excellent performance.

    The PSA V-3601 has the type of performance, fit and finish that was my "dream" back in the Chase Home Theater days. While it's not as attractive as the SVS or Axiom products in terms of "WAF" ... it's still incredibly well done in a Matte finish that has no flaws. It's only "drawback" is that it is a Matte finish and REALLY big.

    The Axiom EP800 in Oak has a "real furniture" look to it ... One could easily pair one with a pair of Klipschorns/La Scalas and have an amazing retro system (I have run La Scalas with an EP800 for over a year, and the sonic bliss is stellar - it's a favorite music system).

    The SVS SB-16 Ultra has an ultra high end feel to it - as mentioned, it would be a great alternative to a Fathom 113. I am anxious to try it with my Legacy Signature SE's later this year ... this combo may well end up anchoring my high end "basement theater".

    Look for some response curves this weekend on the SVS, and also a request for Dave to see if we can get our hands on a PB-16 Ultra.

    Looking past this ... I am thinking of doing a $300-$400 review thread this fall.
     
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  11. theJman

    theJman New User

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    Thank you, I'm glad you liked it. Some of those are easier to do than others, and in the case of the SB16 the words just flowed. It was fun.

    You're right about its performance relative to some of the better known 18" units. My personal sub is a JTR S1, so naturally one Saturday I did a head-to-head comparison of the two. Measurements showed that from the mid-upper 20's and above the SB16 was directly comparable, and due to it's DSP tune actually had more output from 40-100Hz. Below 20Hz the S1 came into its own though, as it pulled way ahead. By 10Hz the difference was 15dB, so quite substantial.

    I'm the budget subwoofer king, so when you do this let me know - I might have a few to suggest. ;) The $300-$400 range is pretty barren however, but extend that up to $500 and you get a bunch more to choose from.
     
  12. Craig Chase

    Craig Chase Gear Guru
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    Here is the Audyssey XT-32 response curve at my listening position for the SB-16 Ultra ... the -3dB point is at about 15.5 Hz. This is not quite as low as the V-3601 nor the EP-800, but this is still well into the "feel" area for bass:

    [​IMG]
     

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