HSU VTF-3 or SVS 25-31Pci Will be used for both music and movies

Todd smith

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Apr 2, 2002
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Since I cant really go and listen to these, and I dont want to order both and send one back, what are your opinions on these two subs. I figure it is a win win situation, but which one has the advantage for both music and movies? I will be pairing this with some s38's most likely, but I want to get a good sub that will grow with me as I upgrade my speakers eventually. So which one?
 

David_Stein

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you are probably going to want to hold off a bit if you can and wait for some more people to have the chance to compare these two. after barry barnes's (edit, i took the name barry barnes and turned it into barney at first, whoops) very interesting review, i expect that more people are going to want to do an inhouse comparison, and until that point, i dont think too many people can give good opinions.
 

EricHaas

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It is pretty safe to assume that the VTF-3 will have lower extension than a 25-31pci. That much is discernable from available information. However, that is probably the only assumption you can make at this point without additional data and/or opinions. As far as musical accuracy, that is subjective and we only have one opinion so far. As to headroom (SPL), hopefully there will be some good measurements out soon.
 

David Head

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Todd,

Any reason why you aren't considering the 16-46PCi ($749) or 20-39PCi ($649) instead of the 25-31PCi ($549) vs. the VTF-3 ($849)?

David
 

Todd smith

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Apr 2, 2002
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I dont exactly know why I am leaning toward the 25-31pci over the other two.
From everything I have read, the 25-31pci just sounds like it will be a better choice, a little tighter sound, for music and the HT will still be excelent. I also read one post of two guys who did a comparison of the 25-31 and the 20-39 and they both prefered the 25-31. So I guess that is my reasoning.
 

David Head

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I must have missed the posts comparing the 25-31 and 20-39. I'm sure you couldn't go wrong with any of the 4 subs, but it would be interesting to see how the PCi line and VTF-3 compare...
 

EricHaas

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As between the 25-31 and 20-39, it depends what you want. For musical accuracy, there is no difference between the two. The difference is the 25-31 gives about 2 db more headroom as a tradeoff for about 5 hz lower extension for the 20-39. For me at least, that is a no-brainer. The 2db's only matters if you want the dynamic range to max at or around reference levels, something I never do. The lower extension gives you more of that base you can feel but not hear. For HT especially, this is a big deal to me. OTOH, one could legitimately choose the 25-31 based on size preference only, and of course for lower price. But for sonic performance, I am not sure there is a really persuasive argument.
 

Evan S

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You can port tune the 25-31 to 22htz, thereby getting the smaller enclosure, and only losing a couple htz down low sacrificing some DB up top.

To me, THAT's the no-brainer.
 

Dustin B

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16-46CS is in purple, 20-39CS is in red, and the 25-31CS is in light blue

Taken from SVS's site.
 

Phil Iturralde

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Oct 7, 1998
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... I want to get a good sub that will grow with me as I upgrade my speakers eventually. So which one?
IMHO - Either one!
My HT budget, by choice (like a game / hobby), ... required purchasing performance components @ bargain based prices. It requires a lot of research, reading reviews, and deciding what was the priority for my Music (during the mid 70s), to Home Theater (starting around 1997). So, since 1997, my priority became HT, Music second and purchasing was based on my musical experience.
As a semi-pro musician/composer/writer (more of a hobby now-a-days), I knew that my Dolby Digital Theater had to sound as close as, or as good as, some of the better Century Cinema Theaters in the SF Bay Area. During 1996/97, in every Theater where I thought it sounded excellent, before I left, I checked out what the speakers were, ... yep - JBLs. So, my 1st JBL J-Series purchase back then, up to my latest JBL S-Series purchase today, ... fullfilled my Cinema Theater sound recreation and overall, my HT sounded better (told to me numerous times since '97) than those Theaters and each progressive upgrade was a plus for the 2-CH musical playback aspect as well.
Every JBL set had a powered sub (8" to 10") to handle the bass, but in 1999, when I bought the AudioSource SW15, I finally added the missing sub-sonic impact that my JBL Series HT set was missing. My 20' x 30' HT/room turned out to be a rather difficult room environment to support the poor quality speakers let alone the bass foundations because the main 20' x 20' HT room foundation was solid cement, w/oak 6" square flooring, extending into the kitchen. The JBLs addressed the major frequency playback duties and my SW15 took care of the lower frequency duties.
With the AudioSource SW15, I could rock, shake, dust & even knock off my 1' fan off my triangle windows (near the sub corner) with this 200watt 15" sub, so for 2 years, my many Friday NITE DVD movie viewings w/my family & friends (had approx. 25 for VHS WS-Phantom Menace & Tarzan DVD), still sounded better than my local Theaters. All my regulars came back, knew what to expect and all volunteered to provide all the snacks and drinks- they all loved my HT System. The SW15 also seamlessly blended in with my 2-CH music CD's with a solid bass foundation - it was a excellent sub for the price ($199.99 CostCo)!
So why did I buy the SVS 25-31PCi? I've read most of the HTF SVS reviews for the last few years, but those testimonials didn't convince me that it was time to move my SW15 to my vacation house.
Well, four things finally did it, ...
1) Designed technology (i = "Improved" caught my eye),
2) Tom Nousaine SVS review ("The $ensible Sound" June/July 2001, Issue #86) and
3) Objective frequency graphs** / "waterfall" charts.
4) Lower cost!!!
- the biggest reason from my charter "performance components @ bargain based prices."
**The SVS Frequency Chart (posted by Dustin B) highlights the fact that all SVS PCi subs are outstanding performers!
I decided, after reviewing my priorities again, that Music was actually played 80% of the time during the week and HT about 20% (once or twice a week) I picked what I believed to be the performance vs. price leader the lineup, SVS 25-31PCi.
So, prior to ordering the SVS 25-31PCi, I spent a week re-reading the previous SVS PC reviews @ HTF & SVS. Read about the 22Hz re-tune, I emailed Tom about it providing my present HT/family room details and accepted his recommendation to keep the default design! Am I second guessing my decision to follow Tom's recommendation?? Nope! No Way! Nada!!
From what I'm hearing, but more specifically feeling, ... Tom's recommendation was 100%, right on target!!!

I've seen all the Jurassic Park movies when they were released @ Century 22 in SJ (THX, DTS) and I thought their bass foundation support was outstanding, ... until I played back my DVD's (didn't buy JPII) on my REFERENCED Calibrated SVS 25-31PCi/JBL S-Series HT setup! The tactile feel of the movie took on a whole new level of sub-sonic sustained impact, never experience before until I added my SVS!!!
That same level of bass impact can be said with all my DDD quality JAZZ 2-CH Music CDs, but this time, ... the SVS refines the music w/smooth, extended bass foundation & impact.
This sentence @ SVS "How Did It Happen?" webpage sums up the SVS philosophical goal - "The performance, no matter what the price will exceed anything we know of on the market."
My SVS 25-31PCi is a KEEPER!!!

Phil
 

Steve Stogel

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Of course, if you're not in a hurry, perhaps you should try to hold out until the PC+s come out. I think that would be a closer dollar-for-dollar comparison as well. I think they're shooting for $850 for the 25-31PC+ and 100 bucks more for each bigger model. Of course, that's from my memory (always dangerous), and things can always change as far as pricing. I've got a feeling that the PC+s are going to be pretty impressive for that "around a grand" sub.

Of course, reading Barry's review, sounds like the VTF-3 is a KILLER sub. Sounds like it's worthy of the "VTF" make. The VTF-2 seems to have set the bar pretty high for the $500 sub, and it seems the VTF-3 may do the same for the $1000 sub.

Back on topic, I think patience is your friend here, and I'd wait to at least see how the PC+s are received once they come out.

Steve
 

SVS-Ron

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Steve,

You are about right on the line up. In fact we're putting some final touches on our 500 watt (and then some) amp design just today. It should allow all three sized of PC-Plus (to coincide with the CS-Plus line) but work remains.

Price-wise the PCi series is much more in line with Hsu's well-regarded VTF-2. The PCi that Todd is considering is a bit more costly (with retail pricing only $50 more, but up to $150 differnce if you go with the cheapest Hsu dealers, from what we've heard. This is still $300 less than the VTF-3 of course) but good as the VTF-2 is, the PCi's 12" driver and a clean 325 watts of power is going to have an edge in most regards, even with "only" one 4" port. This isn't hype as Tom likes to say, it's just physics). The PC-Plus will have the even better dB12 driver from TC-Sounds (the PCi uses the FRC ISD), three 3" ports, and a North American made amp with some pretty trick features for the $800-$1,000 price class (we expect RMS power ratings in excess of 500 watts). While there are some differences in terms of price/content in this segment vis a vis Hsu and SVS, no one is likely to be disappointed by either brand, that's the bottom line.

We'll probably only announce pre-orders when the sub is REALLY ready to go (last minute delays on parts delayed the PCi rollout longer than we wanted), but make up for that with some aggressive pricing to kick-start interest.

Look for more news in late May or June on pre-orders.

Ron
 

Barry Barnes

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Mar 31, 2002
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I have gotten a couple of emails from folks who are purchasing the VTF-3 and they will have them shortly and have promised to post a review. Also, Howard Ferstler is doing a review on the VTF-3 that is due out shortly. Based on conversations via email with him, the review promises to be very favorable.
Secondly, considering the price you save by buying direct I think it's worth it to buy two Subs and do some blind listening tests with someone who's opinion you trust. How many times have you ever purchased Audio gear without at least auditioning two? Based solely on opinion?
It can be awfully tempting to try and convince yourself that you "like" the sound of something, just because you don't want to ship it back. I know. I went through it myself. If you have two to compare, you simply keep the one you like best with no pressure to keep either one. It's really the only way I know of to really shop around when dealing with Internet Direct. Hearing it at someones house is not the same as having both in YOUR house. Don't let the shipping charge stop you. It's not much more than you would have paid in tax at a brick and mortar. It's worth it to KNOW you got what YOU wanted.
 

Steve Stogel

Supporting Actor
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Jul 19, 2000
Messages
600
Everything that Barry said (about not worrying about shipping one back and being able to do a comparison) makes perfect sense. Still, I am tight-fisted with my money. So I think if I've narrowed the competition down to either an SVS (a PC+ preferrably) or a Hsu (a VTF-3 preferrably), I'd say to just do the research, check the numbers (if you can find them), and then go with whichever one your gut tells you. I don't think you'd be disappointed in either maker's product, so why not just get one of the best bang-per-buck subs out there and be happy? Your sub will probably be better than just about any other commercial sub you might come across (and certainly a much better deal). Not to say I didn't love the detailed review. I really did, and it's extraordinarily helpful (I think it falls into the "research" category).
Of course, owning an SVS (albeit second-hand), I'm a bit partial to SVS. So I guess I'd lean toward a PC+, but I'm sure the VTF-3 is an absolutely awesome sub. I think if you want a traditional-looking sub, the Hsu is your ticket. If you want to "think outside of the box," then SVS is the way to go. I personally love the way the SVS looks compared to a large box (plus I don't have that much room in the corner it sits in, so the small footprint is a huge advantage).
So, if you're an impatient man (or even if you just like the looks of the Hsu better), buy the Hsu now and start your subbing. If you don't mind waiting a bit, wait on the PC+.
As a side note, with the new, more powerful amps (on the PCi currently and the PC+ when it comes out), I think the PC models are much more attractive than they were in the past. Now the PCs will have as much (more actually) power as it's sister CS model (be it plus or "i"), not to mention some extra features (subsonic filtering being the most important, IMO...at least I think the PCs have it
). In my mind, if one enclosure is all you want (or all you can get away with...like myself), I think the PCs are now a much better deal than the CS. I think they always were the best option for single-enclosure people, but you always knew you were missing a couple of dBs compared to the CS. That would have driven me nuts. Now you get more power and more features for less money (unless you have your own amp or buy a cheaper one), so I think the new breed of PC subs from SVS is really setting a new bar, even for them.
The following commercial for SVS is all IMO
.
Steve
 

EricHaas

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Dec 25, 2001
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"You can port tune the 25-31 to 22htz, thereby getting the smaller enclosure, and only losing a couple htz down low sacrificing some DB up top.

To me, THAT's the no-brainer."

Can't you tune a 20-39 to say 17 hz by the same token? Correct me if I am wrong, but I am under the impression that a larger enclosure generally allows for lower extension. If the extension of the various SVS models is the same, why the higher prices and huge enclosures for the higher models?
 

Mark KU

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Feb 2, 2001
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You're correct about being able to tune the 20-39s lower. I bought a couple used that I was told were tuned to 18hz. I'm guessing the bigger enclosures are so you don't have to sacrifice Dbs up high to get them down low when you custom tune. Might be flatter or something. TV will probably jump in and clarify shortly.

Mark
 

Dustin B

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Mar 10, 2001
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Enclosure tuning is dependant on net volume, port diameter and port length.

Make the enclosure larger and a shorter port of the same diameter will tune to the same frequency. They have to be made larger inorder to get the port to fit.

Plus you don't want the port getting really long, so the larger you make the enclosure the shorter the port needs to be (which is good).

Make the port wider and and tuning will go up (unless you make the port longer or the enclosure larger to compensate).

Make the port longer and tuning will go down, make it shorter and tuning will go up (if you hold the other two constant).
 

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