HSU VTF2 vs. SVS 25-31PCi?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Matthew_Judd, Mar 1, 2002.

  1. Matthew_Judd

    Matthew_Judd Extra

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    I am considering a speaker set up in the $1000-$1500 range. There are many package deals and manufacturers that target this price-point but most of them don't seem to come with very good subs. So, I was thinking of getting a seperate sub, in particular I was looking at the HSU-VTF2.
    I hadn't considered SVS before because they are a bit pricey for my budget but I see that the new 25-31PCi can be had for $550 vs. $500 for the HSU.
    So, does anyone have any thoughts on how these two subs would compare with one another?
    BTW is there a hallmark for how much of my speaker budget should go towards a sub? Am I buying too much sub compared to the quality of speakers I am looking at in this price range? Also, I'll be moving to a smallish apartment in the near future, if I can't crank my sub very loud should I be looking for a more modest solution anyway?
    Thanks.
     
  2. Steve Stogel

    Steve Stogel Supporting Actor

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    I haven't heard either (PCis aren't shipping yet, of course), but I do have a 25-31CS being powered with 150W. I know the VTF-2 has gotten rave reviews, but I think the SVS will probably handily outgun the VTF. A more fair comparison would be with the Hsu sonotube designs (TN-25, I think). The TN-25 would be quite a bit more expensive (you need their amp, BTW, or an EQ and plenty of amp power) than the SVS, and I'm thinking the SVS will still be better than the TN-25. Hsus are a very good deal, but I think they just don't compare dollar for dollar (or asthetically, IMO) with the SVSubs. Get the SVS, get a big sub, get a big grin, and never look back. Just my two cents.

    Steve
     
  3. Jim_F

    Jim_F Screenwriter

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    My 20-39PC gives a LOT more output than my VTF-2 did. The 25-31 provides even more output than the 20-39 by all accounts.
     
  4. EricHaas

    EricHaas Supporting Actor

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    Well I may get flayed for recommending anything other than buying an SVS sub, but I say on your budget, look for a sub in the $200-$300 price range. I can't imagine starting with say $1200 then dropping $600 on the sub and leaving myself with $600 for the remaining five channels of speakers. Don't put yourself in HTB territory just to have a massive sub. I know the conventional wisdom here seems to be that base is the only thing that matters, but some people actually think the other speakers matter as well, particularly your mains. There is a world of difference between being able to spend say $1000 on a 5 speaker set and being about to spend only $500-$600. If you can push the budget to your high end of $1500, you might go up to the $400-$500 range for a sub. Otherwise, consider options lower than that and think about upgrading the sub when you have the cash. But try to keep the budget for the remaining speakers to at least $1K. Every dollar spent on speakers, particularly mains, between $500 and $1000 gives a major sonic return.

    Also, I have demoed both the Hsu VTF-2 and 25-31pc in other people's houses, and while I like the 25-31pc a little more than the Hsu, at a couple bills less the Hsu is an extremely sane alternative. The Hsu is $400 most places on the Net by the way. Good luck!
     
  5. SVS-Ron

    SVS-Ron Screenwriter

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    EricH. makes some good points. Taking off my SVS hat (I was an audio cheap-skate long before SVS was conceived!) I've found that skimping on the sub (a VTF-2 is hardly skimping!) is likely to affect your HT experience more than shaving off some on speakers, as long as you are running them all small in any case.

    True story. I just set up work associate who had near zero as budget. We got him 5 KLH speakers going for $20 each at Circuit City I believe. He also used an old receiver to power up the first DIY sub I ever did (a Hsu 12Va endtable clone that was just sitting in my garage). So call it 150 watts into that powerful sub and all the speakers running small. Sony PS2 as the DVD/DD source, and an old Kenwood DD receiver I sold him. I could not believe how good it sounded. Limiting the mains to 100Hz (the Kenwood bass cross I think) meant their limited capability were never unmasked.

    Reverse that scenario with "$75-100/each" speakers, and no sub, or a very cheap one, and there is no doubt in my mind the result would not have sounded as good. This is an extreme example, but the bottom line is I tend to advise a more or less split budget. That is, spend as much on your sub as you do on the rest of your speakers. We sell all the SVS's we need to without giving bogus advice. I really believe this works well when it comes to spending tight budgets. OK, SVS hat back on.

    Eric, I seem to remember you saying something about that PC comparison way back when. I think with the $120 less expensive and better performing PCi you might find the extra cost of the SVS to be worth it (harder to justify at $675 I agree) now. I totally agree that if you are pegged at $400 and can find a VTF-2 at that price, then Hsu's offering is the way to go. If you have an extra $149 burning a whole in your pocket? Well sooner or later someone will do a comparison and decide if it was worth it. With a bigger amp, bigger driver, bigger enclosure I don't think it'd be much of a contest. It's the VTF-3 I'm thinking might be a more interesting comparison someone might do someday. Not sure if the latter is shipping or what it's price is. Hsu didn't get to where he is by making poor performing subs, that's clear. The VTF-2 is evidence enough for that!

    Ron
     
  6. Dave Vaughn

    Dave Vaughn Stunt Coordinator

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    Matt, here is my .02.
    This is what I would do in your situation. First off, buy the SVS 25-31 PCi...as Ron says...spend the extra $149 over the other sub. Next, go to this link: http://www.hifi.com/store/category.c...ory=spk_newton
    and check out the following products:
    Mains & Center: MC300's $199 each
    Surrounds: S300's at $449 or S200's at $249 (I have the S300's myself)
    Total price (excluding shipping) is $1600. I don't have the MC300's myself, because I have their original towers. I have a lot of square feet to fill up so I got their original Towers. Just check out HiFi.com and see what you think.
    Hope this helps.
    Dave
     
  7. EricHaas

    EricHaas Supporting Actor

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    Ron:

    I more or less agree. However, I have tried many different configurations, and your example with the KLH speakers is something I that would not perceive the way you did. I know. I've heard KLH and Aiwa speakers paired with decent subs. I've never heard them with an SVS, but I know that KLH speakers sound crappy no matter how good the bottom 2 octaves sound. The human ear does hear and discriminate the mids and highs in the system, and that includes for HT as well as music. A good sub does not transform poor quality speakers into good ones. No matter what an SVS sub will do, it will not take over mid to high frequency duty for the KLH's. And it would have to to make them sound even remotely palatable to my ears.

    That said, different people do prioritize base in the system differently. I have even seen people advise people with a $2000 speaker budget to get 2 SVS subs and spend the remaining $600 on the rest. If your entire quest for audio excellence consists of seeking out a system with near reference level base that will rattle your eyeballs, then this is obviously a proper apportionment. For those seeking a balanced system where the entire frequency spectrum sounds right, a different apportionment is obviously in order.

    I have said in other posts that my own priorities for sonic improvement in an HT system go like this:

    #1 Adding a sub when you had none at all

    #2 Upgrading from cheap front mains to good ones

    #3 Upgrading from a cheap sub to a good one

    #4 Adding surround speakers

    #5 Adding a center speaker

    (*upgrading electronics)

    #6 Upgrading the center

    #7 Upgrading the surrounds

    So obviously I place a high priority on the subwoofer. However, I do feel the quality of the front mains contributes more overall sonic impact than the quality of the sub (to MY ears). I also think that there is a world of difference between bad inexpensive subs and some of the better, overachieving inexpensive subs like some of the Sony or JBL models. I think you guys make great subs BTW, and they deserve every bit of praise they get. But for those on constrained budgets, I urge them to consider that every element of a sound system can strongly influence one's subjective appreciation of the sound.
     
  8. Terry Flink

    Terry Flink Stunt Coordinator

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    For $1400.00 I would recommend the following...
    nOrh 4.0 video system in ceramic $850.00 delivered. Five identical nOrh 4.0 speakers (one shielded) that sound amazing and are a great deal. Add the SVS and you will be in HT nirvana for lass than $1500.00.
    I have the nOrh setup coupled with an SVS 20-39CS and they blend seamlessly. Check out www.norh.com and reviews at www.harmonicdiscord.com
     
  9. EricHaas

    EricHaas Supporting Actor

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    Matthew:

    I recommend you look into the Paradigm Monitor line. Mini-Monitors for fronts, cc-370 center, and perhaps Titans for rears. That will run you about $850. For the remaining money, grab either the SVS or the VTF-2, depending on how you want to budget.
     
  10. Art_C

    Art_C Stunt Coordinator

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    Here is my suggestion and my setup when the SVS gets here.

    HTD Level III Towers $429

    HTD Level III Mains $199

    HTD Level III Center $139

    SVS 25-31PCi $549

    Total of $1316 plus shipping. If I recall the HTD shipping is only $20 no matter what you get. SVS shipping is like $30. What's left would be used up on speaker/sub cables.
     
  11. Tyson

    Tyson Stunt Coordinator

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    nOrh 4.0's ($850 for 5) plus the 25-31PCi for $550 - a no brainer decision, IMO. I seriously doubt anything is better for HT in this price range. (Identical speakers is THE way to go for HT, IMO. Not "matched" speakers, but IDENTICAL speakers). I had 5 marble 4.0's and an SVS 20-39 in my HT for a while before I bought the $2k/pair nOrh 7.0's as my front left/right speakers. In many ways, the 5 marble 4.0's were better than my current setup. If I were not planning on getting more 7.0's in the future, I would go back to all 4.0's. . . .
     
  12. Matthew_Judd

    Matthew_Judd Extra

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    Thanks for all the info. I haven't decided just what I am going to do exactly, but the more information I have the more comfortable I'll be making my purchase.
    All the input helps tremendously. Especially when we get countervailing opinions from people, the contrast in opinion really helps clarify issues. However, I was hoping that I would have 10 responses all saying the same thing so that I could eliminate the sub question from my list of items under consideration, but I guess that was just too much to ask [​IMG].
    I think the real frustration for me is that there are too many options, all with their proponents. This is a great sub, that is a great sub. These are fantastic speakers for ~$1000, but wait, these other speakers for $950 seem just as good. Sigh.
     
  13. Heath_R

    Heath_R Stunt Coordinator

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    I was just in your situation. I bought a smaller Axiom setup.

    Mains - Axiom M3Ti

    Center - Axiom VP100

    Surrounds - Axiom M3Ti

    I spent 630usd from audioshop.on.ca. I am shopping for my sub and looking in the less than $550.00 range. Right now my choices are a new SVS 25-31PCi or an hsu VTF2. I am leaning to the SVS; I am just waiting on my significant other to approve. I have to repaint the bathroom and put a border up in the bedroom before I order any more toys.

    I put allot of research into my system and I think for the money it will sound great. I hope. I love the axioms. I recommend trying to find someone in your area who will let you hear his or hers.

    There is no magic ratio for you to spend a certain percentage of your total and have the perfect system. Every persons taste and setup is different. In my opinion, on a budget system you should go with smaller monitor style mains and a good sub. You can add larger mains later. I plan on going to M60Ti's down the road and moving my M3's to the rear for a 7.1 setup.
     
  14. EricHaas

    EricHaas Supporting Actor

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    Matthew:

    You need to get out there and demo some speakers. Then you will get an idea for what you want to spend on the speakers, and your remaining budget for the subwoofer will become easier to parse out. There are really only 3 subs that are commonly recommended in the $400-$600 range, and they are the VTF-2, the 25-31PC, and the Adire Rava. You won't be disapointed with any of those three. And once you go and listen your other speaker options will become clearer to you.
     
  15. Greg Lee

    Greg Lee Agent

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    I would second the suggestion from Art_C regarding the HTD speakers - I have 4 of the Level IIIs (bookshelf not towers) plus center channel, set up with SVS25-31CS and BFD, and am very happy with this system. System has impressed numerous visitors as well, albeit these weren't 'hi-fi' people.

    Some thoughts on EricHaas' comments, based only on my own limited experience - for a $1200 system I don't think its out-of-line to spend 40-50% on a good subwoofer. A bad subwoofer is almost worse than none, whereas a good one, properly tuned (i.e. considering equalization and/or room position) really adds a huge amount to the overall HT and music experience.

    I definitely second Eric's other suggestions - center channel speaker is least important (you could do fine without it initially). I would further postpone, or skimp on, surrounds, if doing so facilated building a good basic system of electronics, decent mains, and good subwoofer. But for $1500, you can have it all with the HTD's.

    Finally, you may want to reserve $130 for a Behringer Feedback Destroyer; depending on bass response in your room, the ability to equilize these out can make a HUGE difference. I would gladly give up my center channel speaker before I'd let you take my BFD!
     

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