I need your honest opinion...vtf-3 or svs pci 20-39

Discussion in 'Speakers & Subwoofers' started by Bob_Campbell, Feb 19, 2004.

  1. Bob_Campbell

    Bob_Campbell Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi all,

    I've narrowed my sub search to two subs, the hsu vtf-3 and the svs pci 20-39. My room dimentions are 22' x 16', with about a 3 ft opening on the left corner and a 1 and half opening on the left front. (right by the corner opening.)

    I live in an apartment building but on the top floor and no one on the side of me. The only person i have to be curtious of is the person beneith me. My reciever is a denon 1804. I'm purchasing the ascend cbm170's, for the fronts and rears, and the 340 cc.

    With this setup which do you think would be the best sub for my system? I want my couch to shake, but not to the point where i feel like im in an earthquake when a moped goes by.

    Please all suggestion would be greatly appericated.

    thanks,

    bob
     
  2. Garrett Lundy

    Garrett Lundy Producer

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    Having just recieved my PCi 20-39 subwoofer, and it being placed along a wall of a much larger oddly-shaped room (not even a corner to spare!) the SVS is more than capable of shaking my couch some 11' away. If the SVS happens to kick-in during a moped scene...thats more of a bad decision on the DVD authoring end of things....

    So I can recommend the SVS. The Hsu however, I have no experience with.
     
  3. Tony Genovese

    Tony Genovese Supporting Actor

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    I'd say get the Hsu or SVS. Whichever can ship faster and cheaper and has a form factor that you prefer. You could also flip a coin and be delighted with your choice.
     
  4. Edward J M

    Edward J M Cinematographer

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    The $700 VTF-3 MKII has variable tuning (25 or 20 Hz). The $600 STF-3 has a fixed tune (25 Hz).

    Expect the STF-3 and the VTF-3 set in the 25 Hz (maximum output tune) to perform very similarly. Set the VTF-3 in the 20 Hz tune, and it will dig deeper at the expense of sacrificing some output above 25 Hz as compared to the STF-3.

    The $600 20-39PCi has a fixed tune at 20 Hz. The SVS PB1-ISD should also be thrown into the mix, with a fixed tune of 22 Hz. From a performance standpoint, the 20-39PCi and the PB1-ISD will be virtually identical, so you are really down to personal preferences on form factor and integration into your decor between these two models.

    Probably the closest match-up here would be the STF-3 vs. the PB1-ISD. Both are fixed tune vented box designs with 12" drivers, 300 watt BASH amps, and single flared 4" ports.

    How do they match up? Probably pretty darn close. A friend of mine is interested in this hot middle weight $600 class and I'm trying to convince him to get both (easy when it's his money [​IMG]) and return the loser so I can run them through the paces and separate the wheat from the chaf.

    Ed
     
  5. Chris Quinn

    Chris Quinn Screenwriter

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    Which ever you like looking at better. They are both great.

    I own a Hsu STF-2 w/ the same Ascend set-up in a similar room with an open kitchen/breakfast nook that is around 20 x 10 and an opening to a long wide hallway and couldn't be happier with the set-up. Shakes the couch and windows quite well. The finish on the Hsu is an exact match for the Ascend finish.
     
  6. Chester II

    Chester II Stunt Coordinator

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    Bob dude,

    My VTF-2 shakes and booms and cracks the plaster in my 13 x 19 foot living room so I cannot even imagine what the VTF-3 or any SVS would do. If you listen to music as well as home theater then I recommend the HSU. Either way you won't go wrong. I feel sorry for your downstairs neighbor.

    dude,


    Chester
     
  7. Edward J M

    Edward J M Cinematographer

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    I wouldn't go that far, guys. After all, it's only a 10" driver with an 8 mm xMax.

    I have a very similar size room and recently demo'd an STF-2 in-house. Corner loaded at 3 meters, the sub seemed very comfortable providing 95 dB bass peaks. At about 100 dB bass peaks, noticeable dynamic compression set in. If I pushed it much harder (say 105 dB peaks), I could hear the driver reaching its suspension limits ("soft bottoming"), so I backed off right away.

    I had no arguments at all with the STF-2 SQ for music at moderate volumes, I just can't give it a ringing endorsement for HT, which is far more demanding in terms of both ultra deep frequencies and high amplitude/dynamic range.

    While the VTF-2 in max output (32 Hz 2 ports) mode would outgun the STF-2 above 30 Hz, it really won't dig deep enough for true HT in that tune, and I'd still rather see Bob stick with the 12" offerings he was originally considering if a high percentage of his listening will involve HT.

    Regards,

    Ed
     
  8. WayneO

    WayneO Supporting Actor

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    Between the two you mention, I'd go with the VTF-3 if your talking the new MKII. IF the older one, probably the SVS or I'd go with whatever form factor pleases you most.
     
  9. Chris Quinn

    Chris Quinn Screenwriter

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    "I wouldn't go that far, guys. After all, it's only a 10" driver with an 8 mm xMax."


    Ed,

    Next time you're in Houston I be happy to bring you over and let you judge for yourself.

    You do make a point. I should've put- YMMV.

    BTW- I've measured 21hz at 75db before it falls off in my room.
     
  10. Chester II

    Chester II Stunt Coordinator

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    Dudes,

    Again....let's bow our heads in a moment of silence as we remember Bob Campbell's downstairs neighbor for the wonderful soul he once was and the shredded shell of a being he is going to become......

    Dudes,

    Chester
     
  11. Edward J M

    Edward J M Cinematographer

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    Hi Chris:

    I just didn't want Bob to reevaluate his choice of going with the 12" SVS or Hsu. Either the SVS or the Hsu 12" driver can conservatively move 3X the amount of air the 10" Hsu driver can, and will simply be better choices for serious HT duty.

    I don't want to derail the thread, so you can PM me for any additional details on the measured performance of the STF-2, but suffice it to say, at a more realistic FR test volume of 100-105 dB, it cannot dig to 21 Hz in-room at the seat.

    Regards,

    Ed
     
  12. CurtisSC

    CurtisSC Screenwriter

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    Quick correction....the STF-3 has dual 3" flared ports.
     
  13. Edward J M

    Edward J M Cinematographer

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    Duh....thanks for keeping me on my toes, Curtis. Chalk it up to CRS disease. Is the short run of maximum extension STF-3's over and done with? They came with a port plug and the max extension EQ curve, right? Zip me off a PM, too, thanks.

    Ed
     
  14. CurtisSC

    CurtisSC Screenwriter

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    Right Edward. But people are hoping they keep the max extension version of the STF-3 as an option.

    And for what it is worth, I have now heard the STF-1 and STF-2, they can both make at least a medium sized room shake. Likewise for the VTF-2. There are not many movies that get below 30hz....but more will in time.

    Also remember, the bulk of subwoofers out there, excluding the Hsus, SVS's, Adire's, and other bang for the buck companies, have the larger market share in the subwoofer industry, so my guess is the DVD mixers will taylor more for them than the more capable subs.

    Also to chime in my experience with my older VTF-3 and a 20-39PC+, I felt the VTF-3 was cleaner, tighter, and more articulate than the 20-39PC+. For HT, both were more than enough for my 2300^3ft or so area.

    IMO, being great with music is tougher to accomplish for a sub than HT.
     
  15. Chris Quinn

    Chris Quinn Screenwriter

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    I'm sorry lower mid 90s dB is all my ears can take. If you want 105dB you going to have to do it yourself. If you're in SoCal, Curtis can recommend an audiologist for you.
     
  16. CurtisSC

    CurtisSC Screenwriter

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    LOL!! My audiologist friend actually in health insurance and benefits now...but I'm sure she can give me a referal.
     
  17. Edward J M

    Edward J M Cinematographer

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    Chris:

    Since the pre/pro automatically boosts the LFE channel 10 dB on DD and DTS tracks, the bass on DVDs is far more demanding from both a frequency and amplitude standpoint than is almost all music.

    I typically listen to my DVDs at -15RL to -10RL, which (depending on the DVD) provides an average volume on vocals and most scenes of around 80 dB. This is where most people prefer the playback volume, because it sounds natural on voices.

    With the subwoofer calibrated flat, at -15RL to -10RL, you will see bass peaks (transients, not continuous volume levels) in the 105-110 dB region on some of today's hot bassy DVDs. It takes a pretty serious subwoofer to deliver uncompressed bass peaks of that amplitude down to the 22-27 Hz region, where most of these hot passages reside.

    Hence my reference to a test volume for frequency response at 100-105 dB. A subwoofer will eventually start to alter the shape of its frequency response curve as the volume increases. A sub that delivers a nice looking curve at 75 dB, might deliver a much different looking (i.e., worse) curve at 100 or 105 dB.

    That is why it is appropriate to test a subwoofer for frequency response and distortion characteristics at that level - you want to see how it performs under real world conditions at realistic bass peak volumes.

    By your own admission, your STF-2 shakes the couch and windows quite well. If you whip out your sound meter and set it on C-weighted Fast at the seat and play back a DVD at a moderate volume of say -15 RL, I think you will find bass peaks of 100-105 dB (after adding the RS correction factor of about 3-4 dB for the 25-30 Hz region) at the seat.

    So no, I don't listen at continuous playback levels of 105 dB (and I don't know of anyone else who does either), and I don't need an audiologist - my hearing is checked annually and is just fine, thank you.

    The only point I wanted to make was the STF-2 can't handle much more than about -20RL in a moderate size room before it starts to compress the dynamics on hot bass transients. -20RL is not loud by any stretch of the imagination, but does occasionally require bass peaks in the 100 dB region at 22-27 Hz at the seat. At -15RL, where the vast majority of HT enthusiasts listen, the STF-2 noticeably struggles and compresses difficult bass transients, and IMO the 12" models from SVS and Hsu are better much better suited for HT at this reasonable and popular playback volume.

    Regards,

    Ed
     
  18. Phil Iturralde

    Phil Iturralde Screenwriter

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  19. CurtisSC

    CurtisSC Screenwriter

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    Edward,

    I do not think anybody is disputing the fact that in shear output, the larger and more expensive subs from Hsu and SVS have the advantage over the STF-2 or VTF-2.

    It is unfair to imply that folks that do not spend $600 on a sub can not have a very satisfying HT experience.

    For the cost, these subs have just about everythingelse out there beat. For under $400....there is nothing out there, short of DIY, that can touch the STF-2 other than the Adire Rava.
     

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