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Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ryan Cruz, Jun 16, 2002.
Given the relatively same price range of course
Most people say Rels are just awesome for music. Reviews on this site indicate the SVS is no slouch in that department either. I think people perceive the Rel as awesome for music because it lacks last octave performance but has solid above 30hz output. The SVS trounces most competition in extension. But output wise there is no contest. For the same price bracket what you can get from Rel will be way behind SVS. A pair of 10" drivers in a small high tuned ported enclosure just cannot compete output wise with a pair of high excursion 12" drivers in larger lower tuned ported enclosures.
I do not think a comparably priced REL can touch an SVS for HT. Most of the SVS "music" reviews I have seen are pretty lousy, providing little real info to go on. The great advantage of the REL is the ability to blend it in when running your mains full range. With planar speakers this can be critical... and can only be achieved with the SVS by adding an active xover (never mind being able to support two different sources into the sub with different levels... you start to add more and more components and lose convenience the REL has built in). M.
SVS sold direct to customers and for pure HT output will be a better choice for HT. Rel is great for music and also not horrible for HT, although in its price range for sheer output there are choices out there. I've heard both several times and the high-end store where I go many have carries Rel and several customers have brought in SVS with crossovers to try them for music vs. the Rel and it is a 30 second propostion that the SVS does not come close in music with either the Strata or the Storm or any of the higher price Rels. The Rels have 2 crossovers built-in, high level and low level with separate volume controls. So it you have a situtation where you go analog direct and bypass DSPs, the Rels take the signal from your amp and properly set with a crossover to match your speakers and room just disappear. That being said, the Strata III is $1,250 in black and the Storm III is $1,750 in black. The Q series or Rels entry level series does have many of the same features but in my opinion they are not quite as good on music. I think the Q150 is $1,095. So if your goal is HT output with the ability to play acceptable on music with a separate crossiver, the SVS would be a good choice. On dynamic HT soundtracks, the bigger SVS PC is clearly in the same ballpark with the Storm at a lot less money. It is better than the Strata. If your goal is music too and you have the dollars the Rel may be a better choice. Note that if your get an external crossover and use 2 SVS subs and turn off the DSP and run the subs in stereo for music, that will likely give you better music performance if set-up properly at a price that may be close to one Rel. The room and set-up are very important. I've seen people with good subs get terrible results. The room is the most overlooked factor. So if music is important and if you have a limited budget you may be better off with an SVS and a crossover and setting up the room with bass traps and doing it right.
Phil, Thanks for your well written post here. I am in a situation that I've been contemplating the past week or so of which sub to purchase. I am in the process of getting some Paradigm Studio 100's and am concerned about a sub and which one to buy. I was and am strongly considering the SVS 20-39 PCi at the moment in a 16 X 20 room. However, as subjective as this is, the appearance of the SVS piece comes into play. A large tube does not sit well with me. Always subjective of course. Also I have room space constraints. I also was seriously considering one of the Carver Knight Shadow sub's due to it's size and output. It may not have the punch that I need though. Problem as always is to get them into your home, demo them and see if they blend well. If not, then you have to send them back and absorb the shipping costs. Local dealers want a fortune most of the time for their equipment. I think the Studio's will have adequate base for music. For HT, I will need the sub. Before I made the plunge into a decision, I want to hear the 100's in my room and see if I need to buy a more musical or HT sub. My listening is a 50/50 mix. Your post clears up a bunch of questions that I had in my mind. Thank you very much, Charles
I have a svs 20-39cs+. This sub has a tendency to disapear in music, it plays clean and low, but it nerver overpowers the other speakers. Sometimes I even wondered if the sub was on . I found this odd at first, because I was familiar with car subwoofer, that have the tendency to overpower everything in the music.
It took me a while to get used to the svs sound for music, but it now I think it is really great.
Now, with HT, the sub transform itself in a different monster . I run my svs 3db hot, and the sub sends waves of ultralow sounds throughout the room. Playing a dvd in reference level is amazing, you can feel the hair in your arm move with the sound pressure. The sub never booms, never strain, the sound is violent, clean and low. I nerver heard a REL sub (kind hard to find in my country), but I heard a top of the line B&W and some paradigm subs, and they never came even close.
Charles, thanks for the comments. My friend works part time at a local high-end shop and when someone takes vacation a couple of times a year or when there is something big to deliver I am often around. So I have spent lots of time for different systems in different rooms and with different equipment. We've been known to stay until 2 or 3 AM to evaluate things. I am putting back together the main system after chopping apart walls to rewire for a Sharp 9000 and my next project is the basement. I also have a bedroom system and most of the speakers and a sub for the basement system. I happen to have a Sunfire, Jr. in the bedroom system at present. I moved the Strata III out of there to use it on the rears of my main system. I have a Q150 that I have not used yet (but heard) that I am puttting on the center channel and 2 Storm IIIs that function as a ".1" channel for HT and stereo subs for music. First of all one must understand that the majority of subs have high and low level inputs that you usually choose one or the other. The must common practice for HT is to connect the low level output to the sub out on the receiver or preamp to get the ".1" channel for HT. For that you are relying on the crossover built into your DSP which the std. is 80 HZ and some things have flexible crossovers. Each set of speakers has a frequency response which will perform in accordance with its design and room characteristics, the bass in many cases can be very hard to get right since the waves are so large. The room is almost always overlooked entirely. It is not that expensive to get a Radio Shack SPL meter and test disc to have a rough idea as to the positives and negatives. Since I am actually very sick, I have that plus a one-third octave RTA with calibrated microphone to make sure I drive myself crazy. Bass frequencies sum. This means that if you have a speaker in a room that starts to roll off at a decent clip at 45 HZ and you cross over a sub at over 45HZ you are going to produce a bass bump in your room. For HT you want the ".1" channel to produce those loud effects. If you want music to sound like real musicians (e.g. if you have a bass playing you want it to sound like the real thing not a boom-box and until people hear something properly set-up, they usually have no idea). The Rels have 2 crossovers as noted with separate volume controls and the high level input allows the selection for example on a Storm III to be set as low as 22HZ which means it will start to roll off the bass from that frequency on up so likely around 40HZ it is not doing a whole lot. The Sunfire is the bedroom has 2 inputs that I connect when I listen to an appropriate source. When I listen to HT, I use the RCA connection. When I listen to music, I take a signal (similar to a Rel fashion) from the positive and negative of one channel and the positive of the other and hook it to the speaker level inputs of the sub and disconnect the RCA. For HT, I set the sub crossover at a higher point that the crossover set in my DSP so that is the controlling factor. For 2-channel music, I go analog direct and turn-off the DSP and the subs crossover setting have a minimum and maximum from 30 or 35 HZ (forget at the moment) to around 150. In my bedroom with my spakers which are big bookshelf type mounted to the wall, the minimum sub setting work since they drop off just below that and setting up the sub in that fashion it takes the same signal from your amp and fills in the missing bass. If I had bigger speakers, I would get that bass bump and I get it if I don't go analog direct since the DSP setting I use for HT is 50HZ on the front speakers and playing a CD that way in no way sounds too good. PS - you need to be careful doing this too since when you disconnect the wire from the sub speaker terminals since they are connected to the amp if they touch that produces a short - the Rels with the permanent hook-ups are easier that way. The settings may be similar on the Carver sub that is derived from the Sunfire design and before I made any decision, I would try to get some type of room measurement if I were to use a sub for music. I personnel don't find the SVS ugly and they can be hidden. I think they are an excellent value for HT, nearly unbeatable at their price points. If I did not have a serious sub for the basement I am going to do, I would consider it but I have a Phase Technology 15 inch 240W continuous and 800W peak sub that will go down there since it will be a large room and it will be fine. A sub properly set-up disappears on music. My friend who works at the store doesn't like the Sunfire stuff (and in all fairness the systems he has set-up for people did not have them set-up properly for music as most people don't) and the sub is hidden behind a chest in my bedroom and I did not tell him that I moved the Strata to the other room. He was amazed how it sounded. So the room and set-up are most important. My main room is 2-stories and I have 3 ASC tube traps, another bass trap and other sound treatments (some of them natural decorations) to tame the problem areas.
Almost appears the HSU VTF-3 would be more along the lines of what you are searching for.
I think that the VTF3 is probably the best combination of Music and HT and Price to come out in a long time (and this is from an SVS owner). The only place where I could give the advantage to the SVS I have (20-39 with ISD) is in low bass extension, but in every other case, the VTF3 had a slight advantage. The only thing is that the VTF3 is an absolute beast, and it is harder to place than the SVS. In terms of musicality, I thought that it outdid the REL storm that I compared it with.
Chung... any details on your comparison between the VTF-3 and the Storm. I had high hopes for the VTF-3 but it does not provide the hookup capabilities of the REL. Thx!
In low volume tests, like critical listening of Miles Davis SACD's and Gypsey Kings CD's, these units were very very similar. But when the volume went up, like if listening to Beck, Tribe Called Quest, or Beastie Boys at ear popping levels, the REL just couldnt keep up. The bass was there, it kept up with the music, but it didnt punch you in the chest the same way that the Hsu did. I will post a couple more opinions when i have the time