My SVS 16-46PC Review

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by PS Nystrom, Aug 11, 2001.

  1. PS Nystrom

    PS Nystrom Second Unit

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    My first 24 hours with the SVS 16-46PC have been very similar to my first 24 hours with Video Essentials. When I used that particular DVD for the first time back in 1997, I had certain expectations that were not met. I thought it would make my television sharper, brighter, and more colorful. In fact, the exact opposite was true. Sharpness ended up being set at zero, Brightness and Picture were dramatically reduced, and I couldn’t believe how far my new $50 DVD was telling me to turn down the Color setting. “What happened to all the red?” I asked myself. This can’t be right! The screen was so dark I could hardly see anything at all!But the narrator convinced me to try it for a few days. Let my eyes adjust to the new settings. I’m glad I did. With Sharpness gone my DVDs looked more and more like films. Everything was softer and more detailed. I began to realize how red people looked on every other TV set I saw. And with Picture and Brightness turned down I noticed how much more pleasant and easy on the eyes my set was to watch. I didn’t have to squint while watching a movie! The only negative side-effect of Video Essentials is all the headaches the televisions of friends and family give me with their flaming screens of doom.
    My SVS has given me the same sort of revelation. Before opening the massive UPS box, my expectations were this: first and foremost I was anticipating being buckled over with sub-sonic sounds while watching the likes of The Haunting, Toy Story 2, and Titan A.E.; second, I imagined the bass would be loud, loud, loud. I was expecting to hear things I’d never heard before, and feel things I’d never felt before. Finally, I wasn’t expecting any of this, but I wouldn’t have been surprised to see my cats vomiting, my pictures falling, and my neighbors complaining. None of this happened. My first thought was, the people at Home Theater Forum are crazy. The bass is no better than my JBL PB-12 that cost 1/3 of the price. What is going on? It seems the only difference between the SVS and the JBL is that the SVS is a bit louder.
    I watched clips of The Haunting, Toy Story 2, Backdraft, Saving Private Ryan, Charlie’s Angels, and U-571. I recalibrated. I watched clips of The Matrix, T2, Se7en, Red Planet, Contact, From the Earth to the Moon, and M:I-2.
    Still I wasn’t convinced this was the second coming. My jaw was not on the floor. It had been 24 hours since unpacking, and my first SVS movie-night was at hand. Friends came over with the promise of something special. And something special they did receive.At the beginning of Titan A.E. I was doubting my SVS purchase, 90 minutes later, I still can’t get over how awesome the sub is and how weak my JBL is in comparison. The key, my friends, to enjoying your new SVS is to watch an entire movie in the dark. I had spent all day getting up, sitting down, playing clips, adjusting settings, changing discs, and so on. I’d throw in U-571, stare at the SVS and say, “I dare you. Hit me with your best shot.” The adolecent male in me wanted to see my cat puke, my pictures on the floor, and my neighbor at my door. What watching a movie all the way through taught me is that the SVS is no trash-talking jerk, the SVS is a smooth-talking gentleman. It is James Bond. Classy, gorgeous, and always knows what to say. Just don’t disrespect him, because if you do you’ll get a punch to the gut that’ll instantly let you know who’s in charge.
    And for me, what has sold me on my SVS is this: control. The SVS is loud, yes, but so was my JBL. The SVS goes deep, yes, but so did my JBL. The SVS is always in control, yes. The same can not be said of the JBL.Two Titan A.E. sequences brought this to my immediate attention: the chase through the hydrogen trees, and the ice field. During the chase I was getting a little sore at the SVS. The scene was missing the umph of watching it with my JBL. It wasn’t as loud. Why? Simple... with the JBL, the sequence was essentially one loud rumbling event. There are so many different and deep explosions in that scene that my JBL just coudn’t keep up, so the result was a continuous, ugly rumble. Of course at the time I thought the ugly rumble kicked serious ass. “Check out that bass,” I’d say to my guests. If only I had known. Where once the scene called for 50 laser blasts and all I got was one big cacophany, the SVS was now giving me 50 distinct and individual blasts. It was beginning to make sense. Once the ice fields came around, I was convinced. Soon I got used to the idea that each collision deserved its own explosion and I caught on to just how powerfully deep the SVS goes. It was beautiful. It was clean. It was rich. It was bass you could take home to Mom.
    So just like Video Essentials, my SVSub is not what I expected... and that’s a good thing. I’ve learned that a good subwoofer is felt, not necessarily heard. With my JBL, I always knew when the subwoofer was working. I thought that was the way things should be, now I know how much better a movie can be when you don’t realize the sub is there. The room fills with bass so completely, so naturally, that I can think of no other way to put it than to say that it repects the filmmaker’s/composer’s intentions by acting as a team player with my other components. It’s not a glory-boy looking to dominate the soundtrack, all it wants is to do its job and be the best damn subwoofer ever. I think it is.
    Thank you SVS, your product has joined the moments when I first realized why a movie should be shown in its OAR (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade LD, 1990) and the first day I calibrated my television with Video Essentials (1997) as the most thought-provoking and revolutionary moments in my home theater’s history.
    I hope I didn’t lose anybody back there, and I hope I was able to get what I wanted to say across in a comprehensible manner. If not, oh well, I guess you’ll just have to get an SVS for yourself and see what all my fussing has been about.
    Pieter
    ------------------
    "Too late, I'm in the 40's, gotta go around the horn... it's faster!"
    [Edited last by PS Nystrom on August 11, 2001 at 04:35 PM]
     
  2. PS Nystrom

    PS Nystrom Second Unit

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    ...Fixed the spacing between paragraphs.
    Pieter
    ------------------
    "Too late, I'm in the 40's, gotta go around the horn... it's faster!"
    [Edited last by PS Nystrom on August 11, 2001 at 04:37 PM]
     
  3. Jeffrey Forner

    Jeffrey Forner Screenwriter

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    Nice review! I think it goes to show how people can be so wrong in regards to how home theater equipment should sound. I personally think that a product like SVS, which defies the conventions of good sound (in this case, kick-ass bass) takes a few days to truly appreciate. However, once you go back to what you had before, you can't believe how much worse your system sounds without it.
    Glad to hear you liked it. It certainly is a beautiful subwoofer.
    BTW, you can edit your message if you want to add spaces and paragraphs. Just click on the icon that looks like a pencil and paper and make the changes. Voila!
    ------------------
    -J.Fo
    Live in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Area? Wanna meet local HTF members? Click Here!
    [Edited last by Jeffrey Forner on August 11, 2001 at 03:44 PM]
     
  4. SVS-Ron

    SVS-Ron Screenwriter

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    Pieter,
    Thanks for that excellent review.
    You found the very essence of what SVS is all about. Not just loud (loud IS what's called for SOME time) but rather utterly natural, accurate, deep and naturally, affordable world-class bass.
    Given enough subs appropriate to the room (and a nice high calibration) you CAN make cats vomit (people too if I recall a past thread), things fall from the wall, warts to fall off, etc. You absolutely do NOT need to do this to appreciate the real reason we make such good subs. Now and then we do get folks who had loud (if not accurate) subs that initially have the same reaction you do... "where's the beef?!?".
    Once your ears are accustomed to how an LFE track (not to mention all the other bass that might be routed to the sub) is SUPPOSED to sound like you probably can't stand to go back. Want a real eye (ear?) opener?
    Give your SVS another few weeks watching all the killer disks out there (not to forget the sleepers in the LFE arena like The Professional, The Limey, Toy Story 2... even "Traffic" has some seriously spooky 15-20Hz stuff in parts) then try a few with the SVS off and just the JBL back in the loop. That's not a bad sub mind you, I've set a few up myself, but if anyone pukes at any stage of this story it'll be you, half way into one of your favorite disks, with all the boom back. You are ruined now Pieter.
    Just like with a proper calibration of a display, there is no going back I'm afraid.
    P.S. You didn't mention where you calibrated your sub relative to your mains, but I should add this... the second most common mistake in setting up an SVS is the failure to throw convention into the wind and slowly edge the calibration up, even several dBs over the mains. If you hear the sub bottom then back off, otherwise you should explore a hotter calibration.
    The most common mistake in setting up a sub (SVS included)?? Setting it TOO loud because someone thought they'd go for "cat puking reference level" 5 mintues out of the box and where an SPL meter is seen as one of those "techno geek toys" that "real men" don't need ;^)
    All the best and thanks for relating your experience with an SVS 16-46PC.
    P.P.S. I haven't really heard of an instance where our subs made someone's warts fall off, yet.
    Ron
     
  5. PS Nystrom

    PS Nystrom Second Unit

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    My mains are at 75db, the SVS is at 81/82db. I'm so jazzed about the new sound that I took some pictures and updated my site to reflect the new look of my BOOM room. Let me know what you think.
    Pieter
    ------------------
    "Too late, I'm in the 40's, gotta go around the horn... it's faster!"
    BoomRoom
     
  6. Joe6pack99

    Joe6pack99 Second Unit

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    Nice review I want to chime in on this also. I also have the SVS 16-46 but two of them. Initially I had the same reaction as you as i was expecting mind numbing LOUD gut wrenching bass but that is not what these subs are about. They are very tight and precise and sometimes when you are not expecting it WHAM something subtle will NAIL you! The problem is for most of us initially we are so used to loud BOOMY bass that when we hear for example the Ice Scene in Titan A.E we think it should be one loud continous BOOM where in reality that is all wrong. i would not trade there for nothing....well maybe two CS's or SS!!
     
  7. Robert G

    Robert G Stunt Coordinator

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    PS,
    I want to thank you for the review. You put into words exactly how I have felt since getting my SVS. The only thing better is when I got my second. (I have dual 20-39 cs with Samson 700) My M&K was not a bad sub at all but just not in the same league.
    I can't wait to build my new house with new HT. I will be going from a room that is open to the rest of the house to a 2900 cu. ft. room that is enclosed. The SVS's should kick butt even more. [​IMG]
     
  8. Jeff Keene

    Jeff Keene Supporting Actor

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    And I want to thank you for another reason. I'm planning to get a couple of these puppies, and I finally have an explanation for my wife that will ring true to both of us.
    SSSSSWWWWWWWWWWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEETTTTTT TTTTT
     
  9. James Edward

    James Edward Supporting Actor

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    I agree totally with your review. I went from an Hsu VTF-2 to the 20-39PC. What I have to say is praise for both the Hsu and SVS.
    The differences on ONLY sound-effects were not as large as I would have thought they would be. As you did, I ran through all the usual scenes(U-571, Top Gun, Ronin, Gladiator, etc.) and was not overly impressed as to the difference.
    Then I watched an entire movie. A-HA! The payoff. All those really low-bass music/synth cues effortlessly filled the room. And COMPLETELY non-directional(x-over at 80Hz thru receiver) too.
    So, the moral of the story is this: Forget the 'scenes' when your SVS arrives, and just calibrate and watch a whole movie. It'll save you the few days of wondering... You'll know right away you made a fine choice.
    P.S.- I would love a sock for the sub in Beige/Tan/Off-White.
     
  10. BryanZ

    BryanZ Screenwriter

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    Excellent review! [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Sometimes it takes a while for the ears to adjust. Other times we just need to watch the movie.
    What did your friends think of the sub?
     
  11. Westly T

    Westly T Second Unit

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    Don't forget to post the review on Audio Review, there are only 4 reviews on this unit there including mine.
    http://audioreview.com/reviews/
    ------------------
    - Wes
    My Home Theater
    The MMG were replaced with 1.6QR's and added Marantz MA-700's. SVS is here. Ok, allot more then that has changed, I'll update my page some day...
     
  12. SteveK

    SteveK Supporting Actor

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    Rather than start a separate review for my 20-39PC, I'd like to add my two cents worth to this thread.
    I've had my SVS for less than one week now. It's the first sub I've ever had (other than a cheap sub I had for a few days and returned). I remember one of the reasons I got rid of it was that I didn't like the booming bass it was putting out. So I ordered my SVS with some trepidation, because I remembered that I did not like the bass I had heard from the previous sub. Or at least what I remembered of it, as it's probably been 5 years or so since I had it and I only had it a few days. I was concerned that perhaps that is simply the way a subwoofer sounds, so get used to it! I decided in advance that if SVS sounded that boomy, that I would return it and simply do without a subwoofer, as I would rather have no sub than a boomy one. And that decision likely would have been permanent.
    So I hooked up the SVS. At first, I heard absolutely no sound coming out of it. Everything was hooked up fine, except for one thing...I had forgotten to plug it in! DUH! After plugging it in, the first DVD I put in is the AVIA calibration disk. How's that for exciting? I get everything proper calibrated and put in Toy Story. Needless to say, the collapse of the THX logo sounded much different than before!
    I think what has surprised me most is how well the SVS blends with the rest of my speakers, for both movies and music. It's almost like it's not there at all, yet it definitely adds a lot to music. But it does so without calling attention to itself. It's not a big booming that overpowers everything else, and it's not an overemphasis of the bass at the expense of midrange and treble. It just blends in and seems very accurate and certainly sounds natural.
    I've played around with some of the subs at Best Buy, and every one of them is too boomy for my tastes. Perhaps they just had the relative volume of the subs set too high compared to the other speakers in the setups, but every one of them had too much emphasis on the bass, at least for my tastes. I want to be able to hear all the instruments without overemphasizing the bass end of the musical spectrum.
    As mentioned above, I've only had my SVS for about a week, so I really haven't had the opportunity to use it extensively. But I must admit I am very pleased so far, even if my house is still standing. I'll hopefully write a more thorough review later, but this thread is closer to my initial thoughts than most others I have read. My jaw may not be on the floor and I don't have any new cracks in my walls, but I am very pleased with the bass I am hearing so far.
    Good job SVS!
    Steve K.
     

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