SVS 20-39 versus 16-46... which one?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Tom_Maher, Aug 4, 2002.

  1. Tom_Maher

    Tom_Maher Stunt Coordinator

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    I have decided to preorder an SVS PC Plus subwoofer, however, am having difficulty in deciding between the 20-39 and the 16-46. I fired off an email to SVS, and while it was a very good, thoughtful response, it didn't really help my decision very much, basically culminating in a 'you can't go wrong with either one.' The subwoofer will be paired with a Denon 3802 and Klipsch Reference Series R*3IIs all around. The room is approximately 18 feet by 15 feet, with about a 7.5 to 8 foot ceiling ( though it dips down to 7 on the left side). The room is enclosed on all sides, with two doors in the back (between back rears and next to the side left rear). The sub itself will be placed in a corner. I usually listen to DVDs at about -10 to -15 decibles on the receiver, however, I do crank it up to reference level when watching some new releases, action movies, or when showing the system to friends. The system is used almost entirely for watching DVDs, with almost no music played on it (and I'm not a fan of pipe organ stuff [​IMG]). Finally, I want to know that I'm getting the most out of the bass on my DVDs and want the sub to nice and loud and also tactile, I want to really feel as well as hear the bass. Any help in deciding between these two models would be GREATLY appreciated! Thank you very much!
     
  2. Dustin B

    Dustin B Producer

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    20-39 then I would think.

    The only draw back for striaght HT use with the 20-39 is there are a select few DVDs that might bottom out the 20-39 and not the 16-46 when played at reference level. 10dB under reference I don't think you would run into any problems with either.

    But the 20-39 will have a touch more tactile impact in the above 30hz bass. Slight difference anyways. Unless you're Tom or Ron listening to the different models all day you might not be able to tell them appart.

    Although now that I think of it, I'm sure Tom said the PC series have a rumble filter on them. So that should prevent those select few movies from bottoming the 20-39. Yep I'll stick to my first sentence as my recommendation for which way to go.
     
  3. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    I'm sure you could even get a 20-39 tuned to 18 hz or something like that. Not sure if its a good or useful compromise, but you could ask them. It does have the cool "custom" factor though [​IMG]
     
  4. SVS-Ron

    SVS-Ron Screenwriter

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    Dustin, all,

    The PC-Plus line will have a four position subsonic filter centered on 12, 16, 20, and 25 Hz. Naturally these correspond with the tuning possibilities of the PC-Plus models (only two of which will be ideal for any given one). This works in conjunction with the tri-port system and the port blocker to be included with each PC-Plus.

    Running at VERY high levels without fear of overloading any PC-Plus will be possible. Naturally this will give the PC-Plus yet another advantage over the current PCi architecture with a set subsonic filter.

    Tom,

    I know folks sometimes look for us to wax poetic about esoteric and highly subjective qualities (a comparison to wine was used lately) but we just can't bring ourselves to do it. Sure we could come up with something in this department... but given every user, every movie, every room will dominate the results of any such comparison it'd be self-serving at best. The industry is simply polluted with this kind of psychobabble.

    In general (all other things being equal, and of course... they never are) the 16-46PCi will audibly extend to lower frequencies than the 20-39PCi, though the amount of programing that will reveal this is somewhat rare (though hardly non-existant). The 20-39PCi will tend to go a bit louder above 25Hz or so (where most music and movie bass is) but few users actually use all this SPL headroom as it is. Both subs will be supremely accurate and natural sounding up to their limits and sound much more alike than different.

    If you tend to favor spine tingling deep bass over sheer volume go with the 16-46PCi. If you want deep, but want just a smidge more "oomph" on the majority of DVD blockbusters (and if budget or the imposing size of the 16-46PCi force you to keep the cost/height down) the 20-39PCi is a no-brainer.

    Two great subs with only slightly different personalities (either of which will dust nearly any commercial sub costing far more subjectively and objectively).

    That's about it.

    Ron
     
  5. Chris James

    Chris James Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi Tom. I recently had to make this decision (PCi series though). Finally I decided on the 16-46PCi instead of the 20-39. My reason? The increase above 30Hz was not as important as the depth of the 16-46. When the dinosaurs are fighting in Jurassic Park 3 (played at lower levels), the room just shimmers. The bass on every dvd has been effortless, and fills the air like liquid. Can the 20-39 do that? Most likely so, but my 16-46 can much lower.
    Chris
    PS - Sorry I wasn't more indepth, just wanted to use "shimmer" and "liquid!" [​IMG]
     
  6. Dan Lindley

    Dan Lindley Second Unit

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    As the guy who brought up 'wine-like' adjectives, I can feel Tom's pain (and Hugh's from the other thread). It is hard to make decisions on these things without hearing them, yet Ron is probably right to avoid adjectives. As I said in the wine thread: "TV likes measureable variables, and I respect that. But he had a hard time waxing with adjectives. Fair enough, and again, perhaps the best course."
    OTOH, if max SPL is not your goal, what else are the differences between the speakers? A bit of accuracy. Fine. But I for one long for some more adjectives at this point, while fully recognizing the idiosyncratic quicksand they create.
    I went for the PCI 16-46 based on the following quotes, among other factors:
    Tom V said in an email: "At a given calibration level the larger sub will always provide more *tactile*(
     
  7. Tom_Maher

    Tom_Maher Stunt Coordinator

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    Here's the real question, if I do begin listening to the majority of my DVDs at reference level, instead of the -10 to -15 db I usually do now, would the 16-46 still be able to provide a good deal of oomph in action movies? If I do ever get around to sound dampening the ceiling of the room, I could run at reference level almost all the time. While the 16-46 seems to have a slight edge under reference, will also knock my socks off as I begin to listen more and more at reference level? Also, there is absolutely zero chance of me ever adding a second sub (I had a hard time getting the ok to spend 750-800 on a sub in the first place!), so one will have to provide the punch I'm looking for. Thanks for the help!
     
  8. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    Afraid my comments are not on target for you, but I just listened to a dual SVS 20-39 setup and it really works well. Lots of dynamics. Good low end, like very deep sounding. All in a sort of L shaped room. I really like the sound alot.
     
  9. Chip E

    Chip E Screenwriter

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    Tom,
    You sound like a 16-46 guy... [​IMG] (and i own a 20-39)
     
  10. Bill Polley

    Bill Polley Second Unit

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    I am very impressed with my 16-46 PCi. My brother was here last weekend and could not believe what he heard. Even my wife can hear and feel the difference from my old sub. I can't tell you how it compares with the 20-39 because I have never heard one, but my 16-46 is awesome. It has more depth, power, and clarity than any other sub I have heard. I have never heard a DIY sub, but I can honestly say I have heard several dozens of others, from Advent to Velodyne, and none sounded better, especially at the price point I paid ($599)!!
     
  11. Brian Fellmeth

    Brian Fellmeth Supporting Actor

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    Its pretty simple. The 16-46 goes a little lower and the 20-39 goes a little louder. The differences are quite subtle- hence the "you can't go wrong either way" advice which is not evasive but simply true. I would say the 20-39, but mostly because its smaller and cheaper.
     
  12. BobAlbano

    BobAlbano Second Unit

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    Go with the 20-39pc+! If you feel that you need to go lower you can always plug one of the ports to tune the sub to 16hrz. You get the best of both worlds that way!
     
  13. Dustin B

    Dustin B Producer

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    Except plugging a port isn't free. It will limit peak output (before compression and/or port noise start to crop up) around tuning quite a bit.
     
  14. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    I wonder if you could take a 16-46 and have it tuned to 18 hz like I mentioned trying with a 20-39?
     
  15. Dustin B

    Dustin B Producer

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    I'm not sure if SVS will actually do it. But there is no reason they can't. The limiting factor of tuning the smaller enclosures lower is the ports get to long to fit in the enclosure (plus if the ports get too long they can resonate, like a pipe organs pipes). But to tune higher you make the ports shorter, so fitting isn't a problem, and making them shorter makes resonating less likely.
     
  16. Tom_Maher

    Tom_Maher Stunt Coordinator

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    Watching Resident Evil last night (popcorn fun, and hey, I loved the games!), I could not see myself cranking the volume up higher than about -5 decibles on the receiever for normal listening. At that point, I could hear occasional (during moments of big bass) distortion with my existing sub (Sony SAW-M40) which is calibrated 3-4 decibles higher than the rest of my speakers, though it did manage to provide some nice booms with the Denon when it wasn't totally taxed (I adjusted the crossover a bit to get rid the slight distortion I was hearing). Considering that at -5 decibles the rest of my family didn't come screaming for me to turn it down, I'd say I can safely run at that level for the majority of DVD viewing. This said, will the 16-46 be able to provide nice booms at this volume level? I know it'll give me ALL the bass, but I just want to make sure that all that bass will really be enough to give that 'rattle the walls' effect at high volumes. I'm heavily leaning toward the 16-46 at this point, and asking around the house, the general consensus seems to be that everyone would prefer really 'tactile' bass to 'loud' bass, but at 750-800, I really want to make sure I choose the better of the two for me, so sorry if I'm repeating myself a bit[​IMG]. Again, thanks a lot for the help!
     
  17. Adam Horak

    Adam Horak Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, I recently purchased a 20-39 PCi over the 16-46. I also listen almost completely to movies. I think the number of scenes in movies that will go below what a 20-39 can do is very few. Hell, my ears cant really even hear much down that low anyway. I saved $50, got a sub that will go a little louder and I dont think I really sacrificed anything. The 20-39 will go so low and so loud that I dont think you will ever find yourself wanting for a 16-46 for watching DVDs. Just my 2 cents...
     
  18. Eric C D

    Eric C D Second Unit

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    I'm not gonna jump in with any more audio comparisons because I would just repeat what has already been said. But as the owner of RF3s and a 20-39 (upgraded PC, but AFAIK the same size as the PC+ equivalent), let me add a visual note.
    The 20-39 is very close to the same height as the RF3, so to my eye there is a nice visual symmetry. It's WAY down on the list of considerations, and did not drive my original purchase. It's just something I noticed after the fact.
    Whichever way you go, I'm sure you'll end up with the same stupid [​IMG] look almost all of us SVS owners have. I've got it right now when contemplating unleashing my new LOTR disk tonight!
    Enjoy,
    Eric
     
  19. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    The number of discs that use the gut-low bottom that the 16-46 can hit may be low, but it's likely to increase, especially for big budget extravaganzas. When I played Pearl Harber DC and LOTR, I was definitely glad that a) I had a 16-46 and b) that I went for the driver upgrade to PCi. Loud, and incredibly low sound. Face it, if you like to show off your system, the depths that a 16-46 can plumb is going to make a bigger impression than a few more decibels at a point where people's ears are already bleeding.
     
  20. Dustin B

    Dustin B Producer

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    Tom, any of the SVS subs are way way above the Sony you currently have in performance. You will notice a big difference in quality, extension and overall output level no matter which one you get with the Sony as your point of reference.
     

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