SVS 20-39CS Review

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by John Stone, Dec 27, 2001.

  1. John Stone

    John Stone Supporting Actor

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    I've had my SVS for a few days now, and just wanted to post some comments on the 20-39CS. I had not planned to post "yet another review" on the SVS, but I think something about these things compels their owners to tell the world. [​IMG]
    First I want to detail my experiences with providing power to the sub. I had planned to use an old Sony receiver to power the sub, (model STR-AV920, circa 1990, which claims 190 + 190 watts @ 4 ohms). I carefully calibrated the sub and speakers using Avia and a Radio Shack analog SPL meter and popped in SW:TPM. The "exploding ball" logo was sounding really good, but when the ball exploded all the bass dropped out and the old Sony was flashing "protect". I had the main volume at a moderate level, way below reference. After several more tests, I knew that the old Sony was not up to the task. I decided to run up to Best Buy and get the $99.00 KLH receiver that some have reported good results with. Ewww. The KLH cut off at even less volume levels than the old Sony. I emailed Tom at SVS to make sure I had everything hooked up correctly. He was surprised to hear about the KLH, since he had used the same receiver (or at least the same model number) to drive 2 SVSs about a year ago. I found the KLH to be completely anemic. By the time I backed it off to the point that it was no longer cutting off during very low and loud bass sequences, it was not providing house shaking bass, just good solid bass. Don't get me wrong, it sounded good, but I knew the SVS was capable of much more. Frustrated, I ran up to Absolute Sound and picked up a Marantz MA6100 monoblock amp. The amp is completely silent. It provides about 180 watts RMS at 4 ohms, which is still less power than the SVS can handle, but at least I knew the stated power rating was accurate. I popped in SW:TPM again and watched the "ball explosion" logo at just below reference level. WOW! Problem solved! The SVS kicked the hell out of chest and nothing sounded strained or weak. I could not believe the sound and feeling of the incredible low, clean bass my SVS was putting out.
    Over the next few hours I threw in every test disc that I could think of: U-571, Saving Private Ryan, Toy Story II, Titan A.E., the Haunting, The Matrix, Armageddon and so on. I can't properly describe the feeling of hearing and feeling movie theater bass in my own home. As a matter of fact, I can't remember ever feeling bass like that, even in a theater. I watched Titan A.E. from start to finish and I had a silly grin on my face the entire movie. When the film was over I felt like I had just stepped off a roller coaster, my entire body was still shaking. SVS subs should come with a copy of Titan A.E., it's a "must-have" DVD for SVS owners.
    Some of you may remember my SVS and wife - help! thread, which I posted before I ordered my sub. Thankfully my wife was grinning just as much as I was, and I'm pleased to report that she loves it, too. I was needlessly worried about the house coming down around us. It took us about 10 minutes to isolate a few rattles and straighten a few pictures. The dogs are not bothered by the bass either, which was another concern of ours. Both of them slept on the couch next to us during Titan A.E. [​IMG]
    I also tried quite a lot of music CDs, and was equally as impressed. Put in track 2 of the Beastie Boys "Paul's Boutique" and try not to dance around. You can't do it. [​IMG] The bass is just alive! I also used Bass Mekanik's "5.0" CD to test the sub. With a few notable exceptions I'm not much of a rap fan, but there are test tones on that disc from 20-99 Hz. Great for checking out your room with an SPL meter at various frequencies.
    To sum up, the SVS certainly lives up to all the hype. If you are looking for a relatively inexpensive way to add real movie theater bass to your HT rig, there are not many choices. For me, there is no choice: SVS all the way. From the excellent customer service before and after the sale, to the quality of the product that was delivered to my door, I could not be more impressed. This was the best money I've ever spent on my HT. Perhaps others have had better luck using old receivers as amps for their SVS, but I would suggest purchasing a good amp such as the Samson S700 that SVS offers. At $350.00 for 350 watts x 2, it's a steal. I may return the Marantz (which I really like) and get the Samson since it has 2 channels.
    I put a few pictures up on my web site. Got some cool shots of the "tissue dance" too. [​IMG]
    THANKS SVS!
     
  2. Geoff L

    Geoff L Screenwriter

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    Glade your pleased with the new toy. It's also a bummer that the Sony wasn't up to the power task...
    I certainly enjoyed the nature pic's. Really liked the spider, too cool.
    Continue to enjoy your new bass experience, as now you have to watch them all over again to see what you have been missing. And it looks as though you will be busy for a while, wew lot of movies on them thier shelves.. [​IMG]
    Oh what fun, new toys, gota love em!
    Enjoy the Holiday Season, SVS style...
    Geoff
     
  3. Parker Clack

    Parker Clack Schizophrenic Man
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    John:

    Send me the link to your web page and I will add it to the member's Home Theater section.

    Nice pics of the SV sub in action!

    Parker
     
  4. SteveBjr

    SteveBjr Stunt Coordinator

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    Congrats on the new sub John. The 20-39 is an amazing sub as i'm sure every other SVS is. Love the tissue dance that was a great touch [​IMG] I had a 20-39 and i absolutely loved it, i decided to upgrade to an CS-U/S1000 combo after talking to Ron and Tom about moving to a bigger HT room.
    Top of the line products at a great price + superb tech support = SVS.
    Enjoy the new sub [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  5. Brian Bowles

    Brian Bowles Second Unit

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    I recently got my SVS 20-39 on Dec 24th. I am very pleased too. Of course my wife told me it looked like a humidifier in the corner of the room. I am amazed at the performance of this sub with the samson s700. I put in a few cd's and the bass was very tight and precise. It was not boomy at all. It was just the right amount. I then put in Jurassic Park 3. I used the same settings that were used when listening to the music cd's. When the dinosaur walked the entire room shaked. My wife has some candles sitting on some type of rod iron holder and they were moving on the table!!! Every time someone comes over and listens to it they start laughing and can not wipe the smile off of their face. It is so funny. Before for about a week or so I had a velodyne ct-10. I know this is a well respected company and compared to most of the offerings out there it is good. It is just not in the same ball park as the SVS. I had to turn the velodyne way up to get bass that I could feel. When I did that it was real boomy in all the songs I listened to. Excuse me if I am going on and on but I am not over the "wow factor" I want to call all of my friends and have them come over and listen to it. I have only tried it in one place too. There might be a better corner or something in the room. If the other corner is farther away from the seating area, would it generally not be as good of a choice? Wow! Excuse me there I go again!
     
  6. John Stone

    John Stone Supporting Actor

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    Geoff, there are a bunch of DVDs in my collection that I can't wait to watch again. Thanks for the comments, glad you liked the pictures.
    Steve, I'll bet that CS-U/S1000 combo sounds incredible! I thought about upgrading to the CS+ before my 45 days are up, but I'm going to be moving my 20-39CS to a dedicated HT room (as soon as it is finished). The dedicated HT room is smaller than the room the SVS is in now and, unlike my current family room, it is also completely closed in. I'm thinking the single 20-39CS will be more than enough...but you never know... [​IMG]
    Brian, believe me... I know just how you feel!
     
  7. Shawn Shultzaberger

    Shawn Shultzaberger Supporting Actor

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    All this talk is making me very anxious. Mine are now in Indiana making there way to Denver. Dual 25-31cs package. The anticipation is building. I may have to be sick on the day they arrive so they don't sit outside to long. [​IMG]
    I feel like one of those actors in the Heinz Ketchup commercial and the background music is saying: "anticipaaayation".
    Gonna give the system an AVIA setup before they get here.
     
  8. JerryW

    JerryW Supporting Actor

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    Hey man, I had EXACTLY the same problem with the KLH. My 142L EBS Shiva sub was too much for the poor little KLH. So, I went to Audiogon and bought a 250 W/ch Kenwood stereo amp (400 W/ch into 4 ohms). It made a huge difference; no more clipping, shutting down, or distortion. Just pure, raw, uncompromised power. FWIW, I run my Shiva sub at 250W per voice coil, providing 500W into 8ohms... it's a perfect match for the Shiva. It handles everything the Shiva can ask for, amd the Kenwood doesn't put out too much to bottom the Shiva. Nice. [​IMG]
     
  9. Raine Linton

    Raine Linton Stunt Coordinator

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    I've had my 20-39 for about a week and I can't believe the level my system has risen to. My room is small but the 20-39 fits it so well with super deep butt bouncin' bottom. My son told me tonight the I HAVE to watch Exit Wounds because there is a part where the bass is so deep it felt like it was shaking his brain. This is a fantastic sub!. Lets not forget the musical side to this sub which doesn't miss a beat [​IMG]. Thanks to SVS!
     
  10. Michael P

    Michael P Agent

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    Woohoo, I just got my 20-39cs yesterday, and installed it last night, with a little help from my 7 and 9 year olds. I have it hooked up to an old Onkyo tx-910 which has very little power, I think around 55 watts. When I did the test tones from my receiver, I found I couldn't turn the volume up past 1/3 or it would have made the cats explode. Needless to say, I was very pleaseantly surprised, and I will hold off buying that plate amp for the time being. Thanks SVS, what a great sub and a great Christmas present.
     
  11. John Stone

    John Stone Supporting Actor

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    Shawn, I thought mine would never get here. I had it shipped 2-day air and UPS screwed that up too. [​IMG] All I can say is the wait is worth it!
    Jerry, I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one who had problems with the KLH! I was starting to think I was doing something wrong...
    Raine, I have Exit Wounds but have not watched it since I got the sub. I'll have to add that to my list of "must watch" SVS titles.
    Michael, that's amazing. I don't know why I had such poor results with my "low powered" receivers, but I definitely seem to be in the minority. Anyway, glad it is working so well for you!
     
  12. Brian Brown

    Brian Brown Auditioning

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    Hi all,
    I had a different problem with TPM than you. I bought the cs-ultra and hooked it up to a Carver 1.0t in it's mono mode which is rated to 1000 watts (give or take). I calibrated it after finding the best location and then tried the exploding planet. Much to my horror, my ultra bottomed out(scared me to death). Fortunitly my ultra came out o.k. but I learned 3 things.
    1. even ultras have a limit.
    2. the TPM has killer bass.
    3. I need more ultra's!!![​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  13. Pete Jennings

    Pete Jennings Second Unit

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    John, I enjoyed your review and your website. I'm very jealous, I won't be able to afford a sub until at least the spring. [​IMG]
    Pete
     
  14. SVS-Ron

    SVS-Ron Screenwriter

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    John,
    Thanks for the review. I think you captured "the SVS experience" quite well. Before they get them most folks think they are like other subs they have heard, only louder. You know better. SVS is really something differnt from what most have heard.
    Brian,
    Good summary. Yes, 1000 watts, especially if they might be on the ragged edge of clipping, will do that, TPM is a real sub torture test. Most subs only reproduce a small portion of the bass on that disk!
    You would be better off running the amp in stereo and feeding dual CS-Ultras probably. Another idea would be to get some subsonic filter dialed in (since TPM has VERY high amplitude bass below 15Hz which most subs don't even TRY to reproduce). An ART 351 would be just the ticket there. Best of all is a rig where you have the eq for subsonic and to tame peaks, AND twin subs.
    That would be somehthing.
    I understand that Rome wasn't built in a day, but you do know that we offer 5% off a second matching sub? More sigificantly, SVS owners like you can get 10% off a single CS-Plus sub (which would be close to your CS-Ultra in performance for $599) or 20% off dual subs (no amp purchase necessary but the discount applies to the amp too!).
    So that'd be roughly $530 to nearly double your bass. Something to consider? This discount is almost certain to end when we start shipping the CS-Plus around mid/lat Jan. Just wanted to throw it out as an option to folks that discover they love deep bass more than they expected. ;^)
     
  15. Jon_B

    Jon_B Screenwriter

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    Congrats John. Welcome to the SVS club. I really liked your website pics. Especially the tissue dance. [​IMG] I've also noticed that my dog takes naps when I'm watching a movie too. I figured that the bass would bother the little guy, but he sleeps pretty peacefully. Enjoy!
    Jon
     
  16. Brian Brown

    Brian Brown Auditioning

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    Ron,

    Your right!! the ART-351 looks like just the ticket. I also think the second sub is a good idea. I guess it's time to buy the wife another diamond ring or...btw what advantage would the samson amp have over the carver?
     
  17. SVS-Ron

    SVS-Ron Screenwriter

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    Brian,

    I'm not sure the Samson would have any real advantage over a Carver. It would of course have easy to access volume, internal signal splitting (one input can be set to drive both channels with the same signal, PERFECT for dual subs, no Y-Cable needed!) and be fully supported by us (it dies we send you a new one, done).

    But if the Carver puts out 250-350 watts in stereo really I'd just save my $ and put it to the sub. Get a CS-Plus and an ART and tell the wife about "all the money you are saving on the old amp".

    Have the ring ready just in case. ;^)

    Ron
     
  18. Todd Terwilliger

    Todd Terwilliger Screenwriter

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    I got my 20-39cs in today and I've been fooling around with it all afternoon. It is unbelievable! My old sub (my first) was a cheap KLH but I never figured that there would be as much of a QUALITY difference between that and the SVS as a volume difference. I was wrong by about a hundred miles.

    I'd have to say, the biggest impact on me (so far) was the pod race on TPM. It's like a completely new experience with the SVS. The tight deep bass as the racers (especially Sebulba) pass by the camera is incredible.

    I the only way I can liken the change to my system is to compare it to listening to something when your ears have popped or they're full of wax and then clearing them and having another listen.

    Mind you, I've only done a prelim calibration (waiting for my Avia disc to arrive) nor have I corner loaded it yet (need to move a few things around), so I am sure it can only get better (better!) from here.

    I've read and read and read about Ron and the guys over at SVS and everything is true. Their support is second to none and is their product. Cheers, gentlemen!

    One other note: I originally did not order the Samson amp with the sub (the S700) but changed my mind and picked one up from somewhere else. Not only is the thing dead quiet, it's stayed cool to the touch during all of my testing and fooling around. It's a great deal all around.
     
  19. John Stone

    John Stone Supporting Actor

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