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SVS and Music only system experiences and opinions (1 Viewer)

Jeffrey Forner

Screenwriter
Joined
Jun 19, 1999
Messages
1,117
I can't comment specifically on an SVS's performance in a dedicated 2-channel system, but since my SVS is the only sub I own and the only sub I use for music, I think I'm qualified enough to say something about its musical qualities.

I have owned two SVS's now. I currently own a 16-46PC+; before that, I owned an original 16-46PC model (complete with original driver and everything). Prior to that, I owned an Adire Rava. Do a search on that little sub and you will find many hailing it as one of the best musical subwoofers in that price range and rightly so. It produces extremely clean bass that hits hard and loud and even low... to a certain point.

Despite all this, I think my mammoth and ported SV Subs - both of them - handle music with greater ease and more authority. As with the Rava, the bass on these subs never overwhelms the music. It simply fills out the low end and blend into my mains. The difference is that the SVS has the capacity to reach much lower and louder than a sealed sub. So when I do play that rare track with something below 30 Hz, I can rest assured knowing that I will hear it (or feel it) in all it's bassy goodness. I must admit that I was surprised initially when I realized that I preferred the SVS to the Rava in music because the Rava is such a strong performer in that regard. It's just that you pay a little more for the SVS to get a little more. That's all.
 

Cees Alons

Moderator
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Real Name
Cees Alons
Frantz,

You asked for opinions too, so, although I don't own an SVS, here's mine.

Contrary to a much heard believe, the demands for true musical experience and HT experience aren't that contradictory.
All one needs, and should want, is a most perfect reproduction of the original sound, including the whole audible spectrum.

There may be, however, a difference in the demands of the people listening to those, but then again, they may be ill-advised.

Organs have pipes that go as low as 32Hz with ease, and some 24Hz or even 16Hz. The latter aren't played too often - but if your system cannot reproduce them, you won't hear 'em. It's as simple as that.
Componists of film music often make use of the forboding effect of deep bass (down to - yes 24Hz and 16Hz even) and you will like to "hear" that for a complete experience.

It is true that the human ear is already much more sensitive for 50Hz notes than for 25Hz, so many people who own a system that produces enough harmonic distortion at low frequencies, will feel they hear "more bass", even if it can't go much lower than 40Hz. Inexperienced music lovers (especially those who seldom visit classic concerts) will take these system for appropriate, while in fact they are missing a whole octave of music frequencies.

Then there's the concept of accuracy. Literally speaking, it could mean a lot, but the way it is mostly used in this context is: phase correctness, also known as (the opposite of) delay. A vented sub has a tuned mechanical system with a resonance frequency chosen to extent the low frequency domain of the sub. And resonance systems tend to be phase-inaccurate. But you must note that this "inaccuracy" is only - and mostly - present at the frequencies around that tuned frequency. Above that area, the 'delay" will quickly go back to normal. This could mean that one may want to choose a closed box instead of a vented one, provided it can go exactly as low.

Of course, omitting a range of frequencies to avoid their phase incorrectness is a laughable measurement to take. Especially in the very low area where phase correctness is hardly achievable at all - and hardly audible.
There is no substitute for presence.

So, when I look at the specs of the SVS subs, I'd say: you will get the chance to experience a wonderful, complete and correct reproduction of the very low frequencies. Only very complicated and expensive non-commercial equipment can surpass that. If you take the time to setup your system precisely, you will have components to achieve one among the best possible HT sounds in a home. And your music experience, if only for it's total frequency range, will be simply magnificent and complete.

There also is no substitute for all of it. :)


Cees
 

FrantzM

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Feb 9, 2003
Messages
69
Cees

I do agree with you. Infinite baffle sub and SVS in that order are my choice for the subs. I am leaning toward the IB for theoretical reasonsand the utmost performance potential. It does not look like I will be able to build one anytime soon. So SVS in the interim looks better and better.

In my new house I will have distinct dedicated HT and music Room (2-channel). Provision for two IB subs has now been added to the design. :D


You are right Cees there is no substitute for all of it, especially when all of it can be had for such decent prices...

Thanks

Frantz
 

Tom Vodhanel

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Sep 4, 1998
Messages
2,241
Hi Frantz,

If you have the time/tools to DIY, I would go that route.

Rgearding your link, yes...regardless of the issue, we would both be able to find links on the internet that would seem to affirm various POVs I'm afraid :) I suppose that is the good and the bad of the internet. Never before has there been such a wide array of information available to enthusiasts in HT. But at the same time, you have folks downloading a shareware speaker design file and talking as experts in acoustics the next day. God forbid they actually BUILD the design...why bother...the computer screen told them it would do 125dBs @10hz...:) I've seen internet experts/links still claiming that you cannot enjoy deep bass in a small room.

Now, Murphy isn't working with *shareware* of course(although winspk isn't much better than most sharewares these days) and he isn't a HT newbie...but that doesn't change my opinion. He is trying to suggest a 2ms difference at 30hz would be audible if no other factors changed? I don't have the AES # in front of me, but I did see several AES papers touching on this subject(I think the last one was done by THX/Holman?). With a controlled listening environment, it took a large amount of GD differences to be audible. It has been a couple of years since I read the papers...but I believe they were well >25ms from 40hz and down.(maybe closer to 50ms, can't be sure).

The problem with a theory like Murphy's is...do you see his perfectly flat FR curves for each deign? Well, that is fantasy to start. So based only on his simulations...all he has to do is tune the enclosure lower and GD changes but nothing else does?(nothing besides extension). BS.

The FR will change, the IMD will change, the THD will change, ect. So along with the GD change, you have MULTIPLE other changes happening simultaneously. Even if there was an audible difference, how could he point to one variable out of a half dozen and say that must be the reason?

Jeffrey,

I think another reason why some subs get a non musical rep is they are often over calibrated. A lot of us like *hot* subs for films...and even for low level casual music listening. But if you have a subwoofer 2-3dB hot on the RS meter(which is about 5dB hot actual)...it will probably sound poor with critical music listening(esp at higher volume levels).

Tom V.
SVS
 

CurtisC

Second Unit
Joined
Jan 7, 2003
Messages
369
Well I can't compete with the technical knowledge of the experts but.There are subs that are more musical than others,I tried many 1500.00 US and under.While most of these were very good and did the job pretty well,some excelled.I ended up with a Klipsch rsw 15,there were a few others equally good,but I have the rf7's and it takes alot of power/output to keep up,and they matched.The rsw 12/15 is widely known for its musicality,of course your taste is a big factor.It has been about 6 months since my auditions so the newer subs like svs big box subs were not used,I expect they are great too.I mostly listen to music and 5.1 concerts,I have about 200 dvd's,all music, and sub musicality is very important to me.It was very interesting to hear how different subs sound,they aren't all the same, that we all can agree on.
 

FrantzM

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Feb 9, 2003
Messages
69
Hi Guys

Let me add just one thing to the stew. In this forum and others, there is a tendency to summarize subs the following way:

Ported= HT
Sealed= Music

Here is a listing here of speakers and sub with great bass output and there will be no argument as to the musicality, TIGHTNESS and control of their bass.

Alon Exotica, B & W Nautilus 800, 801, etc, Dynaudio Evidence Master and Evidence Temptation, Wilson X-1, Wilson XS Subwoofers...

ALL PORTED!!

Frantz
Port-au-Prince, Haiti
 

ChrisWiggles

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2002
Messages
4,791
Yes, there is a great deal of use of categories, especially when dealing with speakers (incl. subs). There are sort of general and classic merits of one type of design as opposed to another, but you try to implement any type of overarching statment like "metal tweeters are bright and ring" and "ported subs are sloppy" and there are TONS of exceptions, let alone totally different tastes. To be included in that list also is the Revel Salon, along with MANY other great ported speakers out there. I've never been as impressed with bass than from the Salon, and the Dynaudio Evidence Masters. Those with a chance to go hear speakers like those mentioned, don't miss it, the whole package is stunning. Anyway, I was gonna say that I've NEVER been so impressed with bass than the Dynaudios. Sure, I've heard some great bass from subs, and big speakers, including the Revels, and my SVS, but in terms of taught, and stunningly real bass, the Dynaudios come out on top. Now, it's to be expected for sure, they ARE way WAY out of my reach, but comparing to a subwoofer, which fills in those low drum hits that aren't normally there, to swearing that drum is there in the room is significant. I was stunned just by that alone. Well, enough of my drooling, I guess I should be DAMN happy that those areas of bass are reproduced as wonderfully as they are with an SVS.

So yeah, like any product, a specific design priniciple is drastically irrelevant compared to the overall design/performance. Trying to compare a sealed radio shack-brand subwoofer to a ported thus somehow by default "sloppy"(which I hold is not the case at all) SVS is a waste of time. That being said, trying to compare even a wonderfully nice SVS is sorta silly next to 80-100 grand speakers. (or perhaps not? I expect greatness from the Ultras and the B4+ too).

I think Cees has a point in saying there is no substitute for all of it. I tried, since first posting to this threat, to turning off my SVS, and listening to music, and I was surprised at how much I missed it. Whole areas of music and bass were gone. I turned it back on and then it seemed everything was normal again. Just the small amount of help it provides to the low end is quite important. I have it blended in very conservatively, which I hope is the norm, so it would be a hard decision if one had a bad sub. My default answer would have been not to use it, but now, I dunno, I think just having a little added low end extension can be significantly important for music.



Agreed. Every once and a while I'll turn up the SVS to blast some bassy music, and it just ruins the music. It's impressive to friends who don't know any better, but I get tired of that in about 5 minutes. It's totally unnatural, yet a very common thing to do. The instinct to "get the most out of" any investment can be the wrong idea, whether it be in adjusting your tv (i want the MOST color and sharpness), or your music "I want the MOST volume, and LOUDEST bass." AS for me, sure I got my SVS for movies, and I intend to make the most out of it down the road when the theater's done, but for music now, I have to fight the urge, and just let it sit there blended flat with the mains. When the bass is there, I know I won't be missing any of it, and I also know that a violin won't start sounding like synthed rap music. That's the trick to good bass.
 

Ryan T

Second Unit
Joined
Sep 10, 2001
Messages
406
I would still go for a sealed sub in a music only system. To this date i've never heard a retail ported sub that came any were near the quality/accuracy and lightning fast response of a Q.577 sealed tempest. I have not heard a SVS sub yet but every ported sub i've heard has a delayed and kinda sloppy sound for most jazz and classical music. The difference is not quite as noticeable with more "popular" music but I can always hear a delay and some sloppyness with ported subs. I think the most accurate ported sub i've heard is a EBS 15" DVC tuned to 19 Hz. But even with the DVC I could hear a little delay and it didn't have quite as fast transient response but was fairly close. As others have said unless your listening to pipe organ music I wouldn't want to sacrifice the response of a good sealed sub for max SPL at 20 Hz of good ported subs. I hope this helps.



Ryan
 

John Kotches

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Mar 14, 2000
Messages
2,635
Ryan,

I love the way you've generalized everything.

Since you're commenting on a subwoofer you haven't heard, I'll present you with an interesting challenge.

Once the new Multi-channel and HT room is finished (sometime in late May or early June) you can come over and decide for yourself rather than continuing to prejudge a speaker you've never heard.

Regards,
 

Craig_Kg

Supporting Actor
Joined
Feb 25, 2002
Messages
768
Where has Ryan generalised? His whole post of full of "I've heard" and he specifically states that he has not heard an SVS.
 

Ryan T

Second Unit
Joined
Sep 10, 2001
Messages
406
Once the new Multi-channel and HT room is finished (sometime in late May or early June) you can come over and decide for yourself rather than continuing to prejudge a speaker you've never heard.
again I was referring to ported subwoofers i've heard not SVS subwoofers. Like I said I've not heard a subwoofer that can play bass with as fast response as my Q.577 sealed Tempest. The Major drawback to a design like mine is a freaking huge box. It's 24" by 24" by 31" and weighs around 200 lbs. People compare SVS subs to ported tempest, shivas, 12" and 15" DVCs. They should all sound similar. So I don't think a SVS will sound bad for music I just think a good sealed sub would be better for a music only system.




Ryan
 

Shawn C

Screenwriter
Joined
May 15, 2001
Messages
1,429
I went from using the dual 10" subs in my Klipsch RP-3's to an SVS 16-46CS+ setup. I have the built-in subs turned off completely and am letting my Yamaha receiver handle the crossover at 90hz for the SVS.

Honestly, I liked the way music sounded better with my built-in subs. The bass seemed to be better 'integrated' with the rest of the music. Of course, the SVS goes ALOT lower than m other speakers, but it does seem a little 'slower' and 'muddy' in comparison. Not that the SVS is 'slow' or 'muddy', it's just that I think the integrated solution sounded better to me....

For movies, there isn't any comparison whatsoever. I had a problem with my Klipsch's distorting and bottoming out too easily. Not a problem with the SVS.

Don't get me wrong, I still like the way my SVS sounds with music and the benefit of lower frequencies and the 10000% better performance in movies is more than worth it.

I am starting to think that I have a room problem with the 16-46 CS+ My room *might* be a little small and I am getting some "room boom". I am thinking of finding someone in the Vegas area who might want to trade my 16-46 CS+ for maybe a 20-39CS+. I think it might be a better solution for me.

Ah well, I guess I will keep fiddling with my levels until I get it right!
 

John Kotches

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Mar 14, 2000
Messages
2,635
Ryan,

And yet, you continue to generalize....

The sacrifice with porting is slower transient response and less "accurate" bass. The degree of how much accuracy you'll loose with a ported sub depends on the quality of the sub and which alignment it uses.
And yet the SV CS Ultra measures quite well as evidenced by: these tests.

If a subwoofer is inaccurate, it's inaccurate. Requiring higher SPLs is a seperate issue from accuracy.

Is it easier to obtain higher SPLs with a ported design? Yes. But without accuracy what good is it?

So why won't you come over and listen to the SV CS Ultra yourself?

Regards,
 

John Kotches

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Mar 14, 2000
Messages
2,635
Shawn,

Have you done any experimenting with your subwoofers position, or has the subwoofer always been in the same position in your room?

As you're probably well aware, subwoofers get the worst of room interactions, and you could very well be "victim" of a poor location.

It won't hurt for you to experiment, other than the time it takes to move the subwoofer around, and maybe an extra cable or two to extend the length of your subwoofer cable out.

Regards,
 

Shawn C

Screenwriter
Joined
May 15, 2001
Messages
1,429
Oh yeah, I still have plenty of fiddling to do. I just moved it across the room yesterday. Now I have to calibrate it all over again.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not putting the SVS it down in any way. I'd still buy it if I had to do it all over again.
 

FrantzM

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Feb 9, 2003
Messages
69
Hum!!

It did take me long before realizing that my list of ported speakers is composed entirely of multi-kilobucks speakers.

Chris about the Dynaudio Evidence. Well let me put this way... This is one incredible powerful bass. HT levels. Hits you like a sledge-hammer. Tight, Taut, Precise... PORTED

I will give the SVS a good listen. I will ask them if they would extend the 45 to 60 days, since I am overseas. I will not dismiss them because they are ported. Ported system can be as tight as needed it is a matter of design goals if it is accuracy and the designers know what to look for ported or not is almost inconsequential, although some design are better than others on an absolute basis...
Do not equate the sound with one easily understood parameter. Things in Audio are much more complicated. Tom from SVS has raised a valid point. A software (and the Internet) do not by themselves a designer make.

Designing a speaker is not an easy task. Adding a sub is actually making another speaker. Yes! If you had a 3 way speaker now you have a 4-way system!!!! Some knowledge is necessary to make the system sound as one. Crossover slopes, frequencies, phases do play a role in the ultimate sound that is heard. One can have a great sub, great mains and obtain absolutely awful sound muddy, boomy, etc. Positioning of the speakers in the room, positioning of the subs in the room, the way these different speakers interact with each other and the room must be researched, understood and accounted for.
The thing in HT is that the effects are just that, No one expects the train rumble on film to to sound exactly like well the New York Metro or the Chicago overhead system.. If it rattles the teeth, the furniture and the room, well it is realistic and is accepted, It does not matter to most people if the action is in New York and the rumble is that of, say, the Las Vegas monorail… Music is different. Much different. It is my opinion that a great sub for music is also good for HT, IF the sub was designed to be accurate meaning to reproduce as faithfully as possible an acoustical replica of the electrical signal it is fed and is capable of considerable output while doing so without adding its own. Provided it is well integrated with the mains, Room acoustics are taken care of and the plethora of other parameters responsible for good music reproduction…


in pure HT, let us take the example of a sub has a high level of THD, let us say that being fed 16 Hz, it adds a lot of content at 32Hz, then it may sound quite enjoyable while the train rumbles...for example.


Sorry folks long post… Your multiple answers have put me on a good track … more to come..


Frantz
Port-au-Prince, Haiti
 

Ryan T

Second Unit
Joined
Sep 10, 2001
Messages
406
So why won't you come over and listen to the SV CS Ultra yourself?
I would be very interested in hearing your SVS subwoofer. I've been wanting to hear one for quite some time now. Although I have heard a EBS 15" DVC and it should sound very very similar to the SVS and have very similar performance. Maybe we could arrange a listing time. Just PM me and we should be able to work something out.




Ryan
 

Edward J M

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Sep 22, 2002
Messages
2,031
Do not equate the sound with one easily understood parameter.

A software (and the Internet) do not by themselves a designer make.

One can have a great sub, great mains and obtain absolutely awful sound muddy, boomy, etc. Positioning of the speakers in the room, positioning of the subs in the room, the way these different speakers interact with each other and the room must be researched, understood and accounted for.

It is my opinion that a great sub for music is also good for HT, IF the sub was designed to be accurate meaning to reproduce as faithfully as possible an acoustical replica of the electrical signal it is fed and is capable of considerable output while doing so without adding its own. Provided it is well integrated with the mains, room acoustics are taken care of, and the plethora of other parameters responsible for good music reproduction.
Amen, Frantz. Great post - lucid points. There is much to learn about audio theory and subwoofer design, and we are all at different stages of the game.

Everytime I think I'm getting a handle on this stuff, something else comes along and steepens the learning curve and raises the bar. It's one of those hobbies where the more you learn, the more you realize you didn't know jack.

While learning and sharing information is laudable, I often find myself conducting a reality check before I open mouth and insert foot by second guessing the professionals that do this stuff for a living.

We are very fortunate to be alive in an age where home theater has easily surpassed the movie going experience and has moved into the range of affordability for the masses. Commercial subwoofers are better than ever, and we have companies like SVS, HSU, Acoustic Visions, Rutledge Audio, Stryke Audio and a host of others (apologies for not specifically being named) to thank for it.

They earned it with sweat equity, they have extensive DIY background, they know both theory and have built literally hundreds of different protoypes and designs, they take their business and their competition very seriously, and they seem to raise the bar and redefine state-of-the-art almost daily.

Who's the bigger winner here? The consumer, of course. I don't know about you, but I feel pretty damn lucky to have such a great selection of HT products to choose from.

Regards,

Ed
 

John Kotches

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Mar 14, 2000
Messages
2,635
Ryan,

That will be fine -- expect it to be 4-6 weeks, as the drywalling is in progress as we speak.

After that, it's drywall finishing, painting, room treating, carpeting, and fabric covering of the walls.

Regards,
 

Troy R

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Feb 13, 2003
Messages
197
If you would like to see these charts comparing the group delay of a EBS ported Tempest with a sealed Tempest you'll notice the sealed sub has a much much lower group delay.
Ryan, I'm so subwoofer expert by any means, but if you take the Tempest driver and put it in a ported box and tune as low as 12hz (like some SVS woofs can do) the group delay difference between a sealed and ported becomes much less of an issue...

I've never heard a sealed sub so I can't comment on hearing the difference, but on paper I doubt you can tell a 4 millisecond difference from a 20hz note on a ported sub vs. a sealed sub.
 

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