SVS at Low Listening Levels: Review of 16-46PCi

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by JohnDG, Jul 23, 2002.

  1. JohnDG

    JohnDG Stunt Coordinator

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    I replaced my Paradigm PDR-10 with an SVS 16-46PCi.

    Please note that I was able to get very good performance from the PDR-10 at 85dBs down to below 25Hz in cooperation with my fronts and my room effects. This puppy fit nicely under the coffee table, so it was only 6 feet from the listening positions (it's nice to have a receiver with a sub delay setting.) However, I was envious of all the references to low ?feel it? sound from movies that always seemed to be my favorite movie list.

    I generally listen to my HT at lower levels than most of very deaf people :) on this board seem to use. It must be my listening room -- as I remember the vast difference in listening to movies in an empty theater versus nearly full. I usually top out at -10dB reference (-5dB for TPM). Normal loud listening range is -20dBs, down to a quieter -30dBs.

    I have a 16'x9'x8' setup in a corner of a room that measures 25'x16'x8'. The SVS is corner loaded. I'm running a Denon 3802 with Paradigm Monitor 7's, CC370 up front, and cheap surrounds (JBL N24's) in back in a 6.1 setup. Thus, when the cat knocks over one of the surround speakers, I don't have a heart attack. She seems to avoid the subs, however. :) The setup has been calibrated to a true reference level at 0dB using Avia.

    Given the above, Tom from SVS suggested that the PCi series would be more than enough for my situation. I opted for the 16-46PCi, as I did not need the extra dBs and the only space restriction I had was the footprint, not the height. This is the only reason I hadn't been talked into a PW-2200 earlier: no room. Very, very nice summer recent price break on the PCi series. Also, besides wanting to feel the dinos, the frequency response curve on the 16-46PCi looked a little flatter in the higher Hz range, and I was hoping to avoid an equalizer: I am totally out of rack space.

    The packaging was very light and strong. I was impressed: UPS was not especially kind to the unit. Setup went smoothly. The instructions were clear and easy to follow. Tom from SVS responded quickly to the two questions/setup issues that I ran into:

    The auto-on was a little less sensitive at the receiver setting of -6 (range -12 through +12) than I would preferred, but I added a Y-split to feed both L/R inputs on the sub from the receiver's pre-out to up the input voltage, upped the receiver sub setting closer to zero and was able to get auto-on to work at all my listening levels. I've got the sub's gain set at 2/8ths.

    Second was that the phase setting was different (+/- 2dB) when running the left/right front sub phase test tones on the Avia disc. I took an average and went with zero. I hadn't seen this mentioned before on any of the boards, but Tom confirmed that this happens.

    I tossed in some of my library: TPM, Haunting, Toy Story 2, Atlantis: TLE (Wow!) and Titan A.E. The last I was most interested in not only for the effects, but also for the song at the beginning of the Chapter 3. At loud listening levels, the effects had worked OK on the PDR-10, but I thought the bass to be more than I wished (boomy) when the rock music kicked in. With the SVS, the music was great: no boomy bass at the same time that film's effects were delivered at full force. Now I understand the comments about this being a great sub for both HT and music. Time to start going through my CDs!

    This sub also really shines at my preferred lower listening levels: I still can feel the bass at -25dBs. This isn't as "kick ass" as at levels approaching reference, but you still know the output is there -- allowing enjoyment of the full soundtrack and the mood that the sub-sonics are trying to add to the film. Also, for music, the bass is present, clear and distinct.

    I'll work on the frequency response curves next, and then verify the interaction with the phase settings and a possibly higher crossover. However, I'm currently getting very flat warble sweeps at 80Hz off of Avia (only +/- 3dBs through the entire range; much better than the center loaded PDR-10), so I hoping to still avoid that equalizer. :) I've been watching too much of my library to do much else!

    All in all, well worth the money.

    jdg
     
  2. ColinM

    ColinM Cinematographer

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    I think that's the best review I've ever read.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  3. Chris Tsutsui

    Chris Tsutsui Screenwriter

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    If you can download the MP3, get Bass Outlaws "Slow Mellow Bass"
    I played that at about 110db with my tempest setup and it caused magnets to fall off the refridgerator downstairs and it also caused plates in the kitchen to topple over inside the cabinets. [​IMG]
     
  4. Henry_W

    Henry_W Stunt Coordinator

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    I think you will find the sub continues to impress as you add hours and catch further nuances in some of your recordings. I have yet come across a significant negative and I listen much as you do - from just below reference to quiet. Here's hoping your experience matches mine.
     
  5. Dan Lindley

    Dan Lindley Second Unit

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    Nice review indeed.

    I bought the 16-46 precisely b/c I thought it would provide more oomph at lower volumes. Tom V, who very kindly did not try to sell me a PC+ despite me giving him several opportunities, thought the PCI was more than enough for my small room, and most significantly that:

    "At a given calibration level the larger sub will always provide more *tactile*(
     
  6. Michael Lomker

    Michael Lomker Stunt Coordinator

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    Perhaps I'm the exception, but I don't like the 16-46 PCi for music. My mains are PSB Stratus Silveri's and they produce so much bass on their own that the sub always makes for too much.

    I suspect that this is a crossover issue in my receiver (Arcam AVR200) but I'm not interested in going to external bass management right now.
     

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