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SVS CS 20-39+ Review (1 Viewer)

Ed Hanson

Apr 11, 2002
First let me say that I do this as someone who just enjoys listening to music and movies.

The equipment is Anthem MCA-5 Amp for the fronts, backs and center, Lexicon DC-1 pre/pro, Paradigm Studio 100's for fronts, Paradigm LCH 350 for center, and who knows what those small rear speakers are made of, not me. For now I have an old Pioneer VSX 9300 DPL receiver that drives the SVS, (125 W/ch @ 8 ohms), it also happens to drive two speakers on the deck.

A short review of the SVS 20-39+ follows.

I had been contemplating a subwoofer purchase for almost a year and somehow found myself looking at reviews on this site. The more I read about the SVS, the more I thought this might be the "right" buy. The SVS did not replace any subwoofer, I had been running the Studio 100's as large and had been getting what I considered acceptable bass performance. The WAF or (Spousal Acceptance Factor) SAF will come into play. Since the SVS will be behind one of the Studio 100's it will not be a "what is that black water heater doing in the family room" issue.

The SVS arrived in excellent condition after a long journey to Oregon, and I had done as much as I could to prepare and make the setup quick and painless. The family room, where the SVS is going to live, is part of a large area, carpeted, that adjoins the kitchen roughly 28' x 20' with 8' ceilings. The SVS looked great right out of the box, and wasn't quite as large as I expected. I got out VE and the RS SPL meter, set all speakers to small, and went to work. After a short time all was ready, and testing began.

In went Toy Story 2, (Wow, certainly different from the 100's alone), U-571, Das Boot, Terminator 2, Apollo 13, Fifth Element, SPR, and LA Confidential. What can I say that hasn't been said. Lots and lots of base, what I would term very clean, not a rumble, but distinct frequencies that seem to start and stop on a dime. I listened to these at reference level, after calibration. When in normal listening mode I am lower than reference level at about -12 to -15 on the Lexicon. I was and continue to be impressed with the SVS and what I would term smoothness. My wife, who still doesn't understand the need for this bass, did comment on how much bass there is that we didn't hear before.

Now, on to some music. Listened to Diana Krall, Live in Paris (a great light jazz DVD), James Taylor, Live at the Beacon Theater, Eric Clapton, Unplugged. The following were all on CD's. Diana Krall (The Look of Love, All for You), Rippingtons (Black Diamond, Weekend in Monaco), Sarah McLachlan (Surfacing), Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (older songs), Madonna (The Immaculate Collection, Like a Prayer), and others. As you can see, not much bass pounding here, however again I considered it clean, not overpowering, and adding a dimension to the music that was not heard before.

The overall assessment is that I did not know what I was missing, and that I now find that I listen to movies at a slightly greater volume, and enjoy the new "found" sound of music DVD's, CD's, and even television.

To my ears at least SVS has turned out a great product. I hope to enjoy it for many more years.

Chris Tsutsui

Feb 1, 2002
SVS is what got me interested in bass in the first place. I still have yet to hear a negative review on one. Perhaps I should review one soon cause I seem to always point out the bad areas. hehe

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