SVS PB1-Plus or PB2-Plus

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by TonyWright, Jul 19, 2004.

  1. TonyWright

    TonyWright Second Unit

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    I am looking at the SVS PB1-Plus and the PB2-Plus. I have a 17' by 24' room that opens to another room. The finish of the PB1-Plus would fit my decor much better so I am wondering if I would be missing a great deal if I passed on the PB2-Plus. I don't think I need to have earthquaking bass but I also don't want to come up short when I need it.

    Does anyone have any experiences/suggestions that may help me decide?

    Thanks in advance.

    Tony Wright
     
  2. Arthur S

    Arthur S Cinematographer

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    Tony

    The PB-2 Plus is likely to come in wood finishes later this year. Perhaps Tom or Ron could weigh in on this.

    You also say that you don't want to come up short when you need it. If you get the PB-1 Plus, you might always wonder if you are missing anything by not getting the PB-2 Plus.

    Some folks are putting an attractive table cloth on the PB-2 Plus and using it as an end table. Perhaps putting a small table lamp or something as cute as a lava lamp, or magazines on it.

    In my experience it is better to get what you really want even if it means saving for a while longer before you buy.

    Artie
     
  3. Edward J M

    Edward J M Cinematographer

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    Maybe if you answered a few questions, we could pin down whether or not you need a PB2+, from an output standpoint. Because other than that, the two models will sound nearly identical up to the clean limits of the PB1+, since they both use the same dB-12 driver and have the same tune points.

    - Where will the sub be placed in the room.

    - How far are the key listening positions from the sub.

    - Where will the sub be located in relation to that permanent opening.

    - What type of DVDs and music to you like and what is the listening percentage for each.

    - When calibrating for HT applications, how "hot" do you run your sub, compared to your speaker channels.

    - What is your typical master volume setting with respect to Reference Level (like -5RL, -10RL, -15RL) when watching DVDs.
     
  4. TonyWright

    TonyWright Second Unit

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    Arthur,

    Thanks for your reply. I was unaware that the PB2-Plus would be offered in a wood finish later this year. Thanks for the heads up!


    Edward,

    I'll try to answer your questions the best I can. I am new to home theater so please bear with me.



    This is a particularly difficult question for me. I usually run at -30 to -35. However, I have adjusted the dB levels of my 5 channels using an SPL meter so in my room I might have it adjusted to a not need so much volume. Am I making any sense here? This topic is still a little unclear to me.
     
  5. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    Tony, what Edward is speaking of here is "reference level". This is a standardized level of output (105dB peaks from the speakers, 115dB peaks from the sub) achieved by calibrating (using test tones and an SPL meter) your speakers to reference. It involves calibrating to a 75dB (or 85dB using Avia) tone at a particular master volume setting (often, but not always, 00dB). This master volume setting then becomes your "reference level". You are now able to say what the volume you listen to is in relation to "reference". If you listen at 5dB below your reference setting, your are listening at "-5 RL" or if you listen at 10dB below, you are at "-10 RL". It is simply for standardization and comparision, so that everyone knows what level(s) we are speaking about. See the Primer for more info.
     
  6. TonyWright

    TonyWright Second Unit

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    Jeff,

    Many thanks for the clarification. I think I may have some more calibration to do when I get home tonight. I have the Avia disc so I'll have to recalibrate to find my reference level.

    Thanks again!

    Tony
     
  7. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    My pleasure, Tony. See Vince's explanation of calibrating reference in the Primer, it has a lot of good tips. One warning, reference level is LOUD and requires some pretty hefty hardware to achieve cleanly in all but the smallest rooms. Because the tones are attenutated to 85dB, you can calibrate it easy without worrying about taxing the system, but turning it up to reference for a DVD is another story, because then the system will have to hit very loud 115dB peaks if the DVD requires it. Most listen at below reference level unless they want to blow themselves away (and have the hardware to do it). Myself, I typically listen at -15 to -20 RL. There is nothing special about reference except as a standard and not being able to achieve it cleanly does not mean you have a useless system (although a PB2+ will go a long way towards that goal[​IMG] ).
     
  8. TonyWright

    TonyWright Second Unit

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    My guess is that I can't drive my speakers to reference level with an H/K AVR630. I will give it a shot though. I calibrated it to 75dB with my SPL, but if Avia should be at 85dB then I will try it out.


    I think I am leaning more and more to the PB1-Plus. I really like the finish and I think the output would suit me just fine. The money is already getting up there so I'm not sure I would want to spend that much more for a wood finished PB2-Plus if SVS does in fact release some later this year.

    Does anyone have any thoughts/suggestions?
     
  9. Edward J M

    Edward J M Cinematographer

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    Wow - Jeff crushed that one out of the ballpark - nice summary of RL. [​IMG]

    Tony, since you don't have a subwoofer, your bass management settings in your pre/pro should be as follows:

    subwoofer to off/no
    L/R fronts to large
    all other speaks to small

    This will direct the LFE channel, and the bass from any speakers set to small - to the L/R front mains. So the mains will be doing triple duty in the bass department. This is a HUGE load for the Swans to carry, so don't push them too hard in this configuration.

    Avia relies on redirected bass to calibrate the subwoofer, so when you do get the subwoofer, you'll need to set all the speaks to small and the subwoofer to on/yes.

    Since Avia uses RB, there will be some bass contribution from the speaker channel in question (you can check all five channels with Avia). It's best to check the sub level from every channel to make sure you are getting a representative level that is not too high (e.g., from close proximity to the right main) or too low (possibly from a more distant speaker like the left surround).

    Anyway (as Jeff said) most people use Master Volume 0.0 (if your volume scale starts in the negatives and goes progressively toward 0.0 as it gets louder) as an easy to remember setting for calibrating to Reference Level.

    With the Avia test tones, set the MV to 0.0 and adjust each channel level until they all read 85 dB on the SPL meter set at head level pointing forward at a 45 degree upward angle at the listening position on C-weighted Slow.

    A word of caution, only play the test tones at MV 0.0; they are encoded 20 dB lower than the rest of the Avia stuff (like the intro and the narrator).

    Once your system is calibrated to RL, let us know what your maximum preferred volume setting will typically be for DVDs. Then we'll know whether or not you'll need the PB2+ or the PB1+.

    Since you think you will be calibrating the sub flat or even a bit cool, and you have the wife to contend with (and a bank of windows near the sub), my gut is telling me PB1+, but it's best to double check your preferred playback levels to be sure.

    BTW, windows don't handle bass terribly well; they flex, make noise, and don't reinforce/reflect the bass waves that well. They make for a "lossy" room, so to speak. If you can at all avoid placing the sub near lots of pane glass, that would be preferred.

    Regards,

    Ed
     
  10. TonyWright

    TonyWright Second Unit

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    Edward,

    Thanks for all the great information! I have my mains set to large with the center and surrounds set to small and no sub. I was unaware that this was a heavy load for the Swans to carry. I'll be careful with them until I get the sub.

    Quick question though. You suggested that I place the sub somewhere away from the windows. In my room, that doesn't leave me too many options. Is there anything wrong with not placing the sub in the upper corner of the room? I was thinking of possibly moving it back into the room further. Of course, that would place the sub much closer to the key listening position.

    What do you think?

    Also, if the large setting is a heavy load for the Swans, should I set them to small before I try to calibrate at reference level? I don't want to damage them.

    Thanks again for all the great information.

    Tony
     
  11. Edward J M

    Edward J M Cinematographer

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    If you have a large bank of full height pane glass, there can be some problems. If it's just a standard size window or two, I wouldn't sweat it.

    Bass room acoustics are unique to each listening area. What works well in one room, may not in another. Corner loading is a good place to start, because it excites the most room modes and this tends to give the best chances for decent bass at the most listening positions.

    But corner loading isn't always the optimum final resting place for the sub. You might have to experiment by placing the sub at the listening position and doing the "subwoofer crawl", as you move around the room, listening (and measuring with the SPL meter) for the best sounding bass. Whereever you get the best bass, plop the sub in that location.

    Failing that, you can get into measuring the subwoofer's frequency response at the listening position with something as simple as the RS meter, some burned test tones, and an spreadsheet with correction factors for the meter's response. Or you can get into even more sophsticated measuring equipment (calibrated mic, software, etc.). Most people resort to the "subwoofer crawl" and/or test tones and the sound meter. [​IMG]

    The Avia speaker channel calibration tones don't have any bass, so don't worry about stressing the Swans with your current BM settings.

    And if you haven't noticed the Swans struggling or farting/bottoming on DVD heavy bass passages, then I suspect your preferred playback level is quite moderate (it doesn't take much to overdrive a pair of 6.5" mid-bass drivers). If that is the case, the PB1+ will be more than adequate for your bass needs.

    BTW, you've got a hella nice system started; the PB1+ will be a great performing and very fitting/upscale addition to the Swans.

    Regards,

    Ed
     
  12. TonyWright

    TonyWright Second Unit

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    Ed,

    The glass in that room is 3 adjacent windows that resemble double hung windows. It is actually a fair amount of glass. I think I may have a good spot to put the sub though, or at least to try it. It is on the other side of the room away from the glass altogether. It is behind a chair so I am unsure of fit and/or sound.

    I'll experiment when I finally take delivery of my sub.

    I think you are right in suspecting that the PB1-Plus will suit my needs. I think I do listen at moderate levels.


    Thanks for the complment on my system! This is my first attempt at a home theater. I have really enjoyed it thus far. I think my next step after the sub is an Outlaw 7100 power amp. I haven't quite figured out how to break that one to my wife [​IMG].

    Thanks again for all of your help. I have learned a great deal.

    Tony Wright
     
  13. AxelKro

    AxelKro Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi Tony,

    have a look into my Setup.
    I went for two PB1-Plus Subs to get en even Bass distribution on my listening position.

    I couldn't be happier and was never in a position to drive these beasts to their limits yet, although I tried hard [​IMG]

    http://img38.exs.cx/img38/3938/Wohnzimmer2.jpg
    http://img29.exs.cx/img29/6185/HK_Front2.jpg
    http://img29.exs.cx/img29/6812/HK_Back2.jpg

    Two PB1-Plus do outgun a single PB2-Plus not necessarily in final SPL, but does have a great advantage due to the distributed Bass within the room.

    The only improvement I could think of would be the Ultra drivers, but I doubt, I would hear a reasonable difference.

    Cheers,
    Axel
     
  14. TonyWright

    TonyWright Second Unit

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    Axel,

    Thanks for posting your pics. Sweet setup. How did you get those subs in black? Did SVS offer them in black in the past?


    I really think I should be good to go with the PB1-Plus. I must say I am really looking forward to placing my order and adding this piece to my theater.


    Thanks again for the pics.

    Tony
     
  15. Parker Clack

    Parker Clack Schizophrenic Man
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    Axel:

    Have a told you how much I love the look of your place. [​IMG]

    Tony:

    I agree that in your situation the PB1-Plus would probably do you just fine. You could always add a second one in the future if need be.
     
  16. Edward J M

    Edward J M Cinematographer

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    Wait until you uncrate it and smell the freshly finished hardwood maple and run your hands over the finish; it's an awesome piece of furniture. I see your Swans are black cherry. Do you have a color in mind for the PB1+ that will match up the best? While all the finishes are great, the American Antique is really turning heads.

    Ed
     
  17. TonyWright

    TonyWright Second Unit

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    Parker,

    I was thinking the same thing after I saw Axel's setup. I will more than likely be fine with just one, but I always have the opportunity to add another one.


    Ed,

    I am torn between the Mercury-Red and the American-Antique. I really can't decide. Does anyone have any suggestions? I think the American-Antique would fit my decor a bit better.


    Wow, I am getting excited to place my order. I just have to do the final convincing of my wife and I am home free [​IMG].


    I just had a thought of another place for the sub in my room. If you look at the shot of the front of my room you can see my receiver and other equipment on the left side of my monitor. I was thinking I could move the table and equipment over to the gap between the right main and the monitor and put the PB1+ in the gap between the left main and the monitor. My only concern would be that the vibration would either damage the monitor or simply jostle it enough to knock the CRT's out of allignment. Any thoughts?

    Front Stage Area
     
  18. Edward J M

    Edward J M Cinematographer

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    American Antique. [​IMG] It is a VERY classy looking finish that will stand the test of time and wears well. I think the Mercury Red would clash badly with the Black Cherry; they are two different shades of red. In comparison, the American Antique is quite neutral and really compliments almost any other finish in the room.
     
  19. steve nn

    steve nn Cinematographer

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    >>>Wait until you uncrate it and smell the freshly finished hardwood maple and run your hands over the finish; it's an awesome piece of furniture. I see your Swans are black cherry. Do you have a color in mind for the PB1+ that will match up the best? While all the finishes are great, the American Antique is really turning heads.

    Ed
     
  20. AxelKro

    AxelKro Stunt Coordinator

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    Let me think, Hmmm, possibly twice ? [​IMG]

    By the way Folks, due to your comments, I upgraded my TV to a Plasma in the meanwhile. I hope, you appreciate this [​IMG]

    Cheers,
    Ax
     

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