SVS PCi vs. PC+...for me?

Discussion in 'Speakers & Subwoofers' started by Ian C, May 2, 2003.

  1. Ian C

    Ian C Stunt Coordinator

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    Okay, so I just received a 20-39 PCi. Maybe my room is a tad too big - I don't know, but I can't play it as loud as I would like without distorting or bottoming out (on LOTR, TS2 opening, and TPM). I'm just not getting that kick I would like when Buzz kicks on those jets at the beginning of Toy Story 2. I'm thinking I should have gone with the 25-31 to get that few extra decibels. So, what I'm wondering, in my 26 x 14 x 9 (ceiling) room, will I notice a big difference going from a 20-39 PCi to a 25-31 PC+ (figure I can block a port to dig deep)?

    Basically, it just doesn't seem loud enough. I'm wondering if the switch to a 25-31 would take care of that...and if the upgrade to the PC+ would be that much of an improvement. I have the option to switch mine out for a PC+ for $230-240 (that includes shipping both ways). What do yall think?

    In the end, I need to know if I can tell my wife there will be enough of a difference [​IMG]

    Oh...in case anybody is wondering...no, I didn't e-mail the guys at SVS to ask their suggestion. I saw they had a B-stock 20-39 PCi (at a time I was looking to buy) and just jumped on it.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Jeffrey Forner

    Jeffrey Forner Screenwriter

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    What sub, if any, did you have previous to the SVS? There's a good chance that you're just missing out on some of the excessive boom you get from most commercial subs. At first it can seem like there isn't as much bass as before, but you will learn to live without it once you realize all the low frequency stuff you're finally feeling.

    At the same time, a PC+ would indeed pack a greater punch than the PCi does. I recently upgraded to a 16-46PC+ and the difference is noticable. A room of that size may just require a little more power than a standard PCi sub. However, if you're looking for that boom I talked about earlier, don't expect it from a PC+. You won't get it.

    In the meantime, play around with sub placement and tweak with the settings. You have 45 days to try out the SVS, so you might as well use them, right?

    And this must be asked... have you calibrated your system using an SPL meter?
     
  3. Ian C

    Ian C Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm coming from a Klipsch KSW-12. I'm getting the same amount of bass that I got from the Klipsch, and it is cleaner, but just not quite giving me what I expected.

    I've tried callibrating, but...frankly...I can't figure it out. Using Avia and an SPL meter, if I do an LFE sweep, I get distortion and (I guess) bottoming out (clack, clack, clack) if I turn the gain on the sub up too much beyond 1/3...that's with my receiver turned up about 2/5 (knob measurement - Sony DB830).

    In trying to get to 85 db with Avia and my speakers (not the sub), I go past halfway on my receiver knob...and I never listen that loud. Also, I can't adjust the mains separately...only have options for center or rears!?

    I've tried following the guides for callibrating with Avia, but I guess it's just beyond me.

    It's possible I just need to listen to it some more. Like I said before, it is cleaner sounding. I guess I've already got the itch...wondering what a PC+ is like. Perhaps I should have just gone with it in the first place.
     
  4. Larry Marq

    Larry Marq Extra

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    That was probably my 20-39 pci you got [​IMG] I have an open 17x15 room that bottomed a 20-39pci at 10 below ref on certain DVds. Got the 20-39pc+ like they recommended and WAHLAH! No clack. Much mow bettah... YMMV of course.

    Larry

    Sorry for the edit.. [​IMG]
     
  5. Reginald Trent

    Reginald Trent Screenwriter

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    Larry, I believe you mean 16-46, unless SVS has introduced a new model that arrived under my radar. [​IMG]
     
  6. keir

    keir Stunt Coordinator

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  7. Edward J M

    Edward J M Cinematographer

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    Ian:

    Make sure you don't have any Dolby Digital dynamic range compression circuits activated in the DVD player or receiver. These are sometimes referred to as Midnight Mode.

    Make sure you don't have an electronic bass peak limiter activated (usually only THX receivers have this feature).

    Make sure the LFE level control is turned all the way up, if your receiver has one. Don't confuse this with the sub channel level setting.

    Before calibration, experiment with sub placement - a few inches or a foot in any direction can help. Also experiment with listening position - you could be sitting in a room null.

    Finally, the KSW-12 packs a real wallop in the 45-55 Hz range but has no real deep extension and you might be missing that sense of heavy mid bass that the more accurate SVS lacks and there might be an adjustment period for your ears.

    Start the Avia disc and run the high band pink noise for each channel and set your SPL meter at the listening position in C-Weighted Slow and turn up the Master Volume to 00 and adjust the individual speaker level settings until they all each read exactly 85 dB (yes it is loud).

    Then set the sub channel level to -5 (or so) on the receiver, and run the sub test tone for a few of the surround channels, and adjust the plate amp on the SVS until you average around 88 dB. Using the 90 scale might help keep the meter needle from jumping and make it easier to read.

    After calibration, give it all a whirl for a few days. That IS a large room, and Plus would definitely fill it better, having a 5-6 dB advantage below 30 Hz over the PCi. If you are still craving more bass power, get the Plus or a second PCi, or the PB2+.

    Regards,

    Ed
     
  8. Ian C

    Ian C Stunt Coordinator

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    I fiddled with it some more last night via Avia. I think I finally got the hang of using the SPL meter. I have my system properly callibrated now. I'll go through some of my movies this weekend and let yall know.

    Thanks,
    Ian
     
  9. steve nn

    steve nn Cinematographer

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    Hi Ian, I hope you get things figured out. I am in a 24' X 12 HT with 10' ceilings and have no problem filling it up with incredible amounts of bass with the CS+ 25-31. My seating is in the sweet spot and calibrated flat to +3db and does one incredible job. As the hertz go lower the more authority this sub packs. I just cant fathom one complaining about bass output if properly placed and calibrated. This being said it does sound as if you are having some kind of problem and Edward covered it well.
    >

    If you find your calibration, placement and settings issues are OK and running it a few dbs hot does not do it for you, I would strongly consider the + line then. In a HT room that size I feel it is warranted if you desire more SPL. Threads like this used to make me wonder about SVS but after switching over from a couple of 15" subs to the 25-31+ I do not wonder anymore. This SVS does more down below 30 Hz for me than the duel 15" setup I had in the past and sounds better doing it.
    >
    I hope your weekend is a success but if not? Then I would give the 25-31+ or the 20-39+ a try and I bet you will not be disappointed?:wink:
     
  10. Ian C

    Ian C Stunt Coordinator

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    As far as placement goes, I'm somewhat limited by the length of my subwoofer cable. I've e-mailed the guys at SVS a diagram of my room. If they think another position would be better, I'll order a new cable and give it a try.

    As far as comparing it to the KSW-12, already there is no comparison. It is true that I'm missing that muddiness that I was used to, but I know that'll pass. I now realize I was using the Klipsch to cover up for the deficiencies in my speakers (which now sound thin - Klipsch SB1s)

    However, I think I'm going to just go to the PC+ if I can manage it. My wife complained about the size of the 20-39 PCi, so I told her I'll order a 25-31 PC+...to take some of that size away. [​IMG]
     
  11. steve nn

    steve nn Cinematographer

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    I went through the same thing Ian (WAF) which let to the 25-31+. Having a 16" diameter it takes up much less room than what one would think. I have mine placed in the rear back right corner behind a corner table next to seating and I cant see it unless I were to look for it. The lamp on the corner table hides it from view. I truely don't think you will feel you are missing anything...... with the 25-31+. That 5-6 +db advantage Edward spoke of translates out to a whole Lotta bass.[​IMG]
     
  12. Vin

    Vin Supporting Actor

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  13. James Edward

    James Edward Supporting Actor

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    My advice: DON'T get the 25-31PC+. If you are going to go, go all the way. I went from a 20-39PC to a 25-31PC+, and I miss the lower bass MUCH more than what I may have gained in the 30-40Hz range. The slightly higher output of the 25-31 is probably not enough to suddenly not have it bottom out.
    If you plug a port in the 25-31 to get to 20Hz, you'll lose the extra output you were seeking, and I'm sure that 20Hz from a stock 20-29 is somehow better than with a plugged port.

    I'm tired and rambling, but I consider my decision to go with a 25-31PC+ over a 20-39PC+ was a mistake. Back surgery prevented me from returning my 25-31+ for a 20-39+, and it is something I regret.

    Final word- SVS subs are so much better than almost anything else in their price range, that I am basically being very nit-picky about this. If I had never heard the 20-39, I would have been perfectly happy with the 25-31, because the 25-31 really does go lower than most other subs in its price range. Everyone should have such problems.

    Whichever PC+ you get, it will kick like a mule. Mine simply never shows strain.
     
  14. steve nn

    steve nn Cinematographer

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    There was a time that I would have been the first in line to fight with what James states but now I must admit I know better. Like I said before I would have rather went with the 20-39+ but WAF cut me off< Like in the case you mention Ian and that is why I do not recommend the 20-39+ because of your limitations.
     
  15. Ian C

    Ian C Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for all the replies guys. I did finally get it properly calibrated, though I am running it a tad hot since I don't listen anywhere near reference. Over the weekend I watched a slew of movies to test it out - Saving Private Ryan (just parts of it), Toy Story 2, Treasure Planet, Lord of the Rings, and...cough, cough...Two Weeks Notice. It does play much louder and tighter than the Klipsch. I felt the rumbles, as did my windows, without all the excessive boominess I was used to hearing.

    In the end, the PCi would probably suit me just fine. However, since the wife has already approved the step-up to the PC+...I'm not about to turn it down. [​IMG]

    Ian C.
     
  16. Yee-Ming

    Yee-Ming Producer

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    Ian, my living/dining room is very similar in same size as yours (26 x 13 x 10), and a 25-31PCi (tuned 22) works fine for me. having said that, no carpeted floors for me -- all hard stone -- and little other clutter, so perhaps that has some effect?

    but hey, if the missus has OK'ed an upgrade to a PC+. why not? [​IMG]
     

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