SVS+ Review and config question

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Andy Swindler, Sep 21, 2002.

  1. Andy Swindler

    Andy Swindler Auditioning

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    Well I've had a few days with my SVS 20-39+ and what can I say that has not already been said? In a word, I describe the sound as effortless, which is a quality I look for in all my equipment. I've never experienced bass like this, enveloping, rich, complete. I'm truly blown away.

    Of course this is the only SVS I've heard in my life, so I'm afraid I can't really offer comparisons to other SVS subs. It sure as hell blows away my old Mirage and is far more transparent and musical than the other subs I auditioned, such as the Sunfire. If you're limited for space, the Sunfires do pretty well, but I wasn't.

    Threw in a couple of the movies that I have that SVS recommends in their manual. In Contact and Dark City I am hearing things I didn't know existed. In Toy Story 2 and LOTR I'm hearing things that I had to imagine before. It makes me want to watch every movie I own again, because I feel like I've missed something from every one of them.

    I'm also quite happy with the look of the monolithic bottom-feeder. With only a 16-inch footprint, it was a breeze to place and it is the exact height of my towers, so it hides nicely behind one of them. Nice fabric, nice logo. Helluva sub, all around. Probably have it up a little too high, but I'm just having fun.

    I do have a question about the configuration with my Nakamichi AV-10 receiver. Have had no complaints with the receiver, except this one. If you are using the sub output with all surround modes off (i.e. stereo), you cannot set the main speakers to Large and use the sub at the same time. When the speakers are set to Small, they are cut off at 80hz. This is a shame since my Silverline Panatellas roll off around 35hz and they need to be run full-range. My solution, which was recommended by my dealer, is to run the left and right pre-outs to the sub, and tell the receiver you are not using a sub, which sends the LFE to the main channels. This is working well, but I have a feeling the signal must be pretty hot as I've got the sub turned very low to accomodate the signal. I'm also wondering if I'm going to have calibration difficulties with the main speakers outputting some of the LFE. Does anyone else do this? Does anyone else have this amp, or one with a similar drawback? Thoughts? Advice?

    I'll look forward to hearing some insightful answers, but I'll end by passing along the recommendations I have read on this forum by so many other happy SVS owners. This is the only component I have ever purchased without auditioning, and the reviews here were the main reason I felt confident making this decision as I am very big on research and auditioning. It was a leap of faith that I'm glad I took.

    Thanks,
    Andy
     
  2. SVS-Ron

    SVS-Ron Screenwriter

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    Andy,

    Thanks for the thumbs up. It's comments like yours that make the thousands of man-hours put into the PC-Plus worth while. We know it's an exceptional product, it's just nice to hear customers feel the same way!

    On your setup, I see no issues, but do make sure the crossover is engaged on the sub, and do plan to spend some time with both the phase knob and the crossover knob if you want your mains to run that low. I'd hazard a guess you'll do well to set the sub crossover to around 45 hz, all your other speakers to "SMALL" in the reciever, and then simply adjust the subwoofer gain (volume) to your desires using a mix of program material (not to say you shouldn't use a standard calibration disk but your less conventional configuration will probably mean your ears will rule in th end).

    Phase will be the most tricky to determine. Run something like Video Essentials and have someone work the phase in small increments while the LFE tone is playing so you can find where you are getting the most (average) output when the noise tones are playing (using an SPL meter of course). Given you'll have multiple points of mid/low bass in your room, cancellation could be an issue.

    And, hard as it may be to accept (trust me, I have large mains, as most of us do in SVS, it IS hard to swallow) setting your mains to small might yield the best results in smooth integration of deep bass and the rest of the spectrum. Your mains might actually sound better when relieved of deep bass below 80 hz (remember they'll still be making bass well below that, the 80hz isn't a brick wall filter).

    At least give it a try. Try too to set your music modes (stereo) or inputs (say, CD) to different bass settings than you do for Dolby Digital movie modes and sources. Most better receivers have memory settings that allow for lower bass levels for music than movies. I know I usually have CD/Stereo (I use a Denon receiver though) far lower for the subs than I do for my DVD/DPL source and mode.

    Hope this helps some.

    Ron
     
  3. Duvall

    Duvall Agent

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    You might want to consider an Outlaw ICBM external crossover unit for $250.00 plus shipping. It is solving a lot of configuration issues for me here, and appears to be quite transparent to boot.

    See ya. Dave
     
  4. Andy Swindler

    Andy Swindler Auditioning

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    Ron,
    Don't you ever sleep? [​IMG]
    Thanks for the advice. I did calibrate the system with Avia and found much variance in the sub levels. Perhaps this is due to the phase. I will try running all speakers set to small and see what it sounds like. Let the SVS do all the heavy lifting for awhile.
    Duvall, thanks for the comment on the Outlaw. As much as I've been against equalization in the past, I think my room might really need it. I've done a few low frequency sweeps and there are serious erratic dips in the SPLs.
    Oh well, if I didn't have something to tweak I'd get bored.
    Andy
     
  5. EarleD

    EarleD Supporting Actor

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    Andy I have a Outlaw ICBM and a ART 351 for trade in the for sale are here. Just A FYI

    Earle
     
  6. Andy Swindler

    Andy Swindler Auditioning

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    Well I just spent all my $$ on my SVS for now. I'll keep it in mind, tho.

    Andy
     
  7. Andy Swindler

    Andy Swindler Auditioning

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    And I thought I was just getting a sub...
    Well Ron, you were right. I set all speakers to small, re-calibrated for the change, and it sounds even better than before. Everything is so tight and smooth. My speakers do sound better when they don't have to worry about making so much bass, and why put them through that when you've got an SVS around to do all the work? Just because your speakers CAN go low doesn't necessarily mean they should.
    I've got my Nak sub volume set to -7 for surround and -4 for stereo, the sub gain is at about 11oclock, phase at 3oclock, crossover off. Everything has been re-calibrated using sound meter and Avia. I also tuned the 20-39PC+ down to 16hz and it is still plenty loud.
    The addition of this sub has completed my system for now. Of course I'll continue to tweak, but now they will be luxuries, rather than necessities. [​IMG] The additional advice I've gotten on setup has improved the overall sound quality and integration of my system about 300%.
    If anyone else has good main speakers that you think you need to run low, give this setup a try. You won't regret it!
    Also, I've discovered another really good bass demo disc. Blue Man Group: Audio. There is a DVD version with a DTS mix that is insane with the SVS. Try chapters 5 and 6.
    Andy
     
  8. Andy Swindler

    Andy Swindler Auditioning

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    After reading another post, I wanted to try the scene in LOTR when they are hiding beneath the tree. A couple of times during this bass-intensive scene, I heard a nasty rattling sound. I thought it was my sub bottoming out and was quite sad. Upon closer investigation I realized that the sub was scooting across my hardwood floor! I thought this was the case, anyway, since it seems to be in a different place every time I adjust it. Is there a remedy for this phenomenon, aside from turning down the volume?

    My first reaction was to remove the port blocker and lower the gain a click (now down to the second marking), to keep the level relatively the same, as it was matching pretty well. I might go back, but I also noticed a softer, metallic sound when I was right next to the sub when I had thought it was bottoming out. Actually I tilted it a bit to remove the noise from the floor vibration. Is this bottoming out, should I be concerned?

    Andy
     
  9. Edward J M

    Edward J M Cinematographer

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    Andy:
    I experienced the same phenomenon with my 20-39PC+ at 46:09-46:11. That sound is the baseplate vibrating against the floor. Nothing on the sub itself is vibrating, nor is it bottoming out. The dB-12 driver is nearly impossible to bottom out even at extreme levels if your SS filter is set to 20 Hz. Anyway, go to the automotive parts store and buy a roll of generic truck cap foam tape (i.e., for attaching a cap to the back of a pick-up truck) with peel-off adhesive on one side. Cut and attach strips of it across the entire bottom of the baseplate, supplementing the three foam feet provided by SVS. It worked well for me - the baseplate stopped contacting the floor, and the sub stopped moving around. As an alternative, you could cut a piece of carpeting the same size as the baseplate and place it under the sub - that works too.
    Whichever way you go - turning down the volume should not be a solution to this problem - hey that's why you bought the PC+ in the first place, right?! [​IMG]
    Finally, I agree 100% about running the mains in small mode. Just because they can dig pretty deep (35 Hz), doesn't mean they can move the same amount of air the SVS can at the same frequency. I have Polk RT800i mains that are flat to 35 Hz, and I wouldn't dream of using them in large mode at high volumes. You said it best - let your SVS do all the heavy lifting - it's built to take it.
    Ed Mullen
     
  10. Andy Swindler

    Andy Swindler Auditioning

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    Nothing on the sub is vibrating?! I find that very hard to believe. [​IMG]
    I'll try the foam. Thanks for the tip. Have you tried tuning it down to 16hz? I'm trying to figure out what I like better, but I don't even know if my test material is really hitting anything that low. Sounds pretty incredible either way.
    Yeah, it's easy to get caught up in the "damnit my speakers can handle anything" mindset. Doesn't help the way the manual phrases it, "Set to small if your speakers ARE NOT CAPABLE of producing sound below 80hz." Taking that far too literally promted me to put my center and rears in large mode. Thank God I read forums more than manuals. Course having the sub just changes everything.
    Andy
     
  11. Jeffrey_B

    Jeffrey_B Agent

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    I had a problem with resonance onmy new 20-39 PC PLUS. At about 80 Hz, there was a loud honking/resonance through the top grille - at first I thought it was the speaker but placing my hand on top of the grille stopped it. My Sub was on a slate/bick ledge by my fireplace - so the vibrations must have been traveling up through the sub to the top. I cut a 16 inch circle of carpet and placed it under the base plate. No more buzzing.

    Another question to you sub owners (rather than starting a new thread). When I purchased my PC+, I ordered an 8 meter sub cable (Bettercables - great and great price BTW). I have since moved my sub to a new location and only require about 3 meters of cable. Is it alreight to use a longer sub cable or should I exchange it for the correct length. I'm pretty sure I won't need to use 8 meters any more. Thanks JEFF
     
  12. Edward J M

    Edward J M Cinematographer

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    Jeffrey:

    The signal loss through the longer cable will be completely negligible, especially from a Better Cables product. I would keep the longer cable in case you need to move the sub again. I have a Monster sub cable that is probably 6 feet too long and I don't give it a second thought.

    We watched Titan AE for the first time with the SVS last night - WOW!!! Some of these cartoons (Titan AE, Atlantis, TS2) have a motherlode of bass! The ice field scenes were especially strong - all we could do was grip the armrests tightly and look at each other and shake our heads in disbelief - we are having an absolute BLAST watching all of our movies again - and literally hearing them for the first time!

    Ed Mullen
     
  13. Jeffrey_B

    Jeffrey_B Agent

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    Thanks Ed - I'll likely keep it - I had the sub by my listening position (to the right of me; about 4 feet way). There's a lot of physical impact when the sub is there. Unfortunately, my receiver (Sony ES30) has a high crossover when setting speakers to small (I think its about 100 or 120 Hz) and when I leave the SVS amp's crossover DISABLED to let all the low frequencies through, there is too much localizable sound (I needed the 8 meter cable for this location). Now I moved the sub to the front/viewing position - just to the left of my Mits 65 inch HDTV. Now, I don't notice the sound being localizable as it is all blending with the front speakers. In moving the sub to this location, I no longer have it in a corner but rather, along a straight wall in my family room (22 feet wide, by 14 feet deep by 8 feet high; only one opening: a 3 feetwide staircase). This sub (the 20-39 PC Plus has so much power that even though it is not corner loaded, the effect is still the same; and I only have the sub amp truned about halfway up. If anyone thinks they HAVE to place this sub in a corner, believe me, it;s not necessary. This sub has so much power, it gives you felibility in location options (which should please the spouse for sure!). JEFF
     
  14. Yee-Ming

    Yee-Ming Producer

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    I have to second what Jeff B said. my 22-31PCi is placed next to the TV, inside the left main, and alongside a wall and not in a corner -- although I suppose the TV console next to it might give it a slight "corner-effect". this might be countered though by the fact that further to the left is a corridor to the other rooms, so there's quite a lot of "leakage".
    however, there's more than enough dBs to keep me happy -- and annoy the SO... [​IMG]
     

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