SVS Sub, PB10 vs 20-39 PCi (price vs perf)

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Matt Lee, May 24, 2005.

  1. Matt Lee

    Matt Lee Agent

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    Ok, so it's time I bought myself a real subwoofer. I have JBL Studio series speakers (S38II L&R, SCenterII, S26II Surrounds) and a Pioneer 1014 receiver, and was using my roommate's JBL PB12 subwoofer until he recently moved out. Now I am without sub and need to figure out what I'm going to buy. I don't have a ton of money but I'm willing to spend some (credit at least hehe) to get something that will not only last me a while (until I'm in a less-poor upgrade-everything kind of position) but also get me my money's worth and live up to how happy I've been w/the rest of my HT. It seems on a budget SVS is the way to go for this. So here's what it's come down to...

    I was sort of set on the 20-39 PCi. My HT is primarily for movies (it's probably 80/20 right now) and I want something that goes down to 20hz reliably. But I've recently been reading about the PB10 and it sounds like it's quite a competitor for around $200 less. Now my HT room isn't very big (no measurements sorry) and I'm moving in a couple months so I really don't know the dimentions of the new room, but it's medium to small. Normally I err on the side of spend a little more if it will really give you more performance, but I don't really know how much more I'm going to get out of a 20-39 vs a PB10. I do like the footprint and aesthetic of the cylinder subs, but again it's coming down to saving a couple hundred towards my credit card balance. I'm sure I'd be happy with either but will I be more happy or for longer with the 20-39?

    So basically I'm looking for opinions, frames of reference, etc. I have read a lot on the SVS subs vs other stuff but nothing really about these two compared to eachother.
     
  2. BrianWoerndle

    BrianWoerndle Supporting Actor

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    Both are great subs. The main difference is that the 20-39 will play down to 15-16hz in most rooms then start rolling off. The PB-10 has a subsonic filter at 18hz to keep itself from ripping apart, so the PB-10 will not play anything below 18hz. For movies, that little bit of extra subsonics can make an impact. I have dual 16-46CS+s, and am flat down to 13hz at reference levels. I am amazed at how much more tactile the subsonics are.
     
  3. Parker Clack

    Parker Clack Schizophrenic Man
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    Matt:

    Why not start out with the PB-10 and see if it is enough sub for your room. Since you are going to be moving soon you could then evaluate it in your new place and if it doesn't do what you want you can always upgrade.

    I have heard the PB-10 and it will give many a sub the run for its money. I have had several friends that have larger room with large speakers and they have been nothing but thrilled with the performance of the PB-10 in their rooms.

    Also, SVS has a great return policy so if you get it home and don't think it is up to snuff then you can return. In addition I would give Tom or Ron an email and ask them what they would recommend given your environment, etc.

    Parker
     
  4. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    I agree with Parker; that's a great recommendation. I have a pretty large room and the PB-10 does fine in it. 20Hz performance isn't a problem. I had asked SVS about the PB-10 vs a 25-31PCi, and they said to get a decent upgrade I would need to move to something like a PC+ or a PB-12/2+.
     
  5. SVS-Ron

    SVS-Ron Screenwriter

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    Matt,

    Just a slight addition to what Brian said (though we'd have said as mch if you'd e-mailed us as Parker recommended... I just happened to stop in ;^). Actually both these subs use subsonic filters that are honed for their exact cabient/woofer alignment. The precise configuration is close-hold but the upshot is that their overall frequency response is virtually the same. Still the PCi has a larger woofer, more effective amp power, larger port and larger cabient.

    So it'll still have a good bit of clean, linear response when the PB10-ISD runs out of gas. Roughly speaking you are looking at roughly 75% more output with a PCi. That sounds like a huge leap, and I suppose it is considering how wellthe PB10-ISD performs, but it's not going to be a day/night differnce in practical use. Now, double (100%) more output and you are talking SERIOUS differnce in the size of the rooms a particular sub can tackle. This is why we usually recommend somone add a second identical sub, or jump two classes if they crave that quantum leap upgrade.

    The idea with our lineup is to provide a nearly linear relation between additional cost and additional performance it's an imperfect approach but these two subs come pretty close.

    They'll sound very very similar up to their respective output limits. There's no question the PCi provides more features (more hookup options mostly) and substantially more output than a PB10-ISD, with nearly identical FR. Having used the PB10-ISD in my own (small) home theater I know it's certainly "enough" subwoofer for most "normal" people.

    Room size is the big wildcard, so if you are unsure of that, and spending a bit more isn't going to put you in financial difficulty, the PCi might be worth considering. It's always a difficult thing to balance "today" needs with "tomorrow" possibilities. If money is tight, I doubt you will regret "settling" for a PB10-ISD.

    Ron
     
  6. Matt Lee

    Matt Lee Agent

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    Wow, thanks for the responses, exactly the kind of info I needed. Basically what I'm thinking now is if I don't feel I'm going to bankrupt myself I'll go for the 20-39, 'cause it never hurts to have the extra power, but I also won't feel like I'm totally missing out if things are tight and I go with the PB10. I'm going to basically play it by ear and see how things look when I have the money. I'm really looking foreward to it. [​IMG]
     
  7. Arthur S

    Arthur S Cinematographer

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    Matt

    Don't rule out a B-Stock 20-39PCi. They go for $549 and I got one. Appearance and performance are perfect. That would bring the price difference down to $120. Well worth it to me, especially because I need the crossover. Also, now that I have a real good idea, (thanks to Ron), about the extra performance of the 20-39 over the PB-10, I'm even more pleased.
     

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