SVS vs HSU and which one for 4000 cu ft HT room?

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Burke, Oct 19, 2003.

  1. Burke

    Burke Auditioning

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    My first post. I've had a home theater for about two years, but been disappointed in my Klipsch KSW 12 subwoofer. I suspect it may not be enough oomph for my size room. I calculate my room at approx. 4000 cu ft.

    My home theater is in the basement, berber carpet on concrete slab. Approximate dimensions are 30 X 17 X 8.5. I have an accoustic tile ceiling. Negligible amount of glass (windows). The room is wider than deep with the big screen offset from center about 6 feet.

    After lurking on the forum I've concluded that the two contenders for my $1000 investment are HSU and SVS. I am leaning towards the SVS PB2-ISB. My kids, wife and I listen at moderate levels. What are your opinions? And which sub do you recommend? I'd appreciate any feedback possible.
     
  2. Fernando Saa

    Fernando Saa Stunt Coordinator

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    I'll be receiving my PB2-Plus from SVS tomorrow monday according to the tracking shipment from Bax Global, and am very happy, but at the same time a little anxious if it will perform as expected.
    But I have to tell you that originally I was gonna purchase my sub from HSU until I found out about SVS and came to this forum. There is an overwhelmingly bigger acceptance to SVS not only sonic wise but also in customer service which I've already experienced and must say is excellent. I don't doubt that if I had made the choice to go with HSU I'd be very happy too because I haven't heard any negative thoughts about it, by the contrary ir seems to be a great contender. But if I was in your shoes I'd go for SVS. I mean, two drivers, 600 watts (for the ISD model), great customer service, greater acceptace by members of this forum... etc. Good luck
     
  3. MikeLi

    MikeLi Supporting Actor

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    I would tell you to get the PB2+. Call and speak or email Ron at SVS and give him your room measurements and specifics and he will advise you on what to get. They will not try to over sell you but I still think with your room you should go the plus route.
     
  4. CurtisSC

    CurtisSC Screenwriter

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    Burke,

    I am a huge proponent Hsu's high quality bass and my VTF-3, I am sure the VTF-3 will suit your needs nicely.

    That said, the two drivers in PB2 will move more air and give you higher SPL's.

    I don't think you will go wrong either way.
     
  5. JackLonn

    JackLonn Agent

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    I haven't received my PB2+ yet, but I did email Ron at SVS with my room measurements (3,700 ft^3) and he recommended the PB2+. Probably another 10 days [​IMG] before it ships.
     
  6. MikeLi

    MikeLi Supporting Actor

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    I cant comment on the HSU VTF-3 but both HSU and SVS are both fine companies and you will find alot of folks that will tell you that either will be fine as long as you get the right one for your room. It is very important to have enough woofage going in than to get something and be dissapointed and want to go bigger. Plus these things are big and expensive to ship back. I went the SVS route and Ron was most helpful there, used my room specs and he gave me several options. I took the best one and glad I did.. Now I dont have to wonder if I should have gone bigger. I really like the PB2+. Just my 2 cents.. My room is about the same size as yours.
     
  7. Edward J M

    Edward J M Cinematographer

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    For a 4,000 ft3 room at what you call "moderate" levels, the PB2-ISD is a slam dunk for $900.

    Twin ISD woofers, a vault-like enclosure with lots of internal volume, a 600+ watt digital BASH amp, three 3" flared deep-breathing ports, continuously variable 0-180 phase control, and variable tuning with port plugs and custom EQ/SS settings for each tune point.

    Even in the stock tune with all ports open, the PB2-ISD will dig strong to 21-22 Hz before the SS filter kicks in - deep enough for nearly all movies and music. Not deep enough for that famous SoundHound organ CD floating around? No problemo - tune it to 20 Hz with a single port plug and you've instantly got strong in-room response to 15-16 Hz - deep enough for the largest organ and the bassiest movies.

    No other sub offers this combination of components, features, and build quality for $900. And it's sourced in North America and built right here in the USA.

    Regards,

    Ed
     
  8. Burke

    Burke Auditioning

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    Ed,

    I like your signature, "What we do in life, echoes in eternity."

    Do you think the PB2 Plus would offer a substantive incremental improvement in performance to justify an additional $350? Thanks.
     
  9. Edward J M

    Edward J M Cinematographer

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    Thanks, but I can't take credit for it. First heard it on "Gladiator", and really liked it. Words to live by.

    The PB2-ISD and the PB2-Plus have the same tune points and will sound essentially identical up to the clean limits of the PB2-ISD.

    You said you listen at "moderate" levels, so I didn't think the PB2-Plus would provide you with any audible benefit over the PB2-ISD.

    If you pushed it really hard on bassy HT DVDs that are very demanding on a subwoofer, the PB2-Plus will deliver a few dB more clean output at the extreme limits.

    If you want to get more technical and definitively pin it down.....is your system calibrated to Reference Level at Master Volume 00 with Avia or DVE or S&V?

    If yes:

    1) At what Master Volume level do you normally play DVDs?

    2) How "hot" is your sub calibrated in relation to the surround channels?

    3) What kind of sound pressure peaks are you seeing on your sound meter on C-Weighted Fast at the key listening positions during DVD playback at your preferred Master Volume setting?

    4) Have you ever bottomed out or otherwise audibly distorted the KSW-12 and is it a limiting factor in setting your overall playback volume?
     
  10. MikeLi

    MikeLi Supporting Actor

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    Edward brings up some great points. Alot of it though still ends up with how your room is set up. I have as much space as you do but with very high ceilings and an opening on one of the short walls into an eating and kitchen area. Alot escapes that way. Hence I decided to do the PB2+ instead. I am glad I have that extra ooph there if its needed. The cost is not that much more but either sub would probably work fine for you. I always go one step above whats usually recommended to me for everything I get. That way I never wonder what if... but thats just me...
     
  11. Burke

    Burke Auditioning

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    Ed,

    I've only done a rough calibration at -40db. I didn't realize that I needed to go to 0 db! My Klipsch is gone as of this morning since I sold it on eBay. I did not get my system calibrated to Reference Level at Master Volume 00 with Avia or DVE or S&V yet. I will do so when I get my new subwoofer. I do have the Radio Shack audio calibrator however and when I get my new subwoofer I will calibrate carefully.

    In answer to your question #4: No, I never bottomed out or otherwise audibly distorted the KSW-12, at least to my untrained ear. My main gripe with the KSW-12 is that I had it turned up 100% to get the sort of base response I wanted at more nominal listening levels and it still didn't deliver the oomph and clarity that I was seeking.

    In answer to question # 2: With the KSW-12 we listened with the sub calibrated "hot." At -40db I was getting a db output with the test tones of 73 db with significantly more from the subwoofer. I can't recall exactly, but more than 90db! So, that sounds "hot" to me.

    Questons #1 & #3 I can't answer as of yet since I've not calibrated properly.

    Thanks in advance.

    BTW, one of my favorite quotes by the inestimable Edmund Burke:

    "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." Edmund Burke
     
  12. Edward J M

    Edward J M Cinematographer

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    Not all Master Volume controls default to 00 when playing test tones or when calibrating. Some have a different numbering scale.

    The important thing when calibrating with a DVD is to note the Master Volume level at which you are getting either 75 dB or 85 dB (depending on the DVD) from the limited bandwidth noise test tones from each surround speaker at the seat on C-weighted Slow.

    On my Denon AVR-3803, I use Master Volume 00 simply because that is the default for the Denon and it is easy to remember and reference playback levels from a baseline of 00. For example, I played Matrix Reloaded at 8 clicks under Reference Level, which would be -8 on my Master Volume.

    Regardless, the bigger picture is that you are running the sub somewhere around 17+ dB hot as measured at the seat, which is quite extreme. I would imagine this provides an unbalanced, very bass-heavy sound. It is possible you are trying to compensate for a lack of true deep extension and power simply by overcalibrating the less than satisfactory and underpowered KSW-12. That poor sub is probably taking a beating!

    Proper system calibration is essential for both music and HT. I run my PB2+ about 3 dB hot for HT and flat for music. The SVS product does not need to be run obscenely hot to impress, but it will take your ears some time to adjust to the new sound of accurate bass at a proper calibration level. The RS meter reads about 2 dB low on the typical subwoofer calibration rumble tone, so take that into account when calibrating. For example, 75 dB on the meter (C-Weighted Slow) is really about 77 dB.

    Don't initially mistake a flat and accurate mid-bass region for a lack of bass power. The KSW probably exhibits a fairly large mid-bass hump at around 35-40 Hz and then takes a major nosedive below that, lacking a genuine deep extension. The PB2 OTOH will be much flatter and more neutral in this all important frequency region. After living with the KSW, accurate bass may sound "funny" to you at first, but stick with it and let your ears get accustomed to the sound.

    Because you are currently calibrated so hot, it may be that you have an insatiable appetite for bass. Even if you calibrate properly with the new SVS, maybe the PB2-Plus wouldn't be a bad idea as an "insurance" policy if you decide to really cut loose and enjoy what it can bring to the HT experience in that size room.

    At least initially, I would definitely recommend the stock tune with all ports open and the SS filter set to 25 Hz as this tune will provide the most output in the more common bass region above 20 Hz and is damn near bulletproof.

    Regards,

    Ed
     
  13. MikeLi

    MikeLi Supporting Actor

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    Witch ever one you got will be a 90% improvment from what you had. Like Ed says it takes some time to get used to it as it is different. Its there when you need it and very subtile when just doing its duty but boy can it immediatly scare the you know what out of you when something huge happens.
     
  14. Mark Pedley

    Mark Pedley Auditioning

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    Hi Burke,

    I have a room almost exactly like yours 32x19x7 with berber over concrete and accoustic tile. It's not a basement but is about 4' underground (split level) with no windows and 5 doorways (3 are closed). I received a PB2-isd last Saturday. I have been meaning to do a formal review but have just been to busy to do good testing and post review worthy of this sub, like Edward J M's review of the PB2-plus, but I will give my initial impressions. After calibrating with Avia, I must say I was not impressed. Star Wars pod race, U571 depth charges, a little rumble, but nothing exciting. After reading so many good things about SVS I did some more research and found that calibrating with Avia sometimes gives low settings. I turned up the gain on the sub a little bit and tried it again. HOLY @#^%$ I felt what everybody was talking about. Star Wars ATOC THX intro, WOW is that cool, the subtle rain, a little thunder rumble in the background and then WHAM you can feel it right in your chest. Then the ship flying right over the house and landing in the family room, extremely cool. I would strongly recommend this sub.

    Mark

    p.s. Dad and I were playing with the sub this weekend and buried the needle on the RS meter at about 20-25 hz with the Avia LFE sweeps. (over 120 db!!!)
     
  15. Burke

    Burke Auditioning

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    Mark,

    Thanks for the informative answer. Any regrets about not getting the PB2 Plus? After reading all of the posts above I was leaning towards the PB2 ISD which seemed like it was in all likelihood more than enough for my needs which are generally quite modest insofar as volume is concerned.

    BTW, how much did you have left after turning up the gain "a little bit"? What was the actual gain setting?

    How "hot" was your sub eventually set at? How many db's over the test tones?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  16. MikeLi

    MikeLi Supporting Actor

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    32X19X7 you would get away with the PB2-isd like the above post. If you have tall vaulted ceilings or a large opening into another room. ( Like family room into kitchen or eating area. I would go for the PB2+. Like I said my room is similar to above but with the high ceilings, 14 ft on one end and slopes down to 8 Ft. on the back end and also partially opens into an eating/kitchen area. I am glad I have that extra little bit. I am running at just over 1/2 on the gain.
     
  17. Edward J M

    Edward J M Cinematographer

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  18. KeithY

    KeithY Stunt Coordinator

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  19. Mark Pedley

    Mark Pedley Auditioning

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    Burke,

    No regrets at all about the PB2-isd, I'm not even pushing the limits at all, I have a few times and while it is quite fun it is really WAY too loud for normal listening. I have my amp set at -5 db as per SVS instructions and the sub gain is exactly 1/3. I just went and checked how many dbs over the test tone with Avia and came up with about 10db. I also have the sub set to 16 hz with 2 ports plugged. I usually watch movies about 10 db under reference and find this sounds great to me, no boominess with the soundtrack but still a LOT of kick when needed. Hope this helps your decision.

    Edward,

    IIRC it may have been one of your posts that let me know about the weaknesses of the Avia disc, if so thanks, if not thanks to whomever it was.

    Mark
     
  20. Jeffrey R

    Jeffrey R Stunt Coordinator

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