Which Sub? SVS 25-31 vs HSU VTF-2 for 50/50 HT vs Music listening

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Greg Lee, Dec 28, 2001.

  1. Greg Lee

    Greg Lee Agent

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    SVS is certainly popular here and seems to be the one to get. Is it particularly biased toward HT, or is it also good for music (rock, blues). What factors if any are there in favor of the HSU?

    It will be used in system based on Onkyo 696 with HTD Level III bookshelf speakers, in a large room.
     
  2. Thomas_Berg

    Thomas_Berg Screenwriter

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    SVS > Hsu. most everyone will agree with that. [​IMG]
    my 25-31PC shines in both fields. music has never sounded better and fuller, and my movies are spectacular! SVS does both stunningly well!
     
  3. Chip E

    Chip E Screenwriter

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    Yea, i'm not sure if their's a bias one way or another... i don't see it that way. I have a 20-39PC. It works great all around.
     
  4. ling_w

    ling_w Second Unit

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    The VTF line has been highly recommended for music, it is just that its amplifier/crossover is not as flexible as the TN's.

    With the VTF's dual/single port option, you could tailor it for HT or music, which is not possible with the TN or other subs. At least Dr. Hsu acknowledges that subs with a mid-low bass emphasis gives you a better HT experience.
     
  5. DanaA

    DanaA Screenwriter

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    My Hsu VTF-2 works great for home theater and music. I also use the Onkyo 696 receiver as you do. Again though, from what I hear posters here say, the SVS seems to just sparkle (maybe not the right word to describe a sub). The SVS costs more than I got my Hsu for, but, if your living with the thing long term, the extra bucks might be worth it for you. I'm unbelievably satisfied with my Hsu though. The way I look at it is like Tom was saying the other day: Either one of these subs would be right up there in performance for the dollar and either brand makes super subs (my words, not his). I just feel the SVS is probably the better of the two and this is just from reading comparisons of the two on this and other sites, but the posters on this site know their audio so much it makes me drip with envy.
     
  6. Jim_F

    Jim_F Screenwriter

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    I went from a VTF-2 to a 20-39PC. Both provided all the output I needed (at most frequencies) to calibrate to 85db in my 12'x16'x8' room without straining. I only use a small fraction of the SVS' capability to match the rest of my system. The Hsu required about 1/2 throttle or so to calibrate to the same level. For most purposes 85db is a good, loud reference point for me.
    So, for most material, say ~25Hz and up, there isn't a lot of difference in my room, to my ears. Sure the SVS could go TONS louder than the VTF, but then my setup would be out of balance.
    The huge difference is when low frequencies on certain material get REALLY low. This is where, even in my modest application, the SVS 20-39PC outperforms the VTF-2 by a wide margin. Music and LFE that make the VTF-2 honk and rattle (as rare as they are) do not faze the SVS one bit.
    My calibration disc only extends to 20Hz, but the 20-39PC handles that with such ease that I would guesstimate that I'm getting pretty flat response down to at least 18Hz in my room, perhaps lower. Take that guess for what it worth, since I have no actual data to confirm it.
    I think both of these products are top notch at their respective price points, for both HT and music. If budget allows, however, the SVS is a sizable cut above (or should I say below? [​IMG] ) the Hsu.
     
  7. Mal P

    Mal P Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi Jim,
    As you've had experience with both SVS and HSU, you seem the ideal person to ask this question! [​IMG] I too am a moderate volume listener... the volume control on my amp rarely exceeds the 8 o'clock position. At the moment, I'm in a conundrum as to which subwoofer to buy. For my listening tastes (i.e. moderate volumes), the VTF-2 would appear to be the ideal and most affordable option. However, I'm constantly in self-doubt about needing more SPLs with the amount of discussion that goes on about the various loudness of subwoofers. I'm trying to justify the exorbitant cost of shipping an SVS here to Australia... How would you rate the performance of the HSU vs the SVS in terms of musicality, at moderate levels, for the majority of music? Similar? The SVS winning by a wide margin? HT is a secondary concern for me, but musicality is important.
    Thank you,
    Mal
     
  8. Rick Radford

    Rick Radford Supporting Actor

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    Just out of curiosity, is there really a justifiable concern about how a sub handles music vs HT? Afterall, (as Brian Florian mentioned in an AVS thread), 99% of DVDs have a LOT of music in them.
    Or does music vs HT sub choice rank up there with the cabling debates?
    [​IMG]
     
  9. Todd Terwilliger

    Todd Terwilliger Screenwriter

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    I think a good sub is a good sub, regardless of whether the content be movies or music. I think that people create a division between the two because while they accept (or expect) a measure of boominess in movies, they don't in music. As I'm learning with my new SVS, you shouldn't expect it in either medium.
     
  10. Mal P

    Mal P Stunt Coordinator

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    G'day Rick,

    I suppose an argument is that when watching say a film (excluding concert/music DVDs), one isn't concentraing on the music contained within, but rather on the storyline/characters/dialog/explosions etc. Thus, I could be more accepting of an inaccurate subwoofer if the primary purpose was HT, utlizing select titles where all I needed was loud "bangs".

    However, this is just an argument one could use. An accurate, good subwoofer is always preferred in general. Whether it reproduces music or HT should not be a factor. Note that in my post previously, I was referring to the extension/loudness of the subwoofer when I stated HT was a secondary consideration, as a subwoofer wouldn't need to go as loud for music, as would it for HT.

    Cheers,

    Mal
     
  11. Jack Gilvey

    Jack Gilvey Producer

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    20-39cs - 109.5 / 20hz~91dB / 25hz~105.8dB

    HSU RESEARCH VTF-2 - 107.1 / 20hz~93 / 25hz~99dB

    Here are Nousaine's test results for these two subs at a 10%THD limit, if it helps. These are pretty old, especially the Hsu. The SVS has been improved since, and the Hsu has a new amp and driver.

    That is the 20-39. To compare to the 25-31, I'd guess it to have more output @ 25Hz and above, but with the Hsu having more of an advantage as you get down to 20Hz than it might over the 20-39.
     
  12. Jim_F

    Jim_F Screenwriter

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    Mal,

    For most music at moderate volumes in a smallish room, I wouldn't expect a lot of difference.

    However, the SVS 20-39PC does reveal information I've never noticed on recordings before (like a pianist working the pedals or the bellows of an organ) Also, for really low bass such as you might hear from a pipe organ or the drums that play during the opening credits of Gladiator, the 20-39PC has a distinct advantage over the VTF-2. The 16-46 and newer SVS models are (believably) reputedly able to master this type of material even better than the 20-39, but I find the 20-39 to be a wonderful compromise for my needs, including my available vertical space.

    Hope this helps.
     
  13. SVS-Ron

    SVS-Ron Screenwriter

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    In my biased opinion, the entire "is it a musical sub?" issue was largely a red herring thrown out but fans (and makers) of pricey subs that handle well the generally more modest bass demands of popular music, but are the same ones that can't touch the sound pressure levels (SPL) or the depth/extension of common (DVD) movie tracks today.

    Some such subs quickly found themselves completely overcome by new demands from a growing market. To throw fear into the buying equation we began to see more capable subs called to question with regards to "musicality". That is you got the "yeah it's a great HOME THEATER sub, but can it handle Yo Yo Ma??"

    In my opinion, unless something is grossly wrong with a design, if a sub handles the typically much more challenging demands of home theater, it WILL be a good music sub. The REVERSE however, as some of us have discovered over the last 2-3 years, is often NOT true. Namely, that if it's a great music sub, it may NOT be a good HT sub. So it can be "tight" (low group delay), "fast" (presumeably with low total harmonic distortion or THD, though clearly this term lacks true definition), and "hard hitting" (meaning, sometimes, it has a ton of output, but only say well above 30-35Hz or so, where most music bass stays) and still sound like a muddled, boomy mess when the SPL requirements or low extension push such a "musical" sub to its limits and beyond. Many simply filter out some of the best bass on DVDs so you never know what you are missing. If you drop $3K on a sub that can't touch the bottom octave, you probaby don't WANT to know what you are missing I'd think. Buyer's remorse at the $1K and above price point can be an ugly thing to witness. Most folks just don't go there.

    So rather than ask if a HT sub is "musical", it's probably more important to ask if a "musical" sub is worth a damn on home theater. HT is where the pretenders are separated from the real subwoofers today. Fantastic music sound is a byproduct of a balanced, robust design.

    Just my 2 cents formed in 4 years of watching and working in this market.
     
  14. Greg Lee

    Greg Lee Agent

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    Thanks for the responses people. I've made one decision so far (SVS - YES!) and still have a few details to sort out. I just started a new thread 'SETTLED - I need SVS (which one) and an EQ !! Maybe new speakers too ?' in an effort to get to the bottom of these weighty questions [​IMG].
    Ron I understand your comments about HT being more demanding than music on a sub and the resulting conclusion that a good HT sub is 'just plain good'. On the other hand, I read that HT can tolerate a 'less good' sub than can music, with respect to sloppiness/boominess. This certainly seems to be my observation so far (admittedly based on very limited experience); namely I am enjoying DVDs with my new system, but can hardly stand music. I mentioned in a previous thread that using the Avia sweep (I know its not too precise) I have a dip in the 120-150 HZ range, and a really mean peak in the 50-70 HZ range; I assume much of this is room response, but I wonder how much if any of the fault can be attributed to my existing sub.
     
  15. Todd Terwilliger

    Todd Terwilliger Screenwriter

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    I think boominess is only tolerated by those who don't know better. I certainly didn't until yesterday. I think people, especially new people to the HT game, mistakenly believe that boominess = good for HT bass. I was among them but, from reading this and other forums, came to doubt it. I now know from the last day of playing with my 20-39, that is completely false.
     
  16. SVS-Ron

    SVS-Ron Screenwriter

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    "...I wonder how much if any of the fault can be attributed to my existing sub."

    Greg, there is only one sure-fire way to know. You know you get no-hassle return with an SVS. We'd love to hear your comments about how we fared (using an old amp you have) a 25-31CS against the HTD (again I need to restate that I have no reason to belive yet that that isn't a fine sub).

    As I posted elsewhere, I'd wait on the eq just until you can do some back to back testing with the SVS. You might find that what seems like room issues...are not.

    Getting an eq at any time is easy. We like to see folks ramp up to their needs and not throw too many variables into the mix at one time.

    Ron
     
  17. Tom Vodhanel

    Tom Vodhanel Cinematographer

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    One thing to remember about TN's data,
    to find 20hz output, he runs a 20hz ramped pulse burst into the subwoofer...and just keeps increasing the input voltage until he sees 10%.
    Ok,cool.
    The problem is...the voltage NEEDED to hit that 10% may be so much higher than you'd need to hit max output at 30hz or 40hz or 50hz....that is real world use with real world source material....you don't get anywhere NEAR the 20hz tactile feeling you though you might.
    for examlple...what if the source material had 1v amptitude at 20,30,40,50hz....
    but the sub (because of severe response dropoff and built in limiters)...needed 1v at 40hz,2v at 30hz and 3v at 20hz to reach those 10%thd limits?
    Part of this can be predicted in the response of the subwoofers TN measures(but not all).TN uses a 85dB response level. SO that's nice if gramma's sleeping in the next room. But it has nothing in common with the types of volume setttings we're all going to use at moderate volume playback in a HT.
    Let's use a moderate volume of say 15dB under reference...
    With all speakers set to LARGE, that's 100dB at all the key seats(15dB louder than 85dB---HUGE difference).
    With all speakers set to small, that's 106dB at all the key seats(21dB louder than 85dB---HUGE difference).
    I'd like to see TN take some response checks at 85,90,95,100,105,110 dB steps.(I think Brian's recent shootout at www.hometheaterhifi.com ---which include response checks at MAXIMUM clean output levels is a great example of how response changes as SPLs rise...for some subs)
    The other key issue is one of electronic limiters.
    Upping the voltage until you see 10% thd won't duplicate a real world input signal(and how that signal may be distorted by these limiters)very well.
    Check out Howard Ferstler's recent review of the VTF-2(including the new driver and amp mods I believe btw) in T$$.
    In max extension mode,
    20hz~90dB.
    When Howard measured the CT-150. it hit 97dB at 20hz.
    TN got 93dB/20hz for the HSU, and 82dB/20hz for the VEL.
    so that's an 18dB *swing*.
    somethings obviously not not adding up.
    In the end..the TN data is valuable...very in many regards.
    But if anyone thinks a VTF-2 is going to outgun a 20-39cs in the lowend...it's just not going to happen....not a chance.
    TV
     
  18. Bob_A

    Bob_A Supporting Actor

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  19. Jack Gilvey

    Jack Gilvey Producer

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  20. Mal P

    Mal P Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks Jim, much appreciated. Great volume and great depths isn't really needed in my situation, and besides, I can always add a second Vtf-2 (at a discount) if the need arises.

    Cheers,

    Mal
     

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