Why is there a need to upgrade a subwoofer

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Greg Br, Jan 25, 2002.

  1. Greg Br

    Greg Br Second Unit

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    I know this sounds like a stupid question and reflects my complete lack of knowledge on the subject, but I did have a couple questions for some of you that have a wealth of knowledge.

    If I calibrated my sub and had to turn the volume knob down to 1/3 of its volume capability in order to achieve calibration, why would I need a bigger more powerful sub. I am sure the SVS line of subs would produce tighter and quicker bass but as I understand it would not be any louder, or else I would need to just turn it down to have it calibrated correctly. I guess I need an education on the difference between a high end sub and a low end sub. The sub I use was practically free, the JBL PB-12 that I got for $250. I know its a low end machine but it sounds good, but I keep reading about these big powerfull subs and after watching U-571 am wondering how a dual SVS would sound or would it be turned down so low it would not benifey the extra costs.
     
  2. ColinM

    ColinM Cinematographer

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    It depends on the room you're in, how you listen to stuff, what you like, all that hazz.

    Like NASCAR -

    Short tracks use finesse and handling.

    Long Superspeedways use brute force and power.

    Load an SVS in a small room and yeah, you won't use it's full capabilities unless you like the walls coming down around you.

    In a big room, you NEED one or 2 good subs to get the same level of performance.

    If you move the theater into a different room, a bigger one, you may find that JBL lacking, and you will start contemplating an upgrade.

    It's inevitable.

    Trust me.
     
  3. ColinM

    ColinM Cinematographer

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    "all that Jazz..."
     
  4. SVS-Ron

    SVS-Ron Screenwriter

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    Greg,

    If that sub makes you happy, then really there IS no reason to upgrade. However, what we hear over and over is that folks that upgrade had NO IDEA what low, clean and loud bass sounded like with less capable subs. The JBL you have now isn't a bad sub at all. I've set several up (in my pre-SVS days) for folks. It doesn't provide much deep bass though, and has the typical mid-bass overemphasis when the volume goes up (the reason you don't turn yours up much I'd imagine). This results in what folks call "boomy" for lack of a better term. Strange as it may sound some people LIKE this sound, but it is not what we'd call accurate reproduction of high amplitude, deep bass.

    If you ever wore glasses you might know what the sensation of getting a new prescription is like. You rarely know what you are missing, or how poor your vision was until you get things the are more accurate.

    I believe SVS hits many users that way. It's simply hard to describe, much less convince people, that they ARE missing something, something significant with nearly every movie you watch now.

    If you are starting to have doubts and you won't break the bank, or starve the kids doing it, try a 25-31PC someday and just do some testing of your favorite movies. If after a month of this you can bear to go back to your JBL,then you are out only shipping costs on the SVS, since we'll take it back.

    In terms of clean, flat and deep extension the upgrade from the great deal you got on the JBL, will be pretty startling I believe.

    At the end of the day subwoofers are very much part of that "cheap beer" philosophy. That is, if you feel life is too short for "cheap beer" (and when you turn 40 this realization hits you like a TC-Sound woofer magnet dropped from 10 stories)... then an SVS might be what you want to budget for. It's not just about "volume" after all, but a host of other audible factors that your JBL is probably not doing justice to.

    Substitute "VHS tape", for "cheap beer" if you don't drink beer ;^)

    Ron
     
  5. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    Why upgrade?
    Because there's still 1 credit card left in the wallet that isn't maxed out [​IMG]
    Regards,
     
  6. Greg Br

    Greg Br Second Unit

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    I typically run the sub very hot, I love the explosions and the sensation of the deep bass vibrating your bones. I think it is that sensation that makes people go WOW when they here a home theater system.

    Ron, for the record I drink expensive beer, and here is why, my philosiphy is and always has been, if this is that good then what does the best sound like or feel like. I drank coors light and then said if its that good whats Guiness like. I tested out a Mustang GT and said to the dealer, whats a Mustang Cobra like, I have the Cobra.

    The same goes for HT, if I just bought this sub and it sounds good, then I read all these posts I start saying to myself hey what does dual svs 20-39+'s sound like. Ufortunatley I do not know, the try it out and return sounds like a good idea, or maybe there is someone in Phoenix who has a setup like this.

    If I have the money I always end up going the extra mile, I just have never heard the difference between good bass and cheap bass, I assume I have cheap bass thats sounds good to me so far. My room is huge as well, 16 x 25 with vaulted ceilings.

    Thanks

    Greg
     
  7. SVS-Ron

    SVS-Ron Screenwriter

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    Greg,

    Given that way of looking at the world, not to mention that large room, I'd highly recommend you look to budgeting on a pair of 20-39CS+ subs and Samson S-1000. As long as you have a Dolby Digital receiver to manage the bass, I'd guess this to be the system of choice (or the other Plus subs) very soon.

    It won't be long before the reviews start flowing and you have a bit greater confidence that the hype about these subs (and by extension our standard CS, PC and CS-Ultras) are based on reality. They are the Cobras, 'Vette Z06's and Vipers of their genre.

    The farther you go up in our model line the less they bear any similarity to your current subwoofer.

    Not everyone can afford more than the sub you have, not everyone CARES to have more. But if you are a movie enthusiast you probably do. Affording what you want is a different issue entirely.

    Ron
     
  8. Neil Weinstock

    Neil Weinstock Stunt Coordinator

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    I also have a huge room, and started off with a Def Tech ProSub 200TL. It sounded great to me, but after reading about SVS here after a while I was just overcome with upgraditis. So now I'm running a 20-39PC.

    My first comparisons led me to conclude that my Def Tech was indeed a good sub. In all but the deepest regions, I found that its sound quality was fairly comparable to the SVS. But if you go low enough (and DVDs do!) then eventually the smaller box just can't compete anymore.

    Ultra-low bass energy made itself known in various places I hadn't heard it before. And it's not just that the ultra-low frequency stuff is *audible* with the SVS, it's that it's *loud* and *clean*. And I probably don't have nearly as much output as I could use, given the size of my room (perhaps an upgrade to a PC+ or PC Ultra is in my future.)

    So, as with most things, just because a sub is good doesn't mean it can't be better. And the neat thing about a kick-ass sub is that you don't need golden ears to hear the difference!
     
  9. Leif Wall

    Leif Wall Second Unit

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    I also have a JBL PB12. I'm going to scrap it in favor of a 20-39cs or 16-46cs. Haven't decided which yet, though I'll need to make a choice by this wednesday. Anyway, when I first got the JBL I was living in a small two bedroom apartment. In there the sub sounded really good. I almost got evicted from that apartment because of it. (I love my music and movies loud)

    As of now I'm living with my parents for the winter in order to pay off some bills and save some money for college. Anyways, my system is now in a much bigger room with an open area into the dining room. The JBL now sounds extremely weak where it once sounded good. It just doesn't go as deep as it did before. (though i know i wasn't getting jaw-dropping 20hz performance before) Watching U-571 or TPM isn't very fun. Bass is in my blood as I'm really into car audio. So SVS is the route I'm planning to take. I just gotta decide what sub to get.

    Another thing with the JBL, I could never get it to sound very good with music. Perhaps it may be my receiver (Pioneer VSX-D608 dd/dts) but, I had to boost the Sub channel to +12 and turn it up LOUD to sound any good at all.
     
  10. steve nn

    steve nn Cinematographer

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    Greg I'm sure your system sounds good,but if you do decide to upgrade you will not be able to go back.You most likely will have to watch all your movies again.I am going to have to.I thought I had great sound with my two entry subs going.Was I ever naive.I went with the 15" Velodyne CT.yesterday and what a difference.The SVS might be better but this really changes the whole experience.If you do decide to give the SVS or some thing like it a shot you will be very pleased I would think.WARNING--If you hang around this sight for long you most likely will.[​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]steve nn
     
  11. elMalloc

    elMalloc Supporting Actor

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    I need help. I have philips speakers all around including sub, on a harman kardon receiver.

    My car stereo and PC sound better than my HT for music. The subwoofer on my PC is much cleaner, I wouldn't know what clean/tight bass unless I heard my PC - my HT sub is very muddy/distorted and doesn't help much at all. My room is 12x12.

    In this size room, I'm looking for CLEAN NON DISTORTED RAPID bass, distinct sounds, NOT necessarily loud.

    I need people to recommend me some front speakers/center and a subwoofer. My receiver crosses over at 100hz. Room is small so bookshelves and a GOOD sub will do. Budget is $1000, a little more if you want. Not lookign to replace surrounds yet.

    What can I do? If the subwoofer is too much, I guess I have to go with only fronts and a subwoofer for now. I watch many movies, and it's fine for my speaker set, but music it's terrible.

    Thanks so much for all the help,

    ELmO
     
  12. Jason Wolters

    Jason Wolters Stunt Coordinator

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  13. Yohan Pamudji

    Yohan Pamudji Second Unit

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    Jason, LOL! Good analogy [​IMG]
    I have a Paradigm PW-2200 in my system. One aspect of good subs is the ability to produce those soundwaves that are barely/not audible but you can feel. For instance, in the opening train sequence in Unbreakable there is some very low bass that I can't hear but can definitely feel. Feeling the rumble is as big a part of some movies as hearing the bass.
     
  14. Bhagi Katbamna

    Bhagi Katbamna Supporting Actor

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  15. JohnEF

    JohnEF Stunt Coordinator

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    I have a Pinnacle 250 watt sub (12 inch speaker) and I also turn it down because it seems to be somewhat boomy (if that's the right word-the sound is more like a loud grrrrr))

    I have seen the posts on the SVS subs and I was looking at the 39-PC. I realized however, that this sub comes with a 190 watt amp so is this really a step back or should I go for something more powerful. My room is about 24 foot by 15 foot with 8 foot ceilings. My current sub is in the front right corner.

    John
     
  16. Jeffrey Forner

    Jeffrey Forner Screenwriter

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  17. ColinM

    ColinM Cinematographer

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    I ran my 20-39 with an HK 40 watt stereo from the 80's foe a couple weeks while I waited for the right amp.

    Worked great!
     

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