would the svs pb2+ be a noticable upgrade from a vtf-3?

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Todd smith, Feb 24, 2004.

  1. Todd smith

    Todd smith Supporting Actor

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    Just wondering If this would be more of a lateral move or an upgrade?
     
  2. CurtisSC

    CurtisSC Screenwriter

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    SPL wise...it is definite upgrade.

    Some say that with music, the VTF-3 is better...some say it is a toss-up.
     
  3. terence

    terence Supporting Actor

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    Hi Todd,

    I would think so do to physics, you just can't aurgue with it. Craigsub did a shootout between single SVS PB2+, and two HSU VTF 3/2's over the past weeks in his HT. The results were posted over at AVS, but got closed do to trolls. This is totally subjective, but should give you food for thought.

    This summary was done by LowRoller over at HTS.

    The following info is from Craigsub
    unless otherwise noted, the following comparison is between a single SVS PB2+, and two HSU VTF 3/2's

    Craig did both subjective and objective testing. The first series of tests were "blind", meaning Craig did not find out the identity of the subs he listened to until PART I of the testing was complete. In the PART II of testing Craig knew the identities of the subs as he compared them. The third and final stage of testing involved measurents taken by Craig


    1. The subs were calibrated so each is the same loudness...
    2. They are both the same distance from the main listening area... about two meters...[Placement for shootout was at the recommendation of Dr. Hsu]
    3. My son is just switching cable... he is really into this, too... he loves knowing when we don't... of course, he also loves poker...
    4. I take notes while listening... then type later...
    5.The theatre room itself is 25x24x9.5

    PART I: Blind Tests

    Day 1


    The first blind test was the battle scene from Gladiator


    Blind listening is SO hard... We listened to both subs (from this point on... The pair of Hsu will be considered A sub) twice... at the same volume level, chapter 2...

    Sub "B" was a slight "winner" ... it seemed a bit deeper, more palpable, and my wife, even noticed the swords were cleaner... Each night, the winner will be 100 points...

    So... Sub B ... 100 points...

    And Sub A .....93 points...

    They are REALLY close... and this scale is just my opinion...

    And for setup, both have been calibrated with the AVIA disc, Audio Control Richter Scale 1/6 octave EQ...and a very carefully calibrated R/S SPL meter...

    The SPl's as measured during what seemed fairly loud was between 82 and 103 db valleys and peaks... "A" and "B" can be different subs each night

    After all blind listening sessions were complete, Crag’s son revealed the identities of the subs Craig compared.

    In this session, sub “A” was revealed to be the dual HSU VTF 3/2's, and “B” was the SVS PB2+

    Day 2


    We did Titan Ae... then some David Sanborn...
    Titan Ae is SUCH a great disc for testing out a sub system. In today's listening, both subs were great again. Sub "B" again was somewhat deeper and more visceral. It seemed to have an extra 1/2 octave of deep bass... though either sub was really good, and better than we got from the 25-31 pc plus... or any other sub before these two.

    And some total SPL notes... most of the dialog scenes were in the 82-86 db range, while the power bass scenes (the ice crashes are the best known) hit 105 db.... which may be closer to 106 db (even with the calibration from the LEAP software, we really should not discount the extra actual db's as mentioned by TRC)... Both subs had the same SPL level... but "B" seemed a bit deeper...

    On the Sanborn Disc...(upfront, 1992) ... both subs did everything VERY well... lots of both bass drum and guitar... though not as deep as Two Against Nature... still very revealing... We could not tell which was better between "A" and "B" ... which is not too much a surprise, this disc is not nearly as difficult as the Titan Ae was...

    In this session, sub “A” was revealed to be the dual HSU VTF 3/2's, and “B” was the SVS PB2+


    Day 3


    A Sunday Afternoon music only test...
    We listened (meaning my wife and I) to the following...:

    Two Against Nature... Janie Runaway, Gaslighting
    David Sanborn............Hideaway and Snakes
    Pink Floyd .................. Us and Them

    The Sanborn and Steely Dan were selected for the great bass guitar work matched up with a lot of bass drum...

    In this comparo, Sub "A" was the better performer... It not only had a more relaxed bass presentation, it was also a bit deeper, although "B" had a bit more articulation in the upper bass... which was most noticeble on Snakes... My wife caught it first... You could make out the notes in the upper bass with a more see through quality with "B" than with "A".


    But as things went deeper, "A" took over very clearly... it had an effortless quality that, for instance, on Gaslighting, seemed an extra 1/2 octave deeper than "B" ... Plus through the mid bass, "A" sounded less like a sub reproducing a guitar, and more like the bass player was here, than did "B"

    That being said... again both were terrific sounding set-ups... but overall... for the music only... it looks like this...

    Deep Bass... "A" gets a 9.... "B" gets an 8
    Middle bass.."A" gets a 9 ...."B" gets an 8
    Upper bass..."A" gets an 8 ..."B" gets a 9

    Sub “A” was the SVS PB2+, SUB “B” was the dual HSU VTF 3/2's



    Day 4



    THE EARLY SESSION FOR MONDAY WAS MUSIC ONLY... AND NOW WE ARE GETTING SERIOUS !!!

    We ran the gamut from Stanley Clarke... (Best of... including Wild Dog, Mothership Connection, Hello Jeff... etc..

    Mercury Living Presence CD of Tchaikovsky... 1812 Overture... and yes...

    CANNONS...

    And We opened with the DVD Audio (Hell Freezes Over) of Hotel California...

    Stanley Clarke... Sub "A" sounded much deeper, tighter, and more palpable. I heard two different Jazz Quartets this weekend... one with bass guitar, the other with Cello, and have a pretty good reference.... and while Sub "B" was pretty good, it was a let down after "A"

    On Mothership connection, there is very rapid bass with drum... and really hard for a sub to keep up with. I got the feeling both were struggling with this cut... but "A" kept its composure, while "B" lost it.

    For most of the disc, "B" could keep up in the mid and upper bass, and over all did a nice job... but the deep stuff it got a bit one- note... and lacked power, where "A" had a much easier time.

    On Stanley Clark - "A" gets a solid 8... "B" gets a "6"

    1812 OVERTURE... What a great recording... over 40 years old and still fantastic...

    Again, "A" was able to handle the cannonshots with DEEP VISCERAL Bass... and "B", while nice... sounded like a smaller cannon going off from further away. Both subs were equal on the musket shots... and they are a great contrast to the cannons... upper bass rapidity mixed with deep bass power...

    The score on 1812 ? ... "A" gets a 9 ... "B" gets a 7

    Finally... Hotel California... The first disc played... and the easiest on the subs. Compared to the Clarke and 1812 discs, this was child's play... Both handled the drum fairly easily.... but "A" was deeper and more relaxed...

    "A" gets an 8... "B" gets a "7"

    Sub “A” = SVS PB2+ Sub “B” = dual HSU VTF 3/2's


    Day 5


    After Watching Terminator One tonight... and giving sub "B" a slight edge... call it 9 to 8 ... just a bit deeper on the effects and explosions.... But both "A" and "B" kept up with this movie easily...

    Sub “B” was the SVS PB2+, Sub “A” was the dual HSU VTF 3/2'sc

    Anyway... afterward, I had my son turn all subs off and unplug the RCA Jacks...

    We decided to see what they could do on the Nuclear Blast from the start of Terminator III ...

    a SINGLE VTF-3 in max ouput mode... 112 db (it was distorting a bit... I would not go further)

    a SINGLE pb2+ in 25 Hz mode... 120 db...(it seemed to have a little left in the tank, but I was not pushing it)

    These were done in room, with only the floor as reinforcement... the nearest wall is 6 feet away... and no corners...

    Stacked... the Hsu's should hit 118 db then ?



    I switched both subs to all ports open last night... both have the "25 hz" position open.

    We started The Postman last night, and both sets, again, really do well.

    Both "A" and "B" go deep, handle transients well... etc...

    For example, my wife is very much into horses... so I spend some time around, say, 8-10 of them galloping around a ring... In The Postman, You can, with both subs, clearly hear the natural sound of hooves, AND the added deep portion... very revealing, though unusual...

    We will also measure both subs, both ports open... later in the week...


    Day 6

    For tonight's festivities, Both subs were in the 25 Hz setting...and We watched the Core... there have been several mentions of its being a real deep bass fest... and those rumors are true !

    The Nuke Scenes toward the End are some of the best, really DEEP and powerful that we have heard...

    So much so, that, after listening to them on "B"... we paused the movie, and while I left the room, my son switched back to "A" ... Now, with "B" the nukes were deep... visceral... and I found myself wondering how "A" could even come close... until it actually outgunned B ... Deep bass actually enveloped the room... shaking everything in site, yet the SPL only pegged at 110 db ( I know... ONLY...lol... the basic dialogs portions were 80db... and the subs are only running 3db hot...), yet it felt like WE were there...

    Anyone who wondered why you need 110 db ability from a sub would understand after this flick... These peaks are a combined 3 minutes of the movie (just a guess...) ... but really add to the level of involvement.

    I would love to have had a Sunfire Signature... Paradigm Seismic... etc... for comparision purposes

    The movie itself is a B-...

    The subs ? .... "A" gets a 9..."B" an 8

    Sub “A” was revealed to be the SVS PB2+, Sub B the dual HSU VTF 3/2's

    In summary, here was a scorecard of Craig’s blind tests
    Day 1 Hsu=9.3 SVS=10 (Original was 93 and 100)
    Day 2 Hsu=9 SVS=10 (Based on Craig’s comments by a contributer to the thread)
    Day 3 Hsu=8,8,9 SVS=9,9,8
    Day 4 Hsu=6,7,7 SVS=8,9,8
    Day 5 Hsu=8 SVS=9
    Day 6 Hsu=8 SVS=9



    PART II: Regular Testing


    We did Phantom Menace (PM) to start off...

    The goal was to watch a movie as we enjoy it, at the volume levels we normally would. It is loud, not dangerously so, and enjoyable to listen to....

    We started with the pair of Hsu's... and watched the movie until the Pod Race ends, after which we scrolled back to the beginning of the race, then ran a single Hsu, scrolled back, and finally went to the SVS ....

    For the pair of Hsu...

    From the beginning of PM, the opening THX onslaught, these subs rolled deep, tight, tuneful, and visceral bass. When it was appropriate, the room shook. When "tight" was called for (As When Ani exits into the sky from the ramp, and as he is coming down , refires the engines, a deep powerful PUNCH hits) ... the bass was tight.

    The 7 channel surround and the subs worked their magic, the ships approaching Nabu in the beginning had shipes flying from behind, and the Hsu's delivered again... I cannot think of one time when anyone thought "If it only did __________ better " ...

    On the meter, we were only getting peaks of 101 db (the peaks were always during deep bass sections) ... and that was as loud as any of us likes watching a movie... dialog was around 82 db...

    It occured to me that (with 101 peak SPL's measured) perhaps one Hsu sub would be sufficient...and it was... We ran that race a 2nd time, just as deep and powerful... all we needed to do was slightly increase the gain level on the sub to offset the loss of the 2nd sub... There was no noticeable difference....

    This brings to mind... if you want something relatively compact... for $699... A single VTF-3 Mark 2 will do a LOT for you... especially considering the Price...(a face-off versus a single 25-31 pc-plus will happen very soon)

    I really don't remember our Velodyne FSR-18 sounding this good...

    Then...

    How did the PB2-PLUS do ? The volume levels were the same, dialog at 82 dbs... and for the Pod race, the peaks were again 101 db...

    The SVS took everything we heard in the Hsu, and just got deeper, even though it was hitting the same peak SPL's at 101 db as did the Hsu's, it felt more powerful because of the depth. . It was every bit as tight, but when the deep stuff hit, it hit DEEPER, like it was flat to the mid teens versus the Hsu's 20-ish ( this was strictly subjective, no measurements).... Where you could much more easily feel it in your gut.

    This sub, in my opinion so far, advances what is possible anywhere near its price range by a long shot. When, in the Pod race, the first crash in the cave occurs with the fire ball, the PB2 PLUS was nothing short of awesome. My son even jumped up, looked at me, and grinned ear to ear.

    The big battle scene toward the end is just as impressive...When the Trade Federation's tanks fired at the force field, the impacts were very deep, powerful, yet fast.

    And when the Mother ship blows up at the end... even my wife was amazed... and she usually teases me for "being 12" about this stuff... None of us has ever heard anything like that... It made me wonder what would happen at the two ports plugged, 16 hz setting...

    While the Hsu was deep, tight, and impressive, the SVS was DEEPER, just as tight, and had this feeling of unlimited power.

    For the first "unblind listening test..."

    Hsu ... 9 ... SVS ... 9.9
    This morning We tried The Pod race with the Hsu's set at the 20 hz option, and left the SVS there, too...

    There did not seem to be much difference between the 20 and 25 hz setting on the Hsu... so it still stands...

    Hsu...9.0 ...SVS ... 9.9




    My daughter and I just finished Lion King, Special Edition.

    Not only is it a great introduction to Hamlet (Hopefully she will have a better appreciation... ) ...

    It is a great test for the subwoofers... Again, similar results... Everything seems more effortless on the Big SVS than on the Hsu's... And both subs were able to not only shake the room, but also handle upper bass transients with ease.

    On the Elephant scenes, port noise was audible on the Hsu's, and this was at about 103 dbs from the listening position. These are really tough scenes, because that digital sounds for each Elephant step is very quick and deep... The 4 inch flared prots on the SVS were inaudible...




    I just did the Darla scene from Finding Nemo... We got 110 db from a single Hsu, 119 Db from a single SVS ... Both seemed to have more to give... and WOW... that was intense...




    One of the many fun experiences of this shootout has been debunking some of the myths regarding subwoofers. One of those myths is that a cylinder sounds better than a box. The reasons given are due to the shape of the cylinder, internal standing waves are eliminated, and since the cylinder is open both ends (or a driver is there), the enclosure, being round, won't flex.

    I have found the SVS pb2+ to be far superior in sound quality to the pair of 25-31 pc+... and more powerful. By superior, it handles the mid and upper bass areas very well, as well as do the Hsu subs. In fact, as a broad, sweeping statement, the PB2+ sounds a lot like the "big brother" to the Hsu... They both are fast, accurate, and powerful. The biggest difference is when the music goes deep, the PB-2+ just seems limitless, the Hsu does not (quite)...

    The single VTF-3/2 sounded better than the single 25-31 pc+ ... it was tighter, and went just as deep.... though the 25-31 seemed to have a bit more "juice" in the deepest bass, and it is the subwoofer of choice for sheer dynamics and home theatre only use. As an overall performer though, the Hsu wins this contest. (There goes my anti-Hsu bias again...lol)

    Based on what I have heard to date, If I was spending $700 for a sub, no question, the Hsu gets the prize. It also will fit a lot of environments... it is not a sub that requires a lot of real estate...

    So a good question is why does the box sub sound better to me than does the cylinder ? It also does to others (tuskenraider... etal).

    That is something I would like to hear theories about...

    As for the PB2+... We just finished LOTR..TT... The Hsu's handled disc one, and did a nice job... rumbling, deep... and sounding good.

    The SVS did disc two, and this was the absolute top... We have watched this movie at least 10 times. Some of the bass we heard this afternoon was nothing short of amazing. When Tree-beard throws his boulders toward the end, we were getting 110 db peaks on bass, but we had the volume set so dialog was a mild 75 db... and every bass extravaganza from this movie was presented in such a way as we have never heard, and this includes the pair of 25-31's in the same position...

    It was the type of bass that brought a smile to my face, even after ten days of testing... which, by the way, I am looking forward to a few day's talking about the first half of the test, listening to music, and getting ready for the Denali...

    When we sat down to watch the movie, my enthusiasm was lukewarm, at best... and by the end, it was clear that the pb2+ is a great sub, regardless of cost...

    PART III: Measurements

    First... The rules :

    1. Microphone was at one meter
    2. Measurements were at groundplane
    3. Max distortion was 5 %
    4. The Hsu was in one port open for the 16 hz setting, two ports for everything else
    5. The SVS was two ports open for the 16 hz setting and 20 hz setting, three ports for everything else...

    Here is what they did...

    Frequency ..............One VTF-3/2 ...............One PB2+

    16 Hz ..........................104 db......................114 db
    20 Hz...........................108 db......................119 db
    25 hz ...........................112 db.....................123 db
    31 hz ...........................114 db ....................123 db
    40 Hz ...........................113 db ....................121 db
    50 Hz ...........................111 db ....................119 db
    62 Hz ...........................111 db ....................119 db

    You can follow the NEW sub shootout SVS PB2+ vs one Denali here. Happy hunting.

    http://www.hometheaterspot.com/htsth...5&o=31&fpart=1
     
  4. MikeLi

    MikeLi Supporting Actor

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    If Terence did not make your decision for you I don't know how anyone could do it better. Go for the PB2+ there are move of them in the field and their customer support is excellent!
     
  5. Edward J M

    Edward J M Cinematographer

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    Wow Tee - tons of effort there.

    Mucho thanks for hotlinking that thread over at SPOT. I had been trying (in vain) to find it. People had said it was under the "Reviews" section, and that is not the case (arrgghh).

    In reviewing the blind summary, the PB2+ beat the VTF-3 in blind listening for both music and movies 9 out of 10 times. That's pretty convincing evidence.

    And no one argues it has far more clean output capability (on the order of 10 dB at most frequencies). Since the dB scale is log10, a 10 dB advantage is staggering.

    Even if you stacked two VTF-3 together, the best you could hope for to close the gap is a 6 dB increase for the Hsu's. That would still have the PB2+ ahead of dual VTF-3 by 3-5 dB at nearly all frequencies. Since a 3 dB increase is a doubling of the sound pressure level, the PB2+ would still have at least twice the clean output capabilities of dual VTF-3.

    Regards,

    Ed
     
  6. terence

    terence Supporting Actor

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  7. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Producer

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    Todd,
    Even if you had 2 VTF3MKII's I think the answer would be yes even according to that thread. Keep in mind also his room is rather large at 5600^3 ft.

    This comparison may turn out for the good for HSU even though it seems to have been bested here. I would suspect that Dr Hsu will see that and start to(if he hasn't already) come up with a sub to run head to head with a PB2+. Then again they may not be interested in such either who knows. Either way I think both subs are great, it will come down to the lowest octave where you would need to decide if its money well spent or not. For me, YES it is.
     
  8. CurtisSC

    CurtisSC Screenwriter

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    I'm with Shane, but I'm sure both companies have new subs in development.

    From a size standpoint, I'm not sure Hsu wants to go head to head with the PB2+. Like Craig has pointed out, the VTF-3MK2 would be more acceptable in terms of size in more rooms.

    The next year will be pretty fun for subs I think.
     
  9. terence

    terence Supporting Actor

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    I agree!
     
  10. Robert_Gaither

    Robert_Gaither Screenwriter

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    Even though the numbers favor the SVS and the reviewer's subjective opinion as well, I couldn't see how anyone couldn't be happy with either company as they both still smoke what's availible retail at their price offerings.[​IMG]
     
  11. terence

    terence Supporting Actor

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    We as consummers come out on top for change, and i will echo what has been said here. Both are great companies with great products! [​IMG]
     
  12. CurtisSC

    CurtisSC Screenwriter

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    I still wish Craig would hook up all the subs at the same time and run scene 25 from Nemo just once. [​IMG]
     
  13. Edward J M

    Edward J M Cinematographer

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    Pfft. My brother-in-law's Radio Shack 12" Optimus tuned to 38 Hz crushes them all - SQ, extension, output, THD - you name it. I'm selling my PB2+ and buying one of those beauties.

    (Note to self: change date on PC from 4/1/04 to 2/25/04) [​IMG]
     
  14. Bhagi Katbamna

    Bhagi Katbamna Supporting Actor

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    Well my bose is better than your Rat Shack 12" sub.
     
  15. Jeremy Stockwell

    Jeremy Stockwell Supporting Actor

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    Ed,

    Just a clarification about this statement, I believe 3dB is commonly understood to be simply a noticable difference in the SPL which happens to require 2X the power to achieve. Unless I'm mistaken, 10dB is commonly understood to be a doubling of "loudness" which would require . . . well, LOTS more power the achieve.

    JKS
     
  16. Edward J M

    Edward J M Cinematographer

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    The dB scale is log10. The reason why is because the dynamic range of the human ear (the range between the quietest and the loudest we can hear) is so incredibly large (about 1,000,000:1) that it would be extremely awkward to deal with the numbers in a linear scale. So we convert the scale to log10 and it becomes much easier to deal with.

    Log10 numbers cannot be arithmetically manipulated. For example two 100 dB sources do not combine to equal 200 dB. And 200 dB is not twice the sound pressure as 100 dB.

    The only way to arithmetically manipulate the dB scale is to convert the dB reading to the linear scale. If you do this, you will find that a 3 dB increase is literally a doubling of the actual sound pressure level as expressed in linear units - with one linear unit equaling 20 micropascals.

    The equation is: L = 10 log (p2/po2)

    Where: L = SPL in dB, po = the reference unit of 20 micropascals, and p = the actual sound pressure (expressed as linear multiples of po). The p and po terms are squared in this equation, BTW.

    Crunch some numbers in the above equation with a 3 dB difference for L (say 105 dB and 108 dB) and solve for p both times and you'll find p108 is twice as large as p105.

    As an aside, it is now easy to see that a doubling of input power to achieve a 3 dB increase is definitely not happenstance or coincidence. Along this vein, a 10 dB increase requires 10 times the input power.

    Anyway, the human ear will perceive a 3 dB increase (which is a doubling of the sound pressure) as "noticeable". The human ear will perceive a 10 dB increase as being "twice as loud". This phenomenon is strongly frequency dependent (those Fletcher Munson guys).

    Regardless, if you are discussing the THD limited output of an electro-mechanical device like a subwoofer, if subwoofer A can do 105 dB @ 25 Hz @ 5% THD, and subwoofer B can do 108 dB @ 25 Hz @ 5% THD, then the appropriate way to express this difference would be to state subwoofer B has literally twice the acoustic output capability (in linear units of sound pressure) of subwoofer A when both are held to the same distortion limit at the same frequency.

    Hope this helps - clear as mud again, right? [​IMG]
     
  17. terence

    terence Supporting Actor

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    WOW! Now that's what i call a reply, i think my brain just crashed. [​IMG] just kidding great post Ed as usual. [​IMG]
     
  18. Jeremy Stockwell

    Jeremy Stockwell Supporting Actor

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    Yeah, from a search, my records show that that is only the second time the word "micropascals" has ever been used on this forum.

    Seriously, I do appreciate the time you took to explain the issue accurately.

    Thanks, Ed!

    JKS
     
  19. Craig Chase

    Craig Chase Gear Guru

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    I see you guys have been busy here as well... some very well written posts. Ed, You know your stuff (anyone who thinks Ed is using frivolous jargon is severely mistaken) ...

    One thing to add to the discussion here... I also did some blind tests between the VTF-3 Mark II and the now 14 month old SVS 25-31 pc+ ... The Hsu was the "winner" in that comparison... and, without spending hours going through every detail, some e-mails I received from Tom V. indicated they had improved both the db-12 driver in the pb2 + , and that the amp and built in EQ also acounted for the improvement.

    Ed, I was, for $700, impressed as heck with the Hsu, and for people who don't want a sub that dominates a room, it is an amazing value.

    With the SVS, it WILL dominate most rooms... My wife, in her artist/decorator side... likes the Denali the best... then the Hsu... then the SVS ...
     
  20. Dustin_Taylor

    Dustin_Taylor Stunt Coordinator

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    If you sift throught that closed AVS, Craig also compared a single 25-31pc+ vs. the VTF3/2. He prefered the sound of the HSU in this case. He noted that PB2+ was not just louder, but also sounded better than the 25-31pc+.

    Dustin
     

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