Official SVS Ultra 13 thread - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 10500 Old 08-12-2007, 07:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi-

Now that the box version is shipping, I changed the title of the thread to make room for more observations/reviews of the new Ultra 13. Post your impressions here. Let's keep it clean. I'd almost prefer we keep it SVS to SVS comparison.

Thanks,

----- Here is my commentary ----------------------------------
Well, I've had my new SVS PC-U13 for over a week and I have been comparing it to my trusty old PC-U12. My room is about 20x16x8 and is open via 7 ft wide opening to the rest of the 1500 sq ft basement. I've had my PC12-U (with the latest driver) for almost 2 yrs. You can check out pics (with the "old" sub) in my gallery.

First, the physical stuff.
I did not realize the new U13 was taller than the U12. That was my bad for not reading. It is about 6" taller (eyeball estimate). The weight on the UPS box said 119 lbs. Craig, pay attention here... the ports and subsequently the port bungs are much larger on the U13 vs the U12 (the specs say 3.5" vs 3.0", but check out those bungs). As usual, the box came well-packed*. The cylinder came wrapped in heavy paper, which I would guess is there to prevent the fabric on the sub from riding up during shipping. As usual, my kids gravitated to the box and have spend hours in it. There is the added bonus of using the paper to do life-size outlines of the kids...

I have a Room EQ Wizard and an SPL meter that is also a calibrated mic. I ran some sweeps raw. Here I could see there is a lot more output in the mid-bass region on this sub. I then EQ'd the PC13-U using my BFD. (My PC12-U has been running flat since I've had it.) I found the U13 much easier to integrate with my mains compared to the U12. No doubt, the additional output from 70-100hz contributed to this.

Some of these notes are from my own sessions, and some are from a subwoofer A/B movie night I had on Thursday.

Now, onto the tests...
Musical Stuff
I put in all kinds of music ranging from Jazz to hip-hop to rock. First thoughts... Wow! This thing hits you in the chest and moves out of the way. The pulsing beat on "Double Dutch Bus" felt great. Moving on to MC 900 ft Jesus I got to experience tight, deep, electric bass lines, drums that pop, and deep electronic bass cleaner than I ever had. It sounded like the bass player had his amp right next to me. In terms of clean bass, I found more of the same with Snoop Dog's "What's my Name". The whole Dave Brubeck "Time Out" album was a great way to demonstrate the sub's agility playing bass and piano in unison and walking in the mid-bass region.

In my disbelief of the improvement, I stuck my head very close to the U13 and listened some more... it maintained its tightness...

Remember, I am comparing this to a more-than-solid sub. The difference was very noticeable, so much so my buddies started spewing out superlatives! For much of the listening sessions I pushed the volume up so any issues would be obvious. All of my friends really picked out the difference in response and tightness with no coaching. The U12 was fatter on the bottom... again, I love(d) that sub for a long time and had done extensive a/b/c with other subs before choosing it. This is definitely an upgrade of the model.

Can an explosion be musical?
Something I noticed years ago when I went from a PCi to a 20-39PC+ to my PC-U is that the rumbly HT bass became clearer. Now with the PC13-U I can hear and feel the articulation of every bump and rumble. It is a bizarre improvement... almost like you can feel the rocks Buzz Lightyear is flying over. I credit the additional overhead with allowing that experience. There is more texture and articulation. If you've ever been to an air show I liken it to the details of the roar and crackle you hear when a fighter jet is flying overhead, but at a much deeper frequency. The U12 sounds fatter in comparison... and trust me, it still sounds great.

I found more of this with the opening scene of Master and Commander. As you probably know they won an Oscar for the sound. Each canon has its own signature. They really are musical... oh, and they smack you in the head, chest and gut while daring you to stand up for more.

Flight of the Phoenix was a scary treat. This is one of my standards to show off my HT because of the intense incorporation of the sound track and the bumpy flight and subsequent crash. They pulse the bass to shake you in conjunction with the plane shaking turbulence. It is also a torture test for a sub. Because I had been exercising the sub quite a bit I felt comfortable adding 5db to my usual test volume. Boy, talk about an adrenaline rush!

Some relative measurements:
- Nemo "Darla" test is 107.7db of clean output vs 105.3 on the U12. Darla has a lot of info at the max-excursion point of both of these subs, so the 2.5db is significant. I would imagine there is more room there because I can't say both sub are perfectly at the same level for that frequency.
- This one surprised me... On the Toy Story 2 intro (DTS track) I am able to turn the volume up to -30 with room (and push -27 with some strain) versus -35 on the U12. On the U12, -35 was the loudest I would go without worrying I was pushing it. I did not do more-granular testing, but I am thinking the net of it is 5-7db of cleaner output on that track.
-- (On my system we listen around -40 to -37 with my wife and -35 to -33 with the guys. The -33 *was* my max and only soundtracks I was familiar with. After playing around and trying to torture the sub, -33 to -30 will now be my standard level with the guys... no more worries about an errant hot-spot in the sound track! I'll turn it to 11, er, um -27 for special demo treats (hotter than 80db reference last I checked).

In summary I am extremely pleased with the increase in performance and sound quality I am getting with the SVS PC13-U over the PC12-U. The additional overhead not only allows for me to turn it up more than I had before, but it also allows for the sub to do more with the soundtrack while playing. The increased performance in the mid-bass region helps here as well, and definitely helped integrate the sub into my system.

Great job SVS!

----------------------------

*I can attest there is some cushion in the packing because as I was sliding the box into my basement it slipped out of my hand, slid down several stairs on its side (amounting to about a 4 ft vertical drop), and landed with a thud with the corner digging in first... no dents on the box and nothing wrong with the sub!
LL
LL
LL


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post #2 of 10500 Old 08-12-2007, 07:25 PM
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Very nice write up Tweak. What tuning were you using for both subs? Are you going to write more using different tuning and room comps?

Randy
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post #3 of 10500 Old 08-12-2007, 07:26 PM
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The type of write up that I love to read!

Well written and very informative!

Did you take any measurements with the FOTP movie....I'd love to see what numbers you are getting when the plane pressurizes!!!!

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post #4 of 10500 Old 08-12-2007, 07:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Here are some waterfalls of the HT scenes I mention above. This will give you a feel for the types of things I demoed.

Waterfall of Flight of the Phoenix

Toy Story 2 intro

Master and Commander of the Far Side of the World

Finding Nemo

I actually demoed and a/b'd a bunch more scenes, but just picked a few for this write-up.


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post #5 of 10500 Old 08-12-2007, 07:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ransac View Post

Very nice write up Tweak. What tuning were you using for both subs? Are you going to write more using different tuning and room comps?

Hi-

Thanks. Both subs were running at their native tunes. I would love to run more tests in different tunes, but I really don't have the time. You know how those infinite iterations of tweaking can go on forever! For a very short while I ran my original Ultra in the 16hz tune, but I made the sub fart once (pushing it with bass demos) and decided the overhead of the 20hz tune was more to my listening habits. For now I really like the mid-bass response on the new Ultra and don't want to give that up. Besides, I am still hitting 16hz with no problems!


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post #6 of 10500 Old 08-12-2007, 07:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bgillyjcu View Post

The type of write up that I love to read!

Well written and very informative!

Did you take any measurements with the FOTP movie....I'd love to see what numbers you are getting when the plane pressurizes!!!!

Hi-

Thanks... no max SPL measurements for FotP. Do you mean the part when the plane flips overs?

I'll try to do some next time the wife goes out for the night I am leary of those max-SPL tests because of all the variables in terms of room size, room modes and the EQ of sub. Still, they are fun.

By the way, I've already packed up the old Ultra...


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post #7 of 10500 Old 08-12-2007, 08:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tweakophyte View Post

Hi-

Thanks... no max SPL measurements for FotP. Do you mean the part when the plane flips overs?

I'll try to do some next time the wife goes out for the night I am leary of those max-SPL tests because of all the variables in terms of room size, room modes and the EQ of sub. Still, they are fun.

By the way, I've already packed up the old Ultra...



Yep..that scene where the plane flips over and pressurizes the whole room. I have a 16-46+ and I wanted to add a 2nd one....but now I'm thinking long and hard about going up to the PC-Ultra....

I love the 16-46+ and its ability to have 3 ports open and still being able to pound out those subsonic bass notes down to 16hz natively....

I'm just worried that the PC-ULTRA wont get 'that' low in its native tune....sure it will have more headroom from 20hz up....but i'm a LOW FREQ bass head...so I'm worried and wondering...

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post #8 of 10500 Old 08-12-2007, 09:09 PM
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First of all, Tweak, I agree with your observations. That is a great write up. Specifically, I had the following reactions as a fellow former owner of a TV-12 based PC Ultra who bought and installed a PC13 Ultra last week as well:

Quote:


I ran some sweeps raw. Here I could see there is a lot more output in the mid-bass region on this sub.

I did the same thing, and had the same results. Completely agree.


Quote:


The U12 was fatter on the bottom...

That is a great observation, and spot on. Great way to describe it.


The note you made about the texture of the Buzz Lightyear scene is very descriptive. I know that in an earlier post you had mentioned that it seems like you can feel every rock as he flys over them, and I understand exactly what you mean by that now.

Quote:


I felt comfortable adding 5db to my usual test volume.

Me too, and no concerns in doing so.


Quote:


The additional overhead not only allows for me to turn it up more than I had before, but it also allows for the sub to do more with the soundtrack while playing.

Yep, and for me that overhead allows me to run the PC13 Ultra in 10hz tune comfortably and shake my couch and compress the air in the room to get all of the bass effect.


Beyond all of the above, I can tell you the following impressions I've had: After almost a week with this sub myself I will tell you that it goes low in ways I believe other sub designers only conceptualize.

The key distinctive descriptor that I would apply to the sound of the bass from the PC13 is one word: Sharp. It really kicks your ass cleanly.



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- Dale in the #3 will never be forgotten. Thanks for the memories.
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post #9 of 10500 Old 08-12-2007, 09:23 PM
 
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We just got in from Wyoming about 90 minutes ago - and there was an email from SVS saying the PB13-Ultra would be ready on the 17th ... I am looking to have a GP session with the new Ultra, VTF-3HO, eD A7-900, a DIY project, Fathom 113, Def Tech Trinity ... and a few others on Sept 9.

Anyone want to make the drive to Erie ?
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post #10 of 10500 Old 08-12-2007, 11:00 PM
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Tweakophyte, really nice review, thanks for sharing your listening impressions. You guys on the front lines with the first Ultra comments have had a big influence on me and I finally broke down and preordered the PB13 a couple days ago and I can only hope it sounds as good as the cylinder version!
----------------------
Brad, SVS's graph (and confirmed by Ed) shows not that much of a loss of headroom over most of the frequency spectrum with the new Ultra in 15hz tune and with still two 3.5" ports open so I think it would give you the subsonics and overall performance you crave, and from the reports of people like Tweak and Oval I am sure the 13-Ultras will be even better in sounds quality with more definition and texture. Better mid-bass articulation and power adds so much to the realism and enjoyment of movies and music.
----------------------
Craig, welcome back from vacation and I know lots of us will be intrigued to follow your upcoming sub reviews - you've got some real amazing beasts in this group! What finish did you order on the Ultra?
----------------------
Ok, now I am fantasizing about dual co-located PB-13's in 10hz tune...

Cheers,
Ross
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post #11 of 10500 Old 08-13-2007, 05:35 AM - Thread Starter
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You guys are tempting me to run in a lower tune!

Craig, sounds like you've got some fun in your future.


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post #12 of 10500 Old 08-13-2007, 05:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Here's a shot of the old port blockers and the new... you forget how a half an inch diameter make a difference in size.

...no bad jokes, please...
LL


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post #13 of 10500 Old 08-13-2007, 05:51 AM
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Great picture ....

The truth remains that the only way I'll ever know if the PC-Ultra can hang with the 16-46+ in the lowest of the lows is to go listen to them side by side.

As soon as the "funds" become ready I'm going to have SVS set up a side by side demo for me and I'll bring my demo movies like FOTP and PULSE. After watching those two scenes my ears will tell me what the story is...

From what you are all saying it is clear the this Ultra is unreal from 30hz up.....the power and articulation is has must be unbelievable!!! If it also kicks ass from 16hz-30hz....I don't know how I could pass on it...

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post #14 of 10500 Old 08-13-2007, 05:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rossandwendy View Post

Brad, SVS's graph (and confirmed by Ed) shows not that much of a loss of headroom over most of the frequency spectrum with the new Ultra in 15hz tune and with still two 3.5" ports open so I think it would give you the subsonics and overall performance you crave, and from the reports of people like Tweak and Oval I am sure the 13-Ultras will be even better in sounds quality with more definition and texture. Better mid-bass articulation and power adds so much to the realism and enjoyment of movies and music.
-


When I bought the 16-46+ Ed was pretty sure that dual 16-46+ would be my best option for what I was seeking. NOW I'm just wondering if they actually UNDERESTIMATED just what this new PC-Ultra was capable of..

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post #15 of 10500 Old 08-13-2007, 07:39 AM
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Quote:


If it also kicks ass from 16hz-30hz....I don't know how I could pass on it...

It also kicks ass, from more like 14hz and up. You just need to use the tuning capabilities built into the sub, perhaps along with an external EQ, to get there. Then, tap some of that wonderful headroom it has to power on down into those depths.


Tim

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- Dale in the #3 will never be forgotten. Thanks for the memories.
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post #16 of 10500 Old 08-13-2007, 08:42 AM
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Have any of those that have a PC13U tried the sealed tune yet?

Randy
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post #17 of 10500 Old 08-13-2007, 09:14 AM
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I did, but I found that the rolloff in sealed mode is steeper than I would have thought/hoped it would be. I can only do -12db cuts with the EQ I am using (Art 351). The 10hz mode supports output very well down to about 14hz where it starts falling off quicker.

In a few weeks I'll probably replace my Art 351 with a FBQ2496 which can do -36db cuts. Once I get that I'll try the sealed mode again, but it may eat up alot of amp power to get it EQ'd near flat way down low. We'll see.


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post #18 of 10500 Old 08-13-2007, 11:15 AM
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Thanks, Tim. Did you notice any difference in the voice when all ports were blocked? I know it is not a true sealed sub as the box volume is too large, just wondering if the sound changed when there were no open ports.

Randy
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post #19 of 10500 Old 08-13-2007, 11:27 AM
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I didn't do any critical listening in sealed mode. I like to EQ to an 8db house curve, and with the way it was trailing off, I couldn't maintain that curve with the ART 351 much past about 23hz when it was in sealed mode.

Once I ran a few sets of sweeps on REW and realized that it was trailing off too early for me, I put it back in 10hz tune and dialed in from there.


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post #20 of 10500 Old 08-14-2007, 05:30 AM - Thread Starter
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I have about a 6-8db house curve, too. Mine goes from 50hz to 30hz.

Randy, why the focus on sealed mode? Are you just curious or is that how you plan on running it? What sub do you have today?


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post #21 of 10500 Old 08-14-2007, 09:01 AM
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Just curious. The sealed mode was scoffed at by the purists, so I was wondering if it actually made a difference in SQ. I know the volume of the tube is too large to be optimized for sealed alignment and I don't know if the driver can even build enough pressure to make an air spring. But Tim's description of the FR does make is sound like it is acting like a typical sealed design that doesn't have the amp power to sustain the low end.

I have a +/2. Maybe I will try plugging all three ports and see what happens.

Randy
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post #22 of 10500 Old 08-14-2007, 09:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ransac View Post

I have a +/2. Maybe I will try plugging all three ports and see what happens.

It might be like putting a potato in the car exhaust. We'll listen for an explosion. (I'm kidding!)

Actually I'd be curious about the results.
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post #23 of 10500 Old 08-17-2007, 06:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Anyone else get theirs? Comments?


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post #24 of 10500 Old 08-17-2007, 06:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tweakophyte View Post

Anyone else get theirs? Comments?

next week, ultra/2 vs. dual PB13s


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post #25 of 10500 Old 08-17-2007, 07:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kweezr View Post

next week, ultra/2 vs. dual PB13s

Nice! Maybe we should change the title of the thread to SVS Ultra versus Ultra!

What do you think?


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post #26 of 10500 Old 08-23-2007, 05:16 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi-

Now that the box version is shipping, I changed the title of the thread to make room for more observations/reviews of the new Ultra 13. Post your impressions here. Let's keep it clean. I'd almost prefer we keep it SVS to SVS comparison.

Let's hear what you feel!

Thanks,


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post #27 of 10500 Old 08-23-2007, 04:19 PM
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Received my Rosenut PB13 a little while ago. I can't compare it to any SVS but its replacing my old VTF-2. Looks wise its incredible and actually smaller looking once its here. Fit and finish are superb, just a beautiful sub. I set it to 15 hz and calibrated to 77 db. Room comp right now is set to large. Watched some scenes from BHD and M&C and it easily energizes the room and the cannons on M&C give you that punch in the chest feeling. Looking forward to testing it out a lot more.

I ran it in 20 initially playing some music and it was tight and accurate compared to my VTF-2. Looking forward to playing with the seal mode a lot more also to see how SQ is with music.

Bill3508

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post #28 of 10500 Old 08-23-2007, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Bill3508 View Post

Received my Rosenut PB13 a little while ago. I can't compare it to any SVS but its replacing my old VTF-2. Looks wise its incredible and actually smaller looking once its here. Fit and finish are superb, just a beautiful sub. I set it to 15 hz and calibrated to 77 db. Room comp right now is set to large. Watched some scenes from BHD and M&C and it easily energizes the room and the cannons on M&C give you that punch in the chest feeling. Looking forward to testing it out a lot more.

I ran it in 20 initially playing some music and it was tight and accurate compared to my VTF-2. Looking forward to playing with the seal mode a lot more also to see how SQ is with music.

Bill3508

Bill, great to hear the first PB13 reports starting! I have two textured black on preorder but am thinking about switching to Rosenut in order to get them sooner because I am so anxious to set these beasts up and watch movies!!

What size is your room? Is it sealed or open?

My room is sealed but with quite a bit of windows which I am going to have to treat, and is 2500c.f. My understanding is that a single PB13 will nicely replace my dual VTF-3.3's, but I got two Ultras so I could gain back the headroom I will lose running in the 10hz tune.

Look forward to hearing more from you, and other new PB13 owners...

Cheers,
Ross
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post #29 of 10500 Old 08-23-2007, 07:04 PM
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What size is your room? Is it sealed or open?



Look forward to hearing more from you, and other new PB13 owners...

Cheers,
Ross

My room is open with vaulted ceilings. Around 3500 cu ft. The little VTF-2 did okay but it struggled to energize it obviously(I bought the thing when I was in an apartment.) I'm waiting to try Pulse on the PB as it made the VTF make some pitiful chugging to keep up. The PB13 is a beautiful unit in the rosenut and I'm happy I went with it instead of the textured black I had on order prior to changing it. Its more like a piece of fine furniture. I haven't messed with the PEQ yet as I don't really have the correct equipment to properly measure my room response. Also, the manual doesn't really say anything about the room comp modes. I just set it to large and it sounds fine but will likely play with it a lot more later.

Edit. The manual does go over the room comp, I just looked over it somehow.

Bill3508

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post #30 of 10500 Old 08-23-2007, 09:03 PM
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Heres the review from the layman who doent have his theater done yet but just had to hook up the new PCUltra13 and play around a little. I have no meters or fancy measurements tools (yet) just my ears. Very nice build quality and packed very well for shipping. Once you get over the whole "it looks like a smaller black hot water heater" deal, I rather like the looks of it. Too bad I'll be hiding mine behind the proscenium wall!

History: Its hooked up 2 feet out of the corner of the room, to a old pioneer receiver with a old pioneer center and two Optomis10 fronts (I know, but the 49tx and the M&Ks 150thx's are not getting hooked up until the room is done!), but anyway.

My living room is 14 x 27 (9' ceilings) and has an open stairwell to the 64x28 basement (9' ceilings) and to the DR/kitchen 14x21 (8' ceilings) and the hallway to the bedrooms which had the doors open. Basically something like 28,000 square ft of air space.

I set the room comp at large, eq on because the receivers x-over only goes to 100, gain at 1/3 mark, tuning at 15Hz. The receiver is set at speaker levels of +6 for fronts/center (no surrounds hooked up) and +10 for sub. I set the volume at -30 and played several movies.

Darla tank scene. Energized the whole room and knocked a item off the wall in the kitchen (on the opposite side of the wall of the LR where the sub is) Very loud and deep bass sounds. A definite go to when demo-ing to the fellas!

*Not the "hit in the chest like a medicine ball" like I am after but I would bet its because of the shear size on the air space of the house.


WOTW Lightning scene. Very nice effect and a definite addition to the soundtrack.

Pod emerging scene, .......very nice.... really feel the rumbling under your feet.

Thats all I have really experimented around with, so far. I am pretty pleased and cant wait to see what my 12.5x21x8.5 dedicated (2231 sq ft sealed) theater room will be like with this monster pounding away.

Scott

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