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!