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post #91 of 226 Old 01-26-2013, 05:26 AM
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One thing that I did want to mention was that I was worried about speaker sensitivity being below 90db and that I would need a lot more power to get them nice and loud. well my XPA-5 does a great job pushing them with no problem. I pushed them as much as a was willing to go which was quite loud in my room and it was over reference level of 85db. I have received my KnuKonceptz Kord Kable 100' 12 Gauge Copper Speaker Wire in which I will be replacing the current 16 gauge wire that was pre-installed in my house sometime next weekend. After that I'm going to re addition the speakers see if better cables matter that much. Finally I will re calibrate everything to get a final opinion about these speakers.
my room specs are listed above

On another note, I just received my surround speakers but have not opened the yet since I'm out of town this weekend.

Let me know if I should keep posting or you guys/girls had enough.smile.gif

V/R

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post #92 of 226 Old 01-26-2013, 09:19 AM
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I was thinking of trying out the towers, but what bothers me is that 160hz crossover to the dual 8" woofers. I think the second mid starts kicking in below 700hz, so you have one 6.5" mid working from 2khz to 160hz, and the other from ~700hz to 160hz. The dual 8" woofers will get virtually no utilization in a traditional 80hz crossover system, the tweeter and mids handle almost everything.

If you don't have a subwoofer and want a pure stereo pair of speakers, I'm sure that is great news, and I bet these will do great. I was personally hoping for a higher crossover to the mids to give every driver a piece of cake, effortless job, and have lots of mid/high bass dynamics with those dual 8" woofers in a traditional 80hz crossover system.
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post #93 of 226 Old 01-26-2013, 02:02 PM
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scorpionrm thanks for your excellent unboxing details



I will be glad to see another video with some music .


thanks for share your impression.

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post #94 of 226 Old 01-26-2013, 02:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scorpionrm View Post

One thing that I did want to mention was that I was worried about speaker sensitivity being below 90db and that I would need a lot more power to get them nice and loud. well my XPA-5 does a great job pushing them with no problem. I pushed them as much as a was willing to go which was quite loud in my room and it was over reference level of 85db. I have received my KnuKonceptz Kord Kable 100' 12 Gauge Copper Speaker Wire in which I will be replacing the current 16 gauge wire that was pre-installed in my house sometime next weekend. After that I'm going to re adition the speakers see if better cables matter that much. Finally I will re calibrate everything to get a final opinion about these speakers.
my room specs are listed above

On another note, I just recieved my surround speakers but have not opened the yet since I'm out of town this weekend.

Let me know if I should keep posting or you guys/girls had enough.smile.gif

Keep posting

It is people like you that make this such a great site, just taking the time to say an honest opinion.
I am hoping my self to get the full 7 speakers to go with my dual BP13Ultra in a few months.
I must say the letter to say you are one of the first hundred buyers is a nice touch.


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post #95 of 226 Old 01-26-2013, 03:27 PM
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You are so right steve. When I used the 80hzthx setting for the front it took away from the towers. when I set it to 40hz it took away my sub. But, when I set the towers to full range, it was on like donkey kong. I had full range of both the towers and the sub. Now if you don't like to feel the bass, then stray away from these speakers..eek.gif

V/R

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post #96 of 226 Old 01-26-2013, 03:46 PM
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I guess that's what they were going after? confused.gif

I've got dual 18" subs with good room positioning and Audessy MultEQ XT32 that end up yielding great bass, so I wouldn't even consider running speakers full range. If people considering these speakers own good subs, which I'd imagine most do - most probably will own SVS subs - then why dedicate two 8" woofers per speaker to <160hz? Why not at least bump that up to 320hz and get 2 octaves use out of them in a standard setup? Otherwise you may as well just get a 2 way tower.
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post #97 of 226 Old 01-26-2013, 07:24 PM
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Why would it matter what the crossover is between the mid and the woofer as long as it is done correctly? All the bigger woofers in the SVS do is give you better extension compared to most of the other towers at $2,000, like the Aperion, Ascend, and Salk, that use 6inch woofers. Now, if getting that extension compromises the mid or high end, that is another story. I don't know much about speaker design, but maybe some more experienced guys will chime in. Anyway, I am going to start doing some serious listening on Monday when I am off from work. Plus, I guess we will have to see how the measurements are when some reviews start coming in.

In my case, it is a 2.0 setup, so I am glad for the extra bass. I think for a mostly HT setup, buying any tower with lots of bass, like Deftech or Goldenear, is kinda a waste if you have good subs.

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post #98 of 226 Old 01-26-2013, 10:26 PM
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Oh, I just posted a bunch of pics in my comparison thread. It takes too long to upload them twice for two threads.

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post #99 of 226 Old 01-26-2013, 10:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scorpionrm View Post

. Now to the highs, again no tweaking, the highs seemed to be a little muffled to me. I was expecting more briteness and sharpness. Maybe they decided to tone it down as to get more clarity. I will say that these things do have a lot of clarity and lucidity than I was expecting.



Give a time for your brain to adjust to their sound ,maybe you found then muffled because you are used to the sound of your previous speakers.

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post #100 of 226 Old 01-27-2013, 03:50 AM
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I have now had the SVS Ultra Towers and Centers “on line” for four days and the Surrounds “on line” for two. During this time I have listened to approximately 30 different CDs in a wide variety of styles (mostly rock/acoustic but with a bit of jazz and classical as well). I have also sampled scenes from 10 Blu-Rays and watched 1 Blu-Ray in its entirety. My set up includes a VSX-91THX Pioneer Elite A/V Receiver, an SVS PB12-NSD subwoofer, a Panasonic Blu-Ray/CD player, and 12 gauge Monster speaker wire with banana plugs. After I got the speakers cabled, I calibrated my system using the Pioneer AVR’s’s built-in MCACC system along with the provided microphone.

While I am not a true audiophile or engineer, and only spend time reading and learning about audio equipment every 5 years or so when I am looking to potentially upgrade, I do love excellent sound quality and have always tried my best to create a dedicated and acoustically reasonable set-up I could afford. To that end, I have owned speakers/subwoofers from Kef, ProAc, Ascend, SVS, and Polk over the years. My goal in the current upgrade of my home theatre/audio system was to get a new set of towers with matching center/surrounds that would get me as close as possible to a true “in-studio like” experience without destroying my bank account. To that end, I budgeted a maximum of $10K for new speakers with the hope of spending less (so long as any “underspend” did not require a significant trade-off in quality). Hopefully all this background is helpful as you decide how to process my comments since having at least a bit of context to someone’s review has always seems helpful to me. So here is my review for the SVS Ultra Tower Surround Package.

The out-of-the-box experience for my piano black Ultras was excellent. The speakers arrived on time, were well packaged / protected, and their looks were very nice while remaining neutral enough not to be the focal point of my room. While I admit that the looks of a speaker are not a priority of mine, it does help maintain “peace in the household” if the speakers blend in/coordinate with the rest of the room as seen through the eyes of my family. These certainly met that standard.

In order to start getting a feel for the speakers, I first listened to a broad series of CDs I know well solely through the Towers (i.e., without the sub). These CDs included Jeff Beck’s “Blow By Blow”; The Who’s “Tommy”; The Beatles’ “Past Masters II”; The Grateful Dead’s “Workingman’s Dead”; CSNY “Greatest Hits”; B.B. King and Eric Clapton’s “Riding With the King”; and some Yo Yo Ma cello music. Right from the start I was very pleased by what I considered some core strengths in these speakers including an overall neutrality across the sound spectrum, a strong ability to reproduce voices, crispness with stringed instruments (as well as the detailed ability to hear different types of drums and cymbals in a drum kit), strong stereo imaging, and the absolute clarity/tightness of the bass. On what I thought initially was their downside, I was bothered by what I perceived as a slight “haze” or lack of clarity in some of the higher-end passages. Over the next 24 hours, however, it became clear that this “haze” was temporary as the speakers broke in a bit (or, as a practical matter, simply warmed up since they arrived at my house in 15-degree weather and were not fully at room temperature when I got them going).
Based on the strengths of the Towers and what turned out to be no real drawbacks that I could hear after 24 hours, I came to the conclusion that with regard to listening to CDs the Ultras “hit the mark” I was looking for as well as any speakers I had heard to date in my current upgrading effort. More specifically, I would say they were on par or better than some significantly more expensive “favorite” speakers I had listened to CDs on amongst the “up-to-6k-for-the-towers” offerings from companies such as Paradigm and Focal. Note that I had also listened to some other well-known brands during this search for speakers but quickly ruled out ones that just didn’t sound accurate enough to me across the full range of sound (e.g., MartinLogan Theos and the Bowers and Wilkins towers just below the diamond series). I short, I came away from the Towers-only portion of my listening project with the view that these speakers could reproduce audio CDs accurately enough to make me feel that magic “in the studio” feel with well-recorded source material that was my goal.

Moving on from my CDs, and once I received my surrounds (which were shipped separately) and installed them, I made a quick “pre-video 5.1 pit stop” to hear the sound that all five speakers would make coupled with my sub-woofer. For this I used my one-and-only DVD Audio disk that mixes The Beatles “Love” album in high-def 5.1. Listening to this disk made me feel that I had found a particularly strong match for what I was seeking in that the combination of balance between the speakers combined with a repetition of the strong detailing I had heard with the CDs (i.e., during my Towers-only listening) allowed me to hear things in these Beatles recordings I had never heard before – and I have been listening to these recordings since they originally came out. That was a pretty big surprise and, quite frankly, kept me locked into this particular recording much longer than I expected.

After listening to the DVD Audio disk, I began playing sampling some of my favorite Blu-Rays to combine the video and audio experience. My session in this regard covered a series of hand-picked scenes (including cuts from such Blu-Rays as Jeff Beck’s “Live At Ronnie Scott’s”; “The Dark Knight Rises”; “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace”; and “Cars”) that I felt would allow me to hear how the speakers performed with a cross-section of both subtle and complex 5.1 music passages, various “motion effects”, and (of course) the proverbial “stuff blowing up”. As with the Towers-only and DVD Audio listening sessions, I was very happy with the sound the overall speaker system achieved from the Blu-Rays in that all the audio was tight, accurate, and vibrant – without being so in-your-face as to become annoying. This combination of attributes is what I have described as the “neutrality” I am looking for in Home Theatre audio. In essence, I want to be transported “into the movie” via an effective balance of pristinely reproduced dialogue, accurate special effects, and truly “musical” background music. More specifically as it regards the background music, I want any soundtrack songs on a Blu-Ray to sound like I am playing them from a CD and any orchestration to sound like I have an orchestral pit in the room (i.e., I don’t want to hear the notes – I want to hear the instruments so that saxophones sound like saxophones and cellos sound like cellos). I realize this is a tall order and that these descriptions may be a bit awkward. With that said, that is what I am looking to achieve in putting together my system and I was extremely pleased with the ability of the Ultras to deliver on these goals.

Finally, and what for me is the ultimate Home Theatre test, I tried to “tune out” of audio-test-mode and simply enjoy a full-length Blu-Ray like I would normally experience it. For this last leg on the testing journey I choose “The Departed” (which I saw once several years ago). Perhaps the best thing I can say about this session is that I wound up loving the movie and mostly forgetting about the speakers (other than the occasional “wake up out of the movie” recognition that the music was truly as “musical” as I was hoping for and effects like gunshots were particularly dynamic). I was even pleasantly surprised to hear my eighteen-year-old daughter confess that she really liked the new speakers since she is one of those folks who would typically not recognize any difference between watching a movie on a good home theatre system and watching it on her laptop. Maybe there is hope for the next generation after all.

Well that’s it. In short, and at least for me, I would rate these speakers as “very highly recommended” and have now ended my upgrade search with the decision to keep the Ultras. In some ways I guess I was surprised at how “dead on” the match was between these speakers and what I was looking for but it was obviously a pleasant surprise. I also should note that while I wound up saving a significant amount of money versus my original “speaker budget”, I do not feel that I made any compromise in quality with the Ultras in order to achieve these savings. Quite simply, the Ultras were my favorite sounding speaker system in the “under 10K” envelope I was looking to stay within and I feel particularly fortunate that they launched at the same time that I was looking to upgrade. The fact that they look nice and that the surrounds are relatively small and flexible (i.e., that I can use them in bi-pole, di-pole, or duet mode) were icing on the cake.

P.S., As I mentioned at the top of this note, I am not a true “audiophile” and, as such, am not likely to read this forum on a consistent basis now that my upgrade project is completed. With that said, this forum has been VERY helpful to me in learning about home theatre over the years and has surely helped me to make better, more cost-effective decisions – as such, I wanted to “share back” with the community by providing my views re the SVS Ultra speakers (especially in light of the fact that they are so new). To that end, I will continue to stay up on this thread for the next few weeks and answer any questions anyone has that they think I can be helpful with. I will also look to post this feedback on the SVS.com site (since the company asked users to post their comments in the literature that came with the Ultras and promised to “post all customer reviews, whether positive or negative”). Hope this helps!
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post #101 of 226 Old 01-27-2013, 05:13 AM
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Very good review...thx
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post #102 of 226 Old 01-27-2013, 06:08 AM
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Thanks for the review. I've been looking for towers for my 2 channel system and Ultras appear to have the specs to allow me to ditch the sub. With your comments on bass, I'm even more encouraged. Would you please tell me how far off the back and side walls you have your towers?
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post #103 of 226 Old 01-27-2013, 06:23 AM
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Funny you should ask this since the issue of required distance from the rear and one of my side walls was one of my key concerns when I orderd these (especially given the side-firing woofers). I have them approximately one foot from my back wall and about one foot from the side wall on the left and closer to three feet on the right. This is by far the ideal practical and visual set-up for my room but I was concerned it would cause some sort of sound problems. As it turned out, and once I used my MCACC tool to balance the speakers, this was not an issue.
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post #104 of 226 Old 01-27-2013, 07:17 AM
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hey Stoked. What other speakers did you audition? thanks and sorry if you've answered this earlier in the thread.
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post #105 of 226 Old 01-27-2013, 07:32 AM
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I had a cap of $6K for the towers and with that limitation looked at offerings I could afford from Paradigm, Focal, Golden Ear, Polk, Definitive Technology, MartinLogan, and Bowers and Wilkins. Of these, and prior to hearing the Ultras, I thought that Paradigm and Focal were the closest match for what I was trying to achieve (and was surprisingly unimpressed with the MartinLogan and B&Ws).
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post #106 of 226 Old 01-27-2013, 07:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stoked4Sound View Post

I had a cap of $6K for the towers and with that limitation looked at offerings I could afford from Paradigm, Focal, Golden Ear, Polk, Definitive Technology, MartinLogan, and Bowers and Wilkins. Of these, and prior to hearing the Ultras, I thought that Paradigm and Focal were the closest match for what I was trying to achieve (and was surprisingly unimpressed with the MartinLogan and B&Ws).

Thanks for the reply. I don't have a B&M store near me besides a Magnolia Best Buy. That said, I've kind of landed on Paradigm speakers based on looks and people's feedback on the forum. I'm going to drive 5 hours to my nearest Paradigm dealer when I get really serious. My son happens to visit a doctor in the same area once a year so it's not just to hear the speakers. I haven't stopped by Best Buy to hear the B&W yet because of people's feedback about them here. Guess I'll check them out for myself though.

My other route will be ID companies with an in-home trial option. Does SVS cover the return shipping? Oh, what model Paradigm speakers did you try?
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post #107 of 226 Old 01-27-2013, 08:00 AM
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SVS does cover the return shipping if you don't want to keep the speakers (which took away a lot of the risk for me since these are big speakers and the shipping can't be cheap). The Paradigms I considered were the Studio 100s. Good luck with the speakers and, of course, your son's doctor visit.
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post #108 of 226 Old 01-27-2013, 10:41 AM
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Anyone consider the new Revel Performa3? I was waiting for the SVS Ultra but the combination of the delay and the uncertainty of buying speakers I can't listen to prior to purchase, I decided to go ahead and order the Revels. Of course just my luck there is a 5 week delay on the Revels.

The question is are the SVS ultras as good as the Revel F208/C208 combo?
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post #109 of 226 Old 01-27-2013, 02:51 PM
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Quote:
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Very good review...thx

+1 Very Good and lots of reading, it will make my wait to save my money even longer:cool:

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post #110 of 226 Old 01-27-2013, 03:23 PM
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How do you think they compare to the Salk st
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post #111 of 226 Old 01-27-2013, 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted by lsdec View Post

Anyone consider the new Revel Performa3? I was waiting for the SVS Ultra but the combination of the delay and the uncertainty of buying speakers I can't listen to prior to purchase, I decided to go ahead and order the Revels. Of course just my luck there is a 5 week delay on the Revels.

The question is are the SVS ultras as good as the Revel F208/C208 combo?

I doubt it. You are talking speakers that are 3 times as much and are built by Harmon Int. They have more resources for manufacturing, measuring, and listening than most audio companies could dream of. I love the Performa line so had I been the original poster with a budget of $6K I would pick the Revels in a heartbeat over the Ultras. Some say the Performas are 90% as good as the Revel's Salons.

I just don't think they are in the same league and they are priced accordingly to account for the difference.

I find it interesting that both reviewers thus far mention there is something off with the top end. Perhaps missing detail?

-Brian

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post #112 of 226 Old 01-27-2013, 08:53 PM
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The F208/c208 can be had for about $5500. I know this is a lot more than the SVS but I plan on keeping these next speakers for a while so if I have to bring a lunch to work to cut expenses it's worth it for me.

That's the big thing for me. The R&D. Revel supposedly spent about 30 million on it for the Performa3. But if the svs is very close, it's something worth looking into.

Sounds like they are keepers for one out of two
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post #113 of 226 Old 01-27-2013, 10:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scorpionrm View Post

The tower's piano black finish was very nice, the metal speaker rings were not as shine as they appeared on the web or the RMAF video


honestly I dont see in the video or pictures chrome or nickel rings,they look more like gunmetal.

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post #114 of 226 Old 01-28-2013, 03:56 AM
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The metal speaker rings are in fact either "gun metal" or some other sort of black. The original shiny ones must have just been a prototype that were changed in the final production set-up.
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post #115 of 226 Old 01-28-2013, 09:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stoked4Sound View Post

The metal speaker rings are in fact either "gun metal" or some other sort of black. The original shiny ones must have just been a prototype that were changed in the final production set-up.

Here is a pic of the prototype from RMAF:



And the ones I just received:



They are less chrome like and more gun metal, but I think it is an improvement. I remember the designer at RMAF commenting that he thought they were too shiny and was planning to make them a bit less noticeable.

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post #116 of 226 Old 01-28-2013, 10:15 AM
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The shiny version reminds me of KEF R series speakers.
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post #117 of 226 Old 01-28-2013, 12:55 PM
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here is the manual from the svs website for the ultra speakers.

http://www.svsound.com/images/svs/doclibrary/ultra_speaker_manual_web.pdf

V/R

ROD
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post #118 of 226 Old 01-28-2013, 02:24 PM
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Here is the svs ultra surround unboxing that I just did. I had the transformer 3 movie playing in the background on my ultra towers. I had to adjust the treble setting from +4 to +8 and that seemed to brighten up the highs quiet a bit. So far I like them better and better every day. I did change out my cables yesterday from the 16 g to 12 g and they do seem to make a negligible but noticeable improvement in clarity.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PImQ4m4ewhg

V/R

ROD
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post #119 of 226 Old 01-28-2013, 03:48 PM
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As you can tell in my videos, I like to keep it dark in my media room, so the gunmetal finish is hidden by the darkness and I would have preferred them to be shinier. The link below shows them to be a lighter, rubbed nickel looking than what the are now.

http://www.technologytell.com/hometech/89391/svs-introduces-new-ultra-series-loudspeakers/

V/R

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post #120 of 226 Old 01-28-2013, 09:26 PM
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I thought I would copy and paste the post I just wrote from my comparison thread that has the SVS Ultras:


I thought I would post some impressions after day 1. VicTorious1 stopped by and we did some A/B comparing for a few hours, so I did not have time to work with each speaker individually to find the best spot. For today's session, I had them set up without toe in. The back of the Philharmonic 2 lower cabinet was about 13 inches from the wall which made the back of the mid range about 24 inches and the front baffle about 37 inches out. Any more than that is not practical really in my room. The SVS were lined up with the fronts of the Phils. I also added the top diffuser pads to the Phil tweeter and covered about three teeth.

First off, my thoughts on the looks of the speakers, mostly the new SVS since many of you have seen the Phils. They are imposing for sure. Very solid, sturdy, dense. The metal rings around the drivers are a bit duller than the demo pair at RMAF, more gunmetal, by intention. I think it is an improvement. The finish is very nice. Now, that said, it is not as nice as on some I saw at RMAF, like the $8,000 Salk SS8s, but for 2K, pretty nice. The finish on the satin Phil 2s is more plain, but also nice. As far as any critiques of the looks, the only thing (besides not having a choice of wood grain finishes) that I wish was that SVS went with magnetic grills. With the grill off the looks would be improved without the 4 holes, kinda like the Kef R series. Also, since the front is so smooth, the grill kinda seems to stick on the front visually, rather then being a part of the speaker.

Here are my old Infinitys:



See how the grill nicely fits with edge. If you look back at some of the pics, you can see the Ultra front corners are angled, so a flush magnetic grill would look better. Just my tiny suggestion. I also kinda wish the Phil 2 upper cabinet sat a little bit lower and attached securely to the bottom cabinet to give it a cleaner look.

A far as how they sound, they do sound different, for sure. We listened to tracks from the Philharmonic demo CD, Diana Krall, Nora Jones, U2, Dire Straits, Marcus Miller, Beethoven, Pink Floyd etc.

One thing, neither is better than the other in every aspect, which I think speaks well for the new SVS, since the Phil 2 is known to be an excellent speaker. The noticeable good aspects of the SVS so far are the bass extension, which is excellent and powerful (keep in mind the rear port was probably 20 inches from the rear wall and the speakers were a good 3-4 feet from the side walls, so definitely not corner loaded). The bass is tight, not muddy, although the bass on the Phils might just be a touch cleaner, without quite as much extension. I really liked how the SVS sounded on bass guitar, very full, deep and impactful, and on male vocals. I watched some of the Laker-Thunder game (go Lakers!) last night while I was switching back and forth and found I was using the SVS more, maybe b/c of the male announcers. The loudness difference is not too much, to my ears, with maybe 1 or 2 clicks up on the volume knob needed when switching to the Phils. When I did switch to the Phils, I noticed the speakers seemed to disappear more than the SVS, and the soundstage broadened. Instruments like flutes, bells, etc. seemed to pop out of the air more and be a little clearer. Both sets had good dynamics and hit you hard when the track demanded it (think The Mans Too Strong from Brothers in Arms). Female vocals sounded good on both, but I need to listen to more of those. The difference between the two as far as the high notes and soundstage seemed more noticeable on some of the Phil demo tracks like the acoustic guitars and on Diana Krall (by law, I was forced to use her CD during this comparison. You can look it up if you don't believe me!) . Less so on rock stuff like Dire Straits, U2. Did not do too much classical so far.

So, a successful and fun first day. More listening on Wednesday.

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