Based on your above comments, I see a terribly conflicted bass head.
First off, I'm not a bass head by any stretch of the imagination. I do value great low distorted tight bass over loud boomy and uncontrolled bass any day. If you see the rest of my equipment, I probably invested the least on my subwoofer.
Starting with conflict one. The center channel being the most important speaker and bass reproduction being number two. Note your comments as to what you value and what you've focused on. Bass-heads value quality bass.
currently live in a detached house finally but my neighbors have made it clear that they can hear the bass from the PB12 NSD late night when I'm cranking a movie or music (approx -15db volume level) so I still have to be conscious about it. In terms of listening habits, in the 5 years that I have owned the PB12 NSD I have never put the volume knob on the sub higher than the 1 o'clock position (about 60%) and that was only a few hours for a party. 95% of time, the knob stays in the 10-11 o'clock positions (roughly 30-40%) at max with the pre/pro sub gain set to 0.
FWIW, the pair of nineteen year old 12" subs we have, using the sub's gain control, are set at two out of a possible ten, with the Audyssey set AVR's pre/pro gain showing; -8.5dB.
The pre/pro volume never goes higher than -15db (normally between -25db to -20db) for my typical listening habits. Again, I'm no bass head and don't "rock out" too hard.
Our normal AVR setting is in the -48dB to -45dB range. Have you scanned your room with a SPL meter?
My goals with upgrading my sub are primarily to get more responsive bass with a flatter freq response than I currently have.
If you look at the spectrograph of a SVS PB12-NSD, it's the best spectrograph in it's class. Short of going to the Paradigm, Sub2, in my opinion, you'll find it hard to find anything in the 12"-15" class that can beat the spectrograph of the SVS, PB12-NSD. More responsive bass, sounds like a bass-head to me.
It is a good chance that I will be moving within the next 2 years so the room is a variable that will change and thus I'm not putting too much effort into conforming to this room. My desire to upgrade really increased once I started seeing reviews on the paradigm SUB 1. I loved the form factor and the size for the performance it seamed to be offering (interestingly enough, paradigm does not seem to publish a freq response for the SUB 1 and I have yet to see a freq response graph). I have seen and heard it in person as well and thought it sounded full yet tight and clean (although I didn't do any real critical listening). The problem: price. With paradigm speakers prices continually increasing the MSRP for the SUB 1 is currently $4999 US if I'm not mistaken which is simply too rich for my blood...at least for a sub.
Remember, you're not a bass-head and yet, now you're comparing a $769.00 sub to a $5,000.00 sub. Hardly fair, wouldn't you say?
Maybe a Martin Logan, Depth i would be a better comparison as it's only $2,200.00. Before going coo-coo, can you get a second SVS PB12-NSD into your room for a sonic trial with a SPL meter in hand?
But seeing the rave reviews given its small box, small drivers, and sealed design got me thinking that a sealed sub would be the way to go. The only performance issue I've heard of with the SUB 1 is hitting the lowest notes at near or above reference level with some tough sub 25hz bass content.
There's that bass head conflict again.
Reference level is up to 115dB and if the neighbors can hear your sub when the volume is kept down and you being conservative, imagine what the neighbors are going hear when three subs are set to reference levels.
That's probably fine for me given my listening habits and experiences.
Bass heads love reference levels.
It was around this time that I saw the Audioholics review contest for the SVS SB13 Ultra. Being a fan of SVS performance based on my experience with the PB12 NSD and seeing as how I could buy 3 SB13s and still have money left over before I get to the cost of the SUB 1, my attention quickly turned to seeing how the SB13 turned out.
Going from one 12" sub to 3 13" subs? That's a person in serious need of a bass fix.
My how our perspective and needs easily morph when given a chance at some cheap bass waves.
I have no doubt that the SB13 would be a blast for music and improve dramatically over the PB12 NSD. My only concern was paying 2x the price for the SB13 as the PB12 NSD, getting it home, throwing in a bass heavy movie, turning up the volume, and feeling like something is missing when compared to the PB12.
Bass heads do worry about a lack of bass.
Feeling like I lost something in the "upgrade".
Yes, bass-heads do worry about this type of loss.
With my moderate listenting levels and much older sub, I was hoping that the sound quality of the SB13 ultra would be an improvement in music and at least on par in extension and output as the PB12 NSD (again for my habits and levels). It may just come down to me getting one to audition at home for the 45 day trial SVS offers smile.gif
Based on your comments above about reference level listening desires, affinity towards a Sub1 and/or three SB13's, I'd say moderate is not an accurate characterization of your listening habits. A person is not what they say because they're what they do. Maybe starting with two SB12-NSD subs and then if not enough, adding a second pair. If four PB12-NSD's is not enough to rock your world, then there's something wrong with your AVR and it's not pumping out the pre-pro signal it was hired to provide. Out of curiosity, have you put a mult-meter on the sub-out to do a voltage check?
(All of my above are intended in good fun; bass-head2bass-head)
Personally, based on your above, I think you're selling the SVS PB12-NSD short and should give a second one a try and again, I suspect you'll find four SVS, PB12-NSD subs, more to your liking for both; sound quality and delivered price. As to your neighbors, I can't address that issue.
-Edited by BeeMan458 - 9/13/12 at 3:14pm