I have reached the level of satisfaction that I think will last me until I'm out of university and in a position to afford the next big steps in audio equipment. This is the story of me and my first subwoofer, the SVS SB12-NSD. I don't even count the cheap Logitech 2.1 system I had a few years ago. I have had the SVS sub for 3 months now and I love it! We live in an apartment but on the first floor and the adjacent apartments have kitchens etc on the other side of the wall so we have never heard even a notion from them (and I know our upstairs neighbour would give one if needed). I would categorize myself as a music enthusiast who also knows good sound. I'm not a professional in the sound department, though.
When I got the sub, I still had my old Onkyo HT-R548 receiver with Audyssey 2Eq. To tell you the truth I wasn't so impressed in the beginning. Of course, I loved the bass in movies but with some music I noticed that the bass is "muddled". At this point I should point out that our livingroom is "as is" and I have no power to move furniture around due to WAF. Also, our main listening position is in a slight acoustic null (for example, in Alicia Keys - "No One" you can't hear the lower one of the two bass notes at all while the upper is normal), but fortunately it is only a slight one at certain few frequencies. A friend of mine has terrible nulls in his living room and this is not certainly that bad, but still noticeable. If I want to experience audio to the fullest, I have to move up in the couch toward the audio system or with music I go standing behind the couch and let myself go with the flow.
This "muddled" sound got me to realize that maybe getting the cheapest possible AV receiver that supports 4 HDMI ports wouldn't be enough in the long run. Of course I also knew that room acoustics had a great effect, but as I said that can't be helped now. So I went and purchased a Denon X-1000. Still of course in the low budget region but I thought it would be a step up with its Audyssey MultEq XT. And it was! After running Audyssey, the sub was definitely more "open" and clear. I had a couple of songs that had great bass but didn't sound so good before, and suddenly now they did. For example, in "Limit to your love" the wavering of the mega bass wasn't audible before, it all sounded like one big note. Not it was clear as day!
After getting the new receiver my SB12-NSD came to life and all my worries about making the right choise disappeared. Before this, I was very sceptical of better receivers because I wasn't sure if I could hear the difference. As it turns out, I could, and even my Wharfedale 10.2 + 10.CM sounded better. As a bass player myself, I have always liked bass, but didn't realize that I love it so much. I don't even listen to bass-heavy music like hiphop/rap/dubstep (I listen to salsa, timba, jazz, "percussion music", some R'n'B etc), but this sub made the low frequencies really hit home. One of my favourite songs with this setup is the slow and smooth "Plato de segunda mano" (Havana d'Primera) with its crisp horns, clear percussions and all-around great sound. With 15 musicians, the bass isn't mixed in high volume but it's really present. And the couple of moments where the bass player uses pedal points or the slides and hits typical of timba music... I'm in love.
So, for now I'm extremely satisfied. I know the limitations of my setup and system and will pursue to work them out in the future, but that will not stop me for a moment from closing my eyes and letting the bass float me.
Peace, I'm off to bassland