MATA7, this ^^^ is really important. If you block one port, you *have* to select the 16 Hz tune in the amp. Failing to do so might damage the driver at high volume. (In fact I think damage may happen the other way around, i.e. if you keep all ports open but select the 16 Hz tune in the amp). In any way, performance may be suboptimal if you do not set the sub as follows:
all ports open -> 20 Hz tune in amp
one port blocked -> 16 Hz tune in amp
two ports blocked -> (not supported)
all ports blocked -> sealed tune in amp
Using the 20 Hz tune (all ports open) will result in maximum output.
Your STF-3 was not a bad sub by any standard so on many types of content you may notice very little difference. Where the Ultra will shine compared to the STF-3 is 1) at high volume and 2) around 20 Hz. You may have minor setup issues but if you still have your STF-3, you may compare by switching back and forth between the two with content that is especially hard to reproduce. For example, the famous "Bass, I Love You" track (which is not a very brilliant piece) will sound differently on various subs. On a mediocre HTiB sub I heard almost nothing of the bass line, which has notes in the 20 to 40 Hz octave. My SB12 rendered that quite well. But my dual Plus setup tuned to 16 Hz revealed another note that I never heard with the SB12. Not sure if it's the rumored 7 Hz note or not
Personally I think "Soul Purge" by Noisia & Foreign Beggars is one of my favorite sub test. It played quite well on the SB12 but it ran out of steam with my AVR volume reaching -15 to -10. With the Pluses I can crank this at unholy levels and they're not even breaking a sweat.
In terms of movies you'll have to select one of the movie in the 5-star master list of bass. One of our favorite is the Pod Emergence scene in War of the Worlds. Crank the volume a bit and compare with the STF-3 -- I would be very surprised if you don't notice any difference.
I received my PB13-Ultra last week and also am waiting on my SPL meter to run some REW tests. Iam sure my sub isnt set up in an ideal situation as i am left a little unimpressed. Not Disappointed just not a night and day to justify the $1500 upgrade from my previous Velodyne.
Congrats on the new acquisition! I think I got the same feeling upgrading from the SB12 to the dual Plus setup. When you go from a HTiB sub to a real sub, the difference is indeed night and day. But when the previous sub is actually quite capable to begin with, the gains are indeed a bit more subtle, or found in different conditions. I'm not sure which Velodyne you had (or if you still got it) but you will likely observe the Ultra's superiority, as with MATA7, on very low-frequency content and also at higher volumes. After all, even the smallest ported sub from SVS (the PB-1000) has a flat frequency response down to 20 Hz. So why spend $1500 more on an Ultra? Well the difference in timbre may be minor, but the Ultra will simply destroy the PB-1000 close to reference volume. Try the suggested tests above...
But you are both right about setup. Position can alter tremendously how the sub sound, and setting up my first Plus, I was actually surprised it sounded worse than my SB12. Tweaking the position and gain, etc. I managed to make it sound much better. One thing that is surprising is that the Plus actually sound, surprisingly in my opinion, tighter than the SB12, whereas I was expecting a more guttural sound.
In my case, EQing also helped a lot getting the sound I wanted from the subs. I squished a large peak around 50 Hz and restored a gentle house curve that boosts the very low end (below 30 Hz) -- this made the SB12 run out of steam quite soon, whereas the Pluses can take it with no problem.
Edited by neutro - 1/29/13 at 7:29am