PSA V1500 vs. S3000i: My Big Room Challenge - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 598 Old 03-19-2015, 09:33 PM - Thread Starter
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PSA V1500 vs. S3000i: My Big Room Challenge

For those who have been following along on the Official PSA thread, I've shared that I finally came to a decision (of sorts) about what to do in my 7500 cubic foot room. After wavering back and forth between sealed and ported options, the release of the new ICE-powered line from PSA prompted me to do my own, in-home test between the two options most likely to work well in my room: the ported, single-driver V1500 and the sealed, dual-opposed driver S3000i. Before I go any further, I want to thank Tom V and Jim F for offering their free in-home demo and both-way shipping that made this test possible! I also want to thank Tom for convincing me to do the test; telling me explicitly not to feel guilty about ordering both knowing that I would return one.

That said, whichever of these two products is returned will simply be exchanged for a duplicate of the one I decide to keep. My room is large enough that I am going to want 2 subwoofers and I do plan do place one near-field.

Latest Updates

V1500 Unboxing Photos (3/23)
V1500 Initial Setup and First Impressions: Movies (3/27)
V1500 First Impressions: Music (3/28)
S3000i Unboxing and side-by-side with V1500 (3/31)
V1500 post-measurement conclusions (Holy 14hz, Batman!) (3/31)
S3000i vs V1500 Best location found graph (4/2)
S3000i in the best location found with Audyssey (4/2)
S3000i Compression


Why PSA?

Stellar reputation. Stellar customer service. Made in USA Products. Free in-home trial with free both-way shipping. And, with the announcement of the s3000i, I suspected (for the first time in my budget) that there was a sealed option that (when dual was considered) could be powerful enough for my room. Everyone has leaned me towards ported; I have a bias towards sealed. Ultimately, I needed to try both myself.

Schedule

The first subwoofer, the V1500 is scheduled to arrive about a week before the S3000i and is currently listing as arriving on 3/23. Tom gave me the option and I chose to get the V1500 early so I had time to learn the controls and get it well-dialed in before the S3000i arrived.

About Me, My Room, and My Tastes

I would be absolutely remiss if I didn't admit up front that I am a total amateur when it comes to anything objective that I'll present in this thread. I do have a UMIK-1 and MiniDSP coming with my order; however, I have absolutely no experience with them. Those hoping for a really great, wonderfully measured shootout are, sadly, going to be disappointed. I will do what I can to take measurements and post graphs; however, I think it's important to understand that, for me, the results of this test are going to be almost entirely subjective: the sub I keep will be the one I like best.

My room is an unfortunately enormous 7500 cubic feet. I say "unfortunately" as almost all of the space is vertical, I have vaulted ceilings all the way up to my roof which mean that, while the room is huge, the usable space for placement is not. Part of the space is a second-level loft space which is completely open along the longest side of the room between the upper-and lower level--so I include it fully in my space measurement. My room is not treated for acoustics--so don't expect a great looking waterfall.

My usage is about 60% music, 40% HT. My primary concern for speaker and subwoofer performance is music. While I do use HT regularly, my general opinion is that as long as it's exactly what I want for music, it will do well-enough to make me happy with HT. While I recognize this opinion is not prevalent, it's my opinion--so my decision will ultimately come down to what makes me happier with music.

My Setup

Marantz AV7702 Pre/Pro (hooray Audyssey XT32)
Emotiva XPA-5 Amp
Martin Logan Theos L+R speakers
Ps3 for Blu Ray & CD

If I can get it done in time, I'm trying to get a Martin Logan Motif X center channel delivered quickly so I can work with a 3.1 setup for the testing on film; however, that may not happen in time. Atmos is in my future; but it's a pretty distant future.

Test Material - Music Updated 3/19

I've tried to select music that reflects my broad taste. Some of it is good 'subwoofer test' music while others are just tracks that I know well and love. I am absolutely open to suggestions and will add anything that falls in line with the types of music I listen to. The list is in no particular order.

Looking at the list, it's currently slanted too heavily towards rock music; I'll be making some adjustments to remove mostly redundant tracks and add more electronic, hip-hop, classical, jazz, and "crooner" music--all things I listen to regularly but don't have tracks off the top of my head or sitting in a playlist to look through. I will also likely change some the songs out in favor of listening to certain albums front-to-back.

Garbage - Queer
Smashing Pumpkins - Bullet with Butterfly Wings
Smashing Pumpkins - Mayonnaise
Telefon Tel Aviv - I Lied
Telefon Tel Aviv - Fahrenheit Fair Enough
Beck - Where It's At
Kansas - Carry on My Wayward Son
Bjork - Hyper-Ballad
The Crystal Method - Trip Like I Do
Bone Thugs-n-Harmony - 1st of the Month
Daft Punk - Human After All
Boston - More Than a Feelin'
BT - Madskillz - Mic Chekka
BT - Every Other Way
Ellie Goulding - Lights (Bassnectar Remix)
Ellie Goulding - Figure 8
Coheed & Cambria - The Camper Velorium I: Faint of Heart
Coheed & Cambria - The Crowing
Delerium - Truly
Depeche Mode - I Feel You
Dr. Dre - Nothin' But a G Thing
Econoline Crush - Home
Madeon - Technicolor
Foo Fighters - Learn To Fly
Foreigner - Double Vision
Gorillaz - Feel Good, Inc
Hybrid - Finished Symphony
Jamiroquai - Canned Heat
K's Choice - To This Day
Marilyn Manson - Personal Jesus (Depeche Mode Cover)
Mars Lasar - Lords of Truth
Mat Zo - 24 Hours
Massive Attack - Dissolved Girl
Michael Jackson - Man in the Mirror
Michael Jackson - Love Never Felt So Good
Nine Inch Nails - Closer
Nine Inch Nails - Terrible Lie
Orbital - Halcyon & On & On
Orbital - Belfast
Orgy - Blue Monday
Outkast - BoB
Outkast - Rosa Parks
Paul Oakenfold - Get 'em Up (ft. Ice Cube)
Solarstone - Seven Cities
The Prodigy - Voodoo People
REM - Losing My Religion
Rabbit in the Moon - Out of Body Experience
Royksopp - Remind Me
Sneaker Pimps - Wasted Early Sunday Morning
Stabbing Westward - Save Yourself
Tiesto - Wasted
Sting - Desert Rose
VAST - Touched
Veruca Salt - Volcano Girls
Yanni - Live at the Acropolis (full album)
Dido - Here with Me


Test Material - Movies (Updated 3/19)

I'm keeping this list relatively short--limiting it to what I have on Blu Ray as well as keeping it short as I intend to watch the full movie rather than selecting individual scenes.

The Dark Knight
The Avengers
Iron Man
The Matrix
Pirates of the Caribbean
Harry Potter (Random selection--probably the last 2 though)

Conclusion

Join me for the ride--I hope to learn a ton about both of these products and, regardless of which I choose to keep, I know the next few weeks are going to be insanely fun!
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Last edited by nalthien; 04-05-2015 at 12:25 AM. Reason: S3000i Compression
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post #2 of 598 Old 03-19-2015, 09:53 PM
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Just a suggestion for HT material, if you can get a copy of Terminator Salvation. The gas station scene has some awesome bass!
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post #3 of 598 Old 03-19-2015, 09:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbrown15 View Post
Just a suggestion for HT material, if you can get a copy of Terminator Salvation. The gas station scene has some awesome bass!
At one point, I had a blu-ray rip (Perfect m2ts rip--not transcoded) of it--I need to find it.

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post #4 of 598 Old 03-19-2015, 09:58 PM
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Very interesting. Looking forward to your comments, evaluation, analysis and conclusion.
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post #5 of 598 Old 03-19-2015, 10:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nalthien View Post
At one point, I had a blu-ray rip (Perfect m2ts rip--not transcoded) of it--I need to find it.

Yeah when I had my four monster ported 18" DIY sub cabinets I could literally make my whole house shake with the scene. I cracked the drywall in the room above the Theater from those subs and I think that scene helped with that!....lol
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post #6 of 598 Old 03-20-2015, 12:26 AM
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Subscribed.

Thanks for doing this. Good luck, and have fun!
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post #7 of 598 Old 03-20-2015, 04:08 AM
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Subscribed and looking forward to the differences as I am eyeing both of these subs too
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post #8 of 598 Old 03-20-2015, 06:24 AM
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I'm going to go out on the limb based on your usage criteria & you'll prefer the 3000i once the gloves come off....of course this is purely based on my own experiences. I will also like to subscribe to this thread. It should be a fun read...one other thing I would like to mention based on your playlist and some of the bands selected...One of my personal favorite demo tunes comes from A Perfect Circle "The Noose"....it layered with each passing verse getting louder and deeper...gives me goose bumps when played really loud on my XS30se!
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post #9 of 598 Old 03-20-2015, 07:27 AM
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Ok, this is going to be great thread to follow!! I have an xs30se now in my 7500cf room with 10 to 20 foot ceiling. It sounds great now but have been thinking of another sub. Like to hear your personal observations on music from another new guy like me.
Chip

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post #10 of 598 Old 03-20-2015, 07:33 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Billy p View Post
I'm going to go out on the limb based on your usage criteria & you'll prefer the 3000i once the gloves come off....of course this is purely based on my own experiences.
This is actually why I'm really happy to be getting the V1500 first and having it for about a week. While my bias tells me that I'll prefer the S3000i, I'll have plenty of time to work with the V1500 to get it where I want it before the S3000i arrives. The part of me that would rather spend a total of $2k on the dual V1500 as opposed to $3k on the dual S3000i will be really happy if, by spending enough time with the V1500, I can't make the S3000i enough of an improvement to warrant the extra $1,000 (if, in fact, is is an improvement).
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post #11 of 598 Old 03-20-2015, 10:14 AM
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I predict dual S3000is.


Tron:Legacy "Lightbike Race" scene is the absolute best to test those subs!
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post #12 of 598 Old 03-20-2015, 10:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan P View Post
I predict dual S3000is.


Tron:Legacy "Lightbike Race" scene is the absolute best to test those subs!
I've been meaning to buy Tron: Legacy for a while. This seems like as good an excuse as any!

Edit: I mean, if I had $6k budgeted, I would be going with dual T-18's like someone. :P

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post #13 of 598 Old 03-20-2015, 10:28 AM
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post #14 of 598 Old 03-20-2015, 11:00 AM
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Well, that was not my original budget.

That is a very common tale round here
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post #15 of 598 Old 03-20-2015, 12:19 PM
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Great thread! I wonder how ULF you'll get in a room that size?

If it were me I would try the grenade scene from World War Z on each sub. It plunges so low you'll be able to see what useful output difference you get down low.

Also the bass drops in theove Inception will probably illustrate the difference.

Maybe try the "F'in Irene" scene from Blackhawk Down as well.
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post #16 of 598 Old 03-20-2015, 01:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by FattyMcButterPants View Post
Great thread! I wonder how ULF you'll get in a room that size?
ULF is going to be really tough in my room. It's the main reason I'm giving ported a shot; but, to be honest, I'm not going to be able to have more than 2 subwoofers in my room given its layout. So if 2 V1500s can't give me that meaty, down-low response, I'll know that I basically have to live with it.

Could 2 Orbit Shifters be up to the task? Probably--but it's way out of my budget and size constraints. After all, this is a family room and not a dedicated theater.

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post #17 of 598 Old 03-20-2015, 02:18 PM
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Movies-

Oblivion
TIH
Edge of Tomorrow (especially the opening minute)
Pulse (the server scene)

Both EOT and Pulse will let you know if you have enough headroom under 20hz for your room. Both scenes are known to turn even some of the best subs into wheezing asthmatics.

Music, I like anything from Tool, APC or Puscifier for music testing.
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post #18 of 598 Old 03-20-2015, 02:37 PM
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Try the Darla tapping the aquarium scene in Nemo. That's a really cool one to try with a good sub. It will literally sound/feel like a giant is outside slamming on the side of your house. lol
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post #19 of 598 Old 03-20-2015, 03:07 PM
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I, for one, can't wait to read your shootout between the two.
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post #21 of 598 Old 03-20-2015, 03:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan P View Post
If you start downloading now, you might have all the clips by the time you get the subs.

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/19-ded...demo-disc.html
While I might do some targeted demos, I really want to focus on enjoying content the way I enjoy content regularly. Listening to whole songs or albums. Watching entire movies. Yeah, it's fun to demo some great scenes--but that will definitely be the minority of my testing.
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post #22 of 598 Old 03-20-2015, 05:28 PM
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Test Material - Movies (Updated 3/19)

I'm keeping this list relatively short--limiting it to what I have on Blu Ray as well as keeping it short as I intend to watch the full movie rather than selecting individual scenes.

The Dark Knight
The Avengers
Iron Man
The Matrix
Pirates of the Caribbean
Harry Potter (Random selection--probably the last 2 though)

Dude, how do you not have the undisputed world heavyweight champion of deep bass extension, War of the Worlds?
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post #23 of 598 Old 03-20-2015, 05:35 PM
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Dude, how do you not have the undisputed world heavyweight champion of deep bass extension, War of the Worlds?
...or "Pulse" and its server room scene with single digit bass.

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post #24 of 598 Old 03-20-2015, 06:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Dude, how do you not have the undisputed world heavyweight champion of deep bass extension, War of the Worlds?
Because that movie was so mind-numbingly awful, I would never watch it. Why would I care about testing my new products in ways I would never use them?

I'm really trying to avoid the standard "check out these dozen scenes." Yes, I get that they may represent a great sample set that tests the bounds of a subwoofer; however, I'd rather know that content I love sounds great.
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post #25 of 598 Old 03-20-2015, 06:30 PM
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Because that movie was so mind-numbingly awful, I would never watch it. Why would I care about testing my new products in ways I would never use them?

I'm really trying to avoid the standard "check out these dozen scenes." Yes, I get that they may represent a great sample set that tests the bounds of a subwoofer; however, I'd rather know that content I love sounds great.
This will be really interesting then, don't think I've ever seen this type of comparison. It's also gonna take forever and make it difficult to pick a winner.
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post #26 of 598 Old 03-20-2015, 06:44 PM - Thread Starter
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This will be really interesting then, don't think I've ever seen this type of comparison. It's also gonna take forever and make it difficult to pick a winner.
It's not that I won't pick good material; it's that I don't want to focus on just things that people have identified as "having great bass" and instead focus on the material that I like.

I'll be listening to every song and watching every movie on this list in their entirety on both subwoofers while I work to make a decision. I'm sure I'll add other individual scenes.

I'm gonna take notes and share them here. The way I look at it: there's no wrong answer.
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post #27 of 598 Old 03-20-2015, 07:50 PM
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Originally Posted by nalthien View Post
It's not that I won't pick good material; it's that I don't want to focus on just things that people have identified as "having great bass" and instead focus on the material that I like.

I'll be listening to every song and watching every movie on this list in their entirety on both subwoofers while I work to make a decision. I'm sure I'll add other individual scenes.

I'm gonna take notes and share them here. The way I look at it: there's no wrong answer.
Nathien, I think you have it all covered my friend. Watch and listen to entire albums and BD movies. I think since you have no experience with PSA subwoofers but know what you like and are familiar with subject material you're are on the right track. By listening to entire source material you will become very accustomed to the PSA sound. Having owned most all of them it will become a matter of preference for you, and only you can determine which is best for your room and listening habits. I think you're doing the right thing, isn't it nice to know you get to audition two subs with very limited financial risk.
You have the best of both worlds and get to eat your cake as well. Enjoy and happy listening my friend.

I would have ordered duals of each...................
Cheers Jeffrey
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post #28 of 598 Old 03-20-2015, 08:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ahblaza View Post
By listening to entire source material you will become very accustomed to the PSA sound. Having owned most all of them it will become a matter of preference for you, and only you can determine which is best for your room and listening habits. I think you're doing the right thing, isn't it nice to know you get to audition two subs with very limited financial risk.
It really is. It's actually kinda funny--I was just thinking a minute ago about how when people ask for suggestions about auditioning subwoofers and speakers with music, the biggest piece of advice given is to bring your own music that you know well so you can decide if you like it. But, when it comes to movies, there's always the advice that boils down to Edge of Tomorrow, Black Hawk Down, and War of the Worlds. I haven't seen the first, I was kinda "meh" on the second, and I absolutely hated the 3rd. :P

Edit: That's not to say they aren't good demo material; I just find the dichotomy of the advice interesting and somewhat amusing.

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I would have ordered duals of each...................
I really considered it! But, knowing that it was going to be a while before I actually received them (I ordered on 2/18), the financial implication of having $5k floated on my credit card instead of $2500 was more than I was willing to take on. Factoring in the lead time and the demo time, the interest charges from having 2 extra subs for what I knew would be a minimum of 2 months seemed like something I could avoid.
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post #29 of 598 Old 03-21-2015, 09:24 AM
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To really perform a valid comparison, you need to measure your response for both subs and then get their response so they mimic each other as best as possible.

If you don't do this, the subs will likely have very different responses. Your subjective opinion of which one is better will be primarily which response you prefer, not which sub you prefer.

Since you're comparing ported vs sealed, after eq the response will start to differ a lot under the ported subs tune...which is ok.

If you don't have eq capability, then at the very least, use rew to measure your response to give you a better understanding of what you are hearing with both subs.
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post #30 of 598 Old 03-21-2015, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by dominguez1 View Post
To really perform a valid comparison, you need to measure your response for both subs and then get their response so they mimic each other as best as possible.

If you don't do this, the subs will likely have very different responses. Your subjective opinion of which one is better will be primarily which response you prefer, not which sub you prefer.

Since you're comparing ported vs sealed, after eq the response will start to differ a lot under the ported subs tune...which is ok.

If you don't have eq capability, then at the very least, use rew to measure your response to give you a better understanding of what you are hearing with both subs.
I see this argument a lot and it makes sense, but sometimes I wonder if there is merit to picking the sub whose natural response you prefer. I mean if you prefer what it sounds with no eq then wouldn't that put you closer to perfecting how you want it to sound? Picking the sub that has the strengths where you prefer them seems like a decent way to go about it if all you care about is determining a winner for you and nobody else.
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