SVS SB13 Ultra or PSA 15S / S1500 / S1800 / V1800 / S3000i
Apologies if this is going to be a long read, but I'll try to include as much info as I can, up-front. I'm looking for a new sub for my home theatre setup because Hulk on Bluray destroyed my 17 year old B&W ASW2000 and I can't get the driver to work like it used to before, even though I've had it repaired.
The ASW2000 was a 12", ported, hulking big thing with a 175W amp that did a great job on movies but sounded like utter crap with music, so I never used it for music. I might add I ran it at barely 30-35% volume for the majority of its time with me and it did a good enough job of shaking the house!
After the 2000 died on me I swapped-in a little 8", sealed B&W 608 that I had spare and have been using it for about a year now, but I'm finally ready to get myself a proper sub to replace the old 2000. The thing is, having used the sealed 608 for a year, I realized just how good this little 8" sealed sub was compared to the garbage the ported 2000 was, when listening to music. Obviously it can't hold a candle to what the bigger, ported sub could do in movies. Still, my use is around 50/50 music and movies, so I want the new sub to definitely sound tight and do justice to my music, not be useless like the older, bigger B&W was.
My setup consists of a pair of B&W 604S2 floor standers as fronts, LCR6 center, 602S2 bookshelves (very large) as rears. I use a Denon AVR-4520 to power the whole setup and run video out a Panasonic AE8000 projector to a 120" Grandview screen with 1.0 gain. I use my system with the amp running at around -25dB to -20dB most of the time, though I will crank it up louder from time to time for music only. Oh, I also listen to vastly different kinds of music from rock, to pop, to jazz, to classical, to electronica!
My living room measures 21' wide by 16' deep and the ceiling is 8'8" high. This runs into my dining room off to a side which is another 10' deep by around 17' wide. There's also a stairway to the back and a passage in between the living and dining rooms. Having said that, my fronts are only around 9'6" apart and my rears are a couple of feet wider apart. The sub has to be placed between the fronts, due to aesthetics and room design.
I've looked around for a decent sealed sub to replace my older, ported B&W and have narrowed it down to two brands, PSA and SVS, both of which are available locally in India, where I live. Please don't recommend other brands to me, because I'm really not interested in importing anything myself.
SVS' Merlin speaker wizard recommended the SB13 Ultra to me and it looked great to me on paper. The PSA distributor here currently only has the 15S, the V1800 and the S3000i in stock. I spoke with Tom Vodhanel on PSA's website and he reckoned that a V1500 would be good for my needs. When I told him I might prefer a sealed box, he said the S1500 should suffice. He also felt that the S1500 would compare favorably to the SB13-Ultra. He also told me the 15S was identical in performance to the S1500, if I wanted to go downward firing.
So this is what it all boils down to. Here are the local costs for the various models (crazy compared to your US pricing):
SVS SB13 Ultra: $2175 with the sound isolation feet thrown in
PSA 15S: $1622
S1500 Black Ash finish: $2341
S3000i: $2702 (Crazy, given it's the same price as the SB13 Ultra in the USA, even if it is a whole notch above the SB13 Ultra in terms of capability).
I guess what I'm wondering here is, which speaker would be best for my needs? Then, factoring the local costs in, which makes the most sense? I could afford to buy any of them, I just don't want to get something that will be massively overkill and, as a result, a waste of money.
Will the S1500 justify the price premium over the SB13 Ultra or should I just get the 15S and pocket the change? Alternatively, should I get the S1800 / V1800 for around 10% more than the SB13 Ultra? Lastly, is there any sense even considering the S3000i, given that it is significantly more expensive, and would it actually be too much sub for my needs? I think I'd prefer a front firing, sealed sub, and no, I cannot get two subs, it has to be just the one.
Lots of questions, I know, but lemme know what you guys think.
Thanks in advance for taking the time to read this long post!
Last edited by kbk_75; 09-09-2016 at 11:43 AM.