Help Picking an SVS Subwoofer
I have recently bought my first decent receiver (Onkyo TX-RZ830) that is currently driving a pair of Athena AS-F2-1 towers. Also have a Klipsch Synergy C2 Center, but have dreams of getting a Klipsch RP-404 or 504C. (Why one of those two? Because they appear to be very highly rated and because I like the aesthetic of a wider 4X center channel enclosure. Looks more integrated under the TV than a shorter 2X enclosure.) I am currently in the process of adding a subwoofer, followed by a pair of small speakers for a 5.1 system. Primary use is as a home theater.
My room is very small, call it 1,500 cu ft, and almost square at about 13 x 15 ft. It's also set up in an asymmetric way. The TV, the receiver, and the Athenas are on one wall. One of the side walls is taken up by a fireplace. The wall opposite the TV has a small couch where I like to sit. And the other side wall has a futon where the wife and kid usually sit. I am interested in putting together a system with a balanced sound throughout the frequency range. We tend to watch a lot of British shows, and understanding the accents can be a challenge. Hence an emphasis on a quality center channel. We also like superhero movies, so a good sub is important too. For the latter, I am focusing on SVS because they appear to be quality, highly rated subs, especially in my $500-$700 price range...
Here is my dilemma and why I am writing this post... The SVS outlet has an SB-2000 for $650. There are also local CraigsList postings for a PC-2000 for $500 and an SB13 Ultra for $700. Based on list prices and positioning of these subs in the SVS lineup, assuming that it is in good shape, the SB13 appears to be the best deal. It's listed at about 1/2 of its original price. (I am aware of the fact that it weighs 92 lbs.) Here is what I am struggling with...
Obviously, I don't have a magic genie to bring these to my living room so that I can try them out and make a decision based on actual experience. (I will go listen to the PC-2000 and SB13, but in spaces that are totally different from mine.) I have to make a decision largely based on factory specs and my limited understanding of what they mean. With a 1,500 cu ft room, I obviously do not need the extra power of the SB13. (1000 Watt RMS compared to 500 for the PC/SB-2000). I doubt I would ever run it anywhere near full power. Furthermore, the frequency response curves for the PC-2000 and SB-2000, to my inexperienced eye, actually look better than that of the SB13.
(I apologize, but I am not allowed to post links as links yet, since I am a noob here.)
I understand, at least quantitatively, the difference between a ported enclosure and a sealed one. Ported frequency response flattens out sooner but drops off more steeply to the left. (Don't know which one I like better, since I have not heard them next to each other.) Based purely on the specs, given the $150 difference between the used PC and the new SB-2000, I would probably choose the PC, although I don't love the cylindrical form factor... If they were the same price, I would choose the SB, in part because there are more places I could put it in my room.
Now, let's focus on the comparison between the frequency responses of the sealed SB-2000 vs SB13... At 10Hz, SB13 is at about 70 dB, SB-2000 is at about 80. The slopes are different, but at 20Hz, the 2000 is still ahead, about 86 dB vs 80 for the 13. The 13 reaches full level sooner, at about 27/28 Hz compared to 40 for the 2000... The 13 then has a flatter response all the way to the 300Hz cut-off, whereas the 2000 rolls off dramatically after about 150 Hz. However, this is the range in which the towers should be more than capable of picking up the slack (FR spec on the Athenas is 35-20,000 Hz), so I am, please correct me if this is wrong, not so concerned about the difference at the top end. I am, however, concerned about the difference at the low end, especially below 20Hz, where the SB-2000 actually seems to be the better sub, at least based on the factory specs, for whatever they are worth...
So, if one does not need the extra power of the SB13, what would be the reasons to pay $200 more for it than a PC-2000? The on-board DSP? But shouldn't that really be handled by the receiver? There are more adjustments on the receiver than I could possibly understand or use, adding more adjustments to the sub is not necessarily a plus...
Am I missing something? There must be a damned good reason why the 13 originally cost $1400...? Will this become obvious when I listen to them, even if it is in a totally different setting compared to my room?
Trying to figure out what the best value is between these choices. I know it's highly personal, but would appreciate advice that the community may have.