PB13 Ultra's for my Music Only System - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

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post #1 of 14 Old 11-26-13, 10:00 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: NY, NY
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PB13 Ultra's for my Music Only System

Hi guys,

I'm so excited with the addition of dual PB13's in my music system that I wanted to share my experience in case you're considering them to your rig. Below is the review I posted on the SVS web site.


I wanted to add dynamic range and more punch to my music only system. I knew I needed 2 subs to achieve this. On my short list of subs to consider I included the B&W DB1, JL Audio F113, and Paradigms SUB1 amongst others. Based on my prior experience, I included SVS to the list. Last year I purchased of a pair of PC12NSD’s for my HT. I was very eager to hear either the SB13 or the big PB13 Ultra’s.

I researched for months and listened to the ones I could. They all sounded fine to great, but I never had the chance to listen to a pair of any of them in a dedicated stereo system. Because of this I thought, why not order the best SVS has to offer? This way I could listen to them in my system, in my house, with my gear? I couldn’t wrong with their satisfaction / return policy, right?

2 PB13-Ultra’s showed up at my door one week after I placed the order. I unboxed both behemoths and had them running in a very short time. Obviously, the first thing I wanted to do was crank the music up and listen at ear bleeding levels. Which I did. ☺

I was amazed at how incredibly well these Subs integrated with my 802’s with absolutely no effort other than positioning them where there are less peaks and nulls in my room, which is right next to the mains, setting the volume and crossover point correctly. This was the 1st of many surprises to come.

After a few EXTREMELY fun hours, I lowered the volume and let the subs break in by feeding them music via my FM tuner. After several days, some more fine-tuning, and with the volume at sane levels, I started listening more critically. From WAV to FLAC files, vinyl to CD, one word came to mind: Delicate!


Has any SVS subwoofer ever been called delicate? Yeah, sure, these suckers are absolutely VISCERAL (!) on “Royals” from Lorde, my couch and the walls shake. On The Police’s album “Zenyatta Mondatta” (lp), the kick drum sounds so real, so right, so THERE. They can be tremendously violent, but the Ultra’s are also civilized. They are so musical! How can it be that they mesh so well with the B&W’s?
I am beyond thrilled with the combination! No matter what the volume level, the 13’s added a sense of scale and realism that is nothing short of astonishing.

Hotel California on the “Hell Freezes Over” (K2 HD master) sounds spectacular! The drum that comes in, shortly after the guitar intro is lifelike.

The LP of The Eagles “Greatest Hits” sounds so lush, powerful and moving. Again, highlighting the strengths of the recordings in a way I just hadn’t experienced before.

Same thing with Norah Jones amazingly well-done “Come Away With Me” (LP 200g). The bass line is to die for. Soundstage depth on Norah’s “Austin City Limits” Live From Austin, TX (LP) is spectacular even if the mic they used for her vocals isn’t.

From Daft Punks “Get Lucky” to “Every Breath You Take” by the Police, from Hans Zimmers “Dark Knight” to the “Oceans” 11, 12 and 13 soundtracks, Michael Buble (wifey’s fav) to Van Halen, from Camila to Mana, song after song, hour after hour, my jaw just keeps dropping.

Unfortunately, poor recordings sound, worse than before. Because the mains aren’t burdened with dealing with the deep bass notes, they’re doing a better job of reproducing everything from the mid bass on up. There’s so much detail top to bottom, there is simply nothing a recording can hide. The good sound great, the great sound awesome, the bad: BAD!

The Ultra’s DO NOT exaggerate the low end. On a couple of occasions, listening with my wife, she asked “are they on?” Yes, they’re on all the time, I said. “Wow, sometimes they’re so impactful and sometimes it doesn’t sound like they’re on at all”. It depends on how much low bass is in a recording, that’s how it should be. The 13’s will not add or bloat a recording.

What a relief! I was so concerned that these big subs (that have somewhat of a home-theater-only image) might muddy up a system I was already very happy with. Especially after reading so much stuff online that “ported subs aren’t good for music”, “they’re slow”– “if you want accurate, sealed subs are the only way to go” etc.

But, wait a minute, Wilson Audio’s subwoofer Thor’s Hammer ($20,000+, gulp) is ported just like all their speakers. My main speakers are ported. How could “ported” be so compromised, “slow”, “muddy”, etc., when so many high-end designs are ported?

I can only assume that many people (and online posters) haven’t heard a really great ported sub integrated properly in a system. And, lets face it, most of the subs available today are small, sealed boxes. I'm lucky to have a significant other that is OK with me having a dedicated area to enjoy my love of music.

Unless you have the space, a HUGE ported sub (or subs) simply will not work sonically and much less aesthetically. Since many dealer showrooms don’t have the real estate needed to accommodate a pair of subs the size of these SVS beasts, many people will never be able to truly HEAR and FEEL what a system like this can do. THAT SUCKS!

If you have the room, you owe it to yourself to not look over the PB13 for your music set up. If you don't have the room I would strongly recommend the PC13 (which I understand is the sonic equal of the PB13) before you commit to a smaller / sealed design.

The addition of the SVS PB13-Ultra subwoofer’s to my system have added the depth, power, slam, and the realism I desired.
I am enjoying music more than I ever (EVER) had! I simply couldn’t be happier! What I had was great. Now, it’s just magical. Way to go SVS team, the PB13-Ultras KICKS !

My system: Bowers and Wilkins 802D2, Parasound Halo amplification, VPI turntable / Dynavector cartridge, a Rotel tuner, Benchmark DAC1, Denon DVD5910, and Marantz network streamer.
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post #2 of 14 Old 11-26-13, 10:53 AM
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Re: PB13 Ultra's for my Music Only System

Congratulations on your new subs!
2 PB13Us for music only is quite the system. I agree they are amazing with music just as they are for movies.

Home theater:
Onkyo 805, Yamaha YDP2006EQ, Samson Servo 600 amp
3 EV Sentry 500 monitors across the front, 4 Mission 762i's Surrounds, SVS PB13U sub, Panasonic BDT220, Harmony 1100, Nintendo WiiU
Panasonic PT-AE8000 on a 120" 2,35:1 fixed screen

Living room system:
Sherwood/Newcastle R972, Mission 765's, SVS SBS02's, A/D/S MS3u sub, Yamaha YDG2030EQ
Yamaha KX-393 Tape deck, CDC 805 CD changer, Panasonic BD60, Sony turntable PS-T20
Panasonic TC-P50ST60, HD-PVR & WDTV Live, Harmony 900

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post #3 of 14 Old 11-26-13, 11:23 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: NY, NY
Posts: 14
Re: PB13 Ultra's for my Music Only System

This post makes it "5" - so I can post pics!! YES!!

See below
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post #4 of 14 Old 11-26-13, 11:24 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: NY, NY
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Re: PB13 Ultra's for my Music Only System

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post #5 of 14 Old 11-26-13, 03:50 PM
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Re: PB13 Ultra's for my Music Only System

Congrats on the PB13 U's. I also have dual PB13 U's and they are amazing. They are large but I cannot imagine trading them for smaller subs. I use them for movies 60% music 40%.
You made a wise choice.

Mains Goldenear Triton One's
Center Channel- Goldenear Super Centre XL
Surrounds- Goldenear SuperSat 50's
Amps - Bryston 4Bsst2/Emotiva XPA-5
Processor -Onkyo PR-SC5508
Projector - Sony VPL-HW55ES
Screen- Elunevision 140 inch 4K Audio Weave. Aspect ratio 2.35 gain 1.2 fixed screen
Bluray/Universal player-OPPO 105D
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post #6 of 14 Old 11-26-13, 03:58 PM
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Illinois
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What a beautiful setup! I almost drooled on my keyboard looking at those pics...those baby's are on my list of future upgrades. Thanks for the great review and enjoy!
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post #7 of 14 Old 11-26-13, 07:25 PM
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Pioferro, congratulations!
As a proud owner of 1 SB13-Ultra I can only imagine what 2 PB13-Ulrta's would sound like and now want a 2nd ASAP. Your excellent review mirrors my experience, the quality of sound went through the roof after getting my SVS subwoofer.

Thank you for sharing!
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post #8 of 14 Old 11-26-13, 09:59 PM
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Wow. You have an amazing set up. Mine is not an ultra but I love my SVS sub.
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post #9 of 14 Old 12-13-13, 02:54 AM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Denmark
Posts: 39
Re: PB13 Ultra's for my Music Only System

Hi !

Just curious - did you apply any PEQ or room compensation filter on the subwoofers ? I also got the pb-13 ultra (old one with bash amp) and I've tried all 4 modes (4 at that time) - 10 hz is just too weak for my taste and sealed sounds tight - but explosions in movies seem to miss something. My problem is always the room gain at 25 hz and here the 15 hz option tames that a bit. Never did use the room comp. filter - always only audyssey.

How large are your room - 2 pb 13's - wow ?!

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post #10 of 14 Old 12-13-13, 06:37 AM
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Re: PB13 Ultra's for my Music Only System

Congratulations on the nice system, and it's amazing how well those ultras match with the plants as well!!! Definitely SoFL fauna there. I also have the Ultra and it truly does rock.
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