PB13-Ultra Initial Impressions - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

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post #1 of 27 Old 08-29-07, 01:18 AM Thread Starter
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PB13-Ultra Initial Impressions

Initial Impressions of the SVS PB13-Ultra compared to the (TV-12) PC-Ultra
By Jon Liu

I haven’t had a whole lot of time to tinker with it, since I got home kind of late and have to get up early tomorrow. But here’s what I observe from what little time I’ve been able to have with this sub so far.

No point in explaining too much of the obvious, but these sub are very big. Even compared to the PC-Ultra tower it seems pretty dominating. I didn’t realize how long this sub is, either. The overall look of the sub is very clean, though. The wife really likes the color of it and it seems to come close enough to matching the Rocket’s Rosewood color. There’s slightly less red and more of almost a slight orange tinge, but from quick glance, it’s close enough that I am thoroughly satisfied. Most of the difference comes in the lack of deep red streaks that are present in the Rockets.

Calibrating this sub was easier than I’ve ever experienced. With the improved frequency response, the sub remained flatter than any other sub I’ve calibrated. In my own system, my PC-Ultra required about 5 different points of equalization, whereas the PB13-Ultra, I ended up with 2 points. Aside from actually moving the sub into place, I was able to calibrate it faster than I have with any of my previous subs. So this allowed me to get a little more time to actually test the sub tonight, instead of using a lot of time to flatten the response curve.

Starting off, I mostly played a lot of clips of familiar music passages tonight and have been impressed to no end with the differences when compared to the previous PC-Ultra. The initial difference, which is probably the most obvious with music, is the quickness of the driver itself. The notes lift even quicker more so now than they used to. The low frequencies blend into the music quite a bit better and the sub disappears even further into the soundstage than the old Ultra did. The lower range of a lot of the musical recordings definitely has more of a presence than they did before. Along with the added presence, the detail of the notes that were reproduced by the previous Ultra are now enhanced, brought out, and overall more noticeable. Hearing this sub reproduce kick drums or double kick drums in some of the rock passages was thoroughly satisfying.

The upper range of the sub was pretty amazing, too. The mid range often ended up kind of getting garbled into the music (hindsight talking), and now I notice more notes and sound. It added another dimension to that frequency spectrum that didn’t quite get reproduced correctly before. My brother also pointed out to me, while were listening to some classical music, tympanis actually sound like tympanis and drums actually sound like they should, instead of a warbling thump.

The previous PC-Ultra is a pretty musical sub, but this one certainly takes the crown in musicality. If I were to use one word to describe the sound I noticed from the sub, while listening to music, it would be “Articulation.”

I did pop in a couple scenes of movies, but I couldn’t do too much testing before my wife and baby went to bed, but I watched a couple scenes from Chicken Little and Déjà vu on Blu-ray, and THX Ultimate Demo DVD.

In Chicken Little, I skipped directly to the invasion sequence where I was greeted with a very surprising “crunch” from the cracking sky sequence. I remember a pretty decent thud at that very point before, but the “crunch” definitely had my brother and me both saying, “Whoa.” Continuing on in that invasion, there was a lot more impact in a lot of the low frequencies that were previously thump or thuds. There also seemed to be a lot more sound pressure, but never overbearing sound pressure. Just overall harder hits from the sub than I recalled from the TV-12 Ultra.

Next I went onto Déjà vu. I really like the opening sequence from the start of the film through the initial ferry explosion. This sequence has a good musical score that has a lot of very low notes incorporated as well as a very cool explosion. First off, the musical portion of this sequence can often times be overwhelming with lesser subs that I’ve heard. The TV-12 did a pretty good job, but comparing it now to the PB13-Ultra, it just doesn’t quite cut it. There are a couple of beats that go really low and just sound really smooth on the Ultra 13. The low end got filled and filled even more than I expected, but never felt like too much. The explosion of the ferry, from what I recall pressurized the room pretty good with the TV-12, but with the Ultra 13, the explosion seemed to expand and go right through me, while having some surprising jolts. It almost seemed as though the fire from the explosion came to life and as it expanded and lifted, the sound from the sub expanded and lifted up to match.

Lastly, I popped in the THX Ultimate Demo DVD and listened to most everything on there. Starting with the Starwars Episode I Podrace in DTS. I really love how much detail there is in the engines of this sequence. The growl and roar of some of the racers going by really came to life. With the TV-12 I remember some of the sound being there and there definitely was a growl, but with the PB13-U, the growl became more articulate and meaner. This sequence definitely did pressurize the room a lot more than I remember, especially during the tunnel explosion sequence. I listened to all the different types of music passages on the DVD and in general the sound from the PB13-U sounded more natural than any sub I’ve previously listen to. There’s a swing number that starts out with the drums, when I listened to that with the TV-12 Driver, there was a lot more remaining resonance after the drum was hit somewhat muffling it a bit. The Ultra 13 still had the impact, but let off the drum a lot faster. The drum in the Blues number definitely had a bigger hit and kick feel to it. The THX intros, and especially the Calvacade intro definitely had a real big impact and snap to them. When the ball exloded on the Calvacade intro, it actually sounded more like a quick burst of pressure, rather than just a release and thud.

Overall, with even my little bit of time so far, the sub certainly sounds quite a bit better than even that of my old PC-Ultra, while enhancing the slam and impact even further. I definitely am happy with the musical aspect of this sub. Being able to reproduce a lot of the deeper instruments without coloring the sound truly impressed me. I certainly think it’s worth the upgrade if one can swing the money for the upgrade.
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post #2 of 27 Old 08-29-07, 01:18 AM Thread Starter
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post #3 of 27 Old 08-29-07, 02:23 AM
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Re: PB13-Ultra Initial Impressions

Thanks for the review Jon... excellent job...

Beautiful sub!
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post #4 of 27 Old 08-29-07, 09:08 AM
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Re: PB13-Ultra Initial Impressions

Jon,

Thanks to you and others too already reporting in on their PB13-Ultra and the new PC-Ultra's. We always marvel (and are more than a bit humbled) by the time and dedication our products engender with enthusiasts or even first time audio buyers.

If anyone can understand how busy life and work can get, we do. Every one of our Ohio shop crew, and our staff strewn about the country appreciate the kind words and observations you stopped to put down, and pics on top of it. With a family to boot? That we feel blessed to have such customers should be obvious, but I wanted to call out ones popping up like yours on HTShack among other places first.

Fact is customers like yourself, Weez, Warshaw, etc all have extensive experience with previous generations of SVS subs or speakers, so in many respects your opinions hold more weight than anything we might have dreamed up before or after launch.

So, thanks again. Reports like this make two years of effort all the more worthwhile. We made a lot of promises about the new Ultra products, but ultimately it's only when tough and discerning customers agree we hit the mark that we can finally pass around the cigars at SVS.

More reviews, and some objective third party measurements will be coming in the weeks and months ahead, but ebb and flow of Internet postings dictate that we say for the record just how much these notes (or even critical ones) help SVS to keep its collective eye on the ball.

Ron Stimpson
Co-Founder, SVS
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post #5 of 27 Old 08-29-07, 01:46 PM
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Re: PB13-Ultra Initial Impressions

That was a nice note by Ron S on his behalf and that of the SVS employees. Knowing that the end product result for the customer means more to them than just the monetary gain and that they seek out feedback that will go into future product performance and asthetics bodes well. It's that type of customer service and appreciation that makes being an SVS customer so much more satisfying apart from having a great performing and looking product. I can't provide a very articulate note regarding the performance of my SVS PC13 because this is my first real sub. I can tell you that I would never have thought I'd spend that amount of money on a sub but I did rather easily and with no buyer's remorse other than wishing I could afford another one. My wife even likes the look of the cylinder; she commented that she likes the sound it makes during auto turn on. On movie watching the lfe arises from seemingly nowhere and is very clean sounding. It definitely improves the home movie watching experience to get one in the movie. I've only tried it with all ports open but I may soon try it with one port plugged. One thing I'd like to know is what percentage of the sub is USA made/manufactured (another plus of SVS is buying American).

p.s. - How do I get one of those "This is a SVS sub" devil looking t-shirts. My wife wants one.

Last edited by icrnk; 08-29-07 at 03:00 PM. Reason: addition
post #6 of 27 Old 08-30-07, 12:46 AM Thread Starter
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Re: PB13-Ultra Initial Impressions

I was hoping to get one of those shirt eventually! Obviously, since I am a proud SVS owner, I'd love to wear it when I go out, instead of flaunting my SVS ownership just when people come over to my place.

Ah well, maybe I'll purchase one soon enough...
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post #7 of 27 Old 08-30-07, 01:30 AM Thread Starter
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Re: PB13-Ultra Initial Impressions

Ron, I forgot to thank you for the kind words you wrote! How silly of me.

Honestly, the promises/advice that you made to me in the past have never steered me wrong. That's why I was inclined to believe you this time around with the new 13.5" ultra, and once again, you guys at SVS only reassured me and my faith in your words. The hard work you guys must have put into making sure this driver lived up to the "Ultra" name really baffles me and, what's more, you don't forget about the little people (us) and put forth the time and effort, in your already incredibly busy schedule, to make sure that we know that we mean something to you guys. I really wish I could have gone to that SVS gathering at Robbroys' place a couple years ago to meet you, maybe I'll get a chance to do so in the near future.

I am impressed. That pretty much sums everything I have to say up. I am impressed with the staff, customer service, the products, and even the user/fan base! It takes a special company to get essentially banned at AVS!

Anyway, keep doing what you guys do!
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post #8 of 27 Old 08-30-07, 09:07 AM
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Re: PB13-Ultra Initial Impressions

Jon,

That won't be the last SVS get together I'll throw. In fact, expect to see one planned some time after the MTS line comes out. And since Ron's wife and mine get along so well, it's unlikely he'll be able to get out of going.

-Robb
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post #9 of 27 Old 08-30-07, 06:50 PM Thread Starter
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Re: PB13-Ultra Initial Impressions

That's awesome, Robb. Even though I'm here in So Cal, I'd definitely make the trip out to Chandler to hang with you guys!
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post #10 of 27 Old 08-30-07, 08:02 PM
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Re: PB13-Ultra Initial Impressions

Well, Weez made the first one, and he's from Nocal! The one last year was all AZ folks, but I'm sure the MTS line will bring in a few folks from around the West.

-Robb
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