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So long Polk.. Hello SVS!!

8894 Views 12 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  ack_bak
Long story...

Shortly after getting out of the Army back in the late 90's I picked up my first set of HT speakers at Circuit City. It was the rt600i tower fronts along with a PSW250 sub and a csi30 center. I think I paid about $1100 for all of it in early 2000. Well, since then I have updated my receiver twice (I now have an Onkyo 605), added RBH-815 in-ceiling surrounds, and upgraded the subwoofer last year to an Elemental Designs A2-300. After about 7 moves over the last 9 years it was time to retire the Polk's :) Nothing against them, but over the years I have become more wise with regards to audio (hence the RBH and eD components) and my income has risen as well.

So I began the quest in search of the ultimate left, right, and center speakers for my home theater area (these speakers are going to be used about 95% of the time for home theater usage for TV and Blu-Ray movies on a 100" screen powered by a 1080p Mitsubishi projector). Having done some extensive research on subwoofers a little over a year ago I was thinking internet direct for sure. That said, I did take a few trips to local audio stores to listen to the following speakers:

- PSB (I liked them, I thought the 25's were solid speakers)
- Klipsh (listened to the 51's and 61's and have come to the conclusion that these horn speakers are not for me, way to harsh and fatiguing)
- Definitive Technology (1000's good speakers, liked them over the Klipsch and were a close second to the PSB's)
- NHT (classics 3's. I really liked them but they are a little pricey for me based on what you are getting).

As far as ID companies go I was considering the Ascend 340's, the HSU B1-MKII's, the Emotiva ERM 1's, Axiom M22's, av123, and of course, SVS bookshelf speakers.

Since these speakers will eventually be going behind an acoustically transparent screen sometime in the next 3 months or so, I was a little leery of getting a rear ported speaker since these speakers could end up pretty close to a wall (within 6-8 inches I suspect depending on their depth). That ruled out the Ascends, and HSU's (plus those HSU's have those pesky horn tweeters). At play were the Emotiva's, Axioms (M22), av123, and the SVS speakers. Well, I got scared reading about all the recent issues with av123. So I decided not to go that route. The Axiom speakers that I wanted (M22 w the vp150 center), cost more than I wanted to spend. So I considered the M3 with the xp100 center and left it on the list. I was intrigued by the Emotiva speakers. I felt they offered a number of nice features such as additional tweeter controls and boundary compensation. However, these speakers are rated at 4ohm nominal speakers and my Onkyo 605 is rated for 6 and 8ohm speakers. From various online accounts, the 605 probably would have driven the ERM1's with no major issue, but I did not want to tempt fate so dropped it from the list.

The SVS speakers (SCS-01's) have always intrigued me. Sealed. Perfect size (not too big, not too small). Very good reviews. And I love the SVS subs that I have been able to listen to. Couple that with an excellent track record for being a stand up company and offering excellent customer service and SVS seemed like the logical choice. Oh yeah, and did I mention the price was right :) With two young kids, a basement that is 50% finished and is in the middle of being 100% finished, and a large yard to finish landscaping, and I just could not justify spending more than $600 for 3 speakers at this time. The SVS SCS-01's get rave reviews for being excellent HT speakers, and that is what I will be using them for almost exclusively.

So I cannot wait until Monday (the day they are scheduled to arrive at my doorstep). Luckily I will be working from home that day (although "working" will be a real challenge if the speakers arrive in the AM) :)

I do hope these speakers play well with my RBH 815 in-ceiling surrounds and eD A2-300 sub. I suspect that they will.

I want to thank all the reviews and posts on this forum (trust me, I read them all thoroughly) and I have to say that I was very impressed with the SVS folks who post in this subforum. Standup guys. That means a lot to someone who is buying speakers over the Internet and is relying on word of mouth and second hand reviews.

So I promise to post back after the speakers arrive (if not before) and share my thoughts.

Now, the real question.. Which BD to audition these bad boys with? Master and Commander? POTC? The Police Certifiable concert? Kung Fu Panda? Etc?

Can't wait!!

Sorry for the long post.
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A good BluRay movie to watch is Prince Caspian (personally one of the best for video and audio).
Several others are War of the worlds, Bolt, and the latest Batman begins.
Hi Tim, great post. I love my SVSound 5.1 system. Have fun. Dennis
Picked up a new Radio Shack digital SPL meter today (the old SPL meter stopped working recently)..

Ughhh. Monday cannot get here soon enough :) At least I had the NFL draft today to keep me busy.

Thanks drdoan, I really have enjoyed reading your impressions on your SVS speakers. Trust me, I searched every thread that mentioned the SVS speakers on this forum and others. If their speakers are anything like their subs, I will be more than happy for what I paid.
A good BluRay movie to watch is Prince Caspian (personally one of the best for video and audio).
Several others are War of the worlds, Bolt, and the latest Batman begins.
I will keep that in mind. I have not watched Caspian on Blu yet (and I own it) and also own Bolt, Batman Begins, and TDK on Blu-Ray.

Iron Man could also be a winner..

Too many choices..
The movie the Wrestler would be nice as well. I watched it on blu ray just recently and looked and sounded great.

My speakers arrived yesterday morning. The boxes were small and easy to manage and were packed very well (kudos to SVS for not skimping on packaging). Here are my thoughts:
- It was torture, and I mean torture, working from home and making myself wait until the work day was over to unbox them and set them up :)

- Wow. These speakers (SCS-01's) are much smaller and lighter than my old Polk towers and center. I am not having buyers remorse at this point, but I am wondering if the SVS speakers will be much of an upgrade over the old Polkies...

- The speakers appear to be well made and look good. Wife came down as I was unboxing them and they passed the WAF test!

- I really like the tilt-base for the center speaker. I have a 100" screen and a projector so the center has to sit below the screen. My old Polk center was placed lower than I would have liked, but the SCS center with the tilt base really helps :) Nice touch SVS (and I like that it is optional).

- I had some old metal stands and the SVS speakers fit pefectly on them. The stands are nice and modern looking and I never used them (they came with a nice TV stand that I used to use with my 56" Samsung DLP before I sold it and got a PJ).

- Got everything hooked up and ready to go around 5:30pm but had to eat dinner, run some errands, and then get the kids to bed and help pickup the house (a 3 and a 1 year old can make some big messes) :)

- Around 8:30 I calibrated the speakers using my Radio Shack SPL meter and the internal test tones on my Onkyo 605 receiver. So far so good :)

- I remembered the Avia II disc that SVS sent for free with the speakers and decided to calibrate off their internal sounds as well using the SPL meter. Interestingly enough, I found some minor differences between Avia and the Onkyo test tones. I went with Avia. Everything was close, but four out of the five speakers were off just a decibel or two. Again, nice touch including this disc SVS. Kudos.

- I really debated with crossover settings. With my Polk speakers things seemed to sound good at 100hz all around vs 80hz. I went with 80hz this time all around.

- I did bump up my subwoofer a few decibels above the reference point (75db) that I used for the rest of my speakers. Settled on 78(db's) on the SPL.

- Time for the show! Anticipation was killing me.....

- Decided on Ratatouille on Blu-Ray as I have spent a lot of time with this disc and am very familiar with how it sounded with the Polk speakers.

- Skipped straight to scene 4 (Caught!). Wow! And to think that I was worried that the SVS speakers would not be an improvement over my Polk speakers.... The difference was immediate and apparent as soon as the scene started. First of all, the sound was much cleaner than with the Polks. The dialogue was definitely more audible through the center channel and the overall sound seemed very natural and uncolored to me. I felt the highs were perfect along with the imaging. The Polks were definitely lacking compared to SVS in terms of both imaging and highs, but what I love about the SVS speakers is that it is not forced upon you like I have noticed with Klipsch speakers that I have demoed. I keep coming back to the word natural to describe these speakers, along with balanced. Very impressed. The soundstage was definitely broad enough for my space and seemed slightly broader than the old Polk speakers.

- It was amazing how clear these speakers are. There was a lot going on during this scene in the movie. You have the sound of rain falling. You have shotgun blasts. You have water running. You have the clang of metal on metal. Windows breaking. Thunder. And mixed in all of the above you have dialogue. The SCS-01's did not hesitate once or let me down. Everything came through clear and balanced. Nothing felt overpowering to me at all. Wow. I had every intention of trying out other material but I ended up watching the movie for another 20 minutes just taking everything in :) My wife came down and wanted to hear them as well so I fired back up the "Caught" scene and she was very impressed as well (my wife is no audiophile). She told me that they definitely sounded better than the old speakers as well and that she was happy that they were smaller :)

I don't know what else to say except that I am kicking myself for not getting these speakers sooner. Now I feel that I have to go back and watch many of my movies again because of the apparent improvement in sound quality. My wife insisted that we watch both "24" and "Chuck" last night (twist my arm) so I was not able to demo any other movies, but plan on watching another movie tonight.

Overall, I really do not have any complaints. I was worried that the speakers would not play as nice with my RBH 815 in-ceiling speakers, but they really sound great together. I also felt that the eD A2-300 sounded wonderful with these speakers. I truly have no regrets. SVS was great to work with on the phone and I love the fact that they did not cut any corners on these speakers. The look good. They sound great. They were well packaged and the inclusion of the tilt base and the Avia II disc are major pluses. And the price. You cannot beat it. I was listening to speakers that cost almost twice as much as the SVS speakers did and, to me, they sound every bit as good. I really do not see how you can go wrong.

I will post some more pics later and will provide more feedback as I get some more time in with the speakers.
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Glad to hear your happy with them. Thanks for the review Tim. :T
Glad to hear your happy with them. Thanks for the review Tim. :T
Thanks! Sorry for rambling, but I really wanted to capture all my thoughts while they were still fresh. Since having kids, I have noticed that my long term memory isn't what it used to be :)
LOL. I fully understand. I have 5 girls aged 2-15 so you can well imagine I am sure.
I agree with your review. I can't get over how neutral these speakers are. Have fun. Dennis
Very nice review! Thanks for taking the time to write it. Your "ramblings" were entertaining, it's nice to know a little about the person behind the ears.

Thanks Doug. I am loving the speakers. I do think I am going to set the crossover to 90hz or 100hz vs the 80hz where I have it set now. For movies the bass is just fine, but for most TV shows, it seems a little lacking as to where it was before.

I did watch "Groundhog Day" on Blu-Ray last night. I wanted to watch an older dialogue driven movie. These are the types of movies that the Polk center speaker just struggled with. There is a very noticeable improvement with using the SCS-01 center for dialogue. I think the tilt base may be a factor as well.

I also sampled a little music as well and am very happy with listening to music on the SVS speakers. They seem to just do everything right :)

I am hoping to get some pics soon, but I want to paint my metal stands black (they are silver now) and hope to get some time today.
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