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Yes I know that sounds like a ridiculous comparison, but it is what I currently own. Plus, I was bored to tears last night as we still don't have cable after the storm that swept through St. Louis last week took out the lines. I haven't touched my old "******" Aiwa sub since I purchased the monster SVS back in January. I decided to pull it out of the closet just to see how bad it is. To my surprise, that little guy truly is a pretty decent thumper. I was actually surprised by how well it blended with my mains and actual shook things up a bit. I watched several scenes--ch46 of Sith--Vader's heartbeat, Ch22 of Tears of the sun--the battle scene in the woods, and of course the king of them all--WOW ch 5--the machine rising. I also threw in some old bass heavy rap songs, specifically "Don't Fight the Feeling" by Too Short--it has a repeating bass line that continues throughout the entire 7+ minute song. I got out my test CD as well--City of Angels soundtrack. I ran the svs 20hz mode for movies and 25 hz for music. I didn't do anything too scientific, just got out my meter, put it in the listening position and played the material alternating the subs. I really didn't do a proper level check with test tones, but just used the material at low volumes to get them about close--plus I kept playing with the gains just to see what levels I could achieve.

To my utter surprise that little 10 incher really represented itself very well compared to the enormous by comparison, dual 12 inch driver, 6 times more powerful monster. The biggest differences were tactile. Especially on the WOW scene--BTW I forgot just how crazy that scene truly is. I leant out my copy of it to some friends a couple months ago and haven't revisited it. I have seen it on Cable, but not even close to the same thing as the DTS DVD. Watching it with the SVS truly will wear you out from the punishment it puts you through. I didn't watch the meter on this scene but really paid more attention to my body and how it was being beat up during it. THe little sub that could, as I now am calling the aiwa, still shook things up a bit, but no where near that SVS monstrocity. It actually still conveyed the message of the scene though, and I can see how most people can be satisfied with a budget sub. It made the rumbles, and belted out the bass as best it could. It rolls off rather sharply right at 28hz, so it kind of limits itself from being over driven. Really side by side with this one scene there isn't much comparison, as the SVS is simply breathtaking at extreme levels--I ran it purposely an additional 3 db's hot over my standard 3db hot listening level and had the master volume at -5 from reference on my master volume--so the bass was at or approaching reference levels in my room. In my listening position listening to normal music at normal levels there really wasn't much difference at all other than the SVS sounds fuller--its gigantic extension advantage being responsible for that. Plus my house is much more energized by the SVS--the walls in the hall shake a ton more with it, but in the listening position, it wasn't a night and day difference unitl I pushed the levels to well over 100db's. On don't fight the feeling, I could get up to about 106-108 with the Aiwa, and on the SVS i was seeing about 114-116. However, I had to physically turn the gain up on the SVS to get that much advantage. I was running it as loud as I was comfortable doing. I could get the AIwa to distort by simply cranking the gain--same thing on the svs. Overall, I left a little dissapointed in the mighty SVS, from a musical standpoint. There really wasn't a huge preference for it over the Aiwa-even at fairly decent levels. This was of course from the seating positions--once I got up and walked around the room, the difference was more pronounced in favor of the SVS. It seemed to fully energize the whole room, while the little aiwa was much more placement sensitive and would really just be loud where I needed it to be--usually only 1 or 2 seated positions--of the 10 that I have in my theater. However, there was still a huge difference with the SVS between the best seat of bass--my usual sitting position--actually I have two in the center that are about identical, and the outer seats. For movies it is still a no brainer--nothing can replace shear gut wrenching extension which the SVS has in spades. Still though I could enjoy probably 90% of movies just fine with the little Aiwa. Again the differences only showed up on crazy real deep bass heavy scenes. I did not get out my bass demo DVD with all the usual scenes--NEMO, Incredibles, BHD, U-571, Titan AE, M&C, FoF, Haunting, etc. Here again I am sure the SVS will easily. I will probably play a bit more with it tonight, if my Netflix don't show up, but they should.

Overall, I was highly impressed with the little Aiwa TS-W150 that I have been bashing for the last 6 months. It really isn't the most musical as it is a bandpass that seems to be tuned right at 33hz as it drops quickly from there until 28hz and then is completely done. However, since 99% of music lives above that, it really doesn't miss much, but I have always considered it "one-notey." I now realize more than ever that I really have to get going on setting up my SVS as it sounded everybit as one notey as the Aiwa just in a different way. It seems to be just a big rumble box with music, almost seeming to add more ultra lows to the music than is really there even in 25hz mode. I am waiting on my new drivers (12.3's) to show up and will dial it in better with the BFD once those arrive. Another issue I have is my mains are crossed at 100hz, I thought I had them at 80hz, but I don't. 100Hz is plenty low for my little 4inch mains--which is probably the next biggest problem I have getting the SVS to sound musical, I am a bit lacking in the mid bass department. The SVS just doesn't seem to sing real well in upper regions of bass (over 60hz) I really never cared too much about all this, because I only listen to music on rare occasions as my theater is about 95% movies only. For movies, especially the action flicks there is a huge difference at higher volumes, which is how I always listen, but the little guy still portrayed the bass enough get the point across and still feel deliverd a bit of shaking.

Bottom line, I discovered that moderately decent bass is rather affordable and can be had with my modest $150 (ebay), 10" (actually the specs call it a 9 7/8" driver), 150W sub. If I had never heard true sub 20hz bass before--which I had at a friends house who also owns a SVS, I probalby wouldn't know the difference and would still be fine with that little sucker. However, since I do own the PB12+/2 I do know what lies beneath in many, many movies and can now never go back.

Thanks for reading all of this and any comments are greatly appreciated.
 

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A very honest and interesting comparison.

As to getting musicality from a sub I believe relative level and the sub's position are far more important than for films. Dragging the sub well out from the usually recommended corner position works for me. Adjusting the sub for level by ear on music works better than SPL meters and pink or white noise in my experience.

Subtlety is usually best. If it sounds right, then it is right. It constantly amazes me how little sound the sub makes on most music when I mute the speakers. Sometimes you actually wonder why you bother with the expense of a sub. Then you quickly realise the moment it's gone so has a large part of the music.
 

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To:bsheldon

Your comparison seems to me like saying...: a car like a small FIAT will do the same as a MERCEDES S 600: both can make me reach my destination...

Ttue! but there is a qualitative issue in this story which should not be ignored.

You mentioned a difference of 8 db difference in SPL, which FYI nearly demands 8-9 times more amp. power (assuming same speaker sensitivity), which is a huge difference!!

Moreover, concerning the fact that SVS goes deeper, also is an excellent thing, but you can only "use it" with deep bass containing materials, which completely adds weight to someone's listening experience.
FYI, bass will be cheep down to 35-30 Hz and up to 100-105 dB, but will cost a lot more to reach 20 Hz and deeper, or 115 db and Higher.

Someone may be satisfied with 40 Hz in Music and 106 db for music, but others (like me) cannot listen to music if drum kicks do not heavily contain the 20 Hz feel....

In a nutshell, my friendly comments are, the differences you see slight are for me huge, and many people will pay hundreds, and maybe thousands of dollars to have 3-4 db more in their systems at 20 Hz.

Blaser
 

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Nearly all subs are good for 30Hz and above performance. There are some very cheap subs that do this very well and can get very loud. Your Aiwa is one example. My dad has a 10" 100 Watt MTX sub that he bought Open Box from CC for $99. He's got it in his great room(22x18x22 cathedral ceiling), which is open to the kitchen and dining room, as well as open to the basement stairs. We're talking about 15,000 cubic feet to fill. That little MTX makes subwoofer noise. It produces bass in the audible range and movies sound improved over no sub at all. He's actually quite happy with it.

However, there is just so much more that you're missing with the cheap-o subs. It's not what you do hear. Its what you don't hear that you SHOULD be hearing and feeling that makes the difference. If your sub doesn't extend to the 20Hz area, then you are missing a great deal of experience. You can selectively pick material that doesn't contain much information below 30Hz, especially with many types of music, and in those cases, it would tend to equalize the difference, but there are many many cases where there are subtle notes and harmonics that you'll miss out on, and during movies, many many LFE that you'll really miss out on. There is no substitute for extension and tactile response that a sub 20Hz subwoofer provides.
 

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Nearly all subs are good for 30Hz and above performance. There are some very cheap subs that do this very well and can get very loud. Your Aiwa is one example. My dad has a 10" 100 Watt MTX sub that he bought Open Box from CC for $99. He's got it in his great room(22x18x22 cathedral ceiling), which is open to the kitchen and dining room, as well as open to the basement stairs. We're talking about 15,000 cubic feet to fill. That little MTX makes subwoofer noise. It produces bass in the audible range and movies sound improved over no sub at all. He's actually quite happy with it.

However, there is just so much more that you're missing with the cheap-o subs. It's not what you do hear. Its what you don't hear that you SHOULD be hearing and feeling that makes the difference. If your sub doesn't extend to the 20Hz area, then you are missing a great deal of experience. You can selectively pick material that doesn't contain much information below 30Hz, especially with many types of music, and in those cases, it would tend to equalize the difference, but there are many many cases where there are subtle notes and harmonics that you'll miss out on, and during movies, many many LFE that you'll really miss out on. There is no substitute for extension and tactile response that a sub 20Hz subwoofer provides.
there's a saying that goes: "Those who don't know...don't know that they don't know"...:dontknow:

I think everyone starts out this way, with the learning curve coming faster in some and much slower in others...
 
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