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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
This “review” is more of an informal gathering of impressions, as opposed to a proper, technical review of the sub’s capabilities. The PC13U pair is replacing dual PC 20-39 PC+ cylinders, which in turn replaced a single 16-46 PCi cylinder (my first real sub.) I am actually among the few that prefer the cylinder form factor to the box, speaking both aesthetically and practically. While the vast majority of reviews comparing the PB13U to the PC13U do acknowledge a slight advantage to the box due to it's greater internal volume, under normal conditions (ie. not pushed beyond linear limits) the performance is virtually identical, and most certainly subject to the laws of diminishing returns at this performance level. So, without further adieu…

To start with, my dual Ultra cylinders are not collocated, which I found gives the smoothest response over the entire viewing area (the room is rectangular, about 3200^3 ft, with a small hallway leading off to the side behind the seating.) While the main purpose in the upgrade was to increase headroom, I also expected cleaner bass, given the upgrade from the PC+ driver (v12.3) to the 13” Ultra. I mostly watch movies (95%), with the occasional CD/Vinyl thrown in for good measure. Finally, while the 20-39’s (20Hz tune) were dialed in via a BFD, the Ultra’s (16Hz tune) were integrated using Audyssey MultEQ.

The first film I threw in after set up is “War of the Worlds” on DVD (not the Blu-ray… from what I understand, the LFE is dialed back somewhat on the BD). The DTS track on this one is responsible for putting a crack in the drywall two floors up in my house, and that was with the PC+ cylinders. The Ultras did not even break a sweat during the “emergence” scene, even though the entire room was completely pressurized. In addition to the effortless SPL (albeit slightly less potent than expected due to the lower tuning point), the bass was also extremely refined and detailed, with nary a hint of distortion or “boominess” that I could detect (I make no claims to “golden ears”.) Not surprisingly, the PC13U more than holds it’s own against any other sub I have ever heard, and by a fair margin.

Next was the film that brought my first sub (16-46 PCi) to its knees: “The Exorcism of Emily Rose.” Specifically, the dream sequence when Emily chooses to return to her life has a low LFE sweep (15-16 Hz, I think) that pushed the PCi over the edge (the poor thing was alone, trying to pressurize a 3200 ft^3 room, resulting in massive port and grille noise). The PCi was then replaced with dual 20-39PC+ cylinders, but these were run in the 20hz tune due to headroom concerns. As a result, the LFE sweep has been AWOL since, so I was paying particular attention. The sweep in question (as well as many other similar instances throughout he film) was tight, and well defined (with no port or grille noise I could discern). It was not as pronounced and hard hitting as I remember it being on the 16-46, but again that was likely the PCi’s way of crying “uncle.”

Lastly, what would any subwoofer evaluation be without a few Pixar films in the mix? I started with the “Boo Laughs” sequence from “Monsters, Inc” (BD). This one literally scared me the first time I heard it, and highlighted my need to secure some shelf contents. The Ultras again simply smiled at my efforts, as if to say “is that the best you can do (Draco/Sean Connery-esque)?” Next up was the “Sock Explosion”, which literally hit me in the chest, all the while being clean and well defined. To wrap up my evaluations, I threw in “Finding Nemo” (DVD). Of course, the sequence was the “Darla Taps the Tank” bit. I have watched this a million times before with the PC+ cylinders, and I thought that was impressive. The Ultras brought a lot more nuance to the table, without sacrificing any of the impact (literally), and never sounding “boomy.” All of this without breaking a leisurely stride, to boot.

Finally, a plug for the company itself. I have always held to the view that customer service, and integrity is just as, if not more important than, the product itself. For all of my dealings with them (16-46 PCi, 20-39 PC+, and now the PC13 Ultras), SVS has consistently bent over backwards to make sure I was satisfied (even beyond the point where I would consider myself a pest). Most times, my emails were answered in the same day, even on the weekends. Particular mention goes to Jack Gilvey, Ed Mullen, and Ron Stimpson, all of whom have been great. Thanks, guys!

In the end, I am extremely pleased with the performance of the PC13U, and am looking forward to enjoying them for years to come. If (…WHEN… who do I think I am kidding??) I upgrade again, it will be to supplement (not replace) these, probably with the PB variant, so that I can have some end tables ;). I’m sure that the speakers from SVS are awesome as well, but to me they will always be “The Bass Authority.”
 

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I was contemplating moving my HT amps, player, EQ, and pre/pro after ordering my PC13 Ultra, but after reading your review, it looks like I am sure that I need to do this.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Hi Steven,

Congrats on your new sub! I'm sure you will not be disappointed, but keep in mind that the "shock" of going to real bass that I felt when first upgrading to the 16-46 and then the 20-39 cylinders (as opposed to the boomy, "one-note wonder" I had been using), was just as pronounced with the Ultras... it was that much of an improvement ...:)
 

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I'm happy to see another cylinder owner. Your review reminded me of my impressions when I first received my PC13 Ultra. Like you I moved from a 20-39 PC+. Stuff that would make the PC+'s ports start huffing was handled easily by the PC13. I've since moved on to a pair of JL Fathom F113's since my listening habits have moved towards more music. I gave the PC+ to a friend so he could have the experience of a real subwoofer, but I kept the Ultra for my computer room. This is one versatile sub that can be tuned for any situation and sound outstanding. The big plus is it's small footprint. I've had mine since the day they came out and it will be with me until the day it dies and I can't get parts for it. You have a great sub and in my opinion, you won't be able to find better from any manufacturer.
 

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Thanks for the review. As of last week I am a new SVS PC13 Ultra owner. The first thing that surprised me was the size of this monster. I had reviewed the demensions multiple times and held the tape measure up where I had planned on putting this thing but still having it beside you in person is different. Once I spent the better part of the day tweaking all the settings and playing multiple sources I think I finally got it dialed in. My current settings are low pass at 63hz with a -24db slope. It took a little while to get the Ultra to play nice with my Definitive BP2002's (I have the 12" subs in these wired directly to their LFE input) but once I did another layer of low end was nice to hear and feel. I have it sitting in a corner behind the sofa. Anything higher than 63hz low pass I could identify it's location. Once I hit 63hz it disapeared and left behind the slam I was looking for. Before I purchased my Ultra I communicated via email with Jack at SVS about some of my concerns / questions. His willingness to go the extra mile with my questions was a huge selling point for me. The day I got the Ultra in my house and connected I had a question about the set-up so I called the CS number. I was surprised to have Jack answer the phone and correct my problem. So far I'm very pleased with my purchase. It was more expensive than some other subs I was looking at from HSU and Rhythmic but I think the tube is just cool to look at. Besides it shakes the room like crazy. Everything else is just a big box. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Welcome aboard, awgtitan!

I am still in awe at the clarity, subtlety, and brute strength of these things. My biggest problem right now is tracking down all of the buzz and rattles around the room (I had everything pretty well secured, at least with the 20-39 PC+ cylinders these replaced, but these are so much more powerful...) Have fun!
 

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Thanks for the review. As of last week I am a new SVS PC13 Ultra owner. The first thing that surprised me was the size of this monster. I had reviewed the demensions multiple times and held the tape measure up where I had planned on putting this thing but still having it beside you in person is different. Once I spent the better part of the day tweaking all the settings and playing multiple sources I think I finally got it dialed in. My current settings are low pass at 63hz with a -24db slope. It took a little while to get the Ultra to play nice with my Definitive BP2002's (I have the 12" subs in these wired directly to their LFE input) but once I did another layer of low end was nice to hear and feel. I have it sitting in a corner behind the sofa. Anything higher than 63hz low pass I could identify it's location. Once I hit 63hz it disapeared and left behind the slam I was looking for. Before I purchased my Ultra I communicated via email with Jack at SVS about some of my concerns / questions. His willingness to go the extra mile with my questions was a huge selling point for me. The day I got the Ultra in my house and connected I had a question about the set-up so I called the CS number. I was surprised to have Jack answer the phone and correct my problem. So far I'm very pleased with my purchase. It was more expensive than some other subs I was looking at from HSU and Rhythmic but I think the tube is just cool to look at. Besides it shakes the room like crazy. Everything else is just a big box. :)
I'm so pleased you are loving the PC13-Ultra and that Jack took care of all your CS needs. If you need any additional set-up, calibration, or AVR optimization, please just give us a shout. Thanks.
 

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The PC13U pair is replacing dual PC 20-39 PC+ cylinders, which in turn replaced a single 16-46 PCi cylinder (my first real sub.)

The DTS track on this one is responsible for putting a crack in the drywall two floors up in my house, and that was with the PC+ cylinders.”
Nice review. The above really brought a smile to my face as my first "real sub" was a PC 20-39 PC+ and while I can't prove it I am pretty sure it put a nice crack in the drywall in the ceiling a floor below where the sub was. Not sure which track did it though. :D
 
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