I have been a home audio enthusiast for over 30 years. My first “good” system (a very long time ago) was made up of a modified Marantz 240 power amp, a Marantz 7C tube pre-amp, a set of AR-11 speakers and an AR turntable with moving coil cartridge. Over the years I have gone through some different gear and currently use a set of Magnepan MMG planar speakers powered by a Denon 2000IVR integrated amp. Having come from a set of larger Magnepan MG-1.4 speakers (powered by NAD components), I realized that the smaller MMGs were going to require some help in the low frequencies. After much research and consideration, I ordered a 20-39PC-Plus direct from SVS. This is the first time I have used a subwoofer in all of my years of enjoying home audio. Please note that I am strictly a “2-channel” audiophile and am not (at least yet) into HT, so the following is from a strictly “music perspective.”
Along with the new set of MMG speakers and Denon amp, I was also moving the system into a new and larger room in our home. A wall between a former dining room and living room was removed, creating a single larger room that measures 14 feet in width and 27 feet in length with wall-to-wall carpeting. The Magnepans are positioned on one of the 14 foot walls, placed 6 feet out into the room. The listening position is approximately 12 feet in front of the speakers. The SVS sub is placed to the left and slightly behind the listening position (strictly to accommodate the WAF) along one of the 27 foot walls, next to a projection TV and equipment cabinet.
Using a CD with pink noise tones at various frequencies and a radio Shack db meter, I set the gain and crossover controls on the SVS sub to extend bass response below the 60 Hz roll-off point of the Magnepans at a flat level down to under 20 Hz. I was impressed with how flat the SVS response curve is, and how clean and effortless the bass sounds. I am feeding the Magnepans full signal direct from the amp, and simply adjusted the SVS crossover at about 55 Hz to blend with their natural roll-off point. I succeeded in creating a pretty flat response curve with only a slight bump in output between 60 and 70 Hz where the SVS sub overlaps with the Magnepan MMGs.
I will admit that I have never owned or home-auditioned another subwoofer, so I have nothing to compare the SVS 20-39PC-Plus directly to. The only comparisons I can make are to the other speaker systems I have owned in the past. In this regard, the $550 Magnepan MMG speakers in combination with the $825 SVS sub – for a total of $1375 – absolutely blows away anything I have ever owned, or anything I have heard first-hand elsewhere. Favorable room dimensions and acoustics, time spend setting up/integrating the sub with the mains, and time spent optimizing speaker placement has resulted in sound that simply brings tears of joy to my eyes every time I listen.
The previous reviewer mentioned the SVS sub overwhelming his mains at times. I too have noticed this, but only with certain CDs, or certain tracks. The addition of the SVS sub has made me realize how much I have been missing, and how differently CDs are mixed. For example, on the Bruce Hornsby “scenes from the southside” CD, the SVS sub provides bass that is tight, articulate and seamlessly blends with the MMGs. On the Larry Carlton “on solid ground” CD, the bass is noticeably stronger, but still tight and well defined. However on certain other CDs, where less attention was paid to bass response at the time of production, bass can become somewhat overbearing and lack definition. I have come to the conclusion that this has nothing to do with the subwoofer, rather how much variation there can be in the level and quality of bass recorded on CDs. I believe many CDs are mixed “bass heavy” to offset the typical home speaker’s lack of deep bass response. With a 20-39PC-Plus in a system, no such deep-bass deficiency exists.
The addition of this quality subwoofer to my system has greatly enhanced my enjoyment of it and offers plenty incentive to break out all of those CDs I have not listened to in a long time. I have found this to be a real eye-opening experience, and has certainly increased my appreciation of well-mastered CDs. As with any system, time spent integrating and fine-tuning can make a huge difference. Due to the output and tonal reproduction capabilities of this subwoofer, it’s not really “plug and play” if you are looking for optimal musical reproduction. But SVS provides plenty of adjustment capability and control, and with a db meter and a system integration CD, the time and effort taken to properly set it up will pay off big time for discriminating music listeners.
All things considered, I consider the SVS 20-39PC-Plus subwoofer one of the best home audio system investments I have ever made. I gave it a rating of 5 in value, and 4 overall because its WAF (wife acceptance factor) is not as good as a smaller box sub with a beautiful cherry wood finish. If WAF is not a concern, then overall it's a 5.
After reading some reviews on here and AVS forums I decided to give this sub a try. This thing is INSANE. I turned up the volume about 1/2 way and played some 15-80 Hz test tracks. Needless to say, I have never heard anything like it in my life.
This sub preforms both musically and for movies. I really don't think it can be beat for the price.
Also, I talked to Ron from SVS about integrating it into my stereo system, and he was extremely helpful.
Unless you are trying to power a full movie theater, this sub is more than enough.
I am so pleased with this product I had to write a review. I built what I thought was an OK sub using NHT 12" and a 200 watt amp from a mailorder catalog and some MDF. Was I wrong! I built a midbass boombox at best. I read all the reviews here and bought a 20-39 PC+. OH MY!!! The bass from this thing is really something.
I did a demo for a friend of mine who works for the "horn tweeter people" He is a sales rep and his jaw droppped open. He thought I installed those transducers under my sofa, no joke. Even with a tremendous discount, his 15" could not beat mine.
I have become a bass freak. I have been into hi-end audio for many years, even worked partime for a speaker company and have never felt bass like this.
My room is about 400 sq ft and this thing fills it no problem. For me there is only one choice in subwoofers, SVS!
I had used a NHT 8" subwoofer for nearly ten years, during that time it blended nicely with my mains (Polks at first and then a set of wonderful Duntech's), it sounded very clean, tight and musical, I liked it. As I began using it in HT, it was okay, but easily overdriven and thus boomy. I wasn't to concerned, it seemed sufficient, I listened to music mostly, HT wasn't a big factor.
My oldest son moved home for several months beginning last year, he purchased an Aperion 10" subwoofer. I was astonished at the depth of bass it provided with music and was knocked out by the first movie I heard with it. Upon investigation I discovered my old NHT only went down to 35Hz, my mains went down just below 40Hz. To my wife's chagrin, I had to have a new subwoofer myself!
I began to research subs on the net and kept coming across SVS and Hsu over and over. After much deliberation I settled on the 20-39 PC+.
As nice a sub as the Aperion is the PC+ blows it out of the water. It is clean and tight with music and blends perfectly with my Duntech mains, though I worried about its affect on music, I couldn't be happier with it's musical performance. Superb, really.
And movies are a wholy different matter, there is no boom or rumble (unless that's what's recorded), it is clean and powerful with an unbelievable presence. I finally understand what others mean when they say a subwoofer pressurizes a room. I had no idea the power and excitement a great subwoofer adds to the HT experience.
In the past year I have upgraded my system with a new Yamaha 2500 receiver, a Denon 2910 player, an Aperion center channel speaker and a Mitsubishi 52" DLP television. Without question the SVS has easily had the biggest impact on my listening and viewing enjoyment (okay, strictly speaking, the TV for viewing, I mean really...HDTV--Wow! But a great sub like the PC+ plus adds a visceral excitement to viewing a movie that nothing else offers).
If you're considering a subwoofer, have no concerns about ordering an SVS, you will be thrilled!
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