SVS PB1-ISD Subwoofer
SVS PB1-ISD Impressions
It was clear from day one that the 150-watt 8-inch Onkyo subwoofer was no match for the Athena AS-F2's. Though a good match for the Onkyo speaker package, the Onkyo subwoofer just wasn't enough for the already deep extension of the Athena's. So after a few emails to Ron and Tom at SVS, I ordered a PB1-ISD box sub. It arrived last night (in my case UPS must have handled the box gently...it was in great shape), and I quickly hooked it up and ran the auto-calibration on my receiver. Within minutes I was again using Blackhawk Down to see what I've been missing.
Even though I liked the little Onkyo sub, it's obvious it just doesn't have the extension needed for low bass. I thought I was hearing the thrum of the helicopters in Scene 4 (Irene), but boy was I wrong. There is a lot of low stuff I was missing, things the Onkyo just didn't go low enough to capture. The SVS really puts you inside the chopper, feeling all the vibrations of the machine. My wife was upstairs in the shower, and wasn't as happy as I was when she reported that the walls of the upstairs bathroom were vibrating.
Even though my initial impressions are very positive, I'm unable to give any further information at this time. Unfortunately the new SVS has quit working. Running through some of the tests on the AVIA disk this morning, the sub just died at some point. I have emailed Tom and Ron at SVS, and currently I'm waiting for a reply. I've heard nothing but good about their customer service, so I'm optimistic about resolving the problem quickly. I'm not too bright, so hopefully it's just something minor that I'm missing.
I replaced the SVS fuse twice, but it seems to blow again immediately. Ron (of SVS) has emailed me and is working with tech support to solve the problem, which could be the amp or woofer.
April 29, 2004 - SVS has shipped a new amp which should arrive on Monday, May 3.
May 4, 2004 - I received the new amp on Monday as scheduled. SVS included instructions and a bit to turn the square headed screws that hold the amp in place. The procedure was simple, and the only thing that slowed me down was trying to get my hands in the enclosure and behind the driver to connect the wires from the new amp.
After recalibrating, I brought out Saving Private Ryan (DD version) and started with the D-Day landing scene. As noted in the Blackhawk Down test, there is a lot of low LFE that I had never heard before...an almost steady low rumble that lasts throughout most of the opening battle sequence.
Next up was Finding Nemo. I just recently purchased this DVD, and have never watched it the whole way through. I have however, tried out the 'Darla tapping on glass' scene with the old Onkyo sub. I was far less than impressed. The Onkyo just didn't make much of a statement with the scene. It was one of the few scenes that I found where the Onkyo was noticeably stumped. I'm finding there are plenty of scenes in which I never heard things that were lower than the Onkyo could reach, but this particular scene was one in which I could tell the Onkyo was stumbling and falling short. With the SVS, it's just plain awesome. Everything shakes. I was finally able to hear/feel this infamous bass demo scene I've read so much about. Fun! I ran through some scenes from other DVDs I own...Matrix, U-571, and FOTR. The Bridge fight sequence in FOTR was quite impressive.
Overall I have to say I'm very happy with the PB1-ISD. It's nice to have a sub that can keep up with the new Athena system, and rumble the walls (and ceiling) when called upon to do so. Is it a sub that will satisfy me for life? I don't think so. I've given SVS $600 (plus shipping), and they've given me a taste of what a real subwoofer can do, and an interest in what more a subwoofer can do. I'm happy....for now. In the meantime, I'm starting to save for something in the PB2 family.
June 3, 2004 - The SVS PB1-ISD is down and out for the count. After a month of service it died again...exact same problem as before. SVS again was quick to respond to my report of the failure, and has offered to replace the sub with a new unit, but I have decided to return it for a full refund (SVS has also offered to refund the shipping cost so that I am out nothing but time...and a subwoofer).
July 12, 2004 - Having researched subwoofers for a replacement of the PB1-ISD, I have found that SVS is still the best bang for my buck. I ordered a PB2-ISD and have been very pleased with this monster. It's huge, powerful, and has been trouble-free for the first month of use.
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