Selling my subwoofer equipment. Well cared for SVS PB12-Ultra/2 Subwoofer in Piano Black. It has a beautiful reflective black finish. It has two 12 inch sub drivers. The subwoofer works great. I know this because it is powerful enough to shake my two story house. I used to smile when my wife would yell at me to turn the thing down. Unfortunately, my mother in law has moved into the bedroom next to my home theater room, and now I use it very infrequently.
The subwoofer amplifier was replaced in 2009. I also replaced the base plate. The front and sides of the subwoofer have no scratches. The top of the subwoofer does have some scratching.
Price to sell for $1200. Pickup only in Bloomington, IL. I will not ship this due to the items weight (190 pounds).
See Home Theater Sound's review below:
Thunder is an excellent example of what accurate, natural bass should sound like. As a bolt of lightning superheats the atmosphere, air rapidly expands, then explodes. When the sound of that explosion -- the thunder -- reaches you, its fundamental frequency hits you in the chest. The sound is tight, clean, and concussive. The subsequent harmonics rumble outward and trail off. Some subwoofers possess the enormous power and control needed to reproduce thunder’s proper weight and slam. All you need to do is plunk down enough cash for a used compact car. Affordable subwoofers typically lack the power and extension to reproduce thunder, much less most sound effects -- that is, until "sub-humans" Ron Stimpson and Tom Vodhanel gave it a try.
SV Subwoofers was founded in 1999 with one goal in mind: to build subwoofers that offer reference-caliber performance and high value. Headquartered in Liberty Township outside Youngstown, Ohio, SVS began designing cylindrical subs, a style made popular by Poh Ser Hsu of Hsu Research. Then, realizing that not everyone wanted a tall black tube in his or her living room, SVS went to work on more traditional box-style designs. The company now sells seven different box subs through their website. The SVS PB12-Ultra/2 ($1999 USD in textured black, $2399 with wood finish) is the model just below the company’s B12-Plus/4 flagship.
My aching back
The PB12-Ultra/2 arrived in a well-designed, densely padded container on a nifty mini-pallet. According to SVS, this "mini-pallet, lift-off packaging" was borrowed from the appliance industry -- and, at 26"H x 19"W x 29"D and 190 pounds, the PB12-Ultra/2 could easily pass for an appliance. Thanks to the intelligent packaging, I found it very easy to unpack. Getting the PB12-Ultra/2 into my living room was another story. I enlisted the help of a friend to carry it up two flights of stairs and position it next to my couch. The PB12-Ultra/2 stood 2" taller than the armrest, and was about 4" deeper than the end table it replaced.
The subwoofer’s bulk took my wife by surprise. She immediately asked how long it would be staying -- not a good sign. But my mother-in-law, partial to finely crafted furniture, mistook the PB12-Ultra/2 for a new end table and commented on the cabinet’s rich finish. SVS currently offers four different wood veneers (more are on the way) and a brand-new, less expensive, "fine-textured black" finish that SVS claims is extremely durable and resistant to fingerprints. My sample came in an attractive maple veneer with a high-gloss topcoat of satin poly.
The PB12-Ultra/2’s enclosure is made of heavily reinforced, 1"-thick MDF. SVS states that internal bracing "stiffens things up without adding too much weight," and that "creating a non-resonant and not-too-heavy design is the key to shippable subs."
The PB12-Ultra/2 employs a highly efficient 1000W BASH amplifier, which, SVS alleges, can sustain peaks of 2.4kW. Harnessing this power are two TV-12 12" drivers built by TC Sounds, a San Diego firm best known for building robust, high-quality drivers for the car audio industry, and for other high-end subwoofers costing twice the PB-2’s price. Still, SVS believes the TV-12 has the edge on technology.
Tom Vodhanel points out that, whereas most "high performance" subwoofers use only two to four layers of voice-coil winding, the TV-12 driver has ten. The massive voice coil and a 97-ounce strontium-ferrite magnet contribute to the powerful linear motor, which creates the piston action that moves the cone of Kevlar-reinforced aluminum. Dual 10" mirrored spiders, along with a 1" Santoprene surround, keep the cone’s 2" of excursion under control. According to Vodhanel, most "high performance" subwoofers get by with a single 6-8" spider suspension. "There is no other manufacturer using the technology that is in [the TV-12]. Not because it’s proprietary to SVS, but because it’s so expensive."
Preparing for bad weather
Hookup is very easy. SVS includes an 8’ power cord and a comprehensive, easy-to-understand instruction manual. The three 4" ports along the back come with two foam plugs. By adding or removing plugs and choosing the appropriate subsonic filter setting, the user can select the best combination of extension and output level. With two ports plugged, SVS claims flat frequency response down to 16Hz. Blocking one port increases the sub’s output and cuts its frequency response at 20Hz. Leave all three ports open and the sub will play flat down to 25Hz with maximum output capability. I decided on the 20Hz setting, which gave me usable extension down to 15Hz (-6dB) and pretty even frequency response.
Also included are standard controls for volume/gain, phase, and crossover-point adjustment. One nice feature not commonly found in subs is the PB12-Ultra/2’s crossover bypass switch. Where other subs require the user to choose the highest crossover setting, a bypass switch removes the crossover circuit from the signal path, thereby guaranteeing that there aren’t two crossover circuits in series. I engaged the bypass and used my Outlaw ICBM to manage the bass.
Parametric equalization (PEQ) is another rare feature incorporated in the PB12-Ultra/2. In a perfect room, the frequency response from 20Hz to 20kHz would be flat, with no one frequency dominating another: a 50Hz tone would play as loud as an 80Hz tone. But in real-world rooms, frequency-response anomalies are common. As soundwaves interact with room boundaries, certain frequencies are emphasized while others are weakened. According to SVS, users can target and remove a frequency peak by first measuring the room response, then using the parametric EQ to remove a given peak. Opinions vary on the effectiveness of PEQ. Some believe you need several bands of equalization to tame acoustic aberrations, while others feel that EQ does more to color the sound than help it.
The PB12-Ultra/2’s parametric EQ provided the only annoyance during setup. While the PB12-Ultra/2’s manual clearly explained how to use the PEQ, I found its range of adjustment inadequate for my room. I figured that no EQ was better than the wrong EQ, so I bypassed it. For rooms as problematic as mine, SVS offers outboard parametric EQ with several bands of adjustment.
The sound of thunder
My anxiety about parametric EQ disappeared ten seconds into "The Battle of Pelennor Fields" (chapter 37, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King). While other subs can aurally communicate an object’s "weight," the PB12-Ultra/2 moved enough air to give an impression of an object’s physical presence. The immense size and powerful charge of the oliphants was reproduced with authority and insane dynamics. As enormous oliphant feet moved toward Gondor, so did the floor under me.
Staggering impact was balanced with an amazing level of control and detail. The PB12-Ultra/2 was able to express distinct characters in low-frequency sounds that many subwoofers congeal into a single muddy note. As Dr. Jekyll’s heavy footsteps fall solidly on the ground (chapter 9, The League of Extraordinary Gentleman), overtones transitioned from an initial chest-thumping thud to a taut, trailing rumble.
The PB12-Ultra/2’s finesse and power demonstrated how important the lowest octave is in giving context to frequencies above it. The infamous train sequence in chapter 1 of Unbreakable is a great example of how deep, accurate bass reproduction can add to the emotional power and realism of images. As the train moved over tracks and through tunnels, its reverberating weight reinforced David Dunn’s emotional distress. Many so-called "subwoofers" lack the extension and/or the detail and control to reveal nuances buried within sub-bass sounds. The dramatic weight of this scene was perfectly communicated with the PB12-Ultra/2 at the helm.
Nothing prepared my body for the shell shock conveyed in chapter 4 of Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. If you want to test a subwoofer’s mettle, this soundtrack will do it. The film’s intense battle scenes demonstrated the PB12-Ultra/2’s tenacious speed and control. At no time did the PB12-Ultra/2’s drivers bottom out or turn background detail to fuzz. I sensed velocity as artillery zipped through the air, and reacted viscerally as the devastating weight of cannonballs ripped apart the H.M.S. Surprise. Everything I heard -- from the desperate voices of the men to the moans of their battered ship to the crashing surf -- didn’t just sound real, it felt real.
Peter Gabriel’s stunningly remastered Secret World Live DVD-Video revealed the same commanding, pitch-perfect, low-distortion grunt. Bass lines during "Across the River," as well as Manu Katché’s accomplished percussion on "Kiss the Frog," were clean and natural. No overhang, no laziness; just quick, accurate bass supporting classic Peter Gabriel arrangements.
I continue to enjoy the splendid percussion and massive Japanese Wadaiko drums on Kodo’s multichannel SACD Mondo Head [Red Ink/Sony 56111]. The only time I’ve heard the Wadaiko on this track bettered was during my time with Jeff Fritz and the $125,000/pair Wilson Audio Alexandria X-2 loudspeakers. Although the PB12-Ultra/2 didn’t reproduce the absolute tightness and control of the Alexandrias’ 13" and 15" woofers, it delivered extremely powerful and accurate bass that penetrated my torso as a hammer does a walnut.
Distortion was so low that I never felt the need to turn the volume down. I did turn it up. The two TV-12 drivers had absolutely no problem pressurizing my room with extremely clean bass and sending me into fits of grinning pleasure. It was only after that that my sore ears reminded me of how loud the PB12-Ultra/2 had been playing.
About five of Paradigm’s brand-new Seismic 12 subwoofers ($1700 each) would fit inside a PB12-Ultra/2. Yet the Paradigm’s in-room response is specified at just two cycles above the SVS’s. I recently auditioned the Seismic 12 and found its performance impressive despite its size. More important, it was not a one-note boom-boom machine -- its excellent definition and extension are much better than those of other one-cubic-foot subs I’ve heard. So why would someone choose the larger, more expensive SVS over the Paradigm? Well, it’s the PB12-Ultra/2’s very size that enables it to produce cleaner, tighter bass with significantly more impact.
Still, the Seismic 12 is no slouch, and possesses some impressive technology. A Paradigm-designed, overbuilt, 12" downfiring woofer is flanked by two 10" passive radiators in a sealed enclosure. The radiators effectively do the same job as the tuned ports on the SVS. Like an organ’s pipes, the port diameter and length are tuned to a certain frequency, while radiators are weighted to resonate at a specific frequency. This is less a case of one way being better than the other than of dealing with the space constraints of a smaller box. A small box also requires Paradigm to use considerable equalization to boost response at 17Hz. On paper, the 4500W peak rating of the Seismic 12’s class-D amplifier may appear more powerful than the SVS, but the Seismic’s equalization circuit compromises its efficiency. The much larger PB12-Ultra/2 uses only a small amount of EQ to clean up frequency-response anomalies; therefore, most of its 2.4kW of peak power makes it to the TV-12 drivers.
Basic connections and controls are similar. Its smaller size makes the Seismic 12 much easier to position and calibrate, and the Paradigm has a balanced XLR connection where the SVS offers only unbalanced RCA-type ins and outs. But the SVS offers parametric EQ instead of the Paradigm’s 60Hz boost control for "added impact."
Although the Seismic 12 delivers high-quality bass, it leans toward a warmer sound that could sound slightly slow and muddy when directly compared with the SVS. This coloration increased as the Seismic neared its limits. For example, I was able to hear some overhang and boom when the Seismic reproduced the brutal cannonball fire in chapter 4 of Master and Commander. The SVS exhibited absolutely no excess flab or artificial weight, no matter how loudly I played it.
Unbreakable’s bass sounded tighter and more resolved through the SVS PB12-Ultra/2. Paradigm’s Seismic 12 provided good weight, but could not deliver enough power or dynamic shading in the lowest octaves to effectively convey the mass of the speeding locomotive. The train felt and sounded more authentic with the SVS in control.
Master of the sub universe?
Ron Stimpson and Tom Vodhanel may be close to accurately reproducing the sound of thunder -- the PB12-Ultra/2 is their lightning in a bottle. I have listened to many subs, and none exhibits the PB12-Ultra/2’s monstrous levels of impact, finesse, speed, and build quality at such a reasonable price. If you have the room, the PB12-Ultra/2’s faultless ability to produce bottomless, low-distortion bass at high sound-pressure levels will instantly win you over.