SVS 25-31PCi Review

Dr. Spec
Dr. Spec Posts: 3,780

I auditioned a new SVS 25-31PCi at my friend's house last night. We played a bunch of DVDs known for strong LFE content. The sub was placed in a corner of the room. The 12x22 room is fully carpeted, and there is a bunch of furniture (i.e., pretty "dead"). The sub was placed directly on the carpeting. Speakers were set to "small" and he is using an AR sub cable. The sub has not yet been "set-up" with a SPL meter or a calibration disc, nor did we make any attempt to equalize out any room induced resonances. It was basically plug and play, so keep that in mind.


Different bass frequencies playing at the same time were clear and distinct, not muddy.


The sub seemed generally free of unnatural resonances and was pretty smooth across entire bass spectrum. I think the room contributed to a peak at about 30Hz, and that gave the sub a slightly "heavy" feeling in that range. I think some judicious experimenting with placement could fix that.

Transient response:

The sub had difficulty keeping up with the .50 cal Gatling-style gun in the Matrix helicopter scene. The best reproduction of this gun is very stacatto, with each round being heard and felt clearly as it fires. The SVS blurred this sequence and it sounded almost like a continuous tone. I'm not ready to indict the SVS on this count, because of the room acoustics and the carpeting. Placing the downward firing sub on a piece of slate or other hard surface may have helped make these transients easier to hear and feel.

Frequency Response:

This model is specifically tuned for a -3dB at 25Hz, anechoic. Some extension will be realized in a typical HT room, and it wouldn't surprise me if this sub was flat to nearly 20Hz in his room. It clearly dug very deep and was strong and flat all the way down.

Sound Pressure Level:

Good God. For being the least powerful of the three 12" drivers (the Improved Standard, the Plus, and the Ultra) available in the SVS line-up, even the PCi series woofer delivers the goods - majorly. The sheer amount of air this sub can move is amazing, and the dynamic range and headroom seemed nearly limitless. It has an almost violent impact on LFE explosions, and just flat rips its way through stuff that would give most ordinary subs a cornonary. I'm not kidding people, this thing felt like two 15" subs playing together. It flat out rocks - all we could do is look at each other and shake our heads in disbelief after certain scenes. Just when we didn't think it would play any louder, it did without any apparent strain.


This is an impressive sub that digs deep and can play very loud in an effortless fashion. It would probably benefit from some placement experimentation to minimize any peaks in the frequency response. And a "live" surface beneath it and brighter room acooustics might improve the sound quality of transients, which seemed blurred to my ear.

Doc Spec
"What we do in life echoes in eternity"

Ed Mullen ([email protected])
Director - Technology and Customer Service
Post edited by Dr. Spec on


  • snookking
    snookking Posts: 18
    edited June 2002
    I just ordered my SVS 20-39pci sub yesterday and can't wait to get it hooked up. I'm stoked!
    If your not snook fishing, then your not fishing at all.
  • Dr. Spec
    Dr. Spec Posts: 3,780
    edited June 2002

    I can't see how you'll be disappointed at all - it's a pretty amazing sub.

    And again, room acoustics could have played a big part in my perception of transients, because I'm sure that driver is more than capable of physically keeping up with rapid inputs.

    I don't know what size room you have, or the configuration of it, but I've heard an equalizer and a calibration disc can be an excellent investment to minimize room induced peaks, valleys, standing waves, resonances, etc.

    "What we do in life echoes in eternity"

    Ed Mullen ([email protected])
    Director - Technology and Customer Service