SCHELL SHOCKED..Dual SVS 20-39's VS Dual Paradigm Servo-15's..Final Reveiw

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  • Trevor Schell
    Moderator Emeritus
    • Aug 2000
    • 10935

    SCHELL SHOCKED..Dual SVS 20-39's VS Dual Paradigm Servo-15's..Final Reveiw


    ..................................DUAL SVS 20-39's with DUAL Paradigm Servo-15's Review...........................
    Note: I am not a professional by no means at reveiwing equipment. This is my first reveiw ever written on any product. I am writing this strictly on my own experiences with these two brands of subs..Do not expect a professional review here although I will do my best to present my experience..Thanks!! Also,,spelling mistakes may exist.

    Equipment Used
    -Denon 5800 Receiver
    -Toshiba SD-9200 DVD player
    connected with a Monster Interlink
    LightSpeed 200 Toshlink Optical Cable
    -Paradigm Reference Studio speakers all around
    -Dual Paradigm Reference Servo-15 subs
    -Dual 20-39 SVS subs /w 700 watt Samson Amplifier

    Room Size
    28'x 18'

    First off,,before I get into how the SVS's performed, I would like to talk a little bit about the quality of the two 20-39 SVS subs that I purchased. The build quality of these subs did exceed my expectations as they are of very high quality overall. The circular bases are made of a thick heavey nicely finished crafted wood with smooth rounded edges. The thick rubber feet on the bottom of the base hold the sub firmly into place. Since I am stacking these on top of the Servo-15's it was nice to see this type of base as I could confidently place them on top of the Servo without worry of scratching the finish. Three short thick round posts hold the cylinder firmly to the base. The cover on the cylinders look better in person than in the pictures and is actually very attractive 'Decor' wise. This cover is firmly fastened to the sonotube with very little visible creases. The top of the sub features a nice flat black colored metal cylinder with a mesh grille which is made of heavey duty material., So in a NutSchell ..These subs are very well made with a high level of quality and have that very expensive look to them. They will look very good in any form of room decor.The lady in the house will appreciate their looks. A lot of time and energy were put into building these subs and it clearly shows.

    The original amplifier that I received to power up the cylinders arrived DOA. The 600 watt Fidek amp would not ignite the bass after about 2 hours of trying different methods to try and solve the problem. A new amplifier had to be sent in for a replacement. The discontinued Fidek was replaced with a much nicer looking 700 watt Samson amplifier.

    My first attempt to connect the Samson was not successful. I ran a splitter from the Denon 5800's L.F.E. output. One line ran to the X-30 Crossover which controls both Servo-15's. The second line went directly to the Samson's input#1 then with 12 guage speaker wire which was connected to the cylinders. This connection gave me a viscious ground loop hum from the Servo's instantly which forced me to unplug the 1/4 adapter from the Samson before I blew something.

    I tried a different connection which required me to use the splitter with the X-30,then to the two Servo-15's. Next I ran the extra input from the X-30 directly to the Samson. Success was acheived here as the Samson was powered up and there was no hint of any hum..I set the volume on the Samson's 2 channels to full power. This set-up works and also allows me to easily switch between the two sets of subs..For some reason I felt it was important to include the hook-up method so that is why I described it in detail.Thanks!

    Since I do not have the experience needed with measuring frequency waves or bass HZ signals vs SPL's etc..,to give an intelligent reveiw in this regards I will not try. I might be able to conduct this type of testing later in the month when Jay Mitchosky comes over for a visit. Together we may be able to test the subs to this level, of course depending on Jay's experience with this.

    Now for the Test!!

    What better DVD to play than Saving Private Ryan DTS..Chapter 2 Omaha Beach Scene...
    This scene is always a thrill ride right from the get-go. Volume on the Denon 5800 at -10 from reference. The Dual Servo-15's play this chapter with authority..Clean,tight,fast action bass that blends well into the room. Boomy ,loose bass is non-existant.You can feel the bass always from the seating area approximately 16 feet from the subs.
    To my delight,,The Dual 20-39's offered the same quality of bass that I experince with the Servo-15's The bass was clean and tight, explosions were loud and dynamic with lots of depth in my 28'x 18' room. I could feel the vibrations again seated 16 feet from the 20-39's
    Again,,because of my inexperience with frequencies I can not give knowledgable data on what frequencies reached what level of SPL's...Although to reach the same levels of volume I achieved with the Servo-15's, I had to turn the x-30 volume up 20 notches. Any higher and the 20-39's would bottom out.

    Now running the Dual Servo-15's and Dual SVS 20-39's similtaniously.

    With both the Servo-15's and 20-39's running together and turning the volume on the X-30 down 10 notches from the last setting used for the SVS's only. The BASS acheived was ASTOUNDING..I was SCHELL SHOCKED..The couch and coffee table vibration was X2 or 3..I walked back behind the couch to the back wall and could feel the floor shake..This is 28 feet away from the subs..No distortion..Clean bass shaking the house.
    At first I was a little concerned with wave cancellation and what not..again, I have no experience with this,,but can say that if I am loosing any DB's of volume due to cancellation,It is a non-issue as there is plenty of powerful clean bass. I have never experienced or heard and felt bass like this before. This was a new experience for me and I really like it. I was SCHELL SHOCKED.

    This is not overkill,,This is how HomeTheater should be experienced. It was Phenominal
    I pulled out the SPL meter and measured peeks of over 116db from the seating area..Although I can not say as to what HZ frequencies this would be at.
    This amount of bass blended well with the crisp clean treble produced from the Paradigm Reference Studio speakers and was not overpowering..IMHO.

    I walked up to the X-30 to turn it down some and seen some white particles covering the top of the Studio 100's and the Denon 5800. Looking up to the roof revealed that some of the roof tile had come apart from the shaking that was created. The one 20-39 on the left side shifted abit on the Servo,but no damage was caused.

    The Servo-15's, in which I think very highly of, will stay in my set-up as well as the SVS 20-39's, which I feel offer very close performance,,they are definatley keepers and together have taken my HomeTheater to the next level which is what I originally wanted to acheive. Together they are killer.
    I have more testing and tweeking to do..This was a report based on my first experience with the SVS's powered up.

    For price comparison,,,We are looking at a total cost of $3,242 CDN taxes included, for the Dual Servo-15's compared to the $2,032 CDN, which was the total cost of the Dual SVS 20-39's w/ 700 watt Samson Amplifier including brokerage/duties/taxes paid from the border.
    Cost VS Performance,,I would have to give the nod to the SVS's as the better bang for the buck.
    Cost wise, the SVS's are a real quality bargain and come Highly Recommended. :u: :u:

    Thanks to Ron and Tom for their patience and the time spent with me in the first attempts to get the subs fired up and running. Customer Service from the SVS Team was exceptional.

    Hope Everybody enjoyed my Reveiw!

    My HomeTheater

    My HomeTheater S.E.
    Sonically Enhanced

    XBOX 360 CARD
  • Patrick Sun
    Super Senior Member
    • Aug 2000
    • 1380

    Nice review Trev. You have to be nearly deaf if you are hitting 116dB at the seats. I got up to 109dB with the dts Haunting, and that was enough for me (sitting around 10 feet away). Scary stuff!

    PatCave; HT Pix;Gear;DIY Projects;DVDs; LDs
    PatCave; HT Pix;Gear;DIY Projects;DVDs; LDs


    • DavidY
      • Aug 2000
      • 67

      Good review, Trev.

      It looks like I will definately need to upgrade my dual Mission subs....maybe a pair of SVS 16-46's (or 20-39 tuned to 18 Hz?) and the Samson 700 amp. Maybe by the end of the year.



      • Bing Fung
        Ultra Senior Member
        • Aug 2000
        • 6521

        Way to go Trev! It is not overkill, rather it's neccesary



        • John Holmes
          Moderator Emeritus
          • Aug 2000
          • 2703

          Congrats Trevor, enjoy!

          "I came here, to chew bubble gum and kickass. And I'm all out of bubble gum!!!" My DVD's
          "I have come here, to chew bubblegum and kickass. And I'm all out of bubblegum!!!"


          • Ken McDaniel
            Senior Member
            • Aug 2000
            • 170

            I just had a blast today playing around with one Servo-15. The thought of adding another Servo and two 20-39's makes my heart flutter.

            Trevor, perhaps you need to have your heart checked....



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