New Audio System

After countless years of waiting I finally purchased a new audio system.  Until recently I used a 2 channel JVC receiver.  That receiver served me very well for all 15 years that I used it.  Now I have a 5 channel system and I couldn’t be happier.

My needs for a receiver were very basic.  I needed 5 channel audio.  I wanted on screen display.  I wanted component video up conversion.  I also wanted HDMI up conversion and switching.  Over the years I’ve learned that whenever I buy for the future I end up paying for features that I never use.  This time I decided to buy for what I have now.  I do not have an HDTV yet and I probably won’t have one for a few years.  I’m waiting for the price on large 1080p sets to come down.  Since I don’t have an HDTV I decided to forgo HDMI functionality.  I chose a Denon AVR-1907 receiver.  I got a great deal on it from my local home theater store, The Stereo Shop.

The most important part of any audio system is the speakers.  I decided to buy a satellite/sub woofer system.  It costs less and since humans can’t localize sufficiently low bass tones there’s little reason to buy 5 full range speakers.  Over the years I’ve done a lot of reading particularly at the home theater forum.  People raved time and time again about the sub woofers from SVS.  SVS is a small speaker company that sells almost exclusively over the internet.  They produce high quality sub woofers at reasonable prices (well, compared to competitors at least!).  When I started researching the speakers I would buy I was pleased to find that SVS started selling a 5 channel system.

From SVS I purchased  an SBS-01 set.  The set includes 4 SBS-01 speakers and 1 SBC-01 center channel speaker.  At the time there was a very good deal available for purchasing these speakers in white or silver.  I opted for black and payed a bit more for it.  I know I’ll have these speakers for a long time and I didn’t want to be disappointed with the color.

Because the room is open to almost the entire house (including a 17 foot ceiling that opens to the second floor) I purchased an PB12 NSD/2 sub.  This sub has two 12 inch drivers.  The default tuning is for 25 Hz but can be tuned down to 16 Hz with a sacrifice in output.

I also purchased 2 pair of speaker mounts from SVS so that I could mount all of the speakers (except the center channel speaker) to the wall.

Prior to purchasing all of the new equipment I wired the room for the speakers and sub.  I made a run of coax so that I could locate the sub on the opposite wall of the receiver and I put in speaker wire under the floor to run to the rear speakers.  When the  equipment arrived I needed only to mount cut speaker cable to the length I needed and mount the speakers to the walls.

The instructions for the speaker mounts were very poor.  They were difficult to read as they appeared to be a poor phot-copy of a poor photo-copy.  They weren’t illegible but I expected a little bit better quality considering the cost of the brackets.  The instructions call for drilling a 9/16 inch hole and using inserts if you are mounting into solid wood.  Against my better judgment I followed the directions.  The result was mounts that were not nearly as solid as I had hoped for.  I ended up removing the mounts and screwing directly into the wall stud (with no silly inserts) resulting in a nice solid mount.

One of the screws that came with the mounting brackets was molded incorrectly.  While I was screwing it in the screw head broke!  Luckily I was able to back it out with pliers.  After a trip to Home Depot I was back in business again.  When I finally had the mounts where I wanted and securely attached I mounted (with help from my Dad) the speakers to the wall.  The brackets have clamps that grip a rubberized ball.  The brackets give you a lot of freedom in aiming speakers.  What I found was that the mounts sagged no matter how tight the clamp was.  One of the brackets was particularly bad.  It would sag VERY significantly.  Out of frustration I cut braces out of styrofoam that I have wedged between the bottom of the speakers and the wall.  Now there is no sag and the styrofoam is surprising not-ugly!

The sound of the system is amazing.  I’m very happy with the entire system.  My only disappointment was with the mounting brackets but I was able to work around their short comings.  I’m particularly impressed with the customer service from SVS.  During the purchasing process they were incredibly helpful.  They quickly answered all of my questions.  After the sale they’ve been great too.  I wrote to them providing feedback about the mounting brackets.  They offered to allow me to return the brackets or for them to send some 3m products that they use sometimes that helps with the problems I had.  Since I had a working solution I didn’t want anything like that.  I only wanted to provide feedback to SVS so that they might consider finding better mounts for the future.  One of the owners of the company wrote back to me about this on a Sunday! On top of that they sent me an SVS hat free of charge.  It’s unlikely that I’ll be buying speakers again anytime in the near future but I will definitely recommend SVS to anyone.  I’ve never had better customer service from any company.

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