SVSOUND AS-EQ1 Subwoofer Equalizer Page 2

PERFORMANCE

After this entire preamble, my report may seem disappointingly brief: SVS's box works, and works well. The EQ1's effect is clearly akin to that which I've experienced from the Audyssey MultEQ feature in A/V receivers. That is, bass, even in my welldimensioned, thoroughly optimized room and system, sounded tighter, quicker, better defined, less apt to boom, and - especially - deeper with the EQ1 engaged. I also noticed a very subtle reduction of "bloom" on lower male vocals.

A new SACD from Chesky, Jen Chapin's reVisions, proved the perfect subject matter to explore these subtleties. This title features minimalist re-imaginings of 12 Stevie Wonder tunes via a trio of just voice, sax, and string bass, all stunningly recorded. Tracks like the dryly swinging "Visions" revealed a less-is-more timbral shift with the EQ1's correction engaged - heard not so much as changes in bass per se but rather as subtleties of tone color on double-bass sustains and on tenorsax low notes. Really, the best description is to say that with the EQ1 bypassed this superb recording sounded more like hi-fi - albeit really good hi-fi - while with it engaged it sounded more like, well, actual string bass and tenor.

The EQ1's ability to expand the listening sweet spot was also evident during my listening session. Without the EQ1, I could easily discern changes in bass evenness and clarity ("tightness") by just moving my head a foot or two vertically or laterally. (This is true of most setups in most rooms, by the way.) With it engaged, however, such bobbing and weaving produced little substantial change, and shifting my seat one place, or even sitting almost on the floor, exposed no incipient boom or "deflated" octaves, as is almost invariably the case.

Does the SVS solution do a better bottomed job than the full-band Audyssey MultEQ found in receivers? With qualifications, I would say yes. I did not experience a big distinction, but I felt that the EQ1 audibly wrung out more honest bottom octaves than the several dual-sub, MultEQ'd setups I've previously attempted. Second, SVS's more numerous potential mike placements allow for a considerably finer analysis, although that may or may not make an important difference in any given room.

1. Before results of the dual-sub setup in reviewer Daniel Kumin's listening room. Note both the +5 dB bump in the 40-50 Hz range, and the dips that follow in the 50-80 Hz range and beyond. 2. After results with SVS's box doing its job. Even in Kumin's welloptimized room, the AS-EQ1's processing delivered bass that sounded deeper, better-defined and less apt to boom. Once you've viewed your before/after calibration certificate, you get the option to run the process again or upload the results to the AS-EQ1.

ERGONOMICS

Once setup is complete, the EQ1 is always in the system and always "on." There are no controls to mess with. To compare before- and-after sound you must boot your PC, run the program, and use a mouseclicked software switch to defeat/enable the EQ1 processing. This is instructive but also a bit clumsy for showing off your new toy to your friends. (You can still bypass the SVS box for "purist" listening by selecting the "Direct" mode of most receiver/ preamps, routing straight, subwoofer-less stereo to the front speakers.)

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